The safety of all our members is the highest priority of the Willow Wheelers. Cycling as part of a group or a peloton is different from cycling alone, particularly for younger members.
All official Sunday Club cycles will start and finish at Willow Park School and wearing of a helmet is mandatory for all Club cycles. Parents should ensure that their child’s helmet, gear and bicycle meet the necessary legal and safety standards and are set up properly. In addition, by following a number of recommendations, we will continue our safe and enjoyable cycling tradition. Please consider the following:
- All fifth form boys who are considering cycling should complete the cycling course run in Willow Park. Club members will provide guidance to boys who join in later years.
- Everyone should read the RSA cycle safety booklet. In particular, road rules must be observed at all times and good cycling practices should be developed for the group, e.g. passing on right hand side when overtaking other cyclists, giving appropriate signals and making appropriate safety calls (e.g. for traffic, pedestrians, potholes, slowing, stopping, overtaking, etc.). Be respectful of other road users and of pedestrians.
- Wear cycling gear that is appropriate to the weather conditions, including gloves, sunglasses, long sleeve jacket with base layer in cold conditions, rain jacket, suncream, etc. Don’t wear loose clothing that may get caught in spokes or chainsets.
- Ensure your bike is in good working order before each cycle and is the right size for you with functioning brakes, properly oiled gears/chain, tyres in good condition and pumped to the right pressure (usually >100psi), appropriate saddle height, adequate lighting and appropriate clothing if cycle may run after dark, etc.
- When cycling, watch your speed, especially in traffic, busy streets or going downhill. Be careful of other road users, especially left-turning large vehicles. Keep well back from motor vehicles in case they brake or stop suddenly. Never use earphones or a mobile phone when cycling.
- In case of breakdown, you should also carry: fully charged mobile phone, pump, spare tubes, tyre levers, bike multi-tool.
- For weekly communication: Year group leaders should set up a WhatsApp (or equivalent) group for each year group. Ideally, a list of mobile numbers for all adult and junior cyclists should be available to each year group leader and member of the year group.
- For each cycle, ensure that all cyclists know the planned route and destination. Particularly for younger boys, adult supervision at all times is essential throughout the cycle. Select topography and distances that will suit the whole group.
- Members should follow any rules set by the organiser in connection with any Willow Wheelers cycling activities.
- No cyclist should ever, ever be left behind. An adult should always take the back of the group and, in most cases, ideally another adult lead the front of the group. Group leaders should always ensure that the full group returns to base or agree if boys leave the group as they approach home without returning to the school. Unaccompanied boys should be collected from Willow Park School at the end of their cycle.
and most importantly, enjoy your cycling!
The summary safety information included above is intended to help focus on key safe cycling messages but is not a complete outline of the many steps required for safety cycling. Each member is and, in case of junior members, their parents are, responsible for ensuring that members have the appropriate bike and equipment and for their own safe cycling. None of the Willow Wheelers or its Committee members or Club members nor Willow Park School or Blackrock College shall have any responsibility or liability for members, their bicycles or other equipment, their safety or conduct while on cycles.