With the implementation of the “Rule of 6” from last Monday (14 Sept), and new advice to member groups issued by Cycling UK, the club has had to take a fresh look at how we organise rides. The club committee met on Tuesday, and we felt it would be useful to provide an update to you on how we see things working. (A version of this advice was sent to WSCC Ride Group leaders yesterday).
The new regulations require some big changes, and it will take some time before we get this fully settled. There is also of course the added complication that the Covid crisis is evolving day by day, and there is a danger that further regulations will overtake the advice we can give now. But we have to start somewhere!
CUK Advice on Rule of 6
The essential aspects of CUK’s advice on group ride activity can be found at here. (More detailed CUK advice can be accessed via this link by clicking further). In this advice, CUK states that it cannot advise member groups such as WSCC to rely on the “organised activity exemption” to the Rule of 6. Accordingly, CUK’s advice is that group rides in England should be restricted to a maximum of six participants. Multiple groups of six are permissible, provided these groups do not come into contact with one another.
We want all WSCC groups to retain their own discretion when assessing what works best for them, and to take a pragmatic and common-sense approach to the organisation of riding activities. Any rides we undertake in the current Covid environment need to take the following into account:
- Most fundamentally, there must be no more than 6 on a ride. This means that some form of pre-ride registration and booking is almost essential. Where numbers interested in joining a WSCC ride exceed 6, provision should be made to run two or more rides in a way that takes precautions to ensure that these groups do not come into contact with one another (i.e. the rides should employ different routes and stops).
- In keeping with the Government’s track and trace regulations, someone involved in planning any ride needs to keep an attendance and contact record (for 21 days). This makes obvious good sense even if this is an informal ride with friends.
- All riders should take facemasks – these will be required to go into cafés, pubs or shops anyway.
- All riders should adhere to social distancing at all times, including when stopping on the road (it’s easy to forget this and pull up next to each other).
- With the above in mind, those on a ride should have a plan for fixing punctures (where we often help each other) and/or sharing tools. Obviously if you need to help, put on your mask, wear gloves if you have them and use sanitiser before and after.
- Whilst the weather is good, we should sit outside for coffee and lunch where at all possible. Consideration should be given to how riders will deal with ill-health or an accident (consider carrying sterile gloves).
- Riders should go solo if using a car to get to the start of a ride.
- It remains up to each individual to decide, based on their own circumstances, whether they feel comfortable participating in group rides.
Introduction of WSCC Spond system for managing the Rule of 6
Our first experience in dealing with these new rules was in the preparation of last Wednesday’s rides. Our experience here was overwhelmingly positive. The rides were enjoyed, and the new “Spond” booking system was taken up amazingly quickly by 50 members, and proved to be very effective.
Based on Wednesday’s experience, we would now encourage the widest possible adoption of Spond to achieve this. Spond is a software application designed specifically for sports clubs and activities. It can be accessed either:
- Through the creation of a user name and login on the Spond website ; and/or
- Through a smartphone app
Spond is free, and simple to use. It provides a seamless way to keep attendance records, share ride details and open up rides to all our members in the spirit of the club. It also substantially reduces the administrative challenges that face us all.
Our own experience with Spond is very recent, but feedback so far has been good. (We also know that Dorking Cycling Club has successfully used Spond to organise its rides under the new rule of 6 regulations).
To deal with Wednesday’s rides, the club created a Spond account, and this was successfully used to advertise and organise attendance on multiple G3 and G4 rides. We would now like to roll this out so that all WSCC members and ride groups have the opportunity to use Spond. With this in mind we (or, to be precise, Laurie Mutch) have created a “WSCC” Spond account that includes 6 sub-groups, one for each of the club’s ride groups. Members will then be able to opt to join one or more sub-groups and to receive and respond to notifications for rides in their chosen group(s).
All club members can be invited to sign in to a WSCC club page on Spond that will enable them easily to see what rides are available and how to sign up for them. Similarly, those leading or planning rides can invite group members to attend rides (either by email or using messages on the smartphone app), and check who has signed up. Spond easily allows the number of riders to be limited to the maximum of 6.
Please contact Laurie Mutch or John Child if you have any queries about how to join and participate in Spond.
Of course, simply signing up for the WSCC groups on Spond does not in itself make group rides happen! We will need active participation from our many ride leaders to plan and post invitations to rides. That is already underway as regards the Wednesday ride groups and we’ll continue to work on it.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any other member of the committee for help and advice during these challenging times or to share any concerns with us.