Cycling

Includes: Cycling, road cycling, bikes, BMX, mountain biking, cycle speedway, track cycling, cyclo cross, velodrome Indoors, Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Nature and the great outdoors, Sports

Age:
5+
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On your bike!

For some, cycling involves speeding down hills and doing tricks on a BMX; for others it's about taking a leisurely ride along a canal or through the countryside. Either way, cycling is fun, a useful skill to develop, and a great thing to do as a group.

Overview

The following regulations apply only to cycling as an activity within Girlguiding, not as travel to and from unit meetings.

To take girls cycling you can either lead girls yourself on their own bikes or hire bikes through a local reputable provider. When planning your route, take into consideration the cycling experience and skills of the participants and the Countryside classification.

If you are hiring bikes, inspect the bikes with the hirer to make sure they're in working order before setting off. If girls are riding their own bikes, leaders must ensure that they have been checked over before cycling as part of a Girlguiding activity.

If you would like to take girls to do BMX, Speedway or track cycling, visit British Cycling for more detailed information.

Discover the great outdoors and gain confidence to lead your girls with our in house walking courses  and the Girlguiding walking scheme. You can also use Mountain Training  NGB awards to take girls into the hills.

British Cycling (BC) endorses cycle leader courses which will give you the confidence and knowledge to take your girls further.

Cycling is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

National governing body - British Cycling (BC)

The group leader does not need to hold a qualification if:

The group leader must hold the appropriate level of the Girlguiding Walking Scheme if:

For BMX, speedway, track cycling, velodrome and mountain biking check British Cycling for the instructor qualifications required.

If using a commercial provider and if anyone in the group is under the age of 18 and the group is cycling farther than 30 minutes from an accessible road or refuge, the provider must hold a licence from the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority. (AALA) To confirm the provider’s listing and what activities they are covered for,  see AALA.                                                                                                                                                                                               You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. AALA and LotC are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Sport Northern Ireland confirm the implementation of Adventuremark as a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for activity providers in Northern Ireland or ask your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

Cycling on roads

  • If cycling on a public highway, cyclists must follow the current Highway Code
  • Cyclists must wear a helmet.
  • Lights must be used in low light or dark conditions.
  • Cyclists must not carry passengers unless their cycle has been specially built or adapted for this purpose.
  • Cyclists must not cycle on pavements or other areas designated for pedestrians (this is an offence and is punishable by a fixed penalty).
  • Clothing should be appropriate for the activity and the weather conditions, and should be fluorescent and reflective.
  • You must ensure that cyclists do not hold on to a moving vehicle, cycle in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner, or cycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Cycling off road

  • When cycling off-road, cyclists must only use recognised cycle routes, bridle paths and green roads, having gained access permission where necessary and ensuring the environment is not damaged by the activity.
  • The group should include someone who is able to carry out simple bicycle repairs and an adult who can administer first aid.
  • When taking part in a cycling expedition, ensure that cycles are safely loaded and properly balanced. Fitted panniers should be used - it is recommended that cyclists do not carry equipment on their backs.

Activity ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, lack of cycling confidence, cycling ability, terrain and countryside classification, participants with mobility issues or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

If this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the Leader: girl ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5, at least 2 adults
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: N/A, with leader permission

Normal Girlguiding ratios for activities away from the meeting place are required. However the group size should be appropriate for the planned activity, this will depend on the route and the experience of the participants. A group size of four to eight is recommended, with a minimum of four cyclists if members of the group are under 18 years old. Walking scheme Level 2 or Level 3 holders must appoint a competent adult deputy.

Groups of Rangers or girls taking part in DofE expeditions may cycle without an adult leader, but must be supervised by an appropriately qualified adult. This supervisor ensures the participants’ safety and well-being during the activity, but does not have to be with the group at all times (for example when being supervised on a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition).  See more guidance on Guides and Rangers walking without a leader.

Qualified adult/participant ratio

If cycling off-road in open countryside or above:

 The qualified adult will determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants. This will be determined by the risk assessment taking into consideration the terrain, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants.

A group size of four to eight is recommended. Girlguiding Walking Scheme Level 2 and Level 3 holders must always appoint a competent adult deputy and this is recommended for all leaders.

A qualified adult may supervise more than one group simultaneously. She determines the number of and size of groups that she can safely manage. The qualified adult retains overall responsibility. Further guidance on remote supervision can be found in the publication Remote Supervision Guidance Notes from Mountain Training.

For technical cycling activities such as BMX, speedway, track cycling/velodrome, Mountain biking and cyclo-cross we expect ratios of:

  • BMX: 1:15
  • Speedway 1:20
  • Track cycling/Velodrome 1:16
  • Mountain biking 1:8
  • Cyclo-cross 1:20 (maximum group of 30 riders with 2 qualified adults)

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities