You don’t need any training to be a Helper Buddy, and you are not training your Cycle Buddy in how to ride. However, we do want you to feel confident that you can ride safely with another person. We expect you to be riding at the level of Bikeability 3 – check that out here. The video on the page gives a good idea of the required level.
You need to be a current member of Chester Cycling Campaign and we ask that you are able to offer your Cycle Buddy at least 3 rides/sessions together – and maybe a few more. We envisage that a ride/session might be 60-90 minutes long and that about 3 to 6 rides/sessions will be about right for most people, but of course this may vary.
As the scheme is new, we don’t know how long it will be before somebody in your area is looking for help. Once matched with a Cycle Buddy, please get in touch with them, find out what their cycling experience is and what sort of ride they want to do. Ask what their cycling goals are.
As a Helper Buddy you are not responsible for your Cycle Buddy. Both Buddies ride at their own risk, in the same way as anyone who cycles for transport. If you think someone is not confident enough to cycle with you then you can recommend they get some cycle training (local sources are listed here), and re-enter the scheme later.
The content of rides/sessions will vary depending on what your Cycle Buddy wants. It may be a route planning session (which might take place face to face or online). It may be a ride to the park or to show your Buddy local routes – quiet ways, new cycle lanes and off-road paths are popular. Your Buddy may want to try out junctions or crossing busy roads – think about how to ride those safely.
Your role will be to help your Cycle Buddy to plan a safe route and then you lead the journey, riding the route together (at a safe physical distance for Covid security).
Plan a route in advance. Take note of any potential risks, for example difficult junctions or routes that may be less safe at night, and how you will minimise those risks. If you are not already familiar with the route, ride it on your own first, bearing in mind that your Buddy will probably ride much more slowly than you. Consider the normal timing of your Buddy’s journey. For example, if they will be riding late at night, then a well-lit road route may be safer than a poorly lit section across a park.
Before setting out on the route, discuss it with your Buddy. Take care to note if they are unsure about level of traffic or other considerations. Maybe choose a quiet time of day for the first time a route is ridden. A longer route might be ridden in sections over several rides.
Meet in a busy public place in daylight.
Be patient with your Cycle Buddy. They may not be comfortable filtering through traffic, or at junctions. Ride at their pace and check frequently that they are with you and are comfortable. Dismount and push your bikes if your Buddy would prefer that. Listen and give encouragement. Try to remember what it felt like when you were less confident. Share your experience in the way you would with a friend starting to cycle. Don’t feel you have to explain everything. Help them to work things out for themselves and to track their own progress.
It’s important that you set a good example for your Cycle Buddy and follow all road rules!
Do not do Buddy rides in icy conditions. Consider very wet or windy conditions only if your Cycle Buddy wants to experience these.
In the event of an incident or injury please notify the scheme administrator as soon as possible.
If possible, make a record of the route. Consider sharing the route with your Cycle Buddy as an online or printed map and/or a GPX file.
Debrief with your Cycle Buddy after the ride. How did the ride go, and will you meet again? Always make sure your Buddy can return home safely after a ride. Your Buddy may want ongoing help over a number of rides or be happy with a single ride. Please offer to help your Buddy as much as they like but don’t pressure them.
If you have any concerns about your Cycle Buddy, please tell the scheme administrator. When your Buddy feels they don’t need any more Buddy rides/sessions, your buddying job with that person is done. Please notify the scheme administrator & indicate whether you are available for further buddying. Do get back in contact with your Cycle Buddy after about 3 months to see how they are doing. Let them know about Chester Cycling Campaign activities.
Chester Cycling Campaign recommends that all cyclists consider taking out third party liability insurance. Participants in the Cycle Buddies Scheme can obtain insurance by becoming members of Cycling UK, as all Cycling UK membership types include cover in the event of injury or damage to third parties or third-party property, up to £10 million with no excess to pay.
Note that affiliate membership of Cycling UK, which includes the above insurance cover, is available to members of the Chester Cycling Campaign at a reduced rate of £28.00 a year – another reason to join the Campaign!
Thank you very much – Helper Buddies are great ambassadors for cycling!
If you’d like to become a Helper Buddy, please get in touch using the form below. We would love to hear from you!