Rider Development image

Our aim is to help any members' who want to help themselves to achieve new cycling goals. 

How do you want to become a better cyclist?

The club has set aside a significant budget for activities designed to help members who want to improve their riding ability and achieve new goals.

  1. Are you aiming for a PB in a Sportive?

  2. Do you want to improve your times in club TT events (or try your first TT)?

  3. Do you want to enter your first race at the Redbourn Fete Du Velo?

  4. Are you looking to ride stronger and move up a group in the Club runs?

We are pleased to have secured support for our programme from Cyclism, the coaching organisation founded and owned by Alex Dowsett.


VCC Cyclism logo


The programme starts on 23rd April.  Our goal remains to deliver coaching & development activities suitable for all members to help them become better riders or to achieve specific goals (see above).

1) Wednesday Evening Chain Gangs 

What:  A high intensity session designed to improve fitness and riding skills. Led by VRM race team members to lead and advise on technique and keep the group riding together.

Where:  Laps of the Whitwell TT circuit.

When: Commencing 2nd May 2018. Meet at Whitwell Hard Riders Course starting point at 19:30.

Who: Intermediate level up to Rapide.  Split into groups at different pace - dependent on participants & numbers

You need: Road bike, front & rear lights, helmets etc.

Notes: Please join the Slack Chain Gang Channel & confirm attendance weekly

2) Programme Launch & How to construct your own training programme

What:  A talk from James Millard, ex pro rider and Cyclism lead on this programme on how to get the most from the Rider Development Programme & how to build your own training plan to achieve your goals.

Where: Townsend Club

When: 20:00 on Monday 23rd April

Who: Suitable for all

3) Skills development

What: A practical session designed to improve riding techniques and skills following standard BC curriculum

Where: Lea Valley Velopark road track

When: Saturday 12th May 08:00 to 10:00

Who: Suitable for all members. Up to 40 participants, first come first served.  

How much: £10

You need: Road Bike, helmets etc.

Sign up here

4) Team Time Trial Coaching & Practice 

What: A practical coaching session from coach Gareth Pritchard & ex pro rider, James Millard designed to improve team time trial performance.

Where: Lea Valley Velopark Road Track.

When: Saturday 12th May 10:00 to 11:00

Who: Suitable for those interested in entering club or open Team TT events

You need: Road Bike, helmets etc.

Notes: Sign by email to Craig (see below).

5) Nutrition for training & your event

What: A talk from Sports Scientist & Coach Gareth Pritchard

Where: Townsend Club

When: Monday 14th May at 20.00.

Who: Suitable for all.

6) Track session

What: A coaching session for developing track riding skills.

Where: Lea Valley Velodrome.

When: Saturday 19th May 08:00 to 10:00.

Who: Suitable for members who have been through track training and have the necessary basic track bike skills.

You need: Bikes can be rented but bring suitable cycling clothing.

How much: Sign up by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

7) Race Strategy and Preparation for Novice Racers

What: A talk from James Millard/Gareth Pritchard, Pro coach designed to help those interested in entering their first race.

Where: Townsend Club

When: Monday TBC at 20.00.

Who: Anyone interested in racing


Interested? Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



C100 image

Chiltern 100


From London Phoenix CC

Easter Phoenix Sportive

  1. Easter Classic sportive, 2nd April, Fairlop Waters Outdoor Activity Centre (near Redbridge Cycling Centre), Forest Road, Barkingside, IG6 3HN. 113km and 54km.


From Bike Events

Bike Events Sportives

  1. Cambridgshire, 29thApril, Impington Village College, New Road, Cambridge, CB24 9LX. 35, 50 & 100 miles.
  2. Hertfordshire, 6thMay, Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6DQ. 25, 60 & 100 miles.
  3. London to Cambridge, 1stJuly, Lee Valley Leisure Centre, Pickett's Lock, off Meridian Way, London N9 0AS. 60 miles.
  4. London to Southend, 22ndJuly, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London E3 5SN. 52 or 65 miles.
  5. London to Windsor, 9thSeptember, Richmond Green (off Kew Rd) Richmond, Surrey TW9 1QF. 29, 37 or 55 miles.

From Sportiveuk


  1. Ware’s Cambridge,18th March, Ware, Herts. 30, 50 or 80 miles.
  2. Herts Easter Hunt, 15thApril: Chancellor’s School, Pine Grove, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 7BN. 32, 64 or 96 miles.
  3. Tour D’Essex,date: 28th May. Redbridge Cycling Centre, Forest Road, Ilford, Essex IG6 3HP. 42, 72 and 110 miles.
  4. Suffolk 100,10th June. Kesgrave Community and Conference Centre, 12 Acre Approach, Kesgrave, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 1JF. 45, 64 and 100 miles.
  5. Redbourn Road Rider, 1stJuly, Redbourn Recreation Centre, 75 Dunstable Road, Redbourn, St Albans, Herts AL3 7PP. 25, 50 and 85 miles.
  6. Hertfordshire 100,26th August. Chancellor’s School, Pine Grove, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 7BN. 32 miles, 100km and 100 miles.
  7. Wares Essex,date: 7th October. Allenburys Sports and Social Club, Priory Street, Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 0DJ. 40, 70 and 100 miles.
  8. Essex Season Ender,TBC (November). Redbridge Cycling Centre, Forest Road, Ilford, Essex IG6 3HP. 42, 72 miles.

From Dens


  1. Hemel Hillbuster III, date: 22rdApril, Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AQ, 25km, 60km and 100km.

From Purple Patch

Purple Patch

  1. The BuckingHam,1st April, The Buckingham School, London Road, Buckingham MK18 1AT, 40 miles or 60 miles.
  2. The Black Legend, 16th September, John O’Gaunt School, Hungerford, RG17 0AN. 45 miles, 65 miles or 80 miles.


From Dengie Events


  • Tour of Berkshire,15th April, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Hillfields, Reading Rd, Burghfield Common, nr Reading, Berkshire, RG7 3YG. 84 km or 125 km.
  • Tour of Dengie, 13th May, Bradwell Marina, Waterside, Bradwell on Sea, Essex, CM0 7R. 82km.

From Hertfordshire Wheelers’

 Herts Wheelers logo

  •  Audax Rides, Allenburys S&SC, Harris Lane, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 0DJ, Sunday 10th June, 200km & 100km.



April 2017

A BIG THANK YOU to every single one of the 125 members who completed our survey…   

... because of you we are shifting up a gear (or two) to make our club even better.

Read on for a summary of the key feedback and all our Action points.

What do you like?

1. Word Cloud Current members what members like about the club 

What would you change?

2Word Coud Current members what members would like to improve about the club
Click to view the Survey Results - current members

Why did you leave?

3Word Cloud Lapsed members why they didnt renew  

What change might tempt you back?

4Word Cloud Lapsed members what lapsed members would like to improve about the club
Click to view Survey results - lapsed members  Note: results for lapsed members are based on only a very small sample, so may not be representative in the same way as the results for current members.

Summary - No lazy Sundays for VCC!

An amazing 93% of members join the Sunday club rides and on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 = no enjoyment & 5 = I can’t take anymore enjoyment) the average club ride rating was 4. However, we also asked how we could make the Sunday runs better and the most common request (28%) was for non-stop rides so…

We aim to run some more non-stop rides over the months ahead for different pace groups. See VCC weekly comms email for details.

17% of members asked for smaller groups. This is something we would love to do more, but currently we don’t have enough regular run leaders to do this. If you would like to become a run leader please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You also asked for better weather…so over to you on that one Mark!

Safety First
93% of people feel safe on club runs – this is really positive, but we can always do better! Together, we have a responsibility to make everyone at the club feel safe.

ACTION Whenever you see unsafe or dangerous rider etiquette, from another club member please, in a friendly way, let them know. Run leaders have been briefed to do the same. Together, we can make everyone feel safer.

Social Cyclists
So, it turns out we are a social bunch..! After the Sunday Club runs, the second most popular club activity is the Monday social nights at Townsend (46%).

ACTION We have therefore set up a Social Group to improve and expand our social activities – aimed at encouraging brand new members to join in and also encourage more current members to come say Hi. Look out for announcements in the weekly comms email, posts on Slack and Facebook and check the Social Events page on the website.

If you want to join the Social Group to help make this happen or have some ideas you want to share please contact Tom Tichler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or speak with Tina Cockhill, Caroline Cook, Mike Large or Sarah Hollobone.

Joining In
80 members want to try a new club activity! Over half of these members felt there are no barriers to starting their chosen activity, whilst others felt they simply don’t have enough time. However, some people felt they weren’t fit enough or didn’t think they had the technical skills needed.

ACTION Please see here for a list of all the club activities and who to contact to get involved and understand what, if any, entry-level requirements there are. You won’t know until you ask!

Supporting our members and the club
94% of members felt the club supports them. However, there is still more we can do! Comments included how we better support members to progress through the club.

ACTION We will consider the survey comments to this question at upcoming committee meetings and report back later in the year.


VCC wouldn’t be the club it is today without its wonderful members, like you, many of whom help marshalling, timekeeping, coaching, leading club runs, giving talks at social nights and much more. So thank you to all that offered to help us in the survey and did so!

ACTION We will keep on thanking our amazing helpers and encourage more members to support the club, so we can continue to hold amazing events like the Fete du Velo and the Chiltern 100.

What do you love and what would you like to change about VCC?

We asked what you love about the VCC, so we can make sure we don’t change this and ‘friendliness’ came out on top, so we want to make sure we keep this up…

ACTION To help people join the club we are thinking of offering a buddy to a new member, to help show them the ropes and answer any queries once they complete the induction course. If you are interested in being a buddy please email Andy Flint This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The most common thing members would like to change about the club is ‘nothing’ :) However, a number of comments talked about how the club might work with the local community to improve road safety in the area.

ACTION This is on the agenda of our committee meetings and we will report back.

Again a massive thank you to everyone who completed the survey - you really are helping improve our Club!


The only question is not do I need mudguards, rather when do I need to fit them?


Mudguards image 3 


If you plan on riding regularly through the year in Hertfordshire, then you need to accept that you’re likely to get wet. In fact, you will get wet! Even the best laid plans – checking the weather forecast closely to time your ride to ‘avoid’ rain – can quickly be washed down the road with an unexpected downpour.

When the weather requires it, mudguards are mandatory for VCC Club runs. The minimum requirement is for a rear mudguard where the tail extends to or preferably below a level with the axle.

It’s not about you, although fair to say mudguards are a good way to stay dry(er) and so warm(er), it’s a simple matter of courtesy to your fellow riders.

Our roads are not exactly clean! Tractors and farm animals, horses and other road users mean that for health and safety reasons, mudguards (and rear mudguards should be fitted with an additional mud-flap) must be fitted when the conditions require them.

When is that? Always when there is rain, rain is forecast or there has been rain in the previous 24 hours.

If you arrive to join a club run with no, or inadequate mudguards, you will not be welcomed by your chosen group and the leader will send you away! Please don’t place your run leader in the unenviable position of having to send you packing…


Mudguards image 1      Mudguards image 2


Why? Most road riders fit mudguards to their bike when the weather requires it, and for good reason. Rain and low temperatures are a bad combination and once you’re wet it can be difficult to stay warm. A previously enjoyable ride can quickly become a damp squib. Mudguards will go a long way to helping you and your fellow riders stay (relatively) warm and (reasonably) dry on your ride.

Five steadfast reasons to fit Mudguards

If you still need convincing, here are five steadfast reasons why you should fit mudguards to your bike.

1) You’ll stay dryer

First things first, this may be stating the obvious but only once you’ve ridden with mudguards do you realise just how much water and spray is kicked up from the road, and its contribution to how wet you are on the bike.

Riding in weather like this is hard enough. Not having mudguards makes it even tougher.

In fact, unless it’s really raining cats and dogs, you’re likely to get wetter from road spray than the actual wet stuff that is falling from the sky. No-one likes the feeling of soaking wet feet from water cascading off the front wheel or a soggy chamois from the spray kicked up from the back tyre. No-one.

And if you’re worried about mudguards ruining the clean lines of your bike, then consider the streak of brown sludge running up your back of your bib tights and jersey if you don’t have them.

What’s more, the colder temperatures of winter also mean that roads stay wet long after rain has stopped falling, so even if it’s chucked it down overnight and the sky is now blue, you’ll feel the benefit of mudguards right through until you arrive home again.

2) Your club mates will be grateful

Mudguards aren’t only for your benefit, but your club-mates or riding buddies, too.

If you ride on your own and are happy to forgo mudguards then that’s all very well, but if no-one likes a soggy chamois then even fewer like being hit in the face by a jet of cold, dirty water when following a wheel.

If you ride in a group then your fellow riders will be grateful if you have mudguards.

It’s a sure-fire way to lose friends in the bunch, especially if you’re the only one on the club run who hasn’t got mudguards.

However, mudguards offer varying levels of protection for the following rider and the most effective way to contribute to the comfort of others is to have a full-length mudguards with a rear mud flap (some mudguards, like the SKS Longboard and Bluemels, have mud flaps, while you can also make one yourself. A front mud flap will also provide additional protection for your feet.

But it’s not just you and your club mates who will feel the benefit…

3) Your bike will be grateful, too

Winter is a tough time for both you and your bike and if you place importance on a clean machine it will sometimes feel like you’re spending as many hours cleaning your bike as actually riding it.

However, mudguards will also make a contribution to keeping your bike clean, as well as you. It doesn’t take much for your bike to become filthy in winter.

All that water kicked up by the road has to go somewhere and if you don’t have mudguards then invariably it makes a beeline for your drivetrain, resulting in a thick, stubborn sludge and corrosive road salt caked all over the chain, cassette, chainrings, derailleurs and brake calipers.

Of course, mudguards can only offer so much protection and your bike will still need plenty of attention through the winter months, but the investment you make in a set of mudguards is worthwhile.

4) You’ll ride more

Staying warm and dry – and having the bike and clothing to help you do so – is a sure-fire way to boost you motivation through winter. More motivation = more miles. Winter miles = summer smiles!

That’s something of a sweeping statement, of course, and a hardy cyclist will ride whatever the weather, but if it’s raining when you wake up in the morning and peek behind the curtains, then you’re more likely to get out of the door if you’re not faced with the prospect of being soaked from head to toe within minutes.

Even if it’s stopped raining, cold winter temperatures mean the roads stay wet long after the sky has cleared.

For many riders, winter is the time of year to embark on what will likely be the longest uninterrupted period of training of the year, with the months from November to March reserved to rack up steady miles, ahead of next year’s sportives and races – so you might as well do it in comfort, right?

Mudguards can also help improve your performance on the bike, too. If you’re wet and cold then your body has to spend valuable energy warming you up, thus diverting it away from what matters – pressing on the pedals.

5) You can get them on (almost) any bike

Gone are the days when mudguards could only be mounted to bikes with the clearance and fittings for traditional mudguards.

Full-length mudguards still offer the best protection and, if you plan on logging serious miles over winter and have the budget, then a dedicated winter bike with proper mudguards, wide tyres (25c, 28c or above), and affordable but hardwearing components, is a sound investment, particularly as it can double as a four-seasons commuter or light tourer.

While your frame and fork will need eyelets like this for proper mudguards, clip-on mudguards can be fitted to most road bikes.

However, if you ride your ‘race’ bike (that is to say a machine which doesn’t have the clearance or eyelets for full mudguards), then you can still fit clip-on mudguards, and while they may not offer as comprehensive coverage, they’ll still do a good job. The SKS Raceblades and Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards are the most popular options.

Clip-on mudguards are also lighter than full-length mudguards and can be removed quicker if need be but, on the flip side, they can be fiddly and take some perseverance to fit, and, while most will be ok, not all clip-on mudguards will fit all bikes, so check if you can or go ask at your local bike shop (check out the Member offers).

So, are you convinced? If not, please do not join a VCC Club run when the weather requires them! Yes, there is a bit of time and expense involved in adding mudguards to your bike, but we’re sure you’ll be glad you did.

[With thanks to George Scott and www.roadcyclinguk.com]

VCC Hill Climb - Sunday 14th October 2018

Hill climb 2017


Start is a gate on Little Almshoe Road, the route then climbs to a reservoir near to Princess Helena College, Preston.

1km, 38m (118ft) climb, gradient peaks at approx. 8%, after a flat start. 

Start around 10.00am, having ridden from usual Club run departure point in normal groups at 9.00am.

Basically it's a max effort climb, but don't go too deep too soon! Worth picking the correct gear and warming up first.

A BIG silver trophy awaits the winner at the Club dinner in December!


Sunday 9th October 2016