British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI – the international federation for the sport.
Build up fitness gradually, over several months. If you have any medical complaints or concerns check these out with your doctor. On your first Club ride, aim to ride at the back for 15-30 minutes to get an idea of the pace and style of Club riding. Don't ride further or faster than you already do on your own: instead, be prepared to turn back for home if you are struggling, and to come out again when you are fitter. The Club captain will advise you on that.
If your bike is old; make sure it has been serviced so that brakes, steering and the gears are in good condition. Check your tyres for damage (cuts, glass and wear) and make sure they are properly inflated. Carry enough tools to fix a puncture and to make emergency roadside repairs. Mudguards are not compulsory but are recommended for group riding, especially during the Winter months.
For a beginner, the bike itself is less important than your fitness and riding position. Wear comfortable cycling clothes, especially shoes, shorts and gloves. Adjust your saddle and handlebars slowly, so that over time you match the positions of other Club riders.
A helmet is recommended when riding with the club and is also recommended when riding on your own. If you are new to Club riding, stay near the back and remain alert. Respond quickly if the group brakes, but never panic. As you move up the group, you need to learn to tell the people around you what you are doing... turning, braking, slowing down and so on. Experienced riders will do this, so use your ears as well as eyes to stay safe.