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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Responsive riders

Show you’re ready to quickly deal with changing conditions on your ride, you never know what the world will throw your way!

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Stopwatch or phone
  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Bikes
  • Bike pump
  • Bell
  • Bike mirror
  • Winter lubricant
  • Full water bottles or hydration packs
  • Small first aid kit
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Mudguards
  • Bottle holder
  • Small backpacks
  • Gloves
  • Hi-vis jackets and other reflective clothing
  • Weather-appropriate clothing/accessories (like sunglasses, waterproofs or woolly hats)
  • Pannier rack and bike bag/basket
  • Bike lock

Before you begin

  • The week before running this activity, have a chat with the group about the different precautions needed for cycling on the road at different times of the year. Discuss cycling in the summer heat, the pouring rain and on frosty winter mornings. Talk about being considerate to other road users and look over the laws regarding cycling on the road. You can find details on what's legal on your bike here, and in the Highway Code.
  • Equipment for this activity could be represented by props. For instance, if you don't have a bike pump, you could use a piece of card with the word ‘Bike pump’ on it, for the purposes of this activity. Remember this won’t work in the real world!
  • Use what was discussed to come up with six likely scenarios from riding in changing conditions, which you could re-enact with the equipment you were able to get. You could have: cycling down a muddy lane in a summer storm, riding to school on a chilly winter morning or coming home off-road in spring. Encourage everyone to bring some gear or equipment that they’d use in all of these scenarios.
  • If you’re using real bikes, encourage keen cyclists to bring their own. You could ask for support from local cycling clubs, repair shops and rental services.

Run the activity

  1. Lay out all of the equipment and gear you’ve got in the centre of the activity area, so everything is visible. Split off into teams and give each team a bicycle. Teams should stand together with their bicycle in different parts of the space.
  2. The person leading the activity should stand somewhere out of the way, near the centre of the activity area. They should have with them written down the six scenarios that were agreed in the previous session.
  3. Read out a scenario. Each team should then move towards the centre of the room and pick out all the equipment and gear they think they’ll need in the conditions described. They should gather what they need and head back to their bicycle to prepare it for the conditions. One team member should be the rider and should be kitted out ready for riding in the conditions.

Unless your group knows what they’re doing and have an expert on each team, no additional maintenance (such as lubricating or inflating tyres) needs to be done. They should take the items from the centre of the activity area and then write down what they would do with them. Encourage everyone not to rush and to prepare their bikes and their rider with care, as if they were actually going out to face the elements.

  1. When everyone has prepared their bicycle and rider in their own time, the person leading the activity or a cycling expert could go around and take a look at everyone’s handiwork. Remind the teams what was discussed in the previous session. Challenge everyone to consider behaviour and actions in the scenario, as well as garments and equipment. Don’t forget to think about other road users and how the conditions will affect them.

The ‘All-weather bike guide’ in Cycling through the seasons might come in handy here.

  1. Get ready to try another scenario. Replace all kit and equipment in the centre of the activity area where it was. The person leading the activity should get a stopwatch and set it to run for three minutes. Read out the next scenario, shout ‘Go!’ and start it.

If there’s time, come up with a way of scoring the teams for the correct garments and equipment they pick up, how they use them, each behaviour they’ll adjust and what actions they’ll take.

  1. Run as many of the scenarios as you can against the clock. See which team prepares best for each one.
  2. Tidy everything up and gather together to talk about the scenarios discussed. See if there’s a way the group could do a ride where they might come across some of the conditions you talked about. Group rides in tricky conditions like these could help anyone working towards their Scouts Cyclist Activity Badge.


This activity is all about being prepared. Sound familiar? How does being prepared help us to be responsible road users? Answer: by helping ourselves and others deal with the road conditions.

It was essential for the teams to think about other road users, as well as themselves. Having the right garments and equipment is important, but so is respect for the safety of other people. Consider how dark and wet roads will impact motor vehicle stopping times. Who can explain why this is important for cyclists to know?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Cycle and wheeled activities

Use appropriate protective equipment. You must wear helmets. Wear elbow and knee pads as defined by your risk assessment.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

Glue and solvents

Always supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

You could alter the time limit for this challenge, but it’s important to remember that there’s usually no time limit on being prepared, and that teams should focus on getting together everything they’ll need more than racing each other.

Set appropriate time limits for the teams, taking into account everyone’s abilities and any mobility issues.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Schedule some regular group rides in different locations/conditions to see how much everyone has learned. You could run Night-riders to experience riding in the dark, and plan your riding schedule across different seasons to take on all weathers. See the Scouts A-Z for guidance for your group.

Everyone got the chance to own the choices they made in this activity. As well as picking garments and equipment, young people were challenged to explain how they’d adjust behaviours and how they’d act in different scenarios.