Clothing - Appropriate for the weather and time of year. Spring and Autumn are the most troublesome when you need warm and wet gear, but also layers to be able to strip down if you get too warm. A waterproof is probably a good idea all year round! Helmets are not the law in this country - whether you choose to wear one or not, you are welcome out with the ladies.
Food - The ladies group either returns to the Kingsway cafe or goes to another cafe, but it is often a good habit to carry a cereal bar or similar and a waterbottle or drink.
Tools - The most important thing to carry is a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump - even if you are not sure how to use them! Other cyclists will probably stop to offer assistance but would struggle if you do not have a pump that fits your bike. You may be able to get a small multi-tool which can be handy, but do not load up with too much or you will not be able to lift the bike!
Bike - please check that your bike is roadworthy before you come out with a group - your tyres need to be pumped up, brakes working, seat at the right height, gears working. See the Sustrans factsheet for information about the M-check. Mudguards are more sociable in wet weather. If you are at all unsure about your bike, pop along to a local bike shop who will check it over for you. It does not need to be shiny and clean - mine never is!
Insurance - when you ride with the fabulous ladies, you are covered in case of mishaps for your first few rides by Cycling UK insurance. After a few rides you should consider joining the Cycling UK or investigate other insurance schemes because accidents do happen. Please see main Cycling UK website for more information (link on the left of this page). I usually take down a next of kin or contact number at the outset of a ride.
Punctures - very little can go wrong with your bike (usually) although a puncture is probably the one thing you will come across. I sometimes arrange a session in a local friendly bike shop where we are shown and can practice taking a tyre off, if you are unsure it may be worth getting a book from the library.
Tips - Please see the blog pages 'safety in numbers' and 'rider communications' too.
If you have any questions about the notes above, or think I should add something, please post a comment or contact me.