Group riding guidelines

Distance and speed of group rides will vary throughout the year so details will be posted before each ride.

Rules of the road

  1. All riders must adhere to the rules of the road. Follow the Highway Code. No running red lights. Wear the jersey with pride and set a good example.
  2. Riders should ride no more than two abreast unless overtaking.
  3. Riders on the outside of the group have the responsibility to move in line – the rider on the inside should maintain pace and line, but allow gaps to open up to accommodate those on the outside if they need to return to line.
  4. When being overtaken by cars do not feel defensive and move into the gutter – you are more likely to wobble avoiding a pothole or gravel. Always ride about a metre out from the side of the road, thus avoiding the worst of the potholes. Remember that the Highway Code reminds all road users to be ‘considerate towards each other’.
  5. Slow right down before overtaking horses, and call a warning to the rider before passing.
  6. Give a very wide line to pedestrians – to many of them a speeding bicycle represents an unpredictable threat. They’ll probably be nervous.
  7. If you are confident the road is clear, it’s nice to wave cars past – but remember they may not be confident overtakers or able to pass safely (Even a small group stretched along the road will be longer than an articulated lorry). If the group is large, it may be necessary to allow gaps to open up to let cars ‘leap-frog’ past.
  8. Back rider should inform the Group by calling “Car back” if a car is coming from the rear and there is limited space for them to overtake. Add “Single file” as necessary.  Similarly the lead rider should calling “Car up” if there is a car coming towards the Group on a narrow road.
  9. When a car is alerted do not slow down or change course – your fellow riders come first
  10. Club rides are not races – however, town sign sprints are a tradition of club group rides but participate with caution and only with full awareness of other road users.
  11. If light conditions demand, or it’s misty, use lights to front and rear

Riding with others

  1. Be aware of riders behind you and to the side. Ride smoothly, do not brake without warning, raise your arm if you have a problem and stop slowly. When standing to climb, take care not to drop back into the wheel of the rider behind.
  2. Always think before you slow down – if there’s a rider behind let them know of your intentions (hand signal or verbal warning) and give them sufficient time to react before doing anything.
  3. Avoid any sudden swerving – be particularly conscious of the tendency to swerve when looking over your shoulder or reaching for a bottle.
  4. Give verbal warnings of obstacles, but don’t panic, shout “HOLE” and jump all over the shop. Signal to other riders if there is a danger in the road. Smoothness is everything.
  5. Navigate potholes with the minimum deviation from a straight line – or bunny hop. Wild swings to the side don’t help fellow riders/ other traffic.
  6. Always scan the road surface/ environment as far ahead as you can see for hazards.
  7. On narrow or steep descents, allow much larger gaps from the rider in front, and ride single file to allow for more erratic avoidance movements.
  8. When riding in a group, always have your brakes covered.
  9. Follow the bike on your shoulder – be ready to move across the road as they do. Cyclists pick lines to avoid obstacles and undulations. Within limits, allow them to move – the rider on the outside has to take the lead of the rider on the inside
  10. Every rider is responsible for being able to find their own way home if they decide to drop off – a map of the route/ area covered, or a GPS capability should be carried by all.
  11. Perfect the art of riding steadily and as close to others as possible – it means groups are more compact and more efficient.
  12. On narrower roads, always maintain a clear path to the safe side of the road – don’t get trapped alongside someone with nowhere to go.
  13. When there is warning of a hazard by another rider DO NOT SLOW DOWN immediately – maintain the pace until you establish there is no-one behind and then signal your intentions
  14. Be careful with your brakes – signal your intention to slow before doing so
  15. Respect your fellow riders. Watch them carefully, assess their skills and make allowances. A group of cyclists depends upon a continuous process of give and take.

Staying together

  1. Should the group split, alert riders up the line and they should slow/stop for the group to reform.
  2. Throughout the group we should all share responsibility for communicating the whereabouts of all riders – if you become aware of someone puncturing or dropping behind it’s your responsibility to get the message to the front.
  3. At the top (and bottom) of hills, lead riders should wait for the group to reform before pressing on.
  4. The group should always stop or return and assist any rider suffering from mechanical or physical problems.
  5. If you are left stranded, stay where you are until the group returns – don’t wander off.
  6. The group should always wait for the last rider, unless the rider has requested to be left, or an agreement reached beforehand that the group will not wait for dropped riders.
  7. No rider should leave the group without first notifying other riders, preferably the ride leader.
  8. If you do have a mechanical, out of respect to your fellow riders the ‘four-minute’ rule will apply. You have four minutes during which to fix the puncture/ make the necessary mechanical adjustment or decide whether to let the group continue without you.
  9. When arriving at junctions with a strung out group it is natural to wait. You must do so without obstructing the road for other users either physically or line of sight
  10. When reaching the front, don’t accelerate too quickly – opening gaps splits the efficiency of the group.
  11. Similarly, don’t accelerate too violently after a junction or hazard.
  12. After a junction, it’s your responsibility to keep up. Always chase hard if you are left behind. It’s junctions and sharp turns that destroy the rhythm.
  13. It is your responsibility to keep up – hold the wheel in front as tightly as possible, especially as the group accelerates away from junctions/ hazards.

Politesse of the peloton

  1. Whether due to puncture or mechanical, it is considerate to allow the group to continue if you will be delayed more than four minutes, unless the group decides otherwise
  2. If you can, take your turn in the wind – don’t shirk the work. But if you can’t, just let others know.
  3. If a fellow cyclist is struggling, give them a tow back to the group, sheltering them from the wind
  4. Out of respect to other road users, ride in groups of around 10 or 12.
  5. All riders should have basic tools to effect running repairs; carry at least one spare inner tube (with a valve of the correct length) and the means (and ability) to change it and inflate it…
  6. Many of our members enjoy triathlon and use ‘tri-bars’ for those events. In line with BC road race rules, we heartily recommend that these are not used on club rides in the company of other riders – in the event of an accident they can become spears that risk injury to the user or others.
  7. In winter, when the roads are frequently wet and muddy, it’s nice to fit mudguards to reduce rearward spray into the faces of those following you. Note these have to quite long to do the job – ‘ass-savers’ may be cheap and improve your comfort, but they do little for those behind.
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