- Always keep a well maintained bike (gears, brakes, wheels, tyres, etc.).
- Always carry spare inner tubes, tyre levers, pump, phone and some ID.
- Other tools such as allen keys, a chain tool and a magic link are desirable.
- In winter always have mudguards fitted with a generous rear mud flap which extends below the rear wheel spindle height. This not only keeps your bike clean but ensures that other riders are not sprayed with a mixture of agricultural toxic chemical run off and animal excrement.
- Always wear a helmet and appropriate clothing for the time of year.
- Be courteous and do not shout abuse or make offensive gestures to other road users. Many riders will be wearing club colours and bad behaviour damages the club’s reputation. Take the time to say good morning to other cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
- The average speed of each club run is decided by the leader based on most riders on the run being comfortable and able to keep up. It is up to club members to choose a run they think is appropriate to their abilities. If they find that they are struggling to keep up and are not enjoying the run they should drop down to a slower run. If they find the run too slow, move up a run. New members will find lots of advice available from run leaders and other experienced riders on the choice of runs.
- The group should always wait for riders who have a problem be it mechanical or otherwise. If it is a mechanical problem that cannot be resolved some of the group will wait until assistance arrives, In the case of a rider who is clearly struggling the leader will either slow the pace or delegate a rider to accompany them home.
- It should be appreciated that the leader is not always aware of the situation at the rear of the group. Riders towards the rear have a responsibility to keep the leader informed about riders who have any problem.
- Observe all aspects of the Highway Code, e.g. traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, do not ride on pavements (unless designated as cycle paths), etc..
- Ride on the left hand side of the road especially when approaching a blind brow or a blind corner in a narrow lane.
- Do not jump across junctions when other vehicles are approaching. This encourages other riders to do the same. Leaders will decide when it is safe for groups to cross together.
- Riders on the front should shout and point out any hazards (pot holes, debris, parked cars, etc.); these warnings should be passed back through the group so that all riders are aware of the danger. Pass horses with care, singling out, and when approaching from the rear always give the horse rider an audible warning.
- Ride in single file on busy roads, in narrow lanes or when holding up following traffic.
- In the event of a puncture or other mechanical problem an effort should be made to find a safe area off the road to carry out repairs such as a gateway.
- Do not wave on vehicles from behind even when you think it’s safe to do so. It is the sole responsibility of the driver in the overtaking vehicle to make this decision.
- If any rider is involved in an accident [where it has not been necessary to call an ambulance] and feels unwell and does not wish to continue the ride, it is strongly recommended that he/she be accompanied home by another Club member.
These are basic rules to be observed when riding in a group so that the ride is safe and enjoyable.
- With the possible exceptions of training rides, a club run is not a race. Do not attack off the front to show how strong you are.
- Ride in pairs. The greatest sin while riding in a group is to “half wheel” your partner. On the front and going back through the group pairs of riders should be bar to bar. Nudging a wheel in front of your partner, especially on the front is very bad behaviour.
- The gap between a rear wheel and the front wheel of the following rider should be about 50 cms. Less than this there is the chance that wheels may touch, greater than this the advantage of slipstreaming is lost. Do not overlap wheels and beware when a rider gets out of the saddle causing his rear wheel to come back. Take care when getting out of the saddle on an incline so as not to push your wheel back into a following rider.
- Successive pairs of riders can ride slightly offset to enable them to see between or around the riders in front and thereby spot hazards earlier than if glued directly behind the rider ahead.
- There should be no gaps in a group. If there is a space in front of you – fill it, even if this means you will have to talk to someone other than your chum. Similarly, if there is a gap on your inside, move over to fill that space.
- Overtaking other riders on a climb should normally be done on the right hand side. Where someone is boxed in it is acceptable to overtake on the left only after giving a warning such as “on your left”.
- Although the urge to be first to the top of a major climb is irresistible it should be firmly resisted on every little pimple; this is annoying as it disturbs the rhythm of the group, shells out riders who may be at their limit and causes the group to become disorganised.
With your arm outstretched, palm-down, and slightly behind you so cyclists behind you get a clear view of your hand, move your hand up and down at the wrist to indicate that you’re about to slow. Use this indication when you’re confident that you’re going to be pulling the brakes in order to significantly slow your speed. Optional call: “Slowing!” In addition to the signal, and if braking is more urgent and you haven’t got time to indicate safely, call out “Slowing!” loudly and sharply. This will give riders an additional stimulus to react to, apart from your rear wheel suddenly rushing towards them.
Raise a hand straight above your head to indicate that you expect to stop. This indication supersedes the indication and call to slow. Optional call: “Stopping!” While optional, the call of “Stopping!” can be absolutely necessary if the nature of the stop is sudden or sharp, and if you therefore haven’t got the time to make the signal. This can make the difference between a safe stop and a potentially very dangerous situation, so ensure the call is loud, sharp and urgently made with as much notice as possible.
An essential signal for all road users. Outstretch your arm straight out to the side of you to indicate your intended turn. Ensure you make this indication before you edge out to the middle of the road in the case of a right turn in the UK, so other road users have plenty of notice of your intentions. Always have a quick look behind you to make sure those other road users have seen and reacted to your indication. If you’re at the head of a large group, it can be helpful to raise your hand to just above shoulder height and point in the direction of the upcoming turn.
Hole, Pothole or Hazard on road
If you are approaching a hazard in the road, for example a pothole, manhole cover or drain cover, outstretch your arm on the side that the upcoming hazard will pass your bike and point to the floor. This will sometimes be accompanied by a circling motion – if there’s time. Optional call: “Hole!” For deep and sharp holes in the road, a clear and loud call of “hole” or “holes” will help notify your fellow cyclists of the severity of the upcoming obstacle. However, this is not to be overused – on UK roads, if we all shouted “hole!” every time the road surface was less than perfect, we’d probably never stop.
Gravel / Debris
For specific hazards where the effect will be a potentially slippery surface, take your outstretched hand, palm down and wave at the floor. This can also be used for a broken or unconsolidated road surface. Optional call: “Gravel! / Loose! / Ice! / etc.” Calling out the nature of the hazard loudly can add extra important information to your fellow cyclists. Ensure you use clear, single word calls to avoid confusion.
Cattle Grids, Railway Tracks & Speed Bumps
For hazards running across the road like rail tracks, cattle grids and speed bumps, take your hand behind you and draw a line horizontally back-and-forth across your back. If a hazard of this type is even close to being in line with the direction you’re riding, such as tram lines, trace that line clearly in the direction it runs to point it out to your fellow cyclists.
We’ve all been there, where we’ve been doing far more than our fair share of the work at the front of the group and have seemingly been left out to dry. While riding, flick your elbow out on the side you want the wheelsucker(s) to come through. Emphasise this by safely moving out slightly to give them extra room to come by, and ease off the pedals very slightly; they’ll get the message.
As you approach a physical oncoming hazard, take the arm on the side of the hazard behind you and point across your back in the direction the cyclist behind you will need to move in order to avoid it.In the UK, the hazard usually approaches on the left in the form of a parked car or similar, so the left arm is normally used.
Thanks / Acknowledgement
It’s so easy to forget to do this, but it makes the world of difference for road-user relations. If an oncoming vehicle has let you and / or your group have space to make a turn or have access to a narrow stretch of road first, acknowledge them with a raised hand of thanks. Making this sign obvious – for example with an additional smile or a raised thumb – can help ‘humanise’ you on the road, and conveys genuine appreciation for the actions of the other road user.
It’s also a fine road cycling tradition, especially in the UK, that road cyclists acknowledge each other as they pass by. A nod of the head and smile, or a hand raised off the ‘bar, will do the trick for oncoming riders, or just say “hello” if passing a cyclist on the same side of the road. Be nice out there!