… Or how to stay safe and make the most of our club rides together!
(A big thanks Cheltenham County Cycling Club for their etiquette page that helped us know where to start with ours!)
We’re predominantly a social club, but we do enjoy spinning along at a good pace when we get the chance. Rides are never races, but we do like to spin along at a decent average pace of 16-18mph upwards. We’ll never ride in groups bigger than 12 and when we hit this number, we’ll split into two equal groups.
Our club rides are focused on riding together and helping each other get the most out of the time on the road. We’ll look to keep the group at a constant pace. The ride captain and sweeper will ensure we keep together as much as possible and will help us to regroup at the agreed points on the ride.
To help us stay together as much as possible in the group riding, we aim to achieve the following:
- Stay close to the wheel in front of you – when you’re really confident you’ll be about 50cm away or closer, and you’ll be getting all the benefits of drafting behind the rider in front.
- When traffic conditions and the specific road we’re on allows, we’ll ride in two lines, side by side.
- We’ll never ride more than two abreast! Keep in your pairs, which means side by side, with enough gap between your partner to be able to ride safely.
- The pace of the group is set by the front pair. The rider on the left of the front pair should not be ‘raced’ or pushed on by the outside rider half wheeling.
- When the road narrows or it’s particularly busy, “Single out” in one, single file, line.
- This one’s an important one for us… After slowing or stopping at a junction or making a sharp turn, focus on getting the group back together quickly and safely. At the front pick up speed steadily and at the rear be ready to call ALL UP when the group is back in tact! Pass this message up the line to the front.
Signals/Calls and road hazards.
Signal/call early to make the group aware of changes in speed/direction, traffic or road hazards such as potholes and debris when necessary. Call out clearly and relay the instruction forward or back so all riders know what is happening.
- From the front of the group- ‘Easy’, ‘Going Left’, ‘Going Right’, ‘Car Up’ (we tend to use this for cars approaching us from the front), ‘Stopping’ are common warnings,
- From the back of the group ‘Single Out’, ‘Car Back’ (approaching from behind), “Easy up” if the group needs to slow down to regroup, “Puncture” for the obvious need to stop for a repair.
We encounter a lot of horses when we’re out cycling and it’s important that we always slow down. When approaching the horses from behind, call out early to the rider that there are bikes behind to give them time to prepare for being overtaken. Slow the speed down and pass safely to the side of the horse, giving a wide berth. If possible, let the rider know when the last bike is passing.
If you’re not sure of the signalling conventions or have any questions about group riding, please ask the ride leaders before the ride departs. There’s some information about group riding hand signals on the British Cycling Website, which you might find useful.
Being safe on the rides.
To date, no rider has ever been on one of our club rides when not wearing a helmet. We will therefore be keeping wearing of helmets an official requirement for ride attendance.
Please make sure you bring spare inner tubes, multi-tool, mobile phone, food/drink and money on rides.
We’d recommend having your bike serviced regularly (we’ve got some good club deals on discounted servicing) and then doing regular checks before heading out on rides to ensure you’re roadworthy.
In the Autumn/Winter, we’d recommend fitting mudguards for your own comfort and for that of your fellow club members riding behind you.
And this is well worth a watch…