You will find that cycling in a group is great fun but different from cycling on your own.
To enjoy your ride in safety we would ask that you observe the following points:
1. Road conduct
- Know your Highway Code.
- Look over your shoulder before starting or changing position.
- If you need to stop for any reason, shout “STOPPING” before you slow down. Stop close to the verge.
- Ride in single file on busy roads and under circumstances where it would otherwise be dangerous for vehicles to pass (defer to the leader?s judgement).
- Never ride more than two abreast. (If riding alone within a group, ride behind the inner rider of a pair.)
- Keep your distance from the cyclist in front, especially when riding two abreast; you or your partner may need to cut in suddenly.
- Take care on lanes, looking over hedges and listening for approaching traffic. When riding the outside position of the leading pair, hold back on the approach to blind corners; there may be a car approaching.
- Change to single file riding when the call “car up/down” is heard – normally the inside rider of each pair moves forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. If there is traffic behind which is unable to overtake, split into smaller groups of about five to help it pass.
- Do not overtake the leader (exception long uphills – at the top, stop where safe, to regroup).
- Pass leader’s messages down the line so that everyone follows suit.
- After junctions, each rider should check that there is still another rider following, and, if not, either wait at the junction or notify the leader.
- At a junction, do not block the sight of motorists already waiting to pull out.
- Members wishing to leave the group should notify the leader (to avoid their being treated as “missing persons”).
2. Other safety factors
- Cycles must be legal and roadworthy. Carry working front and rear lights when necessary. Consider duplicating the rear light with an LED type.
- Failure to comply – leader may refuse to allow you to join the group.
- Wear light or bright coloured clothing, with reflective clothing or belts at night.
- An approved helmet of the correct size and correctly fitted can reduce head contact injuries
- Members should be courteous to all other road users.
- As a minimum, you should carry:
- spare tube(s) and puncture repair kit, pump, tyre levers
- some drink, food and money for emergencies
- wet weather wear and warm clothing
- address and telephone contact number.
- Mobile phone owners – please carry it for emergency use.
- Using a mobile phone to make an emergency call [link]
- Use proper bike bags to carry the above.
GUIDELINES FOR LEADERS AND BACK MARKERS (To be read and noted by all members)
Leaders must be current, paid-up members of Cycling UK. This gives essential insurance cover.
The Club’s reputation depends to a large extent on its friendly, capable and competent leaders.
Before the ride
- Where possible, choose routes which avoid roundabouts and main roads. To avoid unnecessary stops, ensure that you are familiar with the route. Identify points of interest (and coffee stops and toilets) and allow time for riders to appreciate them.
- Check that the chosen refreshment stops are open, can accommodate the likely numbers and that food will be available. Offer to advise on numbers eating if say more than 10. Aim to arrive for lunch as soon as possible after mid-day, and agree leaving time.
On the day
- Appoint a back marker, supply with route (preferably as map) and details of coffee, lunch and tea stops. If there are more than about 15 riders, split into two groups. Appoint a leader and back marker for each group.
- Before the start, describe the ride in brief detail and introduce yourself and the back marker to riders and especially to newcomers. Try to ascertain the group-cycling experience of newcomers, tactfully check their cycle for safety and introduce them to a few members who can “help” them on the ride.
- Ensure that riders and/or bikes do not cause obstruction at the meeting point.
- Always choose a safe place to stop as a group. In particular, avoid road junctions, bends and other physical road hazards. Warn riders before stopping, and keep the carriageway clear. Similarly, in the event of punctures, breakdown etc. clear the carriageway if possible, or instruct the group to continue to a safe waiting place. Assess the problem and decide whether to hold up the ride or leave the “victim” with helpers and details of the route to the next stop(s).
- If unsure of the route, stop well before junction to consult map. Check for presence of back marker at junctions. If necessary, wait for slower riders beyond the junction.
- If necessary, warning of approaching traffic should be given by shouting “car down” (for on-coming vehicle). Similarly, the back marker (or last rider) should give warning of traffic from behind by shouting “car up”.
- For dangerous road surfaces (pot-holes, gravel, wet leaves etc.), call as appropriate and point down with left or right hand. For other hazards (e.g. walker, jogger, dog, parked car etc.) call “on the left” or “on the right” and slow the ride down as appropriate.
- When traffic is held up behind, give positive instruction to open gaps in the ride (at least 20 metres between groups of about five riders) to help traffic to pass with safety.
- Give positive instruction to ride in single file when road and/or traffic conditions dictate.
- On observing a road junction warning sign, assess the junction (type, traffic, visibility into junction) and ease the speed of the ride as appropriate. On approach, try to establish eye contact with driver(s) waiting at, or approaching junction from a minor road on your left, to encourage them to give way.
- On observing horses, warn group and slow the ride down. When closer, warn the horse rider verbally (horse accustomed to voice) of the group?s presence. Obey any advice given by the horse rider.
- Directional hand signals must be given to the group (and other road users) in good time. (Verbal direction should be given to a rider abreast.) Give the group loud verbal warning of approach to a major road, dual carriageway, mini-roundabout, ford etc.
- Always lead from the front! When the route deviates from “ahead” at a junction, instruct a rider to wait for any slower riders. This keeps the group moving. If the ride has spread out due to the pace, slow the ride down.
The leader should carry a first-aid kit and the following are also suggested:
- two spare tubes
- coins and card for telephone, or mobile phone if available
- chain rivet extractor, spoke key, Allen keys, small adjustable spanner,