This guide is a list of explanations, hints, tips - a riding etiquette. It has been written to help keep you and your fellow cyclists riding efficiently and safely and to help minimise the inconvenience to other road users. Mainly the advice will refer to the club run activities, but it will also apply to other rides that you may do. The guide is in two sections: general advice to all riders and specific advice for club run leaders. This guide is not comprehensive, so please also use your common road sense and also obey the rules of the road.
General Tips and Advice
- Prepare. Make sure your bike is in good working order before each ride.
- Prepare. On each ride take at least: a puncture repair kit, pump, a spare tube, basic tools and some money for the café stop. A mobile phone may be useful in case of mechanical breakdown, an off day, or emergency.
- Dress Sensibly. It is best to wear sports type clothing; cycling specific clothing is not necessary, though is preferable as the cut and fit helps ensure comfort. In the winter it is generally better to be too warm than too cold. A wind proof top can make a large difference in keeping you warm, and it is best to layer clothing. Keep your knees warm to prevent injury, and it is essential to keep hands warm to enable proper bike control.
- Think. The close proximity of other riders in the group makes sudden change on speed or direction undesirable. (dangerous!). So please do not make any sudden movements when riding in a group. Try to think about where other riders might be and how your actions may affect them. An occurrence that is becoming more regular is a mobile phone ringing; do not stop suddenly to answer it.
- Riding Style. Ride no more than two-abreast and stay in neat lines, this will help the aerodynamic efficiency of the group (contrary to some beliefs, riding abreast is perfectly legal). Change to single file as necessary to help cars overtake. See an article written for triathletes by Tim Williams HERE which gives a more technical description of group riding.
- Good Manners. When changing position in the group (i.e. to do your turn at the front in the wind), do so relatively slowly. Particularly if overtaking, do this at about 1/2 to 1 mph faster than the other riders; this allows them to take your wheel and benefit from the aerodynamic drag that you produce. Then and only then slowly increase your speed to that required.
- Road Manners. Keep to the left of the left side of the road, this will enable cyclists (tail-end Charlie for instance) to overtake if needed and also help motorists in overtaking.
- Wheel positioning. Do not ride with your front wheel overlapping the rear of the person in front. If the person in-front makes a sudden move, your front wheel could be knocked from under you and you will crash.
- Communicate. If you have a puncture (or mechanical problem) shout PUNCTURE and slowly pull over to the roadside.
- Communicate. If there is a pot hole that you spot (especially if you’re riding on the front of the group), alert others in the group by making them aware (be it by shouting or pointing down to the pot hole), as the view for riders behind you can be restricted. The same principle can be used for other obstructions (i.e. parked cars, pedestrian islands, road works, etc).
- Communicate. If you see another rider that is having problems, alert others in the group to this.
- Don't overtake (and in particular ride well ahead of) the leading rider in the group unless you are willing to take responsibility for your own navigation. The club run leader is not obliged to chase after people who miss a turning in this way.
- Prepare. Work a route out in advance and take a map.
- Prepare. Get to the start-point in good time.
- Prepare. Try to appoint a “tail-end Charlie” who will ride at the back and look after any potential stragglers or mechanical/puncture victims. Should you need to you can confirm everybody is together if the Charlie is in the group. The Charlie should be a strong and experienced rider.
- Welcome. Welcome any new looking people that are in attendance and explain to them what they should expect of the ride(s). Introduce then to other riders.
- Communicate. Before starting a ride or continuing after a stop, make sure everybody knows that your group is about to leave so they can prepare to move out. Be clear about which ride is moving off and when. Remember, less experienced riders may be slow to get started and if a gap opens up they will be playing catch-up from the start.
- Starting. Start relatively slowly to enable the group to get organised behind you and allow any gaps to be closed up. This is particularly important when riding through the town where traffic lights may conspire to split the group.
- Look and listen. For signs from the group that you are leading the run too fast or too slow. Change the pace accordingly. Keep a steady pace when going up-hill and/or stop to regroup at the top of the hill.
- Split. If there are more than twelve people in a group, or there is an obvious disparity in abilities or fitness, consider splitting it into two (or more) groups.