We take safety very seriously. Knowing how to ride properly in a group is essential to maintaining safety for you and other club members.
Road cycling is inherently dangerous with the risk of injury and even death. Group riding adds more risk with the added complexity of riding close to other riders and traffic. We expect all club members to ride safely, within their limits and be supportive of others in the group. Working together is the best way to enjoy a safe riding experience.
We typically ride in a double pace line. Two lines of riders side by side travelling at the same speed. This formation is best suited for wider roads with minimal traffic. If the roads are narrower or other otherwise unsuitable, a single file formation will be adopted. A Ride Leader will call single file (“singles”) with one arm/one finger raised in the air. On faster, more advanced rides a rotating pace line will sometimes be employed. In all situations we ride as close to the road edge as possible. Our priority is to ride as smoothly and predictably as possible. Sudden actions (i.e. braking, turning or slowing down/speeding up) that might startle other club members or motorists should always be avoided.
Our rides are primarily no-drop rides. We typically ride all-together and only as fast as the slowest rider in the group. Any rides that don’t follow this will be clearly stated.
- Ride handlebar to handlebar with the rider at your side: do not overlap wheels of another rider.
- Maintain 0.5-1.5 m space between your front wheel and the wheel in front of you; on wet roads increase to 2-4 m for adequate braking space.
- Keep an eye on the group ahead and particularly the rider in front of you: do not watch their rear wheel.
- If you hear or see an incident behind or in front of you (crash or mechanical), do not brake or turn around suddenly. Keep moving forward, looking ahead until it’s safe to stop and pull over. Communicate your actions to the other riders around you – let them know what you’re doing.
Communication is key. All club members should lead by example, offering positive advice and encouragement to maintain safety and improve riding skills.
10 RULES FOR GROUP RIDING
1. Obey all traffic laws and rules of the road.
2. Every rider is responsible for maintaining their position in a tight group formation.
Ride bar-to-bar with the person beside you to avoid wheel overlap.
3. Use hand signals and point out obstacles for others. If it’s unsafe, or there’s not enough time to take a hand off the handlebar, call it out. STOPPING! HOLE! Call CAR UP! for a vehicle approaching from the front. CAR BACK! when it comes from behind. If you’re in the middle of the group, relay hand and signals and verbal calls to ensure everyone is aware of their environment.
4. Maintain a constant pedal stroke and even power. Soft pedal (keep turning the pedals) instead of coasting. Do not surge ahead on inclines. Do not half-wheel with the rider ahead of you. Always be aware of your speed and position relative to the riders beside and in front of you to avoid inadvertently half-wheeling or overlapping wheels.
5. When starting from a full stop (traffic light, stop sign, group stop), riders on the front must proceed gradually and wait for all riders behind to clip in. Be sure the group is all together before increasing speed.
6. When standing up to ride out of the saddle (usually while climbing), do so at the top of your pedal stroke with solid downward pressure on the pedal. This will help prevent your bike from slipping backward as you stand: a sudden and unexpected movement that can cause the rider behind to crash into you.
7. When passing or overtaking other riders, ALWAYS check behind you for cars or other riders, then pass ONLY on the left of the rider you are overtaking. This rule is particularly important on sprint segments and hills.
8. Always be aware of what is going on around you and communicate clearly to others: let a Ride Leader or other riders know if the group splits. Call PACE! if the speed is too fast.
9. Riders on the back of the group are responsible for communicating to those at the front when it is safe to turn or change lanes. If there is traffic, call and repeat HOLD UP! When it is safe, call CLEAR!
10. If for any reason you leave a ride before it ends, you must tell the Ride Leader or other riders that you are leaving.
HAVE A QUESTION? ASK A RIDE LEADER. THEY’RE HAPPY TO HELP.
Below is a great video from The GCN Network that fits with our philosophy on group riding: