St Margarets Cycling Club Ride Etiquette

By James Coates

I’ve been delighted with how popular the club rides have been. I want to maintain a relaxed feel to the club, but it’s also important to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure that the rides are safe and enjoyable for all of us. When riding as a group it is very important to remember that we must not only take responsibility for ourselves but be aware and considerate of others whether we are on or off the bike. 

I don’t want to lay out a set of rules, but I have put together a little guide to general etiquette, and hope that we can be self policing. We all make occasional mistakes and errors of judgement, but if you think that someone needs a bit of help with their riding style please let them know. For those who would like to improve their group or riding skills, please let me know and we can organise some time to improve skills and confidence.

Please remember that the club rides are not supervised and The Club is not responsible for our safety. You must ensure that you are confident that you can complete the planned ride, adhere to the highway code, have a road worthy bike, water, food, suitable clothing/tools, mobile phone, money etc. It may also be worth considering having cycling insurance. 


Puncture/mechanical:

  • Let others know, arm signal or call (see below)
  • Help if you can
  • Those not involved can keep moving- ride back and forth, or designated stop/meet point.
  • Do not leave anyone behind

Before the ride:

  • Arrive at the start point at 8.30am in order to leave at 8.40am prompt
  • Familiarise yourself with the group, expected pace
  • Familiarise yourself with the ride, route, food stops, terrain

Calls:

Use jungle telegraph, pass calls forward or back as appropriate:

  • ‘Car’ - warn when there is a vehicle that will pass in close proximity to the group, both from the front and rear of group
  • ‘Single file’ - let others know if necessary to fall into single file to allow others to pass
  • ‘Look up’ - hazard ahead, pay attention
  • ‘Stopping’ - brake, someone is stopping and you may want to do so yourself
  • ‘Slowing’ - slowing down
  • ‘Wait’ - advisable to wait at junction etc.
  • ‘Clear’ - junction appears to be clear, check for yourself though
  • ‘Ease off’ - slow the pace down as you/someone is struggling/having a problem

Hand signals

(my preference is to keep to a minimum, but they are useful for warning those behind of a hazard they may not be able to see):

  • Indicate left or right turns with corresponding arm
  • One arm in the air to indicate a mechanical/puncture
  • Point out potential hazards (anything which may unbalance, disrupt or surprise a rider)
  • Hand behind back pointing in the direction to out and around a pedestrian/cyclist/vehicle/horse etc
  • Flat hand back to warn others to slow/stop/keep distance
 

Formation:

  • Ride two abreast and at your discretion move to single file (be courteous to other road users- narrow/busy roads single file may be safer, faster moving traffic can get past a shorter group of two abreast more easily)
  • Riding close to the person in front gives the benefit of less drag, but only ride as close as you feel comfortable
  • Stay relaxed but aware of those in front and behind
  • Don’t make any sudden acceleration, movement or break
  • Move out in plenty of time to avoid road hazards and so others can follow your line
  • Keep pedalling-soft pedal rather than freewheel
  • Maintain a steady speed
  • At times it may be safer/better to split into two or more smaller groups and regroup as decided
  • On hills, give riders more room as they are more likely to slow or move off their line