17 Jan Group Cycling Etiquette
MetaSport group rides are great fun but with larger groups of riders comes higher risk and in order to ensure these rides remain safe as well as good fun training it is important that everyone follows a set of rules. Always bear in mind that everyone in the group may not be as confident or have as good bike handling skills as you.
Here’s some simple steps to follow.
- Ensure your bike is road worthy, brakes are fully operational and that your tyres are pumped up.
- Cycle a maximum of two abreast in two close parallel lines where appropriate, focus on keeping it neat and tidy.
- Be prepared on busy roads to ride in single file.
- Riders at the back of the pack to shout “Car back, single file” if there are vehicles behind. Listen and act on their calls, don’t look back and check for yourself, as you will move off your line and may cause an accident.
- Lead cyclists to navigate and point out hazards in the road by either shouting or using hand signals. Listen to them and act on the calls, and most importantly, repeat them for the cyclist behind you.
- Ride directly behind the wheel of the rider in front. If you cycle in the middle of the two wheels in front of you, you will push the cyclist on your outside into the path of passing vehicles.
- Brake as gently and smoothly as you safely can when riding in a pack
- Cover your brakes at all times.
- When on the front keep pedaling, this is particularly important going downhill. If you freewheel everyone behind will have to brake.
- Talk to each other. Point out either with hand signals or shouts, all potholes, manhole covers and other dangers in the road that could cause punctures or accidents. Follow the hand signals and calls of the riders in front as they will have seen the danger before you and then you can all communicate down the pack.
- If you are the back of the group and either see someone dropping or are being dropped it is your responsibility to call to the cyclists in front that the pace is too high. The pack must communicate this up to the front. The lead cyclists will not be aware if you start to drop.
- When asked to “ease up’ or “slow a little” do not brake suddenly. Gentle ease your pace by pedaling less hard or freewheeling for a moment.
- If you are feeling tired let people know. Accidents happen when people are tired and lose concentration.
- Cycle with confidence. If you’re nervous you will tense up and then are less likely to be able to respond to things quickly.
- When cycling early in the morning or at night, wear appropriate reflective bright clothing and ensure you have working lights on the front and rear of your bike.
- Bring everything you might need. Prepare for every eventuality. For example, puncture kit, tyre levers, inner tubes, pump, multi tool (including chain tool), helmet, waterproof jacket, food, water, money, credit card, mobile, contact details in emergency.
- Never go through a red light!
These are some hand signals (other than the obvious left and right turns!) It is essential that you repeat them so everyone can see and pass it on:
- Single hand in the air (up or down) : Rider is signaling that he/she needs to stop or slow down. Usually followed by the call ‘Slowing’, ‘Stopping’.
- Pointing down at the road : This is to point out hazards such as pot holes, manhole covers etc. Copy this signal – it stops accidents and punctures
- Arm out left or right : Everyone in the pack needs to indicate when turning left or right
- Left arm signaling behind back : Signal the cyclist is about to move out into the road, e.g. to pass a parked car, to go round debris in the road.