Introduction to Our Guidance
As we’re sure you know, when cycling in a group it is common practice to ride close to one another either to benefit from slip-streaming on a Sunday Bash or to enjoy the great company on the Saturday Socials. Whilst group riding has its rewards there are also risks involved.
Please take the time to read all of our guidance over the next few sections, don’t feel intimidated by these if you’re new to cycling and it isn’t here to teach anyone how to suck eggs. Our guidance is here to help make everyone more aware as to what they might hear or see on the road and to help keep all road users safe.
It’s All Our Responsibility
It is a principle of RLS CC not to exclude anyone based on their ability, it therefore falls upon novices to be honest with themselves, other members about their ability and experienced riders to share that experience in an encouraging, nurturing and welcoming way. We have all been beginners. If you see some unsafe riding please inform the rider of this in a friendly manner, don’t shout or point them out but talk to them.
If you’re new to RLS CC and plan to ride with us for the first time please be sure to let someone know when you arrive. Though we hope the website gives a good taste of what we offer nothing beats experience so hopefully they can introduce you to the ride, recommend a group for you or help with some advice with riding.
Firstly, a few basic pointers to ensure a safe and hassle free ride.
Make sure you have completed the "In Case of Emergency" information on the back of your membership card, and always carry your card with you on every club ride
Always follow the Highway Code, it applies to all road users
Wear a helmet, though not compulsory it is recommended
Ensure your bike is well maintained and road worthy
Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, season and light conditions
Bring with you two spare inner tubes, tyre levers and a pump, multi-tool, mobile phone and emergency contact details
In winter, please fit mudguards, while not only helping to protect your bike from dirt and wear, it makes riding much more pleasant for you and those behind you
Etiquette on the road
When riding in a group it is important we carry out a few simple steps to ride safely and be courteous to other road users.
Keep together, it makes it easier for cars to pass and for more pleasant riding
Be prepared to fall into single file but remember, sometimes it is safer to ride two abreast
Front riders should point out hazards to be passed down the group
Rear riders should ensure the group remains together and calls vehicle behind (see below)
Cover your brakes at all times and when necessary, brake gently
Ride at a distance behind the wheel that you feel safe and comfortable at and don’t half wheel (overlapping wheels with another rider or forcing yours in front of your neighbour)
Be sure to keep watch on your surroundings before manoeuvring
Slow down when approaching horse riders, if you are on the same side of the road as them call a cheery “Good Morning” or ”Hello” to make them aware of you
If you are feeling tired let people know so they can slow the pace, someone may even have a spare gel or energy bar to help
Double check at junctions before moving, there may be riders behind who may not get away as fast as you
You must not wear earphones or headphones or any other items which could inhibit listening
A car is coming from the back of the group
A car is coming towards the front of the group
A danger is approaching in the road such as a pot hole
At a junction, use this call to shout
The pace is too fast or the group is dropping someone, remember not to brake suddenly but ease off the speed
The group is coming to a stop at a junction or alike, brake slowly in preparation for this
"On the left"
Identifies there is an obstacle on the left such as a parked car
Move into single file safety and promptly
If you have a puncture or other mechanical shout out, again don’t brake suddenly, hold you line and glide to a stop
These are a great way to pass messages down the line, be sure to signal a few metres before the obstacle or a few seconds before you act. Remember to repeat these down the line for those riding behind you.
Signal for potholes or dangerous surfaces.
Potholes, wet manhole covers and gravel can all cause damage to wheels, punctures or even cause a rider to crash. Riders should call out “Hole” (as above) while pointing to the danger.
Remaining on the front can be tiring, after checking, moving out into the road and preform a stern flick of the elbow it tells the rider behind it’s their turn on the front. This signal is more regularly seen on the Sunday rides.
As well as being accompanied by shouting “stopping” or “slowing” this informs riders that they are stopping. This may be because of a junction or obstacle in the road
Obstacle on the left
This warns riders that there is a hazard ahead such as a parked car, road works or slower cyclists. Be sure to call out “on the left” as well.