Ride Etiquette for General Club Rides

Club runs are the heart and soul of a Club such as ours and it’s a great chance to catch up and chat with your club mates. Keeping the group working as a closely knit ‘team’ is a skill in its own right, with that in mind here are the guidelines that club organised runs will adhere to ensuring the rides are both safe and enjoyable for all riders.

If the ride is deemed a training ride then the Ride Captain/Coach may overrule some of the following guidelines.

No rider should be ahead of the Ride Captain or behind the Sweeper unless the Ride Captain permits.

Riding two abreast – The group should ride two abreast unless the Ride Captain states otherwise in the pre-ride briefing. The two lead riders should ride at a pace suitable to the group and to avoid gaps forming between the riders. This will ensure overtaking vehicles have to “cross the white line” to pass the group as they would other road users. When riding two abreast the outside riders should be in line behind the rider in front of them so as not to increase the width of the group on the road. 

To allow all group riders to take a turn on the front:

  • the front rider of the inside line of riders will take the front position on the outside line
  • the last rider of the outside line will join the back of the inside line.
  • This will then slowly rotate the riders clockwise as the group moves forward. The time on the front will depend on several factors: the weather, the terrain and the group ability.

Single out safely – from time to time the group will need to single out, doing so consistently and safely in the following manner:

  • The rider on the kerb side should always go forward allowing their adjacent rider to drop in behind.

When riding in single file for any length of time on the decision of the Ride Captain’ swapping at the front should be done as follows:

  • The lead rider checks over his right shoulder to see if it is clear, then moves to the right and drops to the back of the group or a suitable gap if available.
  • The rider who was immediately behind him does not need to speed up but remain at the same pace. He/She will have to work a little harder to maintain the same pace for the time spent on the front.
  • DO NOT PASS AT SPEED on the right of the group and continue into the distance. If you wish to ride on the front for longer than others, feel free to stay there but please remember that while you are there you are responsible for the speed of the group.

Shout and signal – if you hear shouts of

  • ‘car back’ (traffic coming from behind the group)
  • ‘car front’ (traffic coming towards the group)
  • ‘coming through’ (car or rider coming through and past the group) – SEE NOTE *
  • ‘pace’ (slow down)

Please pass on the shouts along the line even if this means interrupting your conversations.

It’s a long way from the back of the group to the front, never assume that everyone has heard.

Riders on the front should acknowledge the call with a raised hand.

Make these calls early to give plenty of notice.

*NOTE: Although the club encourages riding hills at your own pace, riders SHOULD NOT overtake the group from the back of the line at speed when approaching hills. If someone should pull out of the line to pass in the same manner on the hill and another rider is already passing at speed the result could be very dangerous for them and other group riders.

  • The preferred passing manoeuvre when you are ‘on the hill’ is to move out when safe to do so, shout ‘coming through’, ‘on your right’ or ‘ on your left’  and move to the front of the group safely.
  • It is also worth remembering that some of your clubmates would welcome a tow up the hill at times as well as on the flat.
  • Sitting comfortably towards the back of the group while others are working on the front and then using your saved energy when the hills rise up is considered bad etiquette and a sure way to lose friends!

Look up and look out – having a good natter is what club riding is all about, but always look forward when you chat and not just at the wheel in front, but through the line anticipating any changes as they happen.

Don’t half-wheel – never ever half-wheel or overlap wheels with adjacent riders, it’s dangerous and considered bad form.

Hold your line – try as so far as possible to hold your line. If potholes or other hazards are in the way anticipate them and signal, shout or both. Keeping your line helps riders behind feel more confident following your wheel and the group rides better as a whole.

 Keep pedalling – it is imperative that you keep pedalling, if you’re on the front or in the middle of the bunch and stop pedalling you’ll slow down quickly and cause the group to bunch up behind you, this could result in touched wheels and a crash.

  • Do not ride in such a high (hard) gear that you are unable to change pace readily.

 When the group has to stop – Shout and signal that you are ‘slowing’ or ‘stopping’ when you wish to do so or if stopping is unavoidable.

  • When punctures or mechanical breakdowns occur manage the roadside situation. Do not allow groups to form causing an obstruction to traffic. This may involve leaving a small group to assist and the others moving on particularly on the way home. However, this must only happen when you have an experienced rider left with full knowledge of the route back.

Signalling to other road users – the decision to wave other traffic through should be very carefully considered. The consequences of a collision in this instance could have serious implications for the Club. The advice is to allow passing traffic to make their own decision to make the manoeuvre and riders should just make the group aware of the traffic in the normal manner.