CYCLE CLUB SUDBURY – RIDING IN A GROUP
If you’re not used to riding in a group, please read these notes.
SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT
All riders take part in the group runs at their own risk. Those risks can never be totally eliminated but can be minimised by following this leaflet in the spirit as well as the letter. Club officers will be happy to offer general advice, and to help you interpret these rules.
Consider your own insurance needs. In particular we recommend that you have Third Party (Public Liability) insurance that covers you whilst cycling. Although this is not a legal requirement, the current “sue everyone for everything” attitude makes insurance a very good idea. The Club has such a policy to cover claims against the Club and its officers but it does not cover individual riders. You should consider joining the Cyclists Touring Club – membership includes both Third Party insurance and free legal assistance should you need to claim against someone else. The same applies to some membership levels of British Cycling.
Helmets are not compulsory, but their use, especially when riding in a group, is recommended.
WARNING CALLS WHEN RIDING IN A GROUP
These calls and signals are universal to all experienced cyclists – please use them at the appropriate times;
“Stopping” and “Slowing” (or” Easy”). Probably the most important! If you brake without letting those those behind know your intention they can easily run into you.
“Oil Up” (or “Car up“) There is a vehicle coming up behind the group.
“Oil Down” (or “car ahead“) There is a vehicle approaching towards the front of the group.
“Single out” A call from riders at the back of the group when a vehicle is unable to pass the 2 abreast column safely. This call must be relayed forward by everyone to ensure that the move to single file is executed quickly and safely. The standard procedure is for the outside rider to drop back behind the inside rider. The call “single out” alerts everyone to the need to slow up and create spaces in the inside file.
“Clear” and “Oil on .Left/Right” This call lets following riders know at junctions, when the group is joining or crossing anotherroad, whether or not the road is still clear. If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
“Pothole” Any pothole that could cause a rider to fall. If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it and not into it. Do this by either pointing or adding to the call “on the left/right”.
“On the Left/Right” A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians.. For hazards on the left an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard. Give way to pedestrians – they can feel intimidated by cyclists just as we sometimes feel intimidated by motorists.
“Puncture” Let the others know and they will wait while you repair it. (You will probably be given help).
“Horse(s)” The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind call out. Pay attention to any request by the horse rider – they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists.
Finally Let others know if you are unable to keep up, have a problem or have decided to leave the group.
Ride steadily. Keep a steady line and constant speed while in a group. Any sudden change is magnified as it reaches riders at the back and so can have dramatic consequences.
If there are more than 12 riders, split the group with a gap of at least 50 yards, to allow passing cars to pull in. Keep an eye open for which direction the front group go at junctions.
Ride two abreast where it as safe to do so but always be prepared to single out when necessary. Try not to overlap with the rider(s) in front. Never ride more than two abreast.
When approaching a hill anticipate the gradient and change gear in good time. Missing a gear change on the steep bit can bring you to a sudden halt – not a good thing for the riders behind you!
Ride safely at all times. Follow the requirements of the Highway Code as they apply to cyclists and guidance from your leaders.
Treat members of the group and other road users with courtesy. Acknowledge with a wave courteous behaviour by other road users. (Many oncoming motorists will slow down or stop when they meet a large group of cyclists, whilst others allow the whole group to join or cross a major road).
Do not “wave through” a following vehicle that is waiting to overtake – let the driver make this decision. This will avoid the risk of being held responsible if the overtaking results in any form of accident.
No racing. The Club holds many competitive events in which you can race to your heart’s content, but please not on group runs.
Do not react to bad driving incidents with gestures or provoke retaliation.
Visitors and potential members are welcome to try club rides free of charge.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR NEW CYCLISTS (and a useful reminder for the more experienced)
If you do not currently take regular exercise and/or are in any doubt as to your health, please consult your doctor before starting. Some general fitness is necessary so you might find it useful to try a short ride on your own, to check your fitness and familiarity with the bike, before joining a group.
Don’t try to push yourself too hard, particularly on the hills. Ride up at your own pace – walking is allowed but nice low gears are better! In either case the group will wait at the top. If you feel uncomfortable with the speed of the group, tell someone! – we never leave anyone behind. If you have major problems or decide to leave the group then make sure you tell the leader.
Carry personal details on a card – name, address, contact phone number and some money. The Club carries a stock of such cards, issued by Essex Ambulance Service; available from the Membership Secretary.
Carry drinks and food, even on short rides. The food can be some form of high energy bar to get you to the next café stop.
Well behaved children are welcome provided they are accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Children aged 16 and 17 may ride with parental approval and will otherwise be treated as adults.
Wear cycle specific clothing if possible, as it provides a better level of comfort and practicality. ‘Layers’ are good for temperature control. It doesn’t have to be lycra – there are now casual style tops and shorts designed for cyclists. A brightly coloured jacket or jersey makes you more visible to other road users. Carry a waterproof jacket, not only for the rain but also to give an extra layer if you have to stop with a puncture and cool down. A club jacket or jersey will help to publicise the club and also make you very visible.
Carry enough tools to get you out of everyday problems like punctures or nuts or bolts working loose. It’s easier to change an inner tube than it is to repair a puncture at the roadside (especially if it’s cold or wet). Carry two spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and spanners / allen keys to fit as the minimum. A puncture outfit will also be needed in case you get more than 2 punctures.
Mudguards are optional. They prevent you getting wet and dirty and also reduce the amount that you deposit on the rider behind. Lack of mudguards could make you unpopular on a wet day.
Keep your bike in good condition and replace any worn out parts. The group will help if something goes wrong, but that always happens when it’s raining! Keep a close check on your tyres which should be fully inflated, especially the one on the back wheel as it’s always out of sight, and the one that usually punctures.. Look for bulges or cuts as well as the actual tread depth and pattern.
Remember that just as we tend to notice only the inconsiderate or bad drivers so other road users see poor behaviour by some cyclists. Make sure that you do not provide ammunition to the anti-cyclists lobby.