Winchester CTC – RIDING GUIDANCE (Road Riding) Revised January 2020
Riding in a group is great fun but is different from cycling on your own. The following guidance is designed to make the rides safe and enjoyable for all.
- Ride safely and follow the Highway Code. When on a club ride, you represent the club. Be courteous to other road users, even if they aren't courteous to you. Ensure you have a roadworthy bike.
- Group riding is about trust and responsibility and each member should feel responsible for the whole group. Be aware of others in your group and don't be afraid to ask for assistance.
- Follow the instructions of the group leader. They should introduce themselves but in a large group this is not always possible. Make sure you are known to the leader, especially if new to the group. Most rides have a backmarker to ensure the group stays together. If you find yourself ahead of the leader, e.g. on a long uphill, stop at the top where safe to regroup. Also stop if you get to a junction.
- Do not ride more than two abreast except when overtaking. Overtake efficiently. If riding alone behind a pair, ride behind the inner rider. If riding on the inside, do not ride too close to the kerb where road surfaces are often poor. If riding on the outside ride about a handlebar’s width to the right. Slow down when approaching blind corners as there may be a car approaching.
- Change to single file riding when necessary (e.g. on narrow or busy roads) and when instructed to single up. Defer to the leader's judgement. N.B. We do not single where this may encourage unsafe overtaking by vehicles. When singling, the inside rider of each pair normally moves forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. Always ride on the correct side of the road and overtake on the right. Take care on narrow roads, looking over hedges and listening for approaching traffic.
- Please be courteous to other road users. An angry and frustrated driver will often take risks and drive aggressively, endangering the safety of the whole group. In a large group and, particularly if there is traffic behind that cannot overtake, be prepared to split into smaller groups of about 4 to 6 to help it pass. The gap between groups should be at least 4 car lengths (20m). Where appropriate and courteous, pull in to let the car pass. Follow the leader's guidance on this or take action yourself if the leader is unaware of the problem.
- Do not ride too close to the rider in front; especially when riding two abreast; you or your partner may need to cut in suddenly. Do not overlap wheels with the rider in front. Do not swerve suddenly and avoid sudden changes in speed. On ascents, ride well to the left to allow faster climbers to pass on your right.
- Always communicate your intentions. Look behind before starting or changing position. If you need to slow down or stop, shout "SLOWING" or "STOPPING". Stop close to the verge at a safe point.
- Support other group members by making them aware of road hazards:
- Dangerous road surfaces (potholes, gravel, wet leaves etc.): Call out and point down with left or right hand.
- General hazards (e.g. walker, jogger, dog, parked car etc.): Call "on the left" or "on the right" and slow down as appropriate.
- When approaching horses particular care is needed. Ensure both rider and horse are aware of your presence and pass slowly and carefully. The horse will often be aware of you before the rider. Use verbal messages and not your bell. The last person past the horse(s) should inform the horse rider that they are the back of the group. For further information see the Cycling UK campaign “Be Nice Say Hi”
- Warn of approaching traffic by shouting "car down" for oncoming vehicles and “car up” for traffic from behind.
- Pass messages up and down the group so that everyone follows suit.
A List of warning calls when riding in a group can be found here.
- At junctions and turnings, check that the next rider in the group can see which way you are turning. If they can't, tell the leader or wait at the junction. Don't block the sight of motorists already at the junction and waiting to pull out.
- If you want to leave the group during the ride, tell the leader or backmarker so that you are not treated as a "missing person". Tell the leader if someone leaves the group without telling the leader.
- Carry front and rear lights where necessary. Do not use flashing front or rear lights when riding in a group after dusk. The only exception is the back-marker, who may use a flashing rear light. Ensure that your light settings are set to a level that does not impair the vision of fellow riders. Consider duplicating your rear light and/or carry spare batteries. Without adequate lighting the leader may refuse to allow you to join or continue with the group.
- Wear light or bright coloured clothing, with reflective strips, bands or belts at night or in particularly dull weather.
- On a typical club ride, we suggest you carry:
- spare tube(s) and puncture repair kit, pump, tyre levers, multi-tool and any tool specifically needed to adjust your bike;
- drink, food (on longer rides) and money for emergencies (cards not always accepted) and refreshment stops;
- wet weather and/or warm clothing when necessary. Additional clothing may be needed when returning to Winchester in the evening.
15. Always make sure you have:
- home address and telephone contact number for emergencies: co-locate with money;
- if possible, a mobile phone for emergency use. Consider storing an I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) number; If you keep your phone locked, please keep emergency contact details as per point 15a;
- advise the leader if you have any medical condition which may impact on your safety or the safety of the group.