Club Ride Guidelines
The following guidelines are to inform new riders and to remind more experienced riders of the behaviour and safety controls expected during Club Rides. When riding with Belper BC and wearing club kit you are an ambassador for the sport and our Club. As such we ask riders to consider their behaviour towards other road users and consider the impression of us and cyclists other road users take home.
For most people, cycling is a safe and effective form of exercise. If you have any health concerns or an existing medical problem we recommend that you should see your GP before you start.
Please note that the Saturday Club Rides are not intended to be race training rides. They are run as a social ride and should be approached so. There will be opportunities to test yourself, however please respect the fact that these are group rides and everyone needs to enjoy the ride.
Rides will be organised in groups, the average speed on the flat of each group will be advertised beforehand along with the route. For the safety of yourself and other riders we expect you to be able to maintain the advertised speeds on the flat of the group you select to ride with. If you are unsure of your ability/speed or are new to cycling please consider joining us on our Steady Social Ride first, which is advertised on the Clubs Facebook page and run every two weeks.
A Club representative will ride with each group. The Club representative will ensure the pace of the ride is kept as advertised and that the group stays together wherever possible. It is important to understand that, when you go on a Club Ride, you are not being ‘taken out’ by an organiser who is responsible for your safety and wellbeing. You are part of a group of individuals on a joint excursion, each of whom tacitly accepts the risks inherent to group cycling on public roads, some of which may be poorly maintained or slippery.
In order for yourself and others to safely enjoy the Club Ride we recommend:
- Wear suitable clothing for the expected weather conditions
- Bring suitable waterproofs if necessary
- Download the route you are intending to complete on either your smart phone or cycling computer
- Carry appropriate tools and pump to fix a puncture (including spare inner tubes)
- Take money for emergencies and for use in the café – there will be cake!
- Carry a drinks bottle and suitable energy bar or food (e.g. banana, energy gels)
- Your bike should be in good working order. Gears should change smoothly without dropping the chain, brakes working effectively and the tyres in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure as recommended by the manufacturers and accounting for the conditions (usually within the range of 80psi – 110psi).
- Carry some form of ID and emergency contact details
- Take a charged mobile phone
- Riders who are new to the Club should make themselves known to the Club representative for their group before the ride starts and should take particular care to carry ID and emergency contact details.
- Most Saturdays we have three Club Rides, offering a choice of distances and average speeds. Each ride will aim to meet at the same café at roughly the same time. Faster riders may occasionally wish to ride with a slower group than they would normally join but when doing so they should observe the pace of the ride and not overtake the leader and take care not to inadvertently increase the pace.
- You should not ride more than 2 abreast. Each rider and the group must be prepared to ride single file on busy or main roads, when passing other groups of cyclists, or at any other time.
- No single group should exceed 14 riders. If there are more than 14 riders on any Club Ride the ride should split into two distinct groups of roughly equal sizes leaving a sufficient gap between for any vehicles to pull into safely.
- We aim to maintain a steady pace in line with those advertised for the ride and group. We do our best not to leave anyone behind but a reasonable rate of progress needs to be made and participants should ensure that they are self-sufficient and able to complete the ride alone if necessary.
- Those riding within the group should be aware of riders that are behind and should immediately warn the Club representative if anybody has ‘dropped off the back’.
- When in the group ride at a steady pace in tight formation. Follow the wheel in front, and always consider that there will be other members of the group following your wheel. Do not accelerate, brake suddenly or make other sudden movements.
- We understand that there are varying abilities when it comes to hill climbing, therefore as we are a social group we do expect riders to wait at the top of the hills or an appropriate safe place.
- When encountering horses, slow down, communicate with their riders, and then pass single file when it is safe to do so. Do not shout, or undertake any action that may startle the horse.
- Mudguards are discretionary during wet/winter riding however are highly recommended for the comfort of yourself and the other riders. They also make the bike easier to clean and after a ride.
- It is normal to spend about 5 minutes on the front. Any longer may sap your energy unduly and cause you a problem later in a ride. Some stronger riders can cope with longer on the front; however this should not be exploited on a Club Ride.
- If you need to slot into a position in a line of riders, indicate your intention and make sure the rider that will be behind you has seen your intention and created a gap.
- Do not push the pace because you feel strong.
- Communicate any issues to the other riders such as, a puncture, mechanical issue, tiring, out of food or drink etc. If you need to stop, do so with a loud warning to the group and brake steadily.
All of these should be passed down the line, the riders at the back will not hear calls from the front rider(s)
Car Up – Vehicle approaching the rear of the group.
Car Down – Vehicle coming towards the front of the group.
Easy – Advance warning of some hazard ahead of the group, e.g. road junction, sharp bend, wet in road, etc.
Single out – when a car needs to come by or the group is approaching a narrow section of road.
Hole – pothole ahead.
Clear – when pulling out of a junction and the road is clear for following riders.
Stop or Car – when at a junction and it is not clear.
Hand Signals *
In addition to the standard directional signal of the left or right hand extended out to the side, which should be used whenever you are cycling on the public highway, see below some of the other common hand signals used when riding in a group situation.
Make yourself aware of these prior to going out on a group ride and also check with a group member which hand signals and verbal shouts they regularly use, as they can vary locally. Repeat signals seen from riders in front, the last riders in the group will not see the signals made by rides at the front
One hand as if “gently patting an invisible dog”: This shows that the group is slowing down or just to ease the pace back a bit.
Pointing down at the road sometimes with a circling motion: Indicates an obstruction or hazard on the road such as a pothole or drain cover that needs to be avoided. Be sensible with this one and only point out major obstacles that should be avoided. This signal is often accompanied with a call of ‘below’.
Waving/pointing behind back: Indicates that there is an obstruction such as a parked car or pedestrian and that the whole group needs to move in the direction indicated to avoid it.
(* Hand Signals – Text and Images courtesy of British Cycling)
Thank you for following this etiquette. Happy and safe riding.