Group cycling etiquette

Below are some basic rules to follow to help get the most out of your riding! Please apply these rules whether your out on a Sunday Jaunt with friends, Weekend club ride or taking part in a Sportive such as our Valleys Velo. 

Do

  • Follow the Highway Code at all times – it applies to ALL road-users.
  • Wear a cycle helmet.
  • Ensure your bike is road worthy, brakes are fully operational and that your tyres are pumped up to the recommended PSI 
  • Cycle a maximum of two abreast in 2 close parallel lines where appropriate, focus on keeping it neat and tidy. shoulder to shoulder
  • Be prepared on small or busy roads to ride in single file.
  • Riders at the back of the pack to shout “Car up, single file” if there are vehicles behind. Listen and act on their calls, DON’T look back and check for yourself, as you will move off your line and may cause an accident.
  • Lead cyclists to navigate and point out hazards in the road by using hand signals. If this is not possible, shouting hazards out is excepatable. Keep it clear as to not confuse the group. Listen to them and act on the calls, and most importantly, repeat them for the cyclist behind you.
  • Ride directly behind the wheel of the rider in front. If you cycle in the middle of the two wheels in front of you, you WILL push the cyclist on your outside into the path of passing vehicles.
  • Brake as gently and smoothly as you safely can when riding in a pack and no sudden movements
  • Cover your brakes at all times when riding close to others.
  • When on the front keep pedaling, this is particularly important going downhill. If you freewheel everyone behind will have to brake.
  • Talk to each other. Point out either with hand signals or shouts, all potholes, manhole covers and other dangers in the road that could cause punctures or accidents. Follow the hand signals and calls of the riders in front as they will have seen the danger before you and then you can all communicate down the pack.
  • If you are the back of the group and either see someone dropping or are being dropped it is your responsibility to call to the cyclists in front that the pace is too high. The pack must communicate this up to the front. The lead cyclists will not be aware if you start to drop. Ask them to slow down, it is your ride too.
  • Ride at a steady pace, keeping the pack as a compact unit.
  • Check over your shoulder for other riders or traffic before moving out to the right.
  • If you are on the front, remember that people are following your calls. If you make a decision to pull out on a roundabout or junction, you need to call “Clear” or “Wait” to warn the pack of hazards.
  • If you are feeling tired let people know. Accidents happen when people are tired and lose concentration. Everyone gets tired, let people know so they can slow the pace down and tuck you in the pack to carry you home ;)
  • Cycle with confidence. If you’re nervous you will tense up and then are less likely to be able to respond to things quickly.
  • When cycling at dusk or night wear appropriate reflective bright clothing and ensure you have working lights on the front and rear of your bike.
  • Dress in appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Bring everything you might need. Prepare for every eventuality. For example, puncture kit, tyre levers, inner tubes, pump, multi tool (including chain tool), helmet, waterproof jacket, food, water, money, credit card, mobile, contact details in emergency.

Don’t

  • Overlap wheels, or nudge in between the wheels of the riders in front. You will come off if they move off their line.
  • Ride on tri / aero bars in packs as you will not be able to brake or steer quickly.
  • Make any sudden movements/changes in direction off your line when in the pack. You are responsible for the cyclist behind you, they are following YOUR wheel they need to trust you.
  • Ride off the front. This is a group ride, not a race. If you want to go faster then let the others know what you are going to do and if no one wants to join you then go off and enjoy your ride alone.
  • Stop pedaling if you are on the front, even on downhills. The cyclists behind you will read this as you slowing and could be forced to brake and bunch up.
  • “Zone out” on the wheel in front. Keep aware of everything that is going on around you, look ahead and that way you can avoid most hazards.
  • Whip round the outside of the pack to get to the front unless in an emergency. Shout up the pack any communication. If you do need to get to the front then make sure you check in front and behind for cars, remember three abreast will push you out into on coming traffic.
  • Pull out at junctions without looking, having heard the “Clear” call from a fellow cyclist. Check whether there is a vehicle coming yourself.

Hand Signals

These are some hand signals (other than the obvious left and right turns!) It is essential that you repeat them so everyone can see and pass it on:

  • Single hand in the air (up or down) : Rider is signalling that he/she needs to stop or slow down. Usually followed by the call ‘Slowing’, ‘Stopping’.

  • Pointing down at the road : This is to point out hazards such as pot holes, manhole covers etc. PLEASE copy this signal, it stops accidents and punctures

  • Arm out left or right : Everyone in the pack needs to indicate when turning left or right

  • Left arm signalling behind back : Signal the cyclist is about to move out into the road, e.g. to pass a parked car, to go round debris in the road.