When participating in group ride every cyclist takes responsibility for group safety, more so when riding upfront.
- Never slam your brakes. Use gentle, feather-like presses on both of your break levers when you need to slow down.
- Do not cross wheels. Overlapping your front wheel with back wheel of the rider in front of you is one of most frequent crash causes.
- Ride smoothly at steady pace in a straight line. Maintain your group target pace. Do not accelerate rapidly.
- Do not make any sudden or wild moves unless to avoid an obstacle.
- Do not slow down when moving off the front.
Stay Alert and Be Ready to React
- Do not use aerobars.
- Do not use your phone or earphones.
- Anticipate and be ready to react. Look towards the front of the paceline. Do not stare at wheel in front of you.
- Know your limits. If you're exhausted skip your pull, it's OK to move to the back. Fatigue affects alertness, if you're too tired to stay alert move to the back.
- Look first. When you move out of the paceline or for some reason need to move within paceline make sure you can do that safely.
- Front riders responsible for the group. Anticipate light changes, watch for traffic, make sure you know your next turn. Make decisions timely.
Communication & Signals
Clear, timely and proper communication is key for safe group riding.
- Communicate road hazards. Announce or point holes, bumps, debris or obstacles.
- Communicate traffic situation. On two lane roads, at the turns or when intended to change lanes announce approaching cars. Call out traffic light signals when appropriate.
- Communicate your intentions. Announce or signal changes in speed (stopping, slowing) or direction (turning).
Following table lists most of signals we use
|Approaching a turn, turning||"Right turn" or "Left turn"||Point to the side with right or left hand.|
|Intention to slow down||"Slowing"||Waiving arm down with palm facing backwards.|
|Intention to stop completely||"Stopping"||Arm bent in elbow pointing down with palm facing backwards.|
|Intention to start moving or keep moving||"Rolling"|
|Moving out of the paceline, suggesting to pass||"Out"||Wiggle elbow, use appropriate arm to indicate side that you wish riders to pass you on.|
|Approaching road hazard such as hole, bump, crack, debris||Call out the hazard and where it is (left, right or middle)||Point the hazard with index finger.|
|Car approaching, appropriate when close to riders, narrow road, etc.||"Car back", "car up", "car left" or "car right"|
|Request riders up front to reduce pace||"One down" or "Two down"|
|Informing/instructing riders up front that it is safe to change lanes||"Take the lane"|
|Announcement of a mechanical issue with some rider's bike||"Mechanical" or "Flat"|
The following may be not directly related to safety, but makes group more solid and pleasant to ride with.
- Let them know if you're last rider in the paceline When you're passing a rider that moved off the front, let them know they need to pedal up and merge in by calling out "Last wheel".
- Close the gaps. Keep the paceline tight. If there is a gap in front of you close is slowly. If you can't close it, move out and let rider behind you try.
- Do not "half wheel". Half wheeling in double paceline is when one front rider constantly tries to get ahead of the other.
Check your bike before you ride it. There are several different quick check protocols. Most of them cover same things:
- Tires: pump to appropriate pressure, inspect tires for damage regularly.
- Brakes: make sure brake quick releases are engaged, periodically inspect brake pads and cables where they are visible.
- Wheels: make sure wheel quick releases are locked.
- Lights: make sure they are on and working. When it's dark bicycles are legally required to have white light in the front visible from at least 500 feet. We recommend highly visible red light on the rear any time you ride on public roads.
Make sure your bike is well maintained, take care of it yourself or take it to a professional mechanic.
Sharing Road with Cars
We share road with motorists. And a lot of them think they own the road. Be alert and be prepared to react according to quickly changing traffic situation. Be aware of the following most typical motorist mistakes:
- Car turns left in front of oncoming bicycle traffic. Cyclists are often overlooked or their speed is misjudged.
- Car turns right across the path of the bicycle. Often due to bicycle speed is misjudged.
- Car pulls from a stop sign and fails to yield right-of-way to bicycle traffic.
Being aware of these mistakes helps anticipate and possibly prevent collision if motorist made mistake.
- When approaching intersection watch for slowing cars on the left, they may be getting ready to turn right.
- Try to establish eye contact with a driver of a car stopped at stop sign or waiting to turn left.
- Move of the road to fix bike.
Riding with Health Conditions
Bicycling is an excellent way to add exercise to your day. You can be in the fresh air with (or without) friends; you can see new things; it can be easier on your joints. It is well known that exercise is important for physical and mental health.
The SCCC has numerous members who have weathered health problems. Many would be happy to discuss your concerns.
However, before participating with an adverse condition you should get clearance from your physician to participate in vigorous activity. Your physician should be your first resource before taking the advice of other riders.
Once you receive clearance from your doctor, spend some time building up your endurance. Start slowly and gradually build up. Once you are ready and your doctor agrees, we welcome you to ride. You should do the following:
- Have on a RoadID or MedicAlert bracelet with your name, address, emergency contact, and that can access your medical issues.
- Alert your ride leader before starting about any issues you could have during the ride.
- Let the ride leader know (or another rider if you can’t get to the leader) during the ride if you are having problems. Do not just drop quietly off the back. That is dangerous for your health, and we are always ready to slow down or help as needed
Here are some web resources that may interest you (note that SCCC is not responsible for the content of these resources):
- If you do not feel well, STAY HOME! (Do a solo ride if you feel the need to ride.)
- If you have just returned from a trip where there was a high incidence of the virus, please, again, do a solo ride, not with the group.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash hands frequently.
- Limit after club activities. Avoid large crowds.
- Carry hand sanitizer or hand wipes and use liberally.
- Reduce interactions (no person-to-person contact) and time at rest stops.