Ride Guidelines

Cycling on the public roads has some inherent danger attached, but as a club we want to support and encourage people to ride safely and enjoyably, respecting their fellow riders and other road users.

By following a few basic “rules of etiquette”, we can achieve this, so please read, and if you are unsure about anything then please contact us in advance of the rides, or ask your ride leader before the ride sets off.

These guidelines are based on best practice issued to us by British Cycling, and on the collective decades of cycling experience that the ride leaders have.

Thanks are also due to Royston Cycling Club and Tri London for letting us use their guidelines as a basis for ours.

By joining our club you agree to abide by these guidelines, so please take the time to read them.

Ride Etiquette – SAFETY – RESPECT – FUN

SAFETY

This is the single most important consideration for our Club rides, and we ask you to take this very seriously:

It is essential that your bike is in a safe and roadworthy condition, with for example, working brakes. If you are unsure many local bike shops will offer a bike-check. The appropriate lighting and high-visibility clothing should also be worn: lights front and back when visibility is poor; brightly coloured clothing is preferable to black and in low light reflective or fluorescent clothing is useful. If the weather is inclement then please dress appropriately for temperatures and precipitation. It’s Meridian Triathlon Club policy that all riders must wear a helmet – no helmet no ride.

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 (if needed), food, water, money, credit card, mobile, contact details in case of emergency. If your emergency contact details are stored in your phone which has a security code on it, please have these somewhere accessible, too, such as on a piece of paper (membership cards have the option of this being printed on them) or write them in permanent marker on your cycle helmet.

To stay safe it is essential that cyclists stay aware of what is going on around them when riding so under no circumstance are headphones to be used on any Club rides, besides, it is always nice to have a chat while riding. In the unlikely event that there is an incident, please support the ride navigator and offer any help you can, whether it be making a phone call to seek help, warning other road users (often the most critical thing to do), or assisting with any injured riders.

We ask everyone, when riding on a Meridian Tri Club ride to have respect for their fellow riders and other road-users:

Ride navigators are volunteers who enable club rides to go ahead safely. They will have the safety of the whole group in mind. So please respect any decisions that they may make, for example, cancelling or cutting short a ride.

We would ask all riders to be able to fix basic problems such as punctures, themselves. Always carry some spare inner tubes that are the correct size for your wheels, as other riders will be unlikely to have spares.

Follow the highway-code at all times, including stopping at red-lights and riding no more than two-abreast. If roads are narrow then single-out and be extra cautious on blind bends. Please respect ALL other road users including drivers, pedestrians, runners, dog-walkers and horse-riders. When approaching horse-riders it is important to acknowledge the rider as the horse may not be familiar with cyclists and they can be spooked by silent bikes approaching – shout ‘bike’ loudly as you approach and pass the horse/s wide and slow or wait until approaching traffic has passed before you pass the horse/s.

Where appropriate and safe to do so, allow drivers to get past you on narrow roads.

Please get to the rides well before the scheduled departure time. We will have a short announcement before each ride, divide into groups based on speed, and then look to get going promptly at the published time.

FUN

Let’s not forget that we do this because we love our sport, so let’s do it with a smile on our faces. A cheery “hello” to passing groups and other road users helps to keep our sport friendly.

Other things to consider…

Timing:

It is useful for you to gauge your average riding speed both for group riding and training purposes. You can do this using a relatively cheap bike computer/speedo, an app on your phone or a GPS device such as Garmin.

Volunteers:

We welcome experienced riders offering to navigate a ride on behalf of the club. If you are happy to do this please speak to one of the committee.

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GROUP RIDING

  •  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 (as written on the tyre).
    •    Cycle a maximum of two abreast in 2 close parallel lines, where appropriate, focus on keeping it neat and tidy.
    •    Ride with 2ft approx. between your front wheel and the back wheel of the rider in front. There should also be 1ft between your shoulders and the rider beside you.
    •    Be prepared on small or busy roads to ride in single file.
    •    Riders at the back of the pack to shout “Car back, 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 either shouting or using hand signals. 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
  •  Cover your brakes at all times.
  • When riding on narrow roads or around corners where visibility is poor, please keep your speed under control.
  •  When on the front keep pedalling, 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.
    •    When asked to “ease up’ or “slow a little” do not brake suddenly. Gentle ease your pace by pedalling less hard or freewheeling for a moment. Look at your speedo – if someone is being dropped you probably only need to reduce your speed by half a mile an hour to allow them to stay on.
    •    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.
    •    Slow right down when passing horses, and pass them as wide as it is safe to do so. Always call to the horse riders well ahead of catching them – a cheery “Good morning” or “Hello” or “Bike”. Keep calling until the riders indicate they know you are there. They may want to turn the horse so it can see you.
    •    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”, “Wait” or “Slowing” 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.
    •    Junctions: Don’t stop to chat/wait for other riders at junctions, as it impedes drivers and can be distracting and never stop on roundabouts.
    •    If you get separated from the group keep going and the ones in front should stop at their earliest convenience and wait. If you find you are waiting for longer than 5 minutes (or you have no sight of them) loop back to the rear group – it is possible that they may have mechanical problems.
    •    If you find you are constantly being left behind on a ride you should move down a group – chat to a ride navigator about this.
  •  Make sure you carry some form of ID: your MTC membership card or a sports ID tag/bracelet or even your ICE contact details and any medical info on a laminated piece of paper in your saddle bag.
  • Do carry a charged phone, in case of emergency.

DO NOT….
•    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 group rides, 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 pedalling 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. (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 – it is your responsibility to keep you safe!
•    Ride three abreast
•    Overtake BETWEEN cyclists – if you can’t pass them safely, request that they allow you to pass them.

Calls
These are some calls you might hear. It is essential that you repeat them down the pack so everyone can hear. DO USE YOUR VOICE LOUDLY!
•    “Car Up/Back”: Keep tight to the cyclist next to you, and be prepared to cycle in single file
•    “Hole”: Upcoming pothole to avoid. This can also be followed by a direction i.e “HOLE LEFT”.
•    “Slowing”: Usually accompanied by a hand signal. The cyclist in front needs to slow down for some reason.
•    “Stopping”: Brake!
•    “Wait”: Usually at junctions to indicate there is a car coming
•    “Clear”: To indicate that a junction is traffic free. You must check yourself and not rely on others.
•    “Heads Up”: Hazard ahead, pay attention.
•    “Single out/ single file”: Get into single file safely and promptly

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 potholes, 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.

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