We’ve written this advice to help you and your fellow cyclists ride safely and efficiently whilst minimising inconvenience to other road users. The advice is based on Cambridge Cycling Club’s guide. In the main the advice refers to club runs, but is useful for all rides. It is not exhaustive, so please also use your common sense and comply with the Highway Code.
HIBC is an inclusive club and we encourage new and less experienced cyclists. When you ride with us, the group will try to help you if you have a problem, such as a puncture or other mechanical issue, and will wait if you’re a little behind on the hills! However the aim of club cycling is to ride at an even pace with rides largely non-stop, unless a visit to a cafe is planned.
Our rides are advertised by their intended average speed, which will usually be attained. You should choose rides according to your ability to maintain the advertised speed, and, as you become more experienced, your ability to contribute on the front of the group.
For all riders
- Make sure your bike is in good and safe working order before each ride.
- On each ride take at least: water, some food, a puncture repair kit, pump, spare tube or tubeless repair kit, basic tools, your mobile phone and some money for a café stop, if planned.
- In wet weather riders are required to use mudguards. It is courteous to riders behind you, and in really wet conditions prevents spray from obscuring others’ visibility.
- Punctures can often be prevented by using tyres suitable for wet and winter conditions, and by checking them for flints and tears after every ride.
- We strongly recommend wearing a helmet.
- KEEP LEFT! When riding two abreast keep to the left-hand side of the road so that motorists can overtake easily. Do not drift right into the middle of the road.
- RIDE SMOOTHLY! The close proximity of other riders in the group makes sudden change in speed or direction undesirable or dangerous. Please do not make any sudden movements when riding in a group. Try to think about where other riders might be and how your actions may affect them.
- Riding style. If road conditions permit groups normally ride two abreast which is usually safer than a long line of riders. Riders at the front of the group should ride side-by-side so that they are level with each other. Doing so enforces the same two-by-two discipline among the group. Riders behind those on the front should ride directly behind the wheel in front so that the group is comprised of two straight lines of riders.
- Riding style. There may be occasions when it is necessary to single out to avoid holding up other traffic. Also single out when the road is very busy, narrow or on sharp bends, if it safer to do so.
- Riding style. Try not to let large gaps open up between you and the rider in front – you lose the benefit of aerodynamic drafting and it strings the group out over a longer distance making the group less safe as motorists try to pass.
- Riding style. Experienced riders sometimes ride very close together; don’t panic if the rider next to you bumps bars or shoulders.
- Good manners. When changing position in the group, do so relatively slowly. Particularly if overtaking, do this at up to 1 mph faster than the other riders; this allows them to take your wheel and benefit from the aerodynamic drag that you produce. Then and only then slowly increase your speed to that required.
- Wheel positioning. Do not ride with your front wheel overlapping the rear wheel of the person in front. If the person in front makes a sudden move, your front wheel could be knocked from under you and you will crash, probably along with those behind you.
- Hazards. Point out or call out any road hazards in plenty of time so that your signals can be passed down the line.
- Shout and signal if you intend to stop. If you have a puncture (or mechanical problem) shout “PUNCTURE” and slowly pull over to the side of the road.
- If you see another rider that is having problems, alert others in the group to this.
- Don’t overtake (and in particular don’t ride well ahead of the ride coordinator) unless you are willing to take responsibility for your own navigation. The ride coordinator is not obliged to chase after people who miss a turning in this way.
- And finally… if you want to leave the ride en route or plan only to ride part of it, please let the ride coordinator know.
For ride coordinators
HIBC club rides are coordinated by volunteers who give up their time to plan routes and provide advice and guidance to the rest of the group. The club depends on ride coordinators to remain active. The job isn’t difficult or onerous, and those who coordinate rides enjoy getting to decide where we ride, so if you are interested in helping out please let us know.
The club has produced a risk assessment for all club rides. All members should read this document but it is an invaluable resource for ride coordinators.