Group Ride Etiquett

 Woking Cycling Club wants riders to be safe and gain maximum enjoyment from their group rides whether highly energetic or social. The club etiquette has been created to ensure best possible environment in which we can all enjoy our cycling.

The etiquette and advice incorporate long-standing practices and will already be familiar to experienced riders.

Whilst they have been drawn up to help members who have never ridden in a group, we like everyone to make a point of reading and following them. We have taken the opportunity to include items of general advice that may help new or relatively inexperienced cyclists.

Always obey the Highway Code. When riding on the public highway, riders must observe the rules of the Highway Code. Highway Code Rules for Cyclists, Rules 59-82 are the most relevant to cyclists.

  • Ride steadily. Keep a steady line and constant speed while in a group.
    When riding on a club ride, we ask that you have respect for their fellow riders and other road-users.
  • No racing. You can race to your heart’s content in organised competitive events but please not on group runs. Try not to overtake the rider/riders at the head of the group unless invited to do so.  If you have overtaken, then do not push your way back into your original position but rejoin at the back of the group as soon as possible.
  • Ride two abreast where it as safe to do so but always be prepared to single out when necessary.  When riding behind another rider do not overlap either forwards or sideways. Overlapping forwards gives you no chance to avoid the rider in front if he or she swerves or falls, and overlapping too far to the side results in the group presenting a three abreast profile. Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Do not react to bad driving incidents with gestures or provoke retaliation.
  • Ride with the group which best suits your ability. It is usually better (and less of a challenge) to start low and build up. If in doubt experienced club members will be happy to advise. It is sometimes nice to try an easier group, especially if you are a bit off colour. Visitors and potential members are welcome to try a ride or two free of charge but should be encouraged to apply for membership.

Helpful Hints for New Cyclists
(and a useful reminder for the more experienced)

  • Helmets are mandatory and mudguards (for winter riding) are preferable.
    Keep your bike in good condition and replace any worn out parts
  • If you do not currently take regular exercise and/or are in any doubt as to your health, please consult your doctor before starting. Some general fitness is necessary so you might find it useful to try a short ride on your own first to check your fitness and familiarity with the bike.
  • Don’t try to push yourself too hard, particularly on the hills. Ride up at your own pace, nice low gears are better! The group will wait at the top.
  • Carry personal details – name, address, contact phone number and some money.
  • Carry drinks and food, even on short rides. The food can be some form of high energy bar to get you to the next café stop. 
  • If you have problems or decide to leave the group then please inform the group ride leader.  It will save them having to send out a search party.
  • Carry enough tools to get you out of everyday problems like punctures or nuts or bolts working loose. It’s easier to change an inner tube than it is to repair a puncture at the roadside (especially if it’s cold or wet). Carry two spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and spanners / allen keys to fit your bike as the minimum.
  • Each group will have a ride leader and “sweeper”.
  • The ride leader will not necessarily have to ride at the front, but will be familiar with the route and have some cycling experience.
  • Please respect the ride leader’s decision, if for example they decide to shorten a route due to weather/light/safety concerns.
  • The “sweeper” will ride at the back of the group and make sure riders do not become detached from the main group.

Warning Calls When Riding in a Group

These calls and signals are universal to all experienced cyclists – please use them at the appropriate times

  • “Car  Front” or “Car Back” There is a vehicle coming up behind the group
  • “Pothole” Any pothole that could cause a rider to fall. If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it and not into it. Do this by either pointing or adding to the call “on the left (or right).”
  • “On the Left/Right” A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians. For hazards on the left, an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard. Give way to pedestrians – they can feel intimidated by cyclists just as we sometimes feel intimidated by motorists.
  • “Stopping”,“Slowing”, “Easy” with right hand moving in an up and down action”. If you brake without letting those behind know your intention they can easily run into you.
  • “Puncture” Let the others know that you have a puncture or mechanical.
  • “Horse(s)” The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass as wide as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence. Pay attention to any request by the horse rider – they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists

Finally – Let others know if you are unable to keep up (a call of “Ease Up should be passed down the line), have a problem or have decided to leave the group.  Always pass the instructions along; if a rider cannot keep up, the leader needs to know.