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, however we like everyone to make a point of reading and following them.
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.
- The ride leader will decide on the destination, navigate the route and do their best to keep the group together. Please do not ride off the front or deliberately open a gap unless asked to do so. It makes the job of the ride leader much more difficult. Try to ride as a tidy group.
- Ride steadily. Keep a steady line and constant effort while in the group.
We ask that you have respect for your ride leader, fellow riders and other road-users at all times. If you are invited to take the lead continue at a steady pace and check behind from time to time to make sure you are not opening a gap. Be responsible for the rider behind you.
- Ride with the group which best suits your ability. If you are in the wrong group it can disrupt the flow of the ride. It is usually better (and less of a challenge) to start off in a slower group and build up. If in doubt experienced club members will be happy to advise. It is sometimes nice to try an easier group for a change to get to know different club members.
- If the ride leader calls a stop you should not ride on past. There will be a reason for it.
- On long or steep hills the ride leader may suggest you ride at your own pace and then re-group in a safe place at the top. Otherwise do not ride off the front of the group. Remember that, should you choose to do so, you're on your own. Ride leaders are not expected to 'chase you down' if you ride ahead of the group and miss a turning. There may be circumstances under which the ride leader decides to change the route, so do not rely on the pre-published route to stay with the group.
- All rides are non drop. Groups will ride at the pace of the slowest rider if necessary but again try to make sure you're in the right group.
- Ride two abreast where you are confident and it is safe to do so but be prepared to single out when necessary.
- When riding behind another rider do not overlap wheels. Overlapping forwards gives you no chance to avoid the rider in front if he or she swerves or falls. Overlapping too far to the side results in the group presenting a three abreast profile. Never ride more than two abreast.
- 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.
- Do not react to bad driving incidents with gestures or provoke retaliation.
- Visitors and potential new members are welcome to try a ride or two free of charge but are encouraged to apply for membership. (See our FAQ's page.)
Helpful Hints for New Cyclists
(and a useful reminder for the more experienced)
- Helmets are mandatory on club rides 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 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, easy low gears are better! The group will wait at the top if necessary.
- Carry personal details – name, address, ICE contact phone number and some money.
- Carry drinks and food, even on short rides. The food can be some form of 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 minor mechanicals. 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 a multi-tool 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 decisions, 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 approaching from the front or coming up behind the group
- “Hole” - 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 can 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 could run into you.
- “Puncture” - Let the others know that you have a puncture or mechanical issue.
- “Horse(s)” - The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass wide and slow. 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 through the group to riders ahead of or behind you. if a rider cannot keep up, the leader needs to know.