Riding with the Club
When we ride as a club, it can be for fun, to train or improve our fitness, or to socialise with other riders. This can change the way we ride together, but one thing is always important:
we must ride to be safe –
for ourselves, the rest of our group and for other road users.
Always obey the rules of the road! We are riding on open roads, so you should be familiar with the Highway Code, especially with the recent revisions to clarify the hierarchy of road users. Club runs must never be used as competitive “races”. Please consult members of the Committee if you would like advice on racing.
Riding together as a group
- Each group should normally have no more than 10 riders; the ride leader will designate secondary groups as appropriate that must remain at least 100 metres behind the leading group.
- Try to stay together as a cohesive group which is more visible and takes up less of the road.
- Knowing how and when to ride in single file or pairs takes judgement and communication:
- Under the Highway Code, riding in single file or in pairs are both acceptable. Road conditions and road width will determine which is the safer riding formation. The Code also asks that we ‘be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups’. For these reasons, your ride leader may ask you to single out or to pair up.
- Riding two abreast is often the safest way to ride on the road, as it makes passing the group in an overtaking manoeuvre easier for cars than moving past a more extended group. It can also avoid the temptation for drivers to ‘squeeze past’ in places they shouldn’t, which endangers everyone.
- Note that vehicles must allow 1.5m when overtaking cyclists. If riding two abreast leaves insufficient space for a vehicle to give you that 1.5m gap then you may have to single out. You may also have to pull over and stop on a narrow lane to allow traffic to pass in order to be considerate to other road users and to keep us safe. Your ride leader will tell you what to do.
- When riding two abreast, stay side by side. Avoid drifting out to the white line as this is unlikely to leave enough space for safe overtaking.
- Do not ride more than two abreast.
- Riding together well as a group requires teamwork and practice.
- Leave a safe distance between you and the rider in front of you as many accidents occur due to ‘touching’ wheels. Avoid ‘half wheeling’ – riding slightly overlapping the wheel in front. A swerve to avoid a hazard could easily cause an incident.
- If you get close to the top of a hill first, slow down and move to the back of the group or stop at the top of the hill and wait.
- If the person ahead of you can’t keep the pace of the group, go in front of the rider and try to pace them back on. This is often called ‘offering a wheel’ and helps the rider by letting them benefit from your draft. Don’t sprint to the group ahead leaving rider(s) behind.
- If the group singles out on the road, the first rider should not accelerate hard because the back of the line could be some distance back and the group will consequently spread out further.
- If you are the first to move away at a junction, don’t accelerate hard – allow the group to reform before continuing with the pace. This also applies to bends, passing an obstacle.
- Keep an eye on the person behind you, in case they have fallen behind.
- If the group has split, find a safe place to stop and wait. This is normally better than pedalling on slowly, as a stronger group working together will often still be too fast to catch.
- Riders must not be and are never abandoned by Club members so shout if you have an issue so the rest of the group knows.
- Shout and Point. When riding with a group, it can be difficult to see the hazards on the road ahead. It’s important that we call out hazards for the benefit of the group. If you are unsure about any of these shouts or signals, ask your ride leader before you start the ride.
- ‘Car Front’, ‘Car Back’ are our preferred shouts to warn of traffic, when in narrower lanes. Shouting ‘Car’ is better than keeping quiet! Call out for other hazards, such as ‘Horses!’, ‘Walkers on the left!’, ‘Dogs’ etc.
- Horses need particular attention as they can be spooked by cyclists passing too fast which is dangerous for both the rider and the cyclists. Suitable ‘shouts’ include; slow down, saying good morning to the rider and asking if it is OK to pass before doing so giving the horse a wide berth.
- Slowing or coming to a sudden stop should be communicated – a shout of ‘Stopping’ or ‘Slowing’ could also be accompanied by a hand signal: To indicate slowing, extend right arm fully out to the side, palm-down, moving your hand up and down at the wrist. To indicate stopping, the stop hand signal is: extend right arm vertically, palm facing forward.
- Point at hazards on the road such as potholes or debris, and/or call out what you’ve seen.
- When overtaking (e.g. parked cars, pedestrians), we may signal by pointing with a hand held at our lower back, pointing in the direction we are moving away from the hazard.
- If you have a mechanical issue (such as a puncture or a dropped chain) shout out ‘Mechanical!’. Please don’t be shy to shout – we don’t want to leave you behind.
- Pass messages down the line of riders, forwards and backwards. In larger groups, repeat the calls you hear up or down the line. This is particularly important on windy days and when riding with the hard of hearing.
- Junctions are a hazardous point on the road. Shout ‘Clear Left’, ‘Clear Right’ or ‘Clear Both’ if you can see that there’s no oncoming traffic. Shout out if you see an emerging car that someone else might have missed.
- Always inform the ride leader if you wish to discontinue your ride.
- Before it gets to the point of discussing abandoning a ride, don’t be afraid to let the ride leader know if you are struggling with the pace.
- Calling ‘Steady’ can be a way to let the group in front know you are beginning to drop off the pace.
- If a rider decides that they want to make their own way home, it must be in agreement with the ride leader.
- Respect the rest of the group and the general public.
- Be relentlessly positive to other road users. Give a thumbs up to those we share the roads with.
- Read and observe our diversity policy:
Bath Cycling Club encourages and supports equality, diversity and inclusivity within our membership and in the broader cycling community. We welcome all riders experienced or novice to join us and have fun on a bike. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination on the grounds of race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation, age, ability or disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership.
- On a Bath CC Club Run you are an ambassador for the club. Please don’t behave in a way that would sully our reputation!
- Try to select a group that matches your abilities and that fits your objectives. For example, please don’t sign up for a social ride and be disappointed that they aren’t forming a paceline! Additionally, if you are on an E bike choose a group you can keep up on the flat without using the motor unless you have selected one of the more social rides such as the Saturday social rides or the Friday women’s rides. We post lots of information about available ride options on the website – so research before you sign up, or reach out for advice on which group is the best fit for you.
- The Club Captain and designated ride leader’s decisions on matters of riding discipline should be final and respected.
- Club runs must never be used as competitive ‘races’. Please consult members of the Committee if you would like advice on racing.