Considering that the weather has become favourable towards clocking many miles again, I thought I would take the time to remind everyone of some written and unwritten rules pertaining to group riding and road safety. This is a long read, but hopefully well worth going through.
Let’s begin with road safety:
- Do not burn through stop signs when there are cars at an intersection. This just pisses drivers off, and does nobody any good.
- Respect lights to the greatest extent possible, and be sure that you are not going to knock pedestrian down.
- Do not pull sketchy moves when merging on to a road, or do anything impulsive for that matter. This is especially the case when you are riding with others, and may influence them to do something dangerous by virtue of following you.
- Stay as close to road shoulders as possible, and ensure that you let traffic through.
On to some group riding etiquette:
Before you go on a ride:
- DO NOT TURN UP TO A RIDE WITHOUT A HELMET. It is team policy to ride with a helmet on all team related activities. The safety of your head is crucial, and you must recognize that it is one of the most vulnerable organs in your body. No exceptions will be made in this regard.
- If you are leading a ride, be sure to specify its intensity, and make sure that you are confident that the people joining you will cope well. Additionally, make sure you have the ride mapped, and that you know your way to a good degree.
- If you are going on a ride, make sure that you have sufficient nutrition and water on you.
- Additionally, make sure that you have sufficient spares (2 spare tubes ideally, a bike pump, tire levers etc.)
- Make sure you bring a form of ID with you, and some emergency money (10-20 dollars suffices).
- Plan to turn up on time.
While on a ride:
- It is absolutely essential to you signal pot holes, other obstacles, and turns. Do not assume that others have the same field of view as you do, because it’s most likely not the case. Be sure to pass hand signals on towards the back of a pace line.
- Be wary of the strength and skill level of the other riders accompanying you, and be sure that you try and match a pace commensurate with the ability of others to hold on (Unless it’s a drop ride, and you specifically say so). This means no surging, no half-wheeling, and no sudden ramp ups in pace when you come to the front to take a pull.
- Do not feel compelled to take long pulls if you cannot. It is better to maintain consistency rather than tire yourself out and get dropped. Also for stronger riders looking for an increase in intensity, feel free to stay at the front for as long as you wish.
- Do not assume you know the way if you are not leading the ride. For all you know, you might end up miles apart from the rest of the group, and may need to climb up to regroup (ouch!).
- Be considerate of others, keep your cool, and keep in mind that a positive mentality is needed for everyone to get through something tough.
Above all, have fun, and be safe!