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TOPIC: Group Cycle Do’s and Don’ts

Group Cycle Do’s and Don’ts 25 Jan 2019 10:36 #15107

  • cadams
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Wicklow Triathlon Club places a very high level of importance on safety in all club activities. The aim of this code of conduct is to explain to members the behaviour expected and procedures to be followed on a group cycle.

Ensure you have all necessary equipment any your bicycle is in good, safe condition.
 Ensure you have a working red rear light which must be used from the months of November to March
 Ensure you know the route
 Ensure you have the group leaders mobile number before setting off.

The following list is not exhaustive.... At all times members are responsible for their own safety and must apply common sense.
 Obey the rules of the road.
 Follow the guidelines for bike etiquette.
 Bring sufficient food and drink for the distance you plan to cover.
 Advise other members of the group you are with if you are leaving the group.
 Ride single file to allow passing traffic on narrow roads.
 Familiarise yourself with the intended route and know how to get home / to your starting
point if you become separated from the rest of the group.
 Ride with a group that suits your skill and fitness levels.
 Warn riders behind you as early as possible of any hazards ahead (e.g. holes / debris on
road, gravel, parked cars, people walking on the road etc.)
 Groups depart from the start point at intervals but nevertheless may start catching up with
another group on the route. Always leave ample space (min. 500m) between the front of one group and the back of the group in front. If the group in front if travelling at a slower pace, the Group Leader will decide on a safe point to overtake. When overtaking other rides, do so in single file and be aware of traffics and road hazards around you. Complete the overtaking manoeuvre as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Ride 2 abreast unless road width / traffic volume allows
 Ride on the wrong side of the road
 Ride on Tri bars if riding in a group (even if at the front of the group).
 Ride erratically (swerving suddenly, braking/accelerating sharply without warning etc.)
 Leave slower riders behind without agreement from them (especially on hills)
 Ride at a speed at which you don’t have control of your bike, especially on downhill sections.
 Ride too close to other riders when travelling at high speed (particularly in difficult /
dangerous road conditions).
 Ride too quickly on roads that you are not familiar with.

Ride in double file where the road permits (this is the actual law in Ireland).
 Ride side by side and in line with the person beside you leaving about a 2 foot gap to the
wheel in front of you.
 Vehicles: If you are at the front of the group and a vehicle is coming towards you on a
narrow road, you shout “car down”. This message should then be passed down the group so
that everybody in the groups hears it.
 If you are at the back of the group and a vehicle is coming up behind the group you on a
narrow road, you shout “car up”. This message should then be passed up the group so that
everybody in the groups hears it.
 If the group needs to ‘single out’, which is a command from either the front or back of the
bunch, due to the passing of a vehicle, then the rider on the front right will cycle in front of the rider on his left and then pull in to the left in front of the rider. This will be the same the whole way down the bunch.
 Puncture: If you puncture, put your hand in the air. This is the universal sign that something is wrong and that you are going to stop. Wait till everybody goes past you before coming to a stop on the extreme left hand side of the road. If for some reason, like you get a front wheel puncture on a fast downhill section, shout loudly “puncture” so that as many people as possible hear you before coming to a stop on the left of the road.
 If somebody punctures, one “well equipped” person should stay back with them to fix it, while the rest of the group keeps riding on at normal pace. The group will then turn around, further down the road, usually at a junction, in case the chasers don’t know the direction in which the group plans to go. Once the two parties meet on the road, the larger group will turn at a safe place in the road and catch up with the two lone riders.
 Downhill: If you are on the front of a bunch, going downhill, do not freewheel, but keep turning the gear and often put it in the big ring. The reason for this is that the riders behind you in your slipstream will be travelling faster than you and hence have to keep braking, which disturbs the natural rhythm of the bunch.
 Turning: When turning right or left and you are heading the bunch, shout “turning left, or “turning right” and put out your hand to signal. Cyclists others behind you should do the same all the way down the bunch, in order to let traffic behind the group, know of the groups intentions.
 Exiting Junctions: when pulling out of a junction it is the responsibility of the riders at the front of the group, to shout “clear or stop”. Never proceed to cross unless you are sure that the whole group will make it across.
 Passing: When passing an obstacle, like a runner, a slower cyclist (not our group), a stationary car, shout to the person behind you, and or, point your arm behind you and away from the obstacle. You will see this being done by more experienced riders.
Road Hazards: When coming up to a hazard on the road (e.g. potholes, stones, gravel, debris on the road), the leaders of the group should shout to the person behind them and/or point out the hazard to the people behind them. This warning should be passed back through the group.
 Half wheeling; this is the most common mistake by inexperienced cyclists. When you are on the front of a group, most peoples fear is that they are not going fast enough for the riderbeside them or for the group. Do not keep upping the pace and staying half a wheel ahead. If you do this you will be told where to go, but not that politely!
 Up and Over: As it is about 20-30% harder to be on the front as a wind breaker, then it is good etiquette to take turns. The simplest way to do this is ‘up and over’. The rider on the front right will cycle in front of the rider on his left and then pull in to the left in front of the rider. This will be the same the whole way down the bunch. The amount of time spent on the front will vary according to conditions and the intensity of the spin. A time of about 5 mins is sufficient on winter spins. If you are feeling very tired, reduce that time on the front.
 Keep the group together: In normal training rides, each person should keep an eye on the people behind them to ensure that the group does not become split (especially on hills). If a significant gap develops, the last person in the lead group should let the leaders of their group know that people have dropped off. The group should then either slow down to let the other riders catch up, turn around when safe and ride back to the people who have been dropped (as described in the “Puncture” section above).
 Communication: Good communication (both verbal and hand signs) is essential for the safety of the whole group. Any communication from the front or back of the group must be passed right up the group to ensure everyone is aware of the hazard/situation.

Safe Cycling
WTC Safety Officer
The following user(s) said Thank You: JennyD

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