Make sure you and your crew follow these group riding guidelines on your next ride
Group riding provides cyclists with many benefits: exercise, training, support from other cyclists, and safety. Whether you’re riding to lunch with co-workers or training on the Rookie Tri bike course with your crew, the following group riding guidelines will come in handy. Knowing these basic guidelines will also make the ride more enjoyable and safer for the group.
- Wear a helmet for safety (and be a good model for children)
- Complete a quick, pre-ride safety check
- Obey all traffic laws
- Operate bike in such a manner as to not offend or endanger motorists, pedestrians, etc.
- Turn on all lights on bikes
- Wear reflective gear that makes the group more visible, even in the daytime
- Ride single file except in areas where it is safe to ride side-by-side (three or more riders should never be next to one another)
- When riding in a pack, look at “shoulder level” of cyclists in front of you. This allows you to see what is happening further up the road and not focus on the cyclists in front of you. Fixing your gaze on the back tire of the person in front of you doesn’t give you enough time to react should the entire group slow down.
- It is the responsibility of the lead rider to notify the cyclist behind them of approaching issues by saying, “jogger up, cyclist up.” This includes any potential danger that may lie ahead. It is the responsibility of each cyclist to pass the caution back to the person behind them.
Important hand signals
Hand signals, instead of words, are used to warn riders of potential danger on the roadway. In a pack, oftentimes, the only cyclist who has enough visual warning is the front cyclist. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the lead rider to warn the cyclists behind them. If the lead cyclist (or the cyclist in front of you):
- shakes their hand to the right = there’s a pothole, branch, or some obstacle to the right
- shakes their hand to the left = there’s an obstacle to the left
- puts hand behind their posterior = follow right behind them as there might be obstacles on both sides
- puts right hand down with the flat of the hand facing you = lead cyclist is slowing down or coming to a stop
Avoid slowing down abruptly or making any other sudden moves. Ask experienced riders questions when you’re not sure what is occurring.