1. Hold your line. Do not wander into someone else's "ride space." To quote the movie Dirty Dancing, "This is my dance space. This is your dance space. You don't come into mine, and I don't come into yours." Do not ride all over the
road. If you are going to change position, look around before "darting" to your new position. Be predictable! Don't be a squirrel.
2. Do NOT ride in your aerobars in a group. It is dangerous, and you could take out yourself and the rest of the group. You do not have as much control over your bike while in aerobars. If it is too much of a temptation, remove your
aerobars for group rides.
3. Do not yell rude words or make rude gestures towards cars. They are bigger than you. You will lose the fight. Be nice to fellow road users even if they aren't.
4. When in a paceline, always pull off to the left. If you pull off to the right, you can hurt yourself by running into a curb, grass, gravel, and bus stop signs.
5. Do not take both hands off of the bars when riding in the pack. Drift to the back to take your jacket off, eat, whatever. If you run over something and lose control of your bike, you will probably go down.
6. Please point out pot holes and other road debris, but do NOT swerve around it. See #1-HOLD YOUR LINE.
7. If you are stopping or slowing down, yell "stopping" or "slowing down," so that riders behind you can safely apply their brakes.
8. Do not cross the yellow line. Cars are bigger than you, and you will get squashed. When you cross the yellow line, you cause the accident, not the car.
9. Know the route before hand. Most groups rides have a map or que sheet to follow if you get dropped. You need to know how to get back.
10. Have fun. We do this for fun so smile and enjoy yourself but hold yerr freakin line!
Be Predictable - Group riding requires even more attention to predictability than riding alone. Other riders expect you to ride straight, at a constant speed, unless you indicate differently.
Change Positions Correctly - Generally, slow traffic stays right, so you should try to pass others on their left. Say "on your left" to warn the cyclist ahead that you are passing. DO NOT PASS ON THE RIGHT. In many cases a cyclist may not hear or be aware of you approaching them from behind. An unexpected noise may cause that cyclist to swerve in your direction when you pass. If approaching a lone cyclist, the offer of "good morning" or "nice day for a bike ride" lets the cyclist know your position and intent to pass.
Watch Out At Intersections - When approaching intersections requiring vehicles to yield or stop, signal your intention with hand and verbal signals. Call out "slowing" or "stopping" to alert those behind to the change in speed. In the event the leading cyclist calls "CLEAR" remember each cyclist is responsible for verifying that there is no approaching traffic before entering the intersection.
Communicate with the group - Use hand and verbal signals to communicate with members of the group and with other traffic.
Hand Signals - Hand signals for turning and stopping are as follows: Left arm straight out to signal a left turn. Left arm out and down with you palm to the rear to signal slowing or stopping. And, for a right turn, put your right arm straight out (in areas where this is legal) or put your left arm out and bent up.
Verbal Warnings - Along with hand signals, verbally warn cyclists behind you of your changes in direction or speed. The lead rider should call out "left turn," "right turn," "slowing," stopping," etc. Announce a turn well in advance of the intersection, so that members of the group have time to position themselves properly.
Announce Hazards - When riding in a tight group, most of the cyclists do not have a good view of the road surface ahead, so it is important to announce holes, gravel, grates, and other hazards. Indicate road hazards by pointing down to the left or right, and by shouting "hole," "bump," etc., where required for safety. Everyone in a group should be made aware of hazards. However, not everyone needs to announce them.
Ride with Safety and Courtesy as your guide
Watch For Traffic Coming From The Rear - Since those in front cannot see traffic approaching from the rear, it is the responsibility of the riders in back to inform the others by saying "Car back". This warns leading riders to maintain position and the potential of a passing car. Use discretion on the car back warning: on busy roads with continuous passing traffic, the call out of car back tends to lose itís significance. Use the warning "Car up" on narrow road to warn following riders of approaching traffic.
Leave A Gap for Cars - When riding up hills or on narrow roads where you are impeding faster traffic, leave a gap for cars between every three or four bicycles. This way motorist can take advantage of shorter passing intervals and eventually move piecemeal around the entire group.
Wait At Turns - If the group becomes at all separated, even by a few dozen meters, someone should wait at the turn until the next rider arrives at the intersection, and so on until all riders have made the turn.
Move Off the Road When You Stop - Whether you are stopping because of mechanical problems or to regroup with your companions, move well off the road so you don't interfere with traffic. It is usually best for the lead rider to pull forward in the stopping area and for other riders to pull in behind the rider in front of them. As a courtesy, during regroups the last cyclist in controls when the group will restart.
Riding Two Abreast - Ride single file or double file as appropriate to the roadway and traffic conditions and where allowed by law. Even where riding double is legal, set a good example and be an ambassador for cycling. Courtesy dictates that you single up when cars are trying to pass you if the lane is wide enough for them to safely do so.
Hope this helps. I do them all the time and they can be very tough but there are ones that are considered easy so ask around at your local bike shop and see what is best for your level. Most of the County line signs are considered sprints so be very careful to get out of the way when things start getting ansy before the sprint. Always be prepared for the ride. Bring water, food, a pump and spare tube(s). Riders don't mind helping one another, but it is always best to come prepared. I would add that if you are a new rider then it may be best to ride behind a friend first to get a feel of how to hold his/her wheel while staying relaxed.