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  1. #1
    Large and in charge. Big Scott's Avatar
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    Group Ride Ettiquette

    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.

    -Scott

  2. #2
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Why are you giving us orders? We're not in your ride group.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RedC's Avatar
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    Thanks, all just common sense but helpful for us newbies. I'm so grateful at how patient my group has been with me I want to be as cooperative as I can.
    Red, like the color my hair used to be.

    Lemond Buenos Aires(Broke) Madone 5.9 for sale,Navigator 2, S-Works Roubaix

  4. #4
    Large and in charge. Big Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
    Why are you giving us orders? We're not in your ride group.
    Huh? Orders?? Who the heck is giving orders? This is just good information I figured I'd pass along for those that are considering doing a group ride in the future. My group ride??? This has nothing to do with my anything... it just information on how to ride ANY group ride in the world...safely!



    -Scott

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    rules

    I tried to keep up with you, but you are too fast for me.
    Thanks for the rules of the road.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  6. #6
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    Thanks Scott for the rules. There are alot of us who are new to groups or determining how to join and are happy to have a veteran around to show us the way. I have found a lot of the group rides to be very accomodating to the newbie.

    Wish me luck as tonight I shall follow the group leaders advice and try the middle of the pack. My comfort zone - is working real hard in the back of the pack cause i feel safe..but alas I think I will be able to stick with the girls tonight and join the pack. Now that I have the rules I am good to go!

    Updated after the ride: Drats! They stuck me in the back again....
    Last edited by Missbumble; 08-12-08 at 11:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    Huh? Orders?? Who the heck is giving orders? This is just good information I figured I'd pass along for those that are considering doing a group ride in the future. My group ride??? This has nothing to do with my anything... it just information on how to ride ANY group ride in the world...safely!



    -Scott
    I think some people here are still touchy after the "We're going to yell at you" thread from the Road Forum.

  8. #8
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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.
    All I can think of when you mention dirty dancing is I don't want to be riding with anyone who is cycling that close
    In the last month I think there has been one medivac and two or three other hospital trips in the local pace line so perhaps they were doing a little dirty dancing riding.

  9. #9
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    It's funny one of the reasons I stopped riding with the local clubs is that they violated if not every one of the rules, close to all. One person running stop signs not so bad. 100 very bad. My group was also very mixed - experienced and ******. The Goobers thought they could ride, but were in fact dangerous squirrels! Had two serious accident due to ****** bonehead manuveurs!

    If nothing else, remember courtesy on the road. Bikes, contrary to what some club members believe, are not special. We have to share the road equally with cars, walkers, skaters, sometimes horses, other riders etc. It won't kill you to stop! In fact, it might if you don't!
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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.
    + a million!! Possibly the #1 cause of accidents between cyclists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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.
    Ummm..well...check w/the group. The general rule is to always pull off into the wind to give extra shielding to the other riders. But, yes, this necessitates riding out in the road somewhat. Check with the group. If you don't know, pull off to the same side as the person in front of you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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.
    Generally a good idea. Some advanced riders can do this no problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    6. Please point out pot holes and other road debris, but do NOT swerve around it. See #1-HOLD YOUR LINE.
    If you are on the front of the group, it is your responsibility to lead the group around them smoothly enough so that those following behind do not hit them!

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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.
    +1

    Good suggestions for new riders. There should be a class requirement

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  11. #11
    Large and in charge. Big Scott's Avatar
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    I posted this mostly because I saw a bunch of posts about group rides and knowing the basics first may help the ride go much smoother for those that are a tad bit weary about them.




    -Scott
    Last edited by Big Scott; 08-12-08 at 07:21 AM.

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    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.
    I have passed on the right during a climb when the group has spread out some, as some people fall back and some attack. Is this a bad thing? I've also been passed in the same situation. I just hold my line.

  13. #13
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snapperhead View Post
    I have passed on the right during a climb when the group has spread out some, as some people fall back and some attack. Is this a bad thing? I've also been passed in the same situation. I just hold my line.
    I think this one depends on the definition of "group". In a club ride, where you're looking at maybe 30 people (around here, at least) maximally, then yes you need to follow the pass/fallout-on-the-left rule. But a group like that is also more likely to be working like a well-oiled machine, in a synchronized rotation.
    If you're talking about the group being you and 2000 of your closest friends (Tour de Cure, MS-150, etc.) then that practiced dynamic just isn't there. People just kind of spread out all over the road, especially in the shorter distances of the events, or the slower paced groups because these are largely comprised of recreational riders who have never ridden in (or ever desire to ride in) a tight, fast paceline.

  14. #14
    Large and in charge. Big Scott's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Snapperhead I have passed on the right during a climb when the group has spread out some, as some people fall back and some attack. Is this a bad thing? I've also been passed in the same situation. I just hold my line.
    Not a bad thing at all just as long as the guy in front (and back) knows what your intentions are. After riding with the same folks for a while you get to know their quirks. Another thing to watch for is when folks stand they tend to drift back at first. Be ready for that and try to let the guy/gal behind you know or give them space before you stand as well. Sometimes, if you do a bunch of work up front you will get rewarded with a "push" to help you up the climbs. We are bigger then most riders and can have a tough time on the climbs due to the whole gravity thing. Most of the folks I ride with understand this and do thier part to keep me up front so they can draft off me on the flats.

    I do the Winter Bike League (WBL) rides during the winter months and they are no joke, filled with a bunch of Pro/elite riders. These rides are huge and I stay up front (3'rd~4th wheel) and they make sure I stay there on the climbs...


    An ex-Pro rider (David Crowe) is giving me a hand up the climb.


    This gives you an idea of just how large these rides are... this was taken mid pack.

    Group rides are fun as long as your having fun but they tend to suck when folks get all pissy with each other about holding your line and crashing folks out.

    Be safe and be aware,

    -Scott

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCIpam View Post
    It's funny one of the reasons I stopped riding with the local clubs is that they violated if not every one of the rules, close to all. One person running stop signs not so bad. 100 very bad. My group was also very mixed - experienced and ******. The Goobers thought they could ride, but were in fact dangerous squirrels! Had two serious accident due to ****** bonehead manuveurs!

    If nothing else, remember courtesy on the road. Bikes, contrary to what some club members believe, are not special. We have to share the road equally with cars, walkers, skaters, sometimes horses, other riders etc. It won't kill you to stop! In fact, it might if you don't!
    Large charity rides have these problems too. Last year on the MS City to Shore I saw some of the worst cycling I could have imagined. One fellow bragged to his buddy about cutting off a car. "Did you pat the windshield?" his friend asked. Then a fellow in Human Zoom kit passed folks, including me, on the right unannounced. Some joker kept demonstrating his hands-free technique, weaving back and forth in a group of 100 some riders. I was actually pleased to get dropped - I felt safer without such 'cyclists' as these around.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Large charity rides have these problems too...
    + a million!! Cannot tell you how many times I almost get cut-off by some inexperienced rider swerving out into the left as I'm passing during organized charity events.

    What it comes down to is: if you hold your line, it won't matter whether you get passed on the left or right.

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  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    + a million!! Cannot tell you how many times I almost get cut-off by some inexperienced rider swerving out into the left as I'm passing during organized charity events.

    What it comes down to is: if you hold your line, it won't matter whether you get passed on the left or right.
    Unless someone runs into you.

  18. #18
    Senior Member owenh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Scott View Post
    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."

    -Scott
    ROFLMAO

    To quote dirty dancing
    I just nearly peed my self laughing so hard

  19. #19
    Large and in charge. Big Scott's Avatar
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    Dude, I'll step it up for ya....

    "Pain don't hurt"
    -Dalton

  20. #20
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Unless someone runs into you.
    Aww...crap...you got me on that one.

    But, I can only think of two instances where this would happen...
    1. You're in a race/event and the dude isn't paying attention to the front (happened right next to me this year...rode right into the guy-next-to-me's rear wheel. Guess who went down?), or
    2. You're not holding your line!


    Did I miss any?

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  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Aww...crap...you got me on that one.

    But, I can only think of two instances where this would happen...
    1. You're in a race/event and the dude isn't paying attention to the front (happened right next to me this year...rode right into the guy-next-to-me's rear wheel. Guess who went down?), or
    2. You're not holding your line!


    Did I miss any?
    Yes. What about when the other cyclist is, to use a slang term, "sketchy?" I've ridden with folks who are all over the road. It's not a comfortable feeling. Once I actually chose to walk a hill rather than ride because the rider next to me was paperboying back and forth at a slow speed, and I didn't want to get hit when he wobbled towards me.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Yes. What about when the other cyclist is, to use a slang term, "sketchy?" I've ridden with folks who are all over the road. It's not a comfortable feeling. Once I actually chose to walk a hill rather than ride because the rider next to me was paperboying back and forth at a slow speed, and I didn't want to get hit when he wobbled towards me.
    This is gonna be fun.

    Yeah, well...<ahem>...if they're sketchy, you should be going fast enough to drop their butt and not be in danger.

    How's that?


    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  23. #23
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    This is gonna be fun.

    Yeah, well...<ahem>...if they're sketchy, you should be going fast enough to drop their butt and not be in danger.

    How's that?

    Sorry Mark, I'm not Lance Armstrong, or you for that matter. If it's a serious hill, I have my hands full climbing it. I can't turn on the jets and power over it.

    Holding your line will not prevent someone else from doing something stupid.

  24. #24
    Dwindling Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Sorry Mark, I'm not Lance Armstrong, or you for that matter. If it's a serious hill, I have my hands full climbing it. I can't turn on the jets and power over it.

    Holding your line will not prevent someone else from doing something stupid.
    Stupidity prevention is a self-actuated occurrence. That being said, I know what it takes to actually be knocked off a bike (and you should know ); I can't believe I am still getting mileage out of that.

  25. #25
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncadan8 View Post
    Stupidity prevention is a self-actuated occurrence. That being said, I know what it takes to actually be knocked off a bike (and you should know ); I can't believe I am still getting mileage out of that.
    Why not? I bring it up often enough.

    The situations weren't quite the same, however. I was in front and stopped suddenly. I kept a line, although it was short and not very fast. If I recall correctly, it was my third bike ride ever - the others were a mile near my home and some practice in a local field.

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