The Udaipur Cycle Club (UCC) is a friendly club that welcomes new members. To help everyone have a safe and enjoyable group ride, please take a moment to read through the following regarding rules for riding in a group. We do want to look out for the safety of our members and provide suggestions to make group rides a safe and pleasurable experience.
Please note that all members are expected to observe all road rules at all times.
The Correct Formation (Figure A)
Riders should pair off in 2 x 2 formation and never overlap the wheel in front. Try to maintain a 30 – 60 cm gap from the wheel directly in front of you. Your front wheel should line up perfectly with the rider in front as illustrated below:
O O O O O
O 0 0 0 0 >>>
The reason you do not offset your self from the person in front is that you will not stray from the parallel line of riders and cause a flow on effect down the line. Eventually your bunch will be 3 or 4 riders wide without you knowing it! (Figure B).
0 0 >>>
The 2 riders on the front of the group have a huge responsibility. They must set the pace, call all road obstacles and warn the group of any traffic changes. All riders are expected to point out potholes/obstacles/road kill/etc (with their hand where practical) and announce “hole/etc”. This also applies to directional changes. Call “turning left/right”. All calls should be relayed down the line. When approaching a set of traffic lights or roundabout/intersection, it is the lead riders responsibility and decision to make the call. All riders need to be prepared to slow or stop when approaching lights, roundabouts or intersections. You will hear either “roundabout……stopping” or “rolling/clear”. All calls should be relayed down the line.
DO NOT make the decision to stop in a hurry. This will cause “panic braking” down the line and may result in a crash. When entering a roundabout or an intersection, it is the lead riders’ responsibility to call “clear” or “car right and/or left” and make the call “stopping” or proceed through. All calls should be relayed down the line.
Tail End Riders
The last 2 riders in the group also have enormous responsibility. They are responsible for the safety of the bunch from vehicles approaching from behind, and they make the decision to change lanes when safe. The last 2 riders must also indicate this to the bunch by calling “cars back” or “clear back”, then “over” when he lane is clear of traffic. Riders at the front must not make any lane change unless riders at the rear have indicated it is safe to do so. Tail end riders must also pay attention to flat tyres, dropped riders, etc and ensure an appropriate aid is provided (e.g. having someone drop back to help change a tyre or bring a rider back up onto the bunch).
Holding the Wheel
While riding, avoid focusing directly on the wheel in front. Rather focus on the rider. This will give you peripheral vision of both the wheel and any activity further up the bunch.
“Half wheeling” is an expression used when the riding partner besides you inches gradually ahead of you in a group situation and continues to do it when you draw level. The key indicator is speed. You will notice that the speed continues to increase regardless of how many times you draw level. Group speed should try to remain constant at all times. Often the rider is unaware they are doing it but it is very frustrating for you and the riders behind. In a group it can cause changes in pace and frustration to the riders immediately behind. If this happens to you, it is ok to tell the rider to “stop half wheeling” and agree to set a constant speed.
POSITION ON THE ROAD
Remember that you are a billboard for the club and more importantly, cycling in general. If you want other road users to respect you, we need to show them respect as well. We advise riders to use commonsense and exercise caution and courtesy out on the road. On a narrow road, riders MAY switch to single file but this has greater purpose in a small group (i.e. up to 6 – 8 people). With more riders, single file simply serves to make the group longer, and not necessarily, safer!
When approaching parked cars, riders should clearly move right and stay right until the obstacles are no longer in your path. Be careful of drivers opening their car doors and allow enough room in case a door opens. Do not swing in and out of parked car spaces in an attempt to “clear” the right hand lane. This will cause confusion to both fellow riders and other road users.
GENERAL RIDERS ETIQUETTE
Riders should carry enough spares to be able to complete the ride in safety. This includes spare tubes, tyre levers, a pump, mobile phone, money, food, water and ID.
Particularly in winter and night, riders are required to use bright front and rear lights when required. Make sure your lights are charged regularly.
Article written by: Himanshu Maru