Basic Guidelines for PCC Group Rides

Following are a few points of riding etiquette and common courtesies that apply to all club rides. 

To see how rides are classified, click here.

Provide Camaraderie and Support – Remember we are a social recreational bicycle club. Watch out for your fellow cyclists before, during and after the ride. Help make newcomers welcome by introducing yourself. Don’t immediately spin off to join up with your old cycling buddies, but spend a portion of the ride with the new cyclist.

Watch the Pace – A Group Ride, by definition, is geared to accommodate the slowest rider.  No one should be “dropped,” or left to ride alone off the back. If you’re riding next to someone, be aware of your relationship to his or her front wheel. Constantly upping the pace (half-wheeling) whenever a rider draws next to you is rude. Wait at turns; if the group becomes 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.

Provide Regroups to maintain communication within the entire group. Stronger riders must take turns as “sweep,” going back for those who fall off the back. If you find the pace of group rides either too fast or too slow for you, then volunteer to lead a ride at the pace you enjoy. You're sure to find a group of cyclists who would love to join you.

Be Predictable – Group riding requires predictability more than riding alone does. Other riders expect you to ride straight, at a constant speed, unless you indicate differently. For example, if you get out of the saddle on a climb, be conscious that your back wheel is likely to drop back six inches unless you control your bike correctly. Pedal continuously at a cadence and speed that is consistent with the riders in front of you. If the pace slows ahead of you, try to soak up the distance between you and the rider in front by pedaling softer rather than braking hard. Learn how to ride smoothly in a straight line, without swerving each pedal stroke. 

Change Positions Correctly – If you want to pass, do so on the left. Say "on your left" to warn the cyclist ahead that you are passing. Sprinting around the group while a car is trying to pass is inconsiderate and dangerous.

4-Way Stops – Yield to the vehicles who get there first, and do so as a group. Do not scoot through intersections if it is technically not your turn. Resist going if a driver waves you on. Stay with the group and wait. Call out "slowing" or "stopping," to alert those behind if you are changing speed.

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 indicate road hazards by pointing down to the left or right, and by shouting "hole," "bump," etc., where required for safety.

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 a motorist can take advantage of shorter passing intervals and eventually move piecemeal around the entire group.

Move Off the Road When You Stop – so as not to interfere with traffic. As a courtesy, during regroups, the last cyclist arriving should determine when the group will restart. Don’t take off as soon as the last cyclist rolls up.

Keep the Group Informed – If you decide to leave the group and ride on your own, inform another rider of your intentions so people don’t waste time looking for you. 

Petaluma Cycling Club: Cycling Safely since 1895

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