WHISTLER CYCLING CLUB GROUP RIDE ETIQUETTE
“Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.”
- Peter Wilborn
In a club ride you are part of a group. Each member contributes to the wellbeing and functioning of the group as a whole. Safety is a primary concern for us, and your choice to participate in a WCC ride is an implicit agreement to abide by our norms and practices.
RULES OF THE RIDE
1 Obey traffic laws.
2 Helmets, ID, and medical and emergency contact information are mandatory on all WCC rides.
3 Use of earbuds, headphones or cell phones while riding is not permitted on WCC rides. Tri bars are permitted at club rides, but use of tri bars while riding in a paceline is not.
4 About bike lights: we often ride along highways where vehicles travel at higher speeds. Our club rides are safer when every rider uses a taillight so drivers can spot us well in advance. We also recommend that every rider use a headlight.
5 “Share the Road” is a two-way street; act with respect and courtesy to all others on the road.
6 Ride predictably so that others can anticipate your movements and respond safely.
Communicate: Communication is a requirement of safe cycling, to provide advance notice of rider intentions, upcoming hazards, and approaching vehicles. Participants make a positive contribution to a ride when they provide respectful feedback, reminders and instructive dialogue regarding cycling etiquette and safety. It is incumbent on all of us to offer courteous input regarding mistakes and riding habits that are dangerous.
Be Predictable: Group riding requires extraordinary attention to cycling in a very predictable manner. Others expect you to consistently ride in a straight line, at a constant speed, and to clearly signal changes. Pedal continuously at a cadence and speed that are consistent with those around you.
Do Not Overlap Wheels: When riding in a paceline it is important to maintain a small gap between your front wheel and the rear wheel of the cyclist you are following. If your front wheel overlaps the rear wheel ahead of you and the rider ahead of you moves laterally — to avoid a pothole, blown by a gust of wind etc. — and by doing so touches your front wheel you will be on the pavement before you know it. It’s also likely that other riders behind you will crash into you.
Look Ahead, Past The Rider In Front Of You: In order to see hazards before you’re upon them, and to anticipate movements within the paceline, look ahead; don’t focus on the wheel immediately in front of you.
Announce Hazards: When riding in a group many cyclists may not have a good view of the road surface ahead because of the riders in front of them. It is important to indicate hazards by pointing to them. You may also want to shout "Hole!" or "Glass!" or “Rock!” etc. especially if you didn’t spot the hazard until the last second. Generally an alert rider at the front should have time to warn those behind simply by pointing at the hazard. As cars approach, shout "Car back!" or "Car up!" and maintain your position as far to the right as is reasonable. When you are the last rider in a group, watching for vehicles approaching from the rear and calling “Car back!” is your responsibility.
Change Positions Safely: If you want to pass, do so on the left and say "On your left!" to warn the cyclists ahead that you are passing. Sprinting around the group while a car is about to pass is dangerous; don’t try it.
Obey Traffic Lights & Stop Signs: Use hand signals and a loud voice to let other riders know that you are “Slowing!” and “Stopping!”. Follow traffic laws: In B.C. red lights and stop signs require a full stop at the line unless it would be dangerous to do so. At 4-way stops yield to vehicles that stop first. Through light-controlled intersections, avoid riding while the light is red, a common possibility in a long line of riders; if the light changes from green, stop and wait for the next green before proceeding, just like you would when driving. Proceed in small groups after each rider comes to a stop at the limit line. Communicate your intentions to motorists.
Move Fully Off the Road When You Stop: Ensure individual and group safety, and do not interfere with traffic. Watch for cyclists approaching on the shoulder and ensure they have space to get by as well.
“But a group ride is neither a race nor cycling Darwinism. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster on more trendy bikes; but as riders get better they need to realize two things: 1) there is always someone faster, and 2) they have obligations as leaders. Cycling is not a never-ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.”
– Peter Wilborn
There are multiple websites offering tips on riding in a paceline. Three examples to read:
Provide Camaraderie and Support: We are a social recreational bicycle club. Encourage group cohesiveness and camaraderie. Watch out for your fellow cyclist before, during and after the ride. Help newcomers feel welcome; introduce yourself and share some kilometers with them.
Regroups: As a courtesy, the last cyclist to join the regroup should determine when the group restarts the ride. Faster riders are encouraged to take turns as “sweep” to assist those who fall off the back. If you decide to leave the group and ride on your own, inform the ride leader, or another rider, so that people don’t waste time looking for you.
Watch the Pace: A group ride, by definition, is designed to accommodate a range of abilities. While it is natural for clusters to form, no one should be intentionally dropped. When riding near others, adjust your speed to maintain your position and help keep the group together. Resist the temptation at the front of the group to speed up; maintain a constant tempo or level of effort and check occasionally to confirm the pace is suitable for all. Likewise, if an individual or the paceline is surging, say "Easy!" to moderate the pace. It may be best to let those who are surging go.
Respect the Ride Leader: The ride leader’s role is to lead the ride according to the ride plan and make adaptations for changing conditions or to deal with exceptions. Be respectful of their efforts as active volunteers within the club and support them in their role. If a ride isn’t to your interests, politely discuss with the ride leader and feel free to excuse yourself from the ride.
When you ride with the club and when you wear our club jersey you become an ambassador for both the club and cyclists in general. If you ride in a way that is courteous and respectful to others on the road you may or may not be noticed. Conversely, if you behave in a way that antagonizes others it will be noticed --- and will reflect poorly on all cyclists.