Safe Ride Guide

Ride Etiquette

  • We obey all road rules and observe red lights.
  • We are courteous and respectful of all other road users. Avoid verbal confrontations if at all possible.
  • We show particular respect to other cycling bunches and clubs, and understand that different groups ride at different speeds.
  • We wait for riders who have punctures or mechanicals wherever it is practicable and render assistance if necessary. Every rider is responsible for carrying the appropriate spare tube(s), tyre levers and pump, as well as appropriate food and fluids.
  • If a rider is dropped from the bunch, it is the responsibility of senior experienced riders to ensure that that rider has an escort back to the start point. A tired rider does not go home alone. If you see someone dropped from the bunch, let others know.
  • A typical training ride will consist of 2 columns of riders, riding as side-by-side pairs. When it is time for the leading pair to “roll off” the front, they move to the sides far enough to allow the following pair to move between them, then soft-pedal to move gradually to the rear of the bunch.
  • It is the responsibility of the leading pair to call all approaching obstacles to the bunch and to show them with the appropriate hand to indicate which side of the road the obstacle is on. Obstacles include potholes, gravel, water, stationary cars, and slower riders being passed.
  • The leading pair will indicate via an arm in the air that a lane change is required. It is then the responsibility of the last pair to check traffic and to call the bunch safely “over” or to “wait”. A sideways glance is not enough – a full head turn is a must to check for traffic coming from behind. The bunch must wait for this call of “over” before changing lanes, otherwise continue in the lane you are already in, in single file if appropriate.
  • It is the responsibility of the leading pair to make the “stopping” call on the approach to red/orange traffic lights, or the “rolling” call on approach to green/orange traffic lights.
  • The “rolling” call is not a blind invitation to those following to proceed through a traffic light.
  • If you are say the 8th pair and decide it is no longer safe to go through the light, then you may stop – but you must then make your own loud and clear “stopping” call to make those behind you aware of your intentions.
  • If the bunch is split for some reason, it is the responsibility of the front riders to slow for those caught behind.
  • When approaching intersections without traffic lights eg. roundabouts, it is the responsibility of each rider to ensure that it is safe to proceed and to pass that information to following riders with a call of “clear”, or a call of “stopping” or “car right (left)” if there is traffic.
  • When riding on a single lane road, it is the responsibility of the last rider to make the “car back” call to warn the bunch that a car wishes to pass. On many single lane roads it is appropriate to ride in single file, rather than two abreast, depending on traffic and lane width.
  • When riding on the front, try to ensure an even pace with no surging, and keep your partner right alongside so that your handlebars are level.
  • Keep it smooth at all times. Nothing induces nervousness in the bunch like riders who change speed and/or direction in a jerky fashion.
  • If you are in the leading pair, continue pedalling on all but the steepest downhill sections, as the draft you create allows those behind you to increase their speed even when not pedalling.

Some Simple Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO wear a helmet.
  • DO carry appropriate front and rear lights.
  • DO ensure your bike is in good mechanical order.
  • DO ride 2 abreast maximum.
  • DO be alert to your surroundings and keep your head and eyes up.
  • DO carry ID with you and emergency contact information.
  • DON’T “half-wheel” or overlap the person riding beside you, as this will potentially result in others behind you doing the same thing. A very common cause of crashes.
  • DON’T wear earphones.
  • DON’T use aerobars when bunch riding – you simply can’t get to your brakes fast enough.
  • DON’T swarm around cars when approaching an intersection – think of the bunch as a single vehicle
  • DON’T leave a big gap to the rider in front – you will use more energy and possibly force your partner to get into a half-wheeling situation.

Glossary of Terms

  • Rolling Off – When the front two cyclists have completed their turn on the front, they should acknowledge to one another the intent to roll, then when it is safe to do so, move to the side and wave the following two riders to fill the gap left between them. Reducing their speed slightly by pedalling softly as the bunch passes them, they will then sit on the wheels of the previous last riders.
  • Pace Line – A pace line is a bunch of riders rolling smoothly and constantly in a chain like formation. There are two columns of riders, one moving slightly faster than the other. When one rider reaches the front of the faster moving line, they move to the slower column and reduce speed slightly and start the progression to the rear of the line. If you find the pace at the front too fast, roll to the back with the slower column and hold position at the back of the paceline, calling other riders across in front of you as they prepare to join the faster column.
  • Mechanical – Any puncture or equipment related failure. We stop for riders who have mechanicals at all times and ensure they are able to continue, or can make their way home via other means.
  • Ride Captain – The designated leader of the ride. Every SUVelo ride has a captain who has responsibility for ensuring that the ride is conducted safely and happily. Please listen to their instructions at all times.