Riding with us on the road

If you come out with us on the road, you’ll be riding in a group in which riders are all responsible to each other to ensure that everyone enjoys a safe ride. Here are some basic guidelines that we expect everyone to follow.

Before the ride

Ensure that your:

  • bike is roadworthy and safe

  • tyres are pumped up, and

  • brakes and gears work properly.

If it’s raining, likely to rain during the ride, or has rained recently so that there is surface water on the road, we’d really like you to have at least a rear mudguard, preferably extended with a flap.

Ensure that you are carrying:

  • at least one spare inner tube (preferably two) of the correct size

  • tyre levers

  • a pump that works and you know how to use

  • the contact details of who you would like us to contact in an emergency, and

  • a drink and, if you might need it, an energy bar or something else to eat.

If there is any possibility that you will be riding at or after dusk or in bad light (for example if the ride gets delayed), bring securely attached front and rear lights and make sure the batteries are charged.

Check how far the ride is likely to be and make sure you think you can complete the distance.

Ask someone to introduce you to the ride leader so they know who you are and can give you a few words of advice about ride etiquette. Please tell them if you have any medical problems that you think they should know about.

During the ride

Follow the Highway Code.

Ride with courtesy. Even if you are not wearing club kit, you are likely to be riding with others who are and you are representing a large cycling club with a proud history.

Be aware of your fellow riders and other road users.

Avoid riding more than two abreast. Be prepared to ride in single file when necessary.

Don’t overtake other riders on the inside.

Ride behind the rear wheel of the rider in front of you, or six inches either side of it. Don’t ride in the middle of the space behind the rear wheels of two riders in front of you. Don’t overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front of you; if they move suddenly off their line, you are both likely to fall off.

Avoid braking sharply if at all possible as riders behind may bunch up into each other.

Check over your shoulder for other riders or traffic before moving out to the right.

Be aware of traffic and obstacles.

If you are towards the back of the group and there is a vehicle following, shout ‘car back’.

Do not wave vehicles through. The driver must decide if and when they think it is safe to overtake.

If you are towards the front of the group on a narrow road and there is a vehicle approaching, shout ‘car down’.

If there is an obstacle like a pothole or manhole cover, shout ‘below left’ or ‘below middle’ or point at it with your hand.

Listen to and watch other riders, act on their calls and hand signals and repeat them up or down the group.

If you are at the front, remember that people are following your calls. When approaching a junction or roundabout, shout ‘clear’ or ‘wait’ as appropriate.

Try to stay in the group. If the group is strung out in threes and fours for half a mile along a narrow road, vehicles will find it hard to pass and may take risks that endanger themselves and us. If you are towards the back and the pace is too fast, either for you or another rider, shout ‘ease up’.

If you think there may be something wrong with your bike, shout ‘puncture’ or ‘mechanical’, even if you are not sure. If you slow down until you are sure, you may find that the group has moved on and, not being able to hear you, leaves you behind.

Slow right down when approaching horses especially from behind (their eyes are at the side and they will see you approaching well before their rider does), call out to the horse rider, wait until they have acknowledged you and pass them slowly and as wide as it is safe to do so. Horses understand what people are but can be spooked by bikes. The horse rider may want to turn the horse so it can see you more clearly, or take the horse off the road. Remember: ‘Call out hello. Pass wide and slow’.

Don’t ride wearing headphones or earphones, even if you aren’t listening to any device through them.

If you get tired, you can lose concentration and cause accidents. If you get tired, please tell other riders. There is no shame in getting tired; telling the others will help keep you, and them, safe.

If you’re riding in the dark you must ensure that any rear lights are pointing horizontally backwards, not angled upwards, which will dazzle the riders behind you.ir

If a motorist drives dangerously or verbally abuses you

Don’t swear or use offensive gestures (if you do, you and the club immediately lose all dignity and credibility).

If you can, write down the registration numbers of any vehicles involved and a brief description of those in the vehicle (age, sex, clothing, etc), or take a photograph.

If you can, engage them in polite conversation and invite them to discuss the situation at a safe and convenient location, such as a lay-by or car park.

If necessary, report the incident to the appropriate police force

Ensure that the ride leader or a club official knows what has happened.

Joining any ride organised by the club

You join any ride at your own risk and you must not expect the club to be liable for any injury, loss or damage you might suffer, however it is caused, unless it’s caused by the club’s negligence or fault.

While club members will help if you need mechanical or emergency assistance, neither the club nor its members are responsible for instructing or supervising you.

You are responsible for your own safety and complying with the law of the land.

If, on any club ride, you are directly involved in any incident resulting in any injury or alleged injury to any other member, guest rider or third party, or damage to their property, you must report it to the ride leader or event organiser or the Club Welfare Officer.

Any questions? Just contact graham.w@macclesfieldwheelers.org.uk.