Guidance for all Cyclists
Riding in a Group
Ride Leaders
Backmarking

Guide for Riding in a Group

This guide is based on best practice and recommendations from Wheel Easy members, Cycling UK and others.

Your responsibilities

To ensure that you act in a manner which is a credit to the club and cycling in general:

  • by riding safely and following the Highway Code;
  • by riding with discipline, and 
  • by maintaining a high awareness of road conditions and features, and other road users.

Before the ride starts

  1. Choose a ride that is appropriate for you, both in distance and speed. Remember that if you are a faster rider then you will have to slow down to the group speed.
  2. Download the ride route from the website or consider printing it.
  3. Carry personal ID/Wheel Easy membership card, mobile phone, ride route and, if a led ride, the leader’s mobile number.
  4. If a led ride, your ride leader will ask for a backmarker to help ensure that slower riders and riders with mechanicals, etc are not left behind. Consider volunteering.
  5. Keep friends clean and happy by fitting your mudguards during winter months/bad weather!

During the ride – safety

  1. You are responsible for your own road safety. At road junctions make your own decisions; do NOT just follow the group without looking for traffic, etc.
  2. Check behind you before starting or changing position.
  3. Ride no more than 2 abreast.
  4. Take the primary position on narrow roads and pinch points. This means riding in the centre of the lane to improve visibility and to deter unsafe passes.
  5. Take care on lanes, look over hedges at corners, and listen for approaching traffic. When riding the outside position of a pair, hold back on the approach to blind corners; there may be a vehicle approaching.
  6. Be courteous to ALL other road users. The reputation of our club, cycling nationally, and cyclist safety is enhanced by considerate road use.

During the ride – discipline

  1. If a led ride, follow the leader’s instructions to make the ride safe, enjoyable and easy to manage.
  2. In busy areas, especially Harrogate/Knaresborough, and whenever it is difficult for vehicles to overtake a long line of cyclists, split into smaller groups of 3 or 4 riders, leaving a large gap (at least 10 car lengths) between the groups for vehicles to slot into. 
  3. Change to single file riding on busy roads to help drivers overtake safely. Do similar on narrow roads, but ONLY if the road is wide enough to allow a safe overtake.
  4. Ride at a steady pace with no sudden changes of speed or direction without warning.
  5. Signals and shouts – if a leader or rider makes a shout, immediately pass it back or forward through the group so everyone is aware:
  • “Car Back” means a vehicle coming from behind, so change into single file but ONLY if the road is wide enough to allow a safe overtake.
  • “Car Front” means a car approaching head on.  
  • “Glass”, “Pothole”, “Ice” or “Gravel” are obvious. Point to them.
  • “Stopping” is the most frequent shout and the most important. To avoid bringing down other riders behind you, shout your warning BEFORE braking, and brake smoothly.
  • “On the right” or “on the left” for other hazards, (e.g. walker, jogger, dog, parked car, etc.) requiring a change of direction. Or give a hand signal to indicate pulling out.
  • “Horses” is obvious. Slow down with the rest of the group and obey any advice given by the rider.
  • To warn when approaching a major road, dual carriageway, mini-roundabout, ford, etc.
  • If helpful to drivers, let them know that you know they are there.
  • Be ambassadors for cycling, help drivers where possible, but DO NOT wave them past a moving group. This can be dangerous.
  1. If riding 2 abreast and there’s a need to change to single file, the outer rider always slows and slots in behind. Following riders must leave space for this.
  2. If you are tiring or have mechanical problems tell the leader/other riders and they will try to help you. Don’t wait until you are dropping off the back of the group.
  3. At a junction, do not block the sight of motorists waiting to pull out. Consider letting the motorist pull out before you. Always regroup a safe distance away from junctions.
  4. Tell the leader/other riders if you are leaving the ride.

During the ride – awareness

  1. Maintain awareness, in particular of too much traffic being held up behind you. When safe to do so, change to single file or, if necessary, pull off the road.
  2. Keep in sight of your fellow riders. Don’t force the pace but, if you do ride ahead, wait to regroup at the summit or next road junction. At junctions, if there is no one close behind, stop and wait for the next rider. Let slower riders take a breather before restarting.
  3. Look out for and wait for the last rider. Tell the leader/other riders if the last rider is falling behind and this hasn’t been noticed. We don’t leave anybody behind.
  4. Always stop and help any rider suffering from physical or bike problems.

v4 April 23