etiquette (noun) [ˈɛt̮əkət]
the formal rules of correct or polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession
In any group, there are rules; some written, many unwritten and only understood by the cognoscenti. And even the seemingly quirky and obscure rules often have some good reasons for existing in the first place. Cyclists in general, and the Club Run in particular, are no exception. So for those new to group riding and joining a social ride, here are a few pointers!
- The Club Run is a social ride; not a race, not a chain gang and not a Strava segment hunting party. There are different groups for that sort of thing, should you be seeking a challenge.
- The group should stay together; no-one gets dropped. We look after each other out there and we can only do that if we’re together.
- If you do decide to leave the group, make sure someone else knows.
- Riders in the group must communicate with each other. Riders in front might point out pot-holes, drain lids, dead badgers or other hazards. Riders at the back should let the rest of the group know if they’re struggling or need to stop for any reason.
- Turn up prepared; carry a spare tube, patches and some basic tools. Know how to use them. The rest of the group will probably assist with any mechanical mishap, but it’s hardly fair to make that assumption, is it?
- Traffic warnings are announced with a shout of “Nose!” or “Tail!”. Riders from foreign parts may be accustomed to “Car up” or car back, but it’s noses and tails in our neck of the woods!
- Ride steadily, both in pace in your line. Accidents happen when someone does something unexpected, like braking sharply or suddenly changing direction.
- On hills, it’s inevitable that the group will split up. When this happens regroup at the top. If regrouping at a junction, choose a safe spot, preferably just past the junction as a group of cyclists waiting right at the junction is confusing for drivers.
- It should go without saying (but we’re saying it anyway); everyone should follow the Highway Code at all times.
- Ride two abreast if it is safe to do so and always be prepared to single-out to let traffic pass. If the road is narrow and passing likely to be difficult for some distance, consider pulling over in a safe spot to allow cars to pass.
- Avoid the temptation to wave through a following vehicle; the decision to pass (and responsibility for anything that goes wrong) should be entirely the driver’s.
- When (not if) you experience a close pass or some other form of aggression from an ill-informed / ill-tempered / ill-mannered / mad-as-a-box-of-frogs driver, avoid the temptation to shout, gesticulate, chase or confront the miscreant. It’s just not worth it.