Safety starts with YOU!
While this may be an overused slogan, it rings very true with club rides. Unsafe actions by just one person on a ride can have catastrophic outcomes. Below are rules and techniques that are to be followed by every rider on every Spokes ride to ensure everyone comes back without incident.
We communicate with each other on rides using verbal commands. Using these safely and correctly is the responsibility not only of the ride leader, but of each participant in the ride.
Car Back! – Car is approaching from the back. Ride in single file!
Car Up! – Car approaching from the front. Be aware!
Car Left/Right – Used at intersections to make other riders aware that a vehicle is approaching from that direction.
Clear – Used at stop signs and yields to make follow on riders aware that there are no vehicles present at that moment. You should make sure it’s safe to go, and, if it’s safe for riders behind you, call Clear for them. It is not a license to disregard road signs.
Passing: On Your Left or On Your Right – Used to make another cyclist or pedestrian aware of your intention to pass.
Slowing – Used along with the hand signal when applying the brakes.
Stopping – Used along with the hand signal to make follow-on cyclists aware that you intend to come to a complete stop.
Arm out to the side more common. Arm crooked is traditional.
Sand or Gravel Hazard
Hold arm down on the side of the hazard and do a brushing action with the hand.
Hold the arm down to the side of the hazard with the finger pointing at the hazard.
- Avoid any sudden unpredictable movements.
- Do not suddenly stop without warning. Use the proper hand signal and verbal command.
- Do not swerve or turn without warning. Use the proper hand signal and verbal command.
- Look before moving out of position.
While a helmet is mandatory on all club rides, other gear is useful to help keep you safe on the road. A rear strobe helps to make you more visible to oncoming motorists. There are many small, light weight options on the market that make a good marking beacon. This can make a difference on roads that have a lot of shade / sun differences. Another good safety device is a mirror. There are some good aerodynamic models that will help you keep track of cars and other cyclists in your group. While this does add slightly to the weight of your bike, the safety benefit “outweighs” any negative performance impact.
The “Don’ts” of a Club Ride
- Attempting to “bump” up the pace from what has been advertised. By changing the pace of the ride it may force other riders into a situation they may not be comfortable with resulting in rider error.
- Riding with ear buds. Everyone likes to listen to tunes, but they are dangerous. You cannot hear oncoming traffic or other riders. Remember, your ears are one of your first lines of defense on the road.
- Gaggling at gathering points. If the group gathers at an intersection, single out along the side of the road. We do not want to be a road hazard to cars.
- Riding the yellow line. If you are not passing, stay right. You might be fast on the downhill, but there might be someone faster that needs to pass.
- Changing the route in the middle of the ride. Some riders may want to get some extra miles in which is fine, but that group should break off from the organized ride and make it clear their intention at one of the breaks. Someone may be on a limited time schedule or are not capable of taking on extra miles. You may also strand a rider who rode ahead to use facilities or a rider who fell behind because of mechanical issues.