Club Cycling Etiquette Advice

Club rides

There are many benefits to riding in a group. It is safer, sociable and more energy efficient. By riding in a club, you will benefit from riding with more experienced cyclists and learn about the local area. However there is a fairly simple set of rules to which all riders need to adhere. These rules are accepted good practice  and will make the experience for all riders and other road users safer and more enjoyable. 

Our club rides are not training runs or races. They are there to provide an enjoyable, safe but fitness-focused cycle ride. Before joining one of our rides, you should speak to a designated club member for an informal chat about your cycling ability. This will enable us to advise you on the best group to cycle with to ensure that you have an enjoyable and achievable first ride. In this club we never leave a rider behind, someone will always stay with you.

When riding with the club you are representing the club. Please consider this with your behaviour at all times.

Be prepared

An important benefit of riding in a group is that there is always help at hand, especially if there are mechanical problems. If you are new to cycling, it is a great help to be with more experienced riders, but you should take steps to acquire knowledge of basic road-side repairs. It is the responsibility of every rider to to be self-reliant and to come fully equipped for the ride.

  1. Ensure your bike is in good working order prior to the ride (see link below)
  2. Ensure your clothing is suitable for the weather conditions. The wearing of helmets is not compulsory but is recommended.
  3. Carry enough water and emergency food supplies
  4. Bring enough money to buy food at cafe stops and always carry ID and a mobile phone if possible
  5. You MUST carry some basic repair equipment. Pump, 2x inner tubes, puncture repair kit and tyre removers and a multitool. We strongly advise that you carry chain repair links and a spare tyre.


Riding formation

The default formation for a group is to ride in pairs in two parallel lines. Do not ride three abreast. It is legal to ride in pairs and in most road situations, it is safer. Groups should ride with an experienced leader at the front and another experienced rider at the back.

  1. Stay in position, do not switch partners or move around the group. You must not make sudden changes to your speed or position as this may compromise the safety of the group.
  2. Try to stay reasonably close to the rider in front without overlapping their back wheel. It is also good practice not to ride directly behind the back wheel of the rider in front of you, but offset your wheel at least 6" either side in case you need to take evasive action. Riding in close formation can be difficult and intimidating for new riders. It benefits no one if you are not confident in the group. Talk to a club member about your concerns, so we canplace you safely in the group until your bike handling skills and confidence improves. The point of being in a club is to develop your cycling. We are here to help.
  3. Try to ride at an even speed and try not to allow more than a bike length to develop between you and the next rider. Do not ride in the gutter. There are more hazards in this zone and it leaves little room for manoeuvre if there is a problem. Aim to be approximately one metre out.
  4. Aim to be relaxed on the bike and do not stare at the wheel in front. It is important to look ahead and spot problems sooner rather than later. This is especially important if you are feeling tired or feeling low on energy. It is the responsibility of every rider to be alert and watch out for obstacles such as potholes, drain covers, etc. But generally riders at the front should always try to indicate hazards and the information should then be relayed along the line.
  5. While riding double is safe, there are times when the group needs to single out. To do this, the inside riders maintain a steady pace and allow space to develop between each bike. The outside riders slow off slightly and fall in behind their partner.
  6. On longer climbs the group may naturally break formation as people climb at different rates. Never ride between two riders in front. Pass on the outside. Never pass on the inside. The lead riders should wait at the summit and the group can reform to continue the ride together.
  7. Any rider needing to stop or slow down should call out a warning first
  8. Large groups should split into smaller units with enough space between groups to allow traffic plenty of overtaking space


Common instructions

Verbal warnings

  1. Car behind/in front
  2. Move out (to avoid parked cars, horses, runners slower cyclists)
  3. Single out
  4. Stopping
  5. Look up (a warning to all riders to pay attention to a particular hazard)
  6. Easy (for some reason the group should slow off)
  7. It is much appreciated by other road users (horse riders etc) if you can shout a warning of the group's approach


Hand signals

  1. Pointing to potholes and other road hazards
  2. Hand in the air - group come to a stop
  3. Wafting hand to the right (move out to avoid stationary or slower road user)
  4. The front riders and a significant number of the group should make directional hand signals to let other road users know when the group is turning


Bad habits

Half wheeling

Constantly riding half a wheel in front of your partner in order to push the pace is considered bad form. If you are leading the group be aware and communicate to establish a comfortable pace for the group

Falling off the back

If you are struggling with the pace or have some other problem you must tell another rider. Don't just allow a gap to develop. The leader/group can then decide how best to deal with the problem


Useful information

A short video showing how to check your bike before a ride  CLICK

Some extra information about riding in a group. This is more about sportive riding but much of the advice applies to club rides  CLICK‚Äč