Group Cycling Etiquette

Group Do’s

Do Wear a cycle helmet, No helmet, No ride
Do Ensure your bike is road worthy, brakes work, tyres inflated correctly and have lights and mudguards when appropriate.
Do cycle maximum two abreast in two close parallel lines.
Do be prepared on busy roads or narrow roads to ride single file
Do when riding at front shout 'CAR UP' if there is a car coming towards the peloton
Do when riding at back shout 'CAR BACK' if there are vehicles behind, repeating up the peloton. DO NOT look back yourself, as you could move off your line and may even cause an accident.
Lead cyclists to navigate and point out hazards in the road by either shouting or using hand signals. Listen to them and act on the calls, and most importantly, repeat them for the cyclist behind you.
Ride directly behind the wheel of the rider in front. If you cycle in the middle of the two wheels in front of you, you WILL push the cyclist on your outside into the path of passing vehicles
Brake as gently and smoothly as you safely can when riding in a pack
Talk to each other. Point out either with hand signals or shouts, all potholes, manhole covers and other dangers in the road that could cause punctures or accidents. Follow the hand signals and calls of the riders in front as they will have seen the danger before you and then you can all communicate down the pack
If you are the back of the group and either see someone dropping or are being dropped it is your responsibility to call to the cyclists in front that the pace is too high. The pack must communicate this up to the front. The lead cyclists will not be aware if you start to drop. Ask them to slow down, it is your ride too.
When asked to “ease up’ or “slow a little” do not brake suddenly. Gentle ease your pace by pedalling less hard or freewheeling for a moment. Look at your speedo – if someone is being dropped you probably only need to reduce your speed by half a mile an hour to allow them to stay on.
Ride at a steady pace, keeping the pack as a compact unit.
Check over your shoulder for other riders or traffic before moving out
If you are on the front, remember that people are following your calls. If you make a decision to pull out on a roundabout or junction, you need to call “Clear” or “Wait” to warn the pack of hazards.
If you are feeling tired let people know. Accidents happen when people are tired and lose concentration. Everyone gets tired, let people know so they can slow the pace down and tuck you in the pack to carry you home
Cycle with confidence. If you’re nervous you will tense up and are less likely to be able to respond to things quickly.
When cycling at dusk or night wear appropriate reflective bright clothing and ensure you have working lights on the front and rear of your bike.
Dress in appropriate clothing for the weather
Bring everything you might need. Prepare for every eventuality. For example, puncture kit, tyre levers, inner tubes, pump, multi-tool (including chain tool), helmet, waterproof jacket, food, water, money, credit card, mobile, contact details in an emergency.

Group Do Not

Overlap wheels (half wheeling), or nudge in between the wheels of the riders in front. You will come off if they move off their line.
Ride on tri/aero bars in packs as you will not be able to brake or steer quickly.
Make any sudden movements/changes in the direction off your line when in the pack. You are responsible for the cyclist behind you, they are following YOUR wheel they need to trust you.
Ride off the front. This is a group ride, not a race. If you want to go faster then let the others know what you are going to do and if no one wants to join you then go off and enjoy your ride alone.
Stop pedalling if you are on the front, even on downhills. The cyclists behind you will read this as you slowing and could be forced to brake and bunch up.
“Zone out” on the wheel in front. Keep aware of everything that is going on around you, look ahead and that way you can avoid most hazards.
Whip around the outside of the pack to get to the front unless in an emergency. Shout up the pack any communication. If you do need to get to the front then make sure you check in front and behind for cars, remember three abreast will push you out into oncoming traffic.
Pull out at junctions without looking, having heard the “Clear” call from a fellow cyclist. Check whether there is a vehicle coming yourself.

Group Calls

“Car Up/Back”: Keep tight to the cyclist next to you, and be prepared to cycle in single file
“Hole”: Upcoming pothole to avoid. This can also be followed by a direction i.e “HOLE LEFT”.
“Slowing”: Usually accompanied by a hand signal. The cyclist in front needs to slow down for some reason.
“Stopping”: Brake!
“Wait”: Usually at junctions to indicate there is a car coming
“Clear”: To indicate that a junction is traffic free. You must check yourself and not rely on others.
“Heads Up”: Hazard ahead, pay attention.
"Single out/ single file”: Get into single file safely and promptly

Group Hand Signals

Single hand in the air (up or down) : Rider is signalling that he/she needs to stop or slow down. Usually followed by the call ‘Slowing’, ‘Stopping’.
Pointing down at the road: This is to point out hazards such as pot holes, manhole covers etc. PLEASE copy this signal, it stops accidents and punctures
Arm out left or right: Everyone in the pack needs to indicate when turning left or right
Left / Right arm signalling behind back: Signal the cyclist is about to move out into the road, e.g. to pass a parked car, to go round debris in the road.