Rules for riding with Tenterden Cycling Club.
All riders come along at their own risk but experience shows that adherence to these rules and etiquette will create the safest possible environment in which we can all enjoy our cycling.
Rule 1: Have fun wherever possible.
Rule 2: Refer to rule 1.
Now the serious bit: Etiquette for riding with Tenterden TN30 Cycle Club.
The rules and advice below incorporate long standing practices and will be familiar to all experienced riders. Whilst they have been drawn up to help members who have never ridden in a group we would like everyone to make a point of reading and following them.
Pace too slow: Members are reminded that we are not a racing club: The ride leader will keep the pace of the group so try not to overtake them
Pace too fast: slow down until you find the pace comfortable – then the ride leader will know you are finding it too fast.
Keep a steady line and constant speed, if possible: any sudden change can have dramatic consequences for riders behind you!
Ride two-abreast only when safe to do so – and be prepared to single out when necessary
Follow the requirements of the Highway Code, and listen to advice from your ride leader
Treat members of the group, and other road users, with courtesy, and acknowledge the courteous behaviour of other road users
Don’t wave through a vehicle waiting to overtake – let the driver make this decision
Don’t react to bad driving with gestures: remember a road-rage motorist has a one-ton weapon!
In a large group, the ride leader will always appoint a ‘tail-end Charlie’ to stay at the back and ensure that no-one gets left behind. If anyone is struggling with the pace, or having mechanical problems, this person will be responsible for getting a message to the ride leader.
Ebike (electric Bike) users are welcome, but are asked to remember that the pace is intended for cycling under our own steam, so you may find we are too slow for you going up the hills, but too fast on the flat or downhill stretches. Please do NOT overtake just because you can!
New and relatively inexperienced cyclists should also read our ‘Helpful Hints’ below.
Safety and Risk Management
All riders take part in the club runs at their own risk. Those risks can never be totally eliminated but can be minimised by following this advice in the spirit as well as the letter.
Ride Leaders will be happy to offer general advice, to help you interpret these rules and have been asked to ensure that they are followed at all times. They will politely point out any deviations to the rider(s) concerned and seek compliance. If they believe that a rider’s conduct is putting others at risk they are entitled to exclude the offender from the group run. Continued inconsiderate behaviour could result in exclusion from all rides.
Consider your own insurance needs. In particular you are advised to consider Third Party (Public Liability) insurance that covers you whilst cycling. Although this is not a legal requirement, the current “sue everyone for everything” attitude makes insurance a wise precaution. If you intend to cycle regularly you are strongly advised to join either the Cyclists Touring Club or British Cycling - membership includes both Third Party insurance and free legal assistance should you need to claim against someone else.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR NEW CYCLISTS.
(and some useful reminders for the more experienced)
· If you do not currently take regular exercise and/or are in any doubt as to your health, please consult your doctor before starting. Some general fitness is necessary so you might find it useful to try a short ride on your own, to check your fitness and familiarity with the bike, before joining a group.
· Don’t try to push yourself too hard, particularly on the hills. Ride up at your own pace - walking is allowed but nice low gears are better! In either case the group will wait at the top until the last rider has caught their breath. It is also important to regroup at the bottom of hills to ensure that everyone has made the descent safely. If you feel you might be a bit slower than the rest try to ride as near the front of the group as you can then the leader will be more aware if you are having difficulty.
· Carry personal details - name, address, Emergency contact phone number and some money.
· Carry drinks and food, even on short rides. The food can be some form of high energy bar to get you to the next café stop. You are strongly advised to carry drink in a bottle in a cage on your bike frame. If you carry one anywhere else, you won’t drink enough.
· If you have problems or decide to leave the group then tell the leader or back marker to avoid you being searched for when you’re at home!
· Well behaved children are welcome provided they are accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult.
· Wear cycle specific clothing if possible as it provides a better level of comfort and practicality. It doesn’t have to be lycra - there are now casual style tops and baggy shorts with padded liners designed for cyclists. A brightly coloured jacket or jersey makes you more visible to other road users. Carry a waterproof jacket, not only for the rain but also to give an extra layer if you have to stop with a puncture and cool down.
· Carry enough tools to get you out of everyday problems like punctures or nuts or bolts working loose. It’s easier to change an inner tube than it is to repair a puncture at the roadside (especially if it’s cold or wet). Carry one, or ideally two spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and repair kit. Also if possible multi tool/spanners/Allen keys to fit as the minimum.
· On a long ride, a puncture outfit might be sensible in case you get more punctures than you have spare tubes. Ensure your spare tubes are the correct size and have the right valve type for your pump and wheels. Repair a punctured tube as soon as you get home. If it is left unrepaired in the bike then when you get your next puncture you will find you have two punctured tubes that you have to repair at the roadside! (……And it will probably be raining…and getting dark!)
· Helmets and mudguards are optional. Both perform useful functions - only you can decide if you want additional protection against head injuries. How much do you value the contents of your head?
· Mudguards prevent you getting wet and dirty and also reduce the amount that you deposit on the rider behind.
· Keep your bike in good condition and replace any worn out parts. Keep a close check on your tyres which should be fully inflated, especially the one on the back wheel as it’s always out of sight. Look for bulges or cuts as well as the actual tread depth and pattern.
· Remember that just as we tend to notice only the inconsiderate or bad drivers so other road users see poor behaviour by some cyclists. Make sure that you do not provide ammunition to the anti-cyclists lobby
WARNING CALLS WHEN RIDING IN A GROUP
(These calls and signals are universal to all experienced cyclists, and most are self-explanatory - please use them at the appropriate times)
“Car Up” (or “Oil up“) – car behind.
“Car Down” (or “Oil down“) – car ahead
“Single out” – Don’t ride two-abreast. Usually when a vehicle is unable to pass – outside rider to decide whether to move in front of, or behind, inside rider. Inside riders need to create spaces for outside riders to move in quickly.
“Clear” and “car Left/Right” Called at junctions, indicating whether the road is clear…but: CHECK FOR YOURSELF! If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
“Pothole” or “On the Left/Right” and/or pointing to hazard. To warn riders behind of pothole or other hazard
“Stopping” and “Slowing” (or” Easy”). I’m stopping (so don’t ride into the back of me!)
“Puncture” Let the others know and they will wait while you repair it. (You will probably be given help).
“Horse(s)” The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass slowly and as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind ring your bell or call out. Pay attention to any request by the horse rider - they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists.
Also - Give way to pedestrians where appropriate - they can feel intimidated by cyclists just as we sometimes feel intimidated by motorists.
Finally.............REFER TO RULE 1.