Group Riding Guidelines

These guidelines are primarily for riders new to group riding, however they are a useful reminder to our more experienced members !


Our club rides are not training runs or races. They are there to provide an enjoyable, safe but fitness-focused cycle ride.

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

Prepare to Ride

    Ensure your bike is in good working order prior to the ride (see link below)

    Ensure your clothing is suitable for the weather conditions. The wearing of helmets is not compulsory but is recommended.

    Carry enough water and emergency food supplies

    Bring enough money to buy food at cafe stops and always carry ID and a mobile phone if possible

    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

Our Club rides are generally of more mixed ability than a road race club and as such it is not possible to adopt the phalanx style riding of everyone keeping the same pace in a group of pairs of riders in two parallel lines. The club tends to ride in single file on busy roads, and on roads with restricted sight-lines. On wider roads it is acceptable, and sometimes safer, to ride in pairs . It is legal to ride in pairs. We do not ride three abreast.

When moving from  riding in pairs to single file the inside rider should maintain a steady pace and the outside riders slow off slightly and fall in behind the inside riders back wheels ensuring that the wheels do not come into contact.

Generally you should stay in position however it is acknowledged that in a mixed ability group stronger riders will tend to maintain a faster pace than less strong riders so some movement in the group order is inevitable. However you must not make sudden changes to your speed or position as this may compromise the safety of the group.  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.

If you are riding in close order do not overlap the back wheel of the rider in front. 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.

Try to ride at an even speed. 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.

    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.

    Any rider needing to stop or slow down should call out a warning first

    Large groups should split into smaller units with enough space between groups to allow traffic plenty of overtaking space

Common instructions

Verbal warnings

    Car behind/in front

    Move out (to avoid parked cars, horses, runners slower cyclists)

    Single out


    Look up (a warning to all riders to pay attention to a particular hazard)

    Easy (for some reason the group should slow off)

    It is much appreciated by other road users (horse riders etc) if you can shout a warning of the group’s approach

Hand signals

    Pointing to potholes and other road hazards

    Hand in the air – group come to a stop

    Wafting hand to the right (move out to avoid stationary or slower road user)

    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

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. We will not leave you isolated