GROUP RIDE GUIDE
While on the roads and trails, all group riders represent Brant Cycling Club and are therefore committed to adhering to the Group Ride Guidelines herein presented in this document. Furthermore, we strive to create a positive image of cyclists and BCC among the larger community, and spread awareness of safe practices and the “Share the Road” campaign.
WAIVERS & FEES
In order to participate in BCC rides or events, every rider must purchase Ontario Cycling Association insurance ($42) and BCC Club membership ($30). Upon purchase of these two items, you will receive an electronic membership card. Print this card and keep handy.
- Proof of payment will be properly accounted for through OCA and CCN.
- Payment fee is only required once per season.
- Fees are susceptible to change from year to year.
Click and follow the prompt to purchase insurance and membership.
Before departing on a BCC group ride/event, each rider must be able to present his/her membership card, if requested by ride leader.
- If an ineligible rider insists on participating even after being asked not to, then the BCC Ride may proceed, however, the ride leader shall advise the ineligible rider, with a witness present, that he or she is ineligible and is not covered by any BCC insurance and is responsible for all his/ her actions.
Club “Try Out” Opportunity:
The Ontario Cycling Association (OCA) is working with clubs, like ours, to host “Try Out” opportunities for non-members. This program is open to all members of the public who are interested in learning how to ride and potentially join the Club as a new member. For non-members wishing to try out a BCC Ride, there are specific dates designated for “Try Out” rides. On these designated days, OCA waiver forms and tracking forms will be available at the beginning of the ride, and the individual will be required to complete, sign, and return the waiver to the ride leader prior to participating in the BCC Ride. “Try Out” waivers may only be used once per person per season; in order to participate in any future rides, an individual must purchase full insurance and membership. You will find these “Try Out” dates on our ride calendar.
All riders must be adequately prepared for the ride/event. Please ensure you bring the following items;
- Membership Card (as proof of membership and insurance purchase)
- Working, well-maintained bike
- Bike light
- Tire repair kit
- Water and food
- Piece of identification
- Cell phone
- Alert Ride Leader and others of any major health concerns, such as epilepsy or heart conditions.
TYPE OF RIDER
It is important to choose the ride that is best suited to your current ability and comfort level. Even within the same ride there will be riders of different paces and abilities. Ride Leaders will break each ride group up accordingly.
Group 1 – Novice
Group 1 is an ideal option for beginner riders, those new to road or group riding, or riders who are more interested in being outdoors with a great bunch of people rather than racing. This group will focus on learning and practicing the basics of group riding including signals, formation and communication. The terrain on route may vary, but the ride will re-group at set points. We will start with a gentle warm up on paved rail trail and gradually make our way onto the quieter country roads to practice road riding skills. This is a no drop ride.
- Average Pace: 23-27km/hr, 25-40 km distance (Mondays)
Group 2 – Intermediate
Group 2 is well-suited for those who have been road riding for at least a few years and are looking to increase pace, distance, or generally improve group riding skills.If you’re joining BCC for the first time we encourage you to attend the Novice ride on Mondays at least once before attending this ride. Participants should be comfortable learning how to ride and rotate in a group formation, both single file and two-abreast. We offer Intermediate I & Intermediate II – both require the same comfort level and knowledge of road riding, but with a slight increase in pace between I and II
- Average Pace: 28-33km/hr (Wednesdays & Sundays & Social Ride Fridays)
Group 3 – Advanced
Group 3 rides are for seasoned, conditioned riders and racers who want to be challenged by mixed terrain, pack riding, sprints and tempo sessions. We offer Advanced I & Advanced II. Advanced I is a great step up from Intermediate II for those who can hold the pace but want to go a little further. It is a no drop ride. Advanced II IS however, a drop ride, and the pace is set collaboratively by the group and the ride leader. *Note: Whether in Advanced I or II, no rider is obligated to ride faster than they feel comfortable. We encourage all riders to work together to determine what is best for the group as a whole and remain in control for the duration of the entire ride.
- Average Pace: 33-37+ km/hr, 50-60 kms (Wednesdays)
We aim to have all BCC rides/events led by a designated, volunteer Ride Leader.
- Ride Leaders will determine the route (pace and distance), group size, and check-in points if necessary.
- Ride Leaders are aware of existing safety protocols and emergency plans.
Obey the Ride Leader
- Adhere to the verbal and visual instructions of the Ride Leader, including verbal call outs and hand signals that will be instructed.
- Stay within the distances and speeds as determined by the Ride Leader. Respect the group and the experience of all riders.
Communicate with the Ride Leader
- Do no stay with a ride that you are not comfortable on; communicate any concerns to the Ride Leader.
- Before dropping off any ride, make sure to tell the ride leader.
RULES OF THE ROAD
Share the Road & Obey the Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
- Be courteous to other road users including automobiles and other bikes by riding no more than two abreast and by signaling well in advance of turns or stops.
- Take up as much of the road/shoulder as necessary to keep you safe (up to 1meter as per Highway Traffic Act), and help motorists pass by waving them past if the road is clear.
- Give a “thumbs up” and wave thanks to courteous drivers.
- Try not to make any unnecessary, sudden movements.
- Keep your eyes moving and scanning the road in order to anticipate hazards including vehicle traffic, off-leash dogs, farm equipment, etc.
- When the group stops for any length of time, get off the road; do not stand ON the road.
- We stop and put one foot down at all stop signs and red lights.
- If you are at the front, clearly call “stopping” and put your hand out to signal to the entire group that you are stopping. New riders will model the behavior of the current members. Lead by example.
- Stopping also allows for regrouping.
- We ride “tight-to-the-right”, in a straightline, and pass on the left. “Tight-to-the-right” means within a foot of the rider in front and a foot between the rider you may need to pass.
- Ride immediately behind the rider in front of you
- Do not overlap wheels (this is Extremely Dangerous!)
- No diagonal echelon in cross winds
- If you need to pass a rider in front of you (while riding casually, not in formation), proceed to do so on the left of the slower moving riders on the right (curb lane), as per HTA
- When you come to the front, and hear the call that it is “clear” to pull in front of the lead rider on the right, immediately pull over.
Stay in smaller groups of 6-8 riders, maximum. This is important because a smaller group is:
- Easier and safer for motorists to pass
- Easier to match abilities
- Easier to shift formation
- Faster to communicate road hazards
- Ride Leaders will organize group sizes at start of the ride.
- On heavily traveled or narrow roads, riders should ride single-file in small packs of 6-8 people per group.
- On quieter, wide roads rides may ride no more than double abreast in small packs of 6-8 people. The Ride Leader will instruct you when it is acceptable to do so.
- DO NOT ride in the following formations, as they are dangerous for riders and motorists.
- Too long single file lines. Motorists will be tempted to “squeeze” by when it is not safe. There is no communication between cyclists in a long single line to inform of an approaching car or hazard on the road, resulting in a “snaking” line which draws riders into traffic.
- Too wide groups. This block motorist’s view of approaching traffic. For example, a double paceline, dropping back on both sides (= 4 wide)
- When you come to the front, and hear the call that it is “clear” to pull in front of the lead rider on the right, immediately pull over.
RIDING IN FORMATION
- One of the greatest benefits in group riding is utilizing ride formation to maintain your pace while allowing for an active recovery of the muscles and cardio system. This allows you to travel further and faster without complete exertion.
- When riding in formation it is crucial that you maintain smooth riding; no sudden movements, ensure good control of the handlebars, holding a steady line and pace, open and clear communication.
- SINGLE-FILE PACELINE: Riding in tight a single file line 1 meter from the edge of the road or the white line, the front rider pulls slightly to the right and eases up as he/she drops to the back of the line. The line of riders maintains their speed and holds a steady line. This should be a continuous rotation with the front rider “pulling” the group for anywhere between 30seconds to 2-3 mins depending on the pace.
- ROTATING PACELINE: Riders being in two parallel lines (2 abreast). The rider on the right (curb side) holds the pace while the rider on the left pulls slightly ahead. The rider on the right calls “clear” (meaning the advancing rider’s rear tire is past the front tire of the moves in front of the rider on the right) to indicate that the advancing rider can now pull to the right. Similar to single pace line, the “pull” of the two front riders can last 30seconds to 2-3 mins depending on the pace.
VERBAL AND VISUAL INSTRUCTION
”Call Outs” should be made loudly and clearly for all group riders to hear. All riders are responsible for helping the call outs get passed through the group by repeating it for the person behind them.
- “Slowing” – indicates that you or the group is slowing in pace, so all riders should be prepared to
apply to brakes and slow down.
- “Stopping” – indicates that you or the group is stopping; this call out should be made with as much advanced notice as possible.
- “Car (or rider) back” – indicates that there is a car(s) or rider approaching from the rear of the group.
- “Car (or rider) up” – indicates that there is a car(s) or
rider approaching from the front of the group.
- “Gravel” or “Glass” – indicates that riders need to be cautious and avoid the gravel or glass on the road
- “Right” or “Left” – indicates that the group will be turning.
- “Single file” – indicates single file formation is necessary
- “Double file” – indicates its safe to ride two side by side, please get into formation.
- “Rotate” – indicates that the formation will begin a rotation pattern, as outline above.
- “Hold” – indicates that the formation should be held in it’s current position with no further rotations forward or back. This is often used in the situation of upcoming city traffic lights or stop signs that are close enough together than rotation patterns shouldn’t be used.
Hand signals should always be made to accompany verbal call outs, where applicable. Similar to call outs, hand signals should be passed through a group by repeating them for the riders behind.
- Slowing/stopping – placing your hand straight down, palm facing behind
you indicates that you are slowing or stopping.
- Turning left – left arm straight out to the side, give advanced notice.
- Turning right – right arm straight out to the side, give advanced notice.
- Move to the right – left arm sweeps, outstretched behind you, from left to right. This indicates that riders behind you need to move left and file into a single line behind you, in order to make space for on-coming traffic or riders.
- Move to the left – right arm sweeps, outstretched behind you, from right to left. This indicates that riders behind you need to move left and file into a single line behind you, in order to make space for on-coming traffic or riders.
- Road hazards – gravel, glass, pot holes, cracks, sewers, etc should be highlighted to the group by clearly pointing at the hazard. It is every riders responsible to watch for these signals so that they may avoid the hazard without making any sudden movements.
- Single file – 1 finger raised overhead to indicate single file formation is necessary
- Double file (two abreast) – 2 finger raised overhead to indicate its safe to ride two side by side.
- Rotate – 1 or 2 fingers raised overhead and then in a circle motion to indicate the group will begin a rotating pattern.
- “Hold” – a closed first held overhead indicates that the formation should be held in it’s current position with no further rotations forward or back. This is often used in the situation of upcoming city traffic lights or stop signs that are close enough together than rotation patterns shouldn’t be used.
POSITIVE GROUP RIDING ETIQUETTE
- BE AWARE. Cycling, both on roads and trails, requires you to be aware of your surroundings (traffic, fellow riders, road hazards, personal health, etc) and responsive to the situation (call outs, signals, rotations). Every rider is responsible for keeping focused on their actions within the group. Do not make sudden, unpredictable movements. Hold your line and help the group stay together and safe.
- No drop. Most club rides will have a “no drop” policy meaning that no rider will be left behind without his/her permission. Wait at top of hill or next intersection for dropped riders If they are being dropped repeatedly. Do not let a rider that is trying to get back on dangle off the back
- Don’t be reckless!
- Do not cross the yellow line.
- Do not throw bike back when standing.
- Do not engage angry drivers (but do report belligerent and/or dangerous drivers to Police by getting their license plate!)
- Zero tolerance. Riders who break safety rules will be warned ONCE, next time they will be asked to leave the ride. If it happens on two rides in a row they will be asked to leave the club.
- Mechanicals (+ flats)
- The group stops until it is fixed or the rider waves you on
- The group stops
- Take instructions from Ride Leader. If Ride Leader is not at the scene, take instructions from qualified paramedic, first responder, first aider, etc.
- Immediately care for anyone who is injured (911 if necessary)
- Ride Leader to record info by filling out an Incident Report.
In the case of inclement weather, please check our Facebook page for a ride update. We do not hold rides in heavy rain, thunder, or lightning. Rides may also be cut short due to poor weather; this will be at the discretion of the Ride Leader or the individual rider.