Peloton Etiquette

Here are some guidelines for a safe and courteous group ride with Sidney Velo:

  • Avoid hard braking – brake as lightly as possible to not crash the riders behind. Remember – you are responsible for the safety of the riders behind you.
  • Avoid sudden movements – move slowly when going left or right or slowing down.
  • Always signal your intention to turn, move sideways, slow down, or stop with hand signals and verbally. Never assume that the rider beside you knows that we always turn here. Signal early enough to give those following time to react.
  • Do not overlap wheels in a paceline – unless you enjoy group road rash and rage!
  • Do not even think about using aero bars – they are for fast solo riding only.
  • Stand to climb at the top of a pedal stroke to keep your bike from slowing suddenly and crashing the riders behind. Saying “standing” doesn’t hurt.
  • Warn the riders behind of obstacles such as glass, gravel, debris, potholes, parked cars, pedestrians, and oil slicks with hand signals or verbally. Be aware that at high speeds the lead rider may not always be able to point out obstacles in time for you to avoid them.
  • Warn other riders or pedestrians when you are overtaking them. Call out “on your left” or “on your right”. Ride at moderate speed on trails when other trail users are present.
  • Warn other riders of vehicle traffic. “Car up”, “car back”, “car left” and “car right” are the usual warnings.
  • Stay to the right of the roadway in a single or double file, depending on the width of the road and the amount of traffic. Blocking the road is a sure-fire recipe for motorist road rage.
  • Do not sprint through on-coming traffic at stop signs, left turns, and roundabouts. It makes us look like irresponsible clowns and leaves the rest of the group struggling to catch up. Stop and start together as a group.
  • Yield at stop signs, stop at red lights, and wait for your turn at 4-way stop intersections.
  • Left turn protocol – lead rider signals intention to turn – last rider moves left into the turning lane when it is safe – then the group moves into the turning lane. Lead rider makes the left turn when the gap in the traffic is sufficient for the whole group to cross.
  • Keep track of the riders behind you – if someone has a flat or mechanical, stop the group and render assistance. If you have a flat or mechanical, let the riders ahead know. If someone has been dropped due to the speed of the group, slow the group, drop back to pull the rider back up to the group, or divide into faster and slower groups. No one should be left alone on a group ride.
  • Ease up at the tops of hills and after sprints to allow dropped riders to rejoin the group.
  • Don’t sit in the group for kilometres, enjoying the draft created by the riders on the front, and then attack. If you have that much energy, go to the front and tow the group for a few kilometres.
  • Take a steady pull when you get to the front of the group, maintaining the same speed while the rider coming off the front recovers. If you are strong, accelerate slowly to raise the speed of the group. Look back occasionally and ease up if you are dropping the group – unless you would really rather ride alone.
  • When you want to come off the front, signal the rider behind and pull to the left and slide back so that only one rider (you) is in the traffic lane.
  • Wet weather group riding requires a rear fender with a rigid flap extending almost to the ground to avoid spraying riders behind with water and mud. Stand about 1.5 to 2 metres behind your bike; if you can see any part of the rear tire, the fender/flap is not adequate.
  • Ensure that no riders are in the firing line when you spit or blow your nose – out is better than down. Move away from other riders and account for the wind!
  • Do not listen to the radio or music while riding in the group, as it may prevent you from hearing warnings from other riders or traffic or be a distraction. Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss any of Willi’s jokes!
  • Be courteous when there are disagreements with other riders or road users – anger only makes things worse. Acknowledge courteous behaviour by motorists with a wave – we need all the friends we can get!