Rules of the peleton
You are part of a larger entity when riding in a Group and you need to adjust your riding and thinking accordingly. Your actions are no longer independent and you must consider the impact on the Group. A Group is not as nimble as an individual and so must approach intersections, lights, hazards, traffic congestion, etc accordingly.
Be smooth – no sudden movements or changes in speed or direction.
Be predictable – don’t do something that will surprise or confuse those behind you.
Communicate – riders at the back rely on the skills of those ahead to identify and communicate hazards. Learn the hand signals and call out loudly the more dangerous hazards. Calls are to be passed along the Group so repeat a call if you hear it up ahead. Don’t underestimate the importance of calling “slowing or stopping” loudly and early as this is the easiest for people to misjudge. Poor road surfaces bring people down so point and call out holes, etc.
Brake smoothly - call “stopping” or “slowing” first if necessary and don’t over brake as remember you have people following just 30cms behind you. If you have to brake hard try and leave the maximum room for those following you to react and stop.
No Gaps but leave space - gaps (more than a metre) reduce the drafting benefit and encourage riders to pull in on you. Conversely it’s not a race so keep back 30+cm from the wheel ahead and stay offset. Remember when riders get up out of the saddle e.g. when climbing hills, their bike is initially thrust backward by some 15cm when they stand up. Be ready for this, leave room and don’t be surprised.
No “Half-wheeling” this is where you ride ahead or behind the rider next to you by half a wheel length. Get into pairs. The rider in front may swerve unexpectedly e.g. to avoid an obstacle, and will clip your front wheel if it is overlapping.
Look forward - not back, down or sideways. Things happen fast and a moment’s lack of attention can be all it takes.
Use bike lanes where possible – we’re lucky to have them, use them so that we don’t obstruct traffic
Hand signals – should only be made when it is safe to do so. Yell loudly and clearly if unsafe to signal.
Ride in pairs (where conditions allow) – handle bar level with the rider next to you.
Roll off – give everyone an opportunity to lead. Roll off to the outside (right, away from traffic) when conditions are safe, then slow down and move steadily all the way to the rear of the Group. Don’t cut in half way. If you end up in the front but don’t want to pull, as soon as it is safe immediately roll off.
Hands – both hands on the bar
AERO-Bars – should not be used Group rides.
Intersections & traffic lights - you are a Group not an individual, consider how long it will take the Group to get through and make a call on whether to ‘stop’ or ‘go’ as a Group.
Drinking – do it when stopped or when conditions are predictable.
Don’t stop where it is dangerous to do so. Fix flat tyres etc in a safe place. Be prepared to remind others who may be preoccupied with the events at hand to notice the danger they are in.
Keep in mind
It’s not a race.
It’s a hobby not a livelihood.
We have day jobs we have to go to after the ride which are harder with a broken collarbone or smashed wrist.
We have family and friends who love us. Get home safe