Below are the CBC Club Rules
All rules in bold are compulsory and all other items are to be followed.
- A guiding principle on club runs is that the group will travel at the pace of the slowest rider (except designated training rides). No one will be left behind. The ride leader will do a regular check (headcount), at least at every change of direction.
- A ride group should not exceed 13 cyclists. If there are more than 13 riders in a category of ride (yellow, orange, or black) two or more groups should be formed.
- Everyone should watch out for other riders in the group. If anyone is struggling or has to stop for any reason, everyone has a responsibility to communicate this up to the front of the group.
- All riders must obey the Highway Code at all times. 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.
- Ride steadily. Keep a steady line and constant speed while in a group. Any sudden change is magnified as it reaches riders at the back and so can have dramatic consequences.
- When overtaking other riders always do so on the right, never on the inside (left).
- The use of club runs to set segment times for uploading to speed comparison websites such as Strava, is discouraged on club runs. The practice is disruptive in a group and could be dangerous. The only exception is on a climb where riders may climb at their own pace.
- Ride two abreast where it as safe to do so but always be prepared to single out when necessary. Ride immediately behind the rider in front – do not overlap either forwards or sideways. Overlapping forwards gives you no chance to avoid the rider in front if he swerves or falls, and overlapping sideways results in the group presenting a three abreast profile. Never ride more than two abreast.
- When approaching a hill anticipate the gradient and change gear in good time. Missing a gear change on the steep bit can bring you to a sudden halt – not a good thing for the riders behind you!
- Riders may ride at their own pace up hills. Hills tend to split groups up. Regroup at the top.
- Treat members of the group and other road users with courtesy and to oppose discriminatory behaviour and promote equality of opportunity. Acknowledge with a wave courteous behaviour by other road users. (Many oncoming motorists will slow down or stop when they meet a large group of cyclists, whilst others allow the whole group to join or cross a major road).
- Do not ‘wave through’ a following vehicle that is waiting to overtake – let the driver make this decision. This will avoid the risk of being held responsible if the overtaking results in any form of accident.
- Do not react to bad driving incidents with gestures or provoke retaliation. Remember a road rage motorist has a one ton weapon! Even where another road users has behaved inappropriately, try to remain calm and act reasonably.
- Visitors and potential members are welcome to try rides free of charge but should be encouraged to apply for membership. If you ride with a new rider or visitor (riders from other clubs occasionally ask to ride with CBC when they are Kent), introduce yourself and help to make them feel welcome.
- Let others know if you are unable to keep up, have a problem, or have decided to leave the group.
- Practice defensive riding, a strategy that helps riders to always be in control and not to be surprised by the actions of others or conditions on the road. Motorcyclists also practice defensive riding, and the key principles pertain to cyclists too. It is about observing, anticipating, and planning ahead. Maximise your visibility, watch out at junctions, overtake with care, be aware of your speed and be prepared to brake safely, be aware at bends, ride together safely, and finally, always remember how vulnerable you are!
CBC groups and ride speeds
If in doubt when selecting your group, please select the slower, shorter ride. It is easy to measure with a fitness app such as MapMyTracks or Strava. If you don’t know your average speed, the Yellow group is probably best. If a rider is dropped the group will wait at the next major road junction or area of safety such as a lay-by.
CBC group ride speeds:
- Black: over 16 mph average. For experienced cyclists. This is fast.
- Orange: 14-16 mph average.
- Yellow: 12-14mph average. This is still a reasonable pace, not a ‘beginners ride’. Most fit adults can ride at this pace after a few weeks training.
- Over 16mph average speed equates to being able to ride at over 25mph on the flat
- About 14-16mph average equates to riding at about 20-25mph on the flat
- About 12-14mph average equates to riding at about 16-20mph on the flat
When numbers are high groups are divided into a ‘fast orange’, or ‘chatty black’ group or similar variation. Avoid combining groups. On a ride, when approaching another group, either overtake when it is safe to do so, indicating you are doing so by calling “coming though on the right”, or maintain a pace at a safe distance behind.
The lower age limit for members is 16. Riders aged under 18 must provide a parental consent form.
All riders take part in club activities at their own risk. All club members should have individual public liability insurance. Membership of the Cyclists Touring Club or British Cycling (Silver and Gold membership) includes third party insurance and free legal assistance, should you need to claim against someone else.
Safety and risk management
Senior and experienced club members will be happy to offer general advice on group rides. They will politely point out any deviations to the rider(s) and seek compliance to the rules if necessary. If they believe that a rider’s conduct is putting them or others at risk they have the authority to exclude the offender from the group ride and will subsequently report the circumstances to the club committee who may wish to take further action.
Clothing and Equipment
- Wear cycle-specific clothing if possible as it provides a better level of comfort and practicality. A brightly coloured jacket or jersey makes you more visible to other road users. Carry a waterproof jacket or lightweight gilet, not only for the rain but also to give an extra layer if you have to stop with a puncture and cool down. A club jacket or jersey will help to publicise the club and also make you very visible.
- 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). It is recommended you two spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump, spanners, allan keys to fit as the minimum. A puncture outfit will also be needed in case you get more than 2 punctures.
- Helmets are compulsory. A suitable cycling specific helmet is required to be worn at all times. Any rider not complying will not be able to ride with the club until they wear a suitable helmet.
- Mudguards prevent you getting wet and dirty. A rear mud flap will be appreciated by other group riders.
- Tyres should be inspected before and after every ride. They should be fully inflated. Look out for bulges or cuts as well as the actual tread depth and pattern.
- Keep your bike in good condition and replace any worn out parts. The group will help if something goes wrong but will not be best pleased if the problem was caused by poor maintenance.
- Carry personal details – name, address, 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. Most riders people carry at least 2 x 500ml of liquids and some 2 x 750 ml even in the winter. Keep hydrated to avoid cramps and premature tiredness.
- Carry a mobile phone. It is worth taking the numbers of other people on the ride in case of emergency.
- If you have a bike computer, ensure you load the club rides to it and use it.
Warning Calls When Riding in a Group
These calls and signals are universal to all experienced cyclists – please use them at the appropriate times.
- “Car back” There is a vehicle coming up behind the group.
- “Car front” There is a vehicle approaching towards the front of the group.
- “Single out” A call from riders at the back of the group when a vehicle is unable to pass a 2 abreast column safely. This call must be relayed forward by everyone to ensure that the move to single file is executed quickly and safely. The standard procedure is for the outside rider to drop back behind the inside rider. The call “single out” alerts everyone to the need to slow up and create spaces in the inside file.
- “Clear” and “Car” on Left/Right” These calls let’s following riders know at junctions, when the group is joining or crossing another road, whether or not the road is still clear. If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
- “Hole” Any pothole that could cause a rider to fall. If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it and not into it. Do this by either pointing or adding to the call “on the left (or right).”
- “On the Left/Right” A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians. For hazards on the left, an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard. Give way to pedestrians – they can feel intimidated by cyclists just as we sometimes feel intimidated by motorists.
- “Stopping” “Slowing” “Easy” “Right Hand moving in an up and down action”. If you brake without letting those behind know your intention they can easily run into you.
- “Puncture” Let the others know and they will wait while you repair it. (You will probably be given help).
- “Mechanical”. Let others know you have a mechanical issue with your bike and need to stop.
- “Horse(s)” The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Slow down and pass as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind call out. Say hello or greet the rider, this can also reassure the horse. Keep pedalling slowly as you pass to keep noise from your freewheel and gears to a minimum. 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.
- Always pass the instructions along the group, to ensure that everyone is aware of the hazard.