You will have an experienced Ride Leader who will have a route planned so relax and enjoy it. If you are new to group riding, let them know – they will keep an eye on you, or assign someone to do so. You may be asked to complete a contact form or signing-on sheet. Keep in mind they are a volunteer and listen carefully to any instructions. Don’t try to interfere with the ride – let them lead!

He or she can explain any jargon and hand signals they may use to keep control of the group. If you fall behind, don’t worry – your group should wait for you at the next junction or at the top of a climb. Abide by the Highway and Countryside Codes – never ride more than two abreast except when passing. Shout ‘Passing!’ if you do so. Drop into single file on narrow or busy roads, unless it would be unsafe to do so.

Show courtesy to other road and trail users and be a good ambassador for cycling. Be alert to what other riders around you are doing and do not get too close to them. Shout ‘Slowing!’ or ‘Stopping!’ if necessary – smooth, gentle manoeuvres work best. Point out any road defects or other hazards to others. If you wish to leave the ride, let the Ride Leader know first.

Group Riding with The Forty-Plus CC – Some commonsense guidelines

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If there is an accident:

Our aim is to ride safely and avoid accidents.  However, it is advisable to have some guidelines as to what to do should the worst happen.

Be prepared – see the advice on our first aid page.

If the rider has fallen in the road and is immobile:

  • send sentries 100 metres both forwards and to the rear immediately to warn oncoming traffic to slow down;
  • check if any other rider or bystander has better first aid skills;
  • treat the casualty according to their critical needs before getting them into the recovery position; priorities are severe bleeding, blocked airway, not breathing normally.
  • if the rider is conscious let them assess their own ability to stand etc.
  • if unsure do not move the rider.

If in doubt call the emergency services:

  • establish your location (see below), nominate someone to call 999 immediately, if there is no mobile phone signal, send someone to the nearest house to use a land line
  • note names of any witnesses (riders or public);
  • instruct those riders who are not needed to clear the road and take themselves on to the intended venue.

The ride leader or their appointed responsible person, should stay with the injured party.

Incident reporting

Following an accident incurring medical treatment, or any accident involving a third party not on the ride, an incident report form (as published by Cycling UK) should be prepared by the ride leader within 48 hours of the incident.  The completed form should be submitted promptly to the Section secretary.

Jargon buster

  • N.B. Club members use the call “OIL” to represent traffic, so
    • OIL UP (up your rear) means traffic is coming up behind the group/rider.
    • OIL DOWN (down your throat) means traffic is coming down the road towards the group/rider.
  • COMING THROUGH is used to indicate an “oil” is overtaking.
  • ALL CLEAR is used when all have passed or to cancel the OIL UP call if the oil turns off.
  • ALL CLEAR can also indicate there is no traffic coming either way at a junction.
  • CLEAR LEFT / RIGHT is similarly used at junction together with FROM THE LEFT/RIGHT to indicate whether traffic is coming or not, but it is still the individual’s responsibility to look and confirm it is safe prior to making any manoeuvre.
  • ON THE LEFT means pay attention to the left side of the road, there could be a parked vehicle a pedestrian or a branch overhang or the like.
  • ON THE RIGHT likewise means the same thing but on the right.
  • IN THE MIDDLE means just that and more usually means loose material or other debris that has accumulated in the middle in narrow lanes but can also refer to a “pothole” (two abreast riding).
  • HOLE or GRAVEL means anything from a pothole or loose surface to a sunken grating. This is often accompanied by a pointing gesture in the general direction of the hazard.
  • EASY means someone is slowing down – prepare to brake if necessary, used mainly approaching junctions and where a rider is experiencing difficulty, but can also be employed when a rider is being left behind to request a slower pace.  Although the latter use is usually in the form of EASY UP.
  • STOPPING means the group is stopping.  Mostly used at junctions but can also apply to breakdowns such as “chain off” or “puncture” although these expressions are sometimes used in their own right.
  • SINGLE OUT – stop riding two (or more abreast).  When this call comes the normal procedure is for the Inside rider to move forward and the outside rider to tuck in behind. 
  • Sometimes calls are used in combination, for example “On the left — Hole”

It is every rider’s responsibility to relay calls forwards and backwards within the group by repeating them for the benefit and safety of all those on the Ride.

Establishing your location

If you have a smart phone with a GPS most apps can give your location with off-line maps, but remember to download the maps you might need over Wi-Fi when setting up. An alternative is to use the What3words app, which gives your location within 3m as a three word identifier and is recognised by emergency services.