Nova Raiders Cycling Club are an active club and we have a lot of group rides going out at all levels. It is important that riders doing the Club rides are familiar with the basic principles of how to ride in a group. Here are a few things that are designed to help people understand what things you may see or hear on these rides.
When you first ride in a group you may be slightly unsure as to what is going on; where you should be riding in the formation or who is in charge etc. There are a few rules to riding in a group safely and effectively. There's also some basic 'etiquette' you need to know, just so you don't upset other riders or road users. If you have any questions about riding with our Club Ride, please feel free to ask any existing members about group riding.
The following information can be used for new riders as well as riders that have been in the Club for 100s of years!!; It applies pretty much to any group ride and isn't meant to "teach anyone to suck eggs", but to let everybody know what the various shouts and calls are that you will hear out on rides.
Please don't dismiss these details. They are there to try and keep us as safe as possible when riding in groups.
The essence of Nova Raiders Cycling Club is that rides should be fun, friendly and safe. We will do our best to make sure that ALL levels of rider are catered for and you will always be made welcome on the rides. Above all ... ENJOY!!!
Firstly here are a few basic pointers regarding getting prepared to ride in a group that we should aim to follow:-
When the Club goes out in a group, it is important that we all try to carry out a few simple procedures to help keep everyone safe, and to be as helpful as possible to other road users.
When we go out on a group ride, we have to look after each other and it is expected that riders on the front (who can see any oncoming dang er) will "shout up" and let riders behind know what is ahead.
Riders then pass this info down the line, so that everybody knows what's ahead. For instance, if there is a big pothole on the riding line ahead, the front riders will shout "Hole" and point to whichever side it is on. They will then go around it, but the riders behind will have hope fully passed it down the line and follow the safer route. A rider may also give a hand signal (I don't mean to bad drivers), to show various inst ructions. Some of these are shown below.
These are some calls you might hear. It is essential that you repeat them down the pack so everyone can hear:
"Car Up/Down": Keep tight to the cyclist next to you, and be prepared to cycle in single file. Car down means a car coming towards the group, maybe in a narrow lane. There is no need to shout for every car on a main road! Car up would be shouted by the riders at the back of the group to let everyone know that a car is approaching the rear of the group.
"Hole": Upcoming pothole to avoid. This can also be followed by a direction i.e. "HOLE LEFT".
"Slowing": Usually accompanied by a hand signal. The cyclist in front needs to slow down for some reason.
"Stopping": Brake! - but not suddenly.
"Wait": Usually at junctions to indicate there is a car coming
"Clear": To indicate that a junction is traffic free. You must check yourself and not rely on others.
"Single out/ single file": Get into single file safely and promptly.
Here are some of the signals you will see on Saturday rides. Repeat them down the line, so that riders behind can prepare to take action. This means that riders should have their heads up if they are riding at the front.
1. Signal for potholes/poor surfaces
Potholes can cause punctures, damage wheel rims, buckle wheels, break spokes and even cause a rider to crash. The rider in front should shou t a warning and point to the hazard. Use your left hand if passing on the outside of the hole, right hand if passing on the inside.
2. Signal to come through
It can get so comfy sitting on someone's wheel that the lead rider sometimes has to encourage the rider behind to take his turn on the fron t. A stern flick of the elbow gets the message across - you'll have seen riders use this in races. You may not see this on Nova Raiders group rides as it i s more for chain gangs or racing rather than group Club rides.
3. Signal to slow down
Whether approaching a T-junction, traffic signals, pedestrians or perhaps a horse and rider, the lead cyclist must alert those following that he's stopping. Give a verbal warning and an angled outstretched arm with palm facing downwards, indicating that you're slowing down.
4. Signal for obstructions in the road
Always warn each other of hazards, especially parked cars but also roadworks or slower cyclists. If you're the lead rider, fold your left arm behind your back and indicate to move over to the right with a wave of your hand. (Switch arm for hazards on the right.)...
There are a few terms that you will hear people talking about regarding riding bikes and here are a few below, with what they mean. As I said in earlier parts to this information, please ask other riders if you don't understand what is being said. Nobody at Nova Raiders will look down on anybody else!
1. "Taking your turn"
Where you spend time on the front of a group of cyclists. You do your fair share of work hard and then drop to the back. It is harder at the front as you are the rider taking the majority of the wind, whilst others are sheltering behind you.
2."Through and off" or Chaingang Riding
Group riding where everyone takes it in turns on the front, before either peeling off and going to the back of the line, or the line "rolls" forward, each rider on the outside becoming the new front man. This is quite a fast paced way of riding and is usually carried out by more experienced ride rs.
3. "On the rivet"
An old term for riding at maximum effort, leaning forward, perched on the end of the saddle just on the point where old leather saddles were riveted to the rails.
4. "Half wheeling"
The quickest way to lose friends. The guy riding next to you is half a wheel ahead of you, so you catch up with him and he moves on half a whee l again. It's very annoying and it disrupts the whole group.
5. "Sitting up"
Means what it says: you've done your bit and that's it, so sitting up in the saddle is a signal to other riders that you've had enough.
6. "Getting dropped"
The pace is so high you can't hold the wheel and you start to drift off the back of the group.
It never gets easier, you just go faster.
As this famous quote by Greg LeMond tells us, training, climbing, and racing is hard. It stays hard. To put it another way, per Greg Henderson: "Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don't stop when you're tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired."
The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.