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International Cycling Group of Guangzhou, China





Group Riding Information & Safety Guidelines

Group Riding Basics
Why a group?
 • Riding in a group saves energy. A group can travel faster and further with less fatigue than an individual cyclist.
 • A large group of riders is much more visible than a single rider.
 • A group promotes team building, friendship, and greater enjoyment for all.

Group riding patterns 
There are 3 group riding patterns described and illustrated below.

Double Pace Line 
• Key Characteristics of this formation is that riders line up in pairs
• It’s important to always maintain position next to each other at shoulder level.
• Rotate by forming a ‘butterfly’. Left rider turns off left, right rider turns off right and both join again together at the end of the group
• In case of an odd number of riders in the group the rider on the ‘shorter’ line will close up and form a new pair with the rider on the ‘longer’ line. (see illustration below)

Single File Pace Line 
A single file line is formed when conditions don’t allow double pace line riding such as:

• Traffic is heavy and poses danger.
• Road quality is bad and creates a hazard to the riders. 
• Speed is increasing to a level that compromises safety for the riders. 

The ride leader will announce the formation of a single file as well as give a direction of the length of the pull up front. (As a general rule: the longer the line, the shorter the pull)

The Circular Pace Line 
The circular pace line or ‘rotating pace line’ requires advanced skills and perfect team harmony.
• When traffic conditions allow, the Ride Leader calls Rotate and nominates slow and pace line speeds. The pace line speed is usually 2 km/h faster, and the group will circulate counter-clockwise.
• Once the lead rider of the pace line has drawn clear in front of the lead rider of the slow line, the latter says Clear, to indicate it is safe to move over to the slow line.
• The leading rider of the pace line moves over to the front of the slow line and slows down smoothly to the nominated slow line speed.
• At the rear of the group, the last rider in the slow line will follow the previous rider over to the pace line, ensuring there is no gap, and advise the next rider that they are now Last.

Basic Group ride rules
These rules apply for all group ride formation and ensure that the ride is smooth and safe as well as fun for everyone.

Master the skills
• Ride in a group only if you have developed good control over your bike.
• Practice riding in a smooth and steady line on your own and learn to develop good control over your bike for any kind of cycling situation
• If you are using new equipment or a new bike, let other riders know and stay at the back of a group until you feel comfortable enough to join the line.

Ride safe
• Always wear a helmet
• Never overlap wheels, meaning your front wheel being on either side of the back wheel of the cyclist ahead of you.
• Don’t eat or drink while leading or being in the middle of the line. You will not be able to hold a smooth line and endanger others
• Signal and call out when in front and pass the signals back to others. 
• Aero-bars and the use of them is not allowed during group rides. (TT-bars)

Ride smooth
• Maintain the speed of the group. Check the speed while in second place and maintain that speed when taking turn up front. Sudden accelerations have no place in a group ride as they interrupt the group ride by causing gaps.
• Keep the line. Avoid shaking the bike left to right or making abrupt moves. Practice to maintain a smooth line when riding alone.
• Maintain the gap. Don’t go too close or open the gap to the rider in front of you. For effective drafting, maintain no more than 1 m distance off the rear of the rider in front. This gives you vision down the line, as well as time to react to hazards.

Be a good leader
• It is the responsibility of the lead rider to steer the “train” clear of any oncoming obstacles as the riders in the back may not be able to see what is coming.
• The lead rider needs to be looking well ahead on the road so that they have time to react to oncoming obstacles.
• Take enough space around obstacles. E.g. don’t ride close to pot holes or manhole covers as the riders in the back will for sure run over them
• Keep pedaling when going downhill. Don’t coast as the riders in the back will always be faster as they are in your draft.
• Don’t stay in the lead too long and signal properly when making turns.

Signal and call out hazards.
It is important for each member to clearly communicate to other riders, both by signals and voice. Every call or signal must be passed down the line.
• Point to and call out unusual hazards such as Glass, Hole, Sand, Gravel, etc. Repeat all signals and calls down the line.
• Signal to avoid parked cars or other obstacles by pointing away from it with your right hand behind your back. Repeat this signal down the line
• The last riders should advise the group of approaching traffic from the rear by calling Car Back. Repeat the call up the line.
• At intersections each rider should call Clear if there are no cars approaching, or Car Left or Car Right if there is an approaching car.
• Clearly call out Slowing or Stopping to alert following riders if you must slow or stop for any reason. Repeat the call down the line. The hand signal for stopping or slowing is an arm dropped down to the side with the extended palm facing rearwards.
• Call out to let the group know if you have a flat tire or any other problems. The group or some of the group will assist to stay behind to render assistance

‘Each rider must take responsibility for his or her own safety, no matter what calls or signals other riders have made.’