HERE AT MC, YOUR SAFETY AND ENJOYMENT ARE OUR #1 PRIORITY :)
PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND THESE IMPORTANT BITS BEFORE YOU JOIN US ON YOUR FIRST RIDE
Cycling in an organised group is a great way to train, stay motivated and make friends. However it is not without risk.
To help make riding in a group as safe and enjoyable as possible, cyclists have developed a relatively standard set of rules that all riders in the group should follow.
Unfortunately, crashes still occur and are often the result of a lack of concentration or riders not following the basics.
Therefore we ask that you please read the following information before joining a bunch ride.
We have all been new to cycling at some point and your first time in a bunch can be a little intimidating, but with a little practice it soon becomes natural, please be patient with other Riders of all abilities.
If you’re a new rider and unsure about your own riding skill levels a great way to improve is coaching. Sydney City Council offers free City Riding courses at Sydney Park, run by Bike Wise. For more information, please check out:
There are also professional coaches who can help you quickly gain the skills and confidence you need. Feel free to get in touch should you want some recommendations.
What is a ‘Group Ride’
We organise regular group rides by the MC Store for all.
These are rides along a set course, usually run daily, weekly, and designed to provide both a physical challenge, social interaction and show off some of the best bits of Sydney.
Information on each ride in terms of the Physical Demand (Distance / Climbing / Average Speed) is available allowing participants to gauge their suitability for that ride.
As a Business, we do not have first aid support on its group rides, nor do we directly insure cyclists on the ride.
Remember we are here to help, so please do not hesitate to ask your Ride Leader if you have any questions.
What To Bring
A bike in good working order.
AU standards approved helmet. No helmet, no ride. No exceptions.
Front and rear lights if riding at night or early in the morning.
Spare tube, tyre levers and pump or Co2 inflator.
Adequate Hydration and Food.
ID and emergency contact information.
Sunscreen for Hot Starts & Longer Rides.
Money for coffee.
At The Start
Introduce yourself to the Ride Leader if they have not introduced themselves to you.
Let the ride leader know if you need to leave the ride early and importantly if you are relatively new to Cycling.
Ask questions if you are unsure of the route or any other aspects of the ride.
The Ride Leader will also introduce the Sweeper (person responsible for the back of the ride) and, if used the “Ride Captain” (20+ Wheels) the Ride Captain sits mid bunch and has responsibility for passing calls to and from the Front & Back of the ride also keeping any ‘gapping’ to a minimum by either encouraging riders to close gaps or verbally managing pace with the Ride Leader.
Clear communication is vital to safe group cycling.
It is every rider’s responsibility to listen for and act on calls.
For this reason, headphones or earpieces are not to be worn on rides.
On The Road
Follow the instructions of the Ride Leader.
Never cross lanes or move ‘over’ until you have heard a call to do so from the Sweeper or Ride Captain.
Do not make direction calls within the Bunch unless you are one of the designated parties to do so (Sweep, Captain or Leader) – this can be very dangerous.
If you haven’t heard a call please do not take it upon yourself to make one – there will be a reason why the Ride Leader is waiting to ask for a call or the Sweeper is waiting to give it.
Obey all road rules and observe red lights.
Be courteous and respectful of all other road users.
Stay together. The bunch should act as one vehicle. A spread out bunch is harder for other vehicles to overtake and encourages cars to split the group.
When stopped at lights, be ready to go again when the lights change so the group is not split.
Roadcraft And Skills
Stay as close to the rider in front of you as you feel comfortable but without ‘Gapping’.
Don’t overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. OVERLAPPING OF WHEELS IS ONE OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF CRASHES. Stay behind the rider in front of you, or move up beside them.
Maintain a straight line. Taking your water bottle out of its cage and food out of your back pockets is a skill all riders should practice. If you are not comfortable doing this wait for a break/stop or move to the back of the group to take on food or drink.
Keep your head up and watch the riders in front of you, not the wheel in front of you.
Minimise looking behind you – this often causes riders to swerve or veer from a straight line
Avoid surging - use a gear that allows you to pedal smoothly and maintain an even pace and cadence.
Don't brake suddenly - stay alert for hazards ahead and brake with control. Often moving slightly to the side and out of the draft of the rider in front of you is enough to slow you down and eliminate the need to brake.
ANTICIPATE - Sudden movements create problems for riders around you. Keep your head up and don’t stare down at the wheel in front of you. Regularly glance 3-5 riders ahead, and also up the road to see problems before they occur.
Pass on the right, not the left.
RELAX – Keep your upper body relaxed & loose. Any bumps on the road will be absorbed. Hitting a pothole with rigid arms, could cause an accident. Think “firm grip, relaxed arms”.
Signals And Calls
Below is a glossary of typical Terms you may hear used by the designated Ride Leaders or Captains and Sweeps whilst on the road, please obey the calls made at all times.
|“Stopping”||Approaching a red light, stop sign or other.|
|“Clear”||When entering a roundabout or intersection and it is safe to proceed.|
|“Rolling”||Approaching a set of lights or intersection that may require stopping|
|“Car up”||Car ahead, may require single file or keep left.|
|“Car back”||Car behind that may attempt to overtake.|
|“Car right” (left)||Car approaching intersection.|
|“Lights”||Red light. See “stopping”.|
|“Glass”, “hole”, “stick” (Point it out)||Obstacle on the road.|
|“Slowing”||Slowing down significantly or preparing to stop.|
|“Wait or HOLD”||Sweeper at the back indicating that it is not safe to change lane. Or Ride Captain mid bunch relaying calls from Sweeper|
|“Over”||Sweeper at the back calling the bunch across a lane when it is safe to do so. Or Ride Captain mid bunch relaying calls from Sweeper|
|“Single”||Group adopts single file to deal with hazard or narrow lanes whilst passing parked vehicles etc. This may have to be done quickly. If the Ride leader cannot visually determine whether it is safe to resume 2 Abreast Format they should ask for a call from the sweeper to ensure it is safe to do so.|
In mid to strong headwind or cross wind conditions it is highly likely that calls for obstructions/hazards etc. will not carry beyond 2-3 wheels – remember to watch for clear hand signals for this (as opposed to shouting) and in good time, for example well prior to potholes or other obstacles / street furniture & when slowing or stopping.
Please also see:
Ultimately: Have Fun, Stay Safe and Look Out For Each Other
Enjoy your ride with us - we look forward to seeing you on the road!