Ride Guide

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Cycling rules and bunch riding tips


At MTC we want to keep everyone safe when they are training or racing. For that reason it’s important you’re used to cycling in groups. If everyone plays by the cycling rules and sticks to the etiquette we’ll all have a great day.

 

  • AT THE START: Choose a group based on your current ability, Saturday rides often have several start times based on ability and distance. You are risking injury to yourself and others if you confuse ambition with ability and ride in a pack too quick for you.
  • HELMETS: Helmets must be worn at all times and fastened securely while cycling.
  • OVERLAPPING: Don’t overlap wheels. Stay behind the rider in front of you or move up beside them.
  • HOLD YOUR WHEEL: An appropriate gap between your front wheel and the person in front is around 50cm. Keep your hands close to the brakes in case of sudden slowing either on the brake hoods or on the drops. Sometimes people who are not used to riding in a bunch will feel too nervous at this close range - riding on the right side is generally less nerve-racking for such people as they feel less hemmed in.
  • STAY ON THE LEFT: Do not cross the centre line. Always stay left of the centre line.
  • KEEP YOUR LINE: Maintain a straight line. Practise taking the water bottle out of its cage and food out of your back pockets before the event. During bunch riding wobbling is dodgy. Minimise looking behind you – often it causes you to veer from a straight line.
  • ANTICIPATE: Sudden movements create problems for riders around you. Keep an eye on developments ahead of you. Don’t always look down at the rider in front of you, but use their back as your target while regularly glancing 3 to 5 riders ahead, and also up the road to see problems before they occur.
  • RELAX: Keep your upper body relaxed and loose. Any bumps on the road will be absorbed. Hitting a pothole with rigid arms, could cause an accident.
  • CLIMBING: When moving from a seated position to a standing position, put extra pressure on the pedals so that you bike doesn’t ‘stall’. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle on a hill which can cause a sudden deceleration. This can often catch a rider who is following too closely, resulting in a fall from a wheel touch.
  • SIGNAL HAZARDS: If you see a hazard which would affect the line or momentum of the bunch it is your responsibility to signal to following riders, with subsequent riders continuing the signal further down the group.
  • PASSING: Pass on the right, not the left.
  • INDICATE YOUR INTENTIONS: This lets riders around you know what you are doing.
  • SPEAK UP: If you are passing a rider in front of you, say loudly “PASSING ON YOUR RIGHT”. If you are being passed you must keep your line.
  • DO NOT USE AEROBARS IN THE PACK: Aerobars do not belong in bunch rides, the only exception is if you're on the front of the pack. They are dangerous in packs and do not allow the rider to easily access their brakes.
  • WHEN YOUR'RE ON THE FRONT: Pedal downhill when at the front of the bunch, cyclists dislike having to ride on the brakes. Avoid surges. Surges cause gaps further back in the bunch which in turn create a "rubber band" effect as riders at the back have to continually chase to stay with the bunch.
  • LONG DOWN HILLS: Don’t stay on your brakes. It’s safest to ‘feather brake’ which means tapping the brakes and applying intermittent pressure. This is wise in wet weather too. If you need to slow for a corner, do the braking BEFORE the corner and release the brakes as you turn. Touching your brakes in a turn will make your bike go straight or slide out of control.
  • HIGH SPEED BRAKING: Use the back brake more than the front (about 60 to 40%). Slide your weight back on the seat. Avoid locking up the wheels.
  • EASY ON THE BRAKES: Don’t jam your brakes on suddenly – stay alert for hazards ahead and brake with control.
  • STOPPING: If you have to stop, clearly signal your intention and get clearly off the road (always on the left).
  • ROLLING TURNS: These can be done many different ways, discuss an agreed approach with the group before you start the ride so everyone is on the same page.
  • CLOTHING: Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing appropriate for the weather conditions. Invest in appropriate clothing. A warm and comfortable rider is a safer rider.
  • ROAD RULES: Always obey the road rules of Australia, including the Give Way and Stop Signs on course.
  • FLAT TYRES OR ACCIDENTS: If you have a flat tire or other problems, call out to let the group know. If required, the coach or ride leader should appoint a person(s) to stay behind to assist. The remaining group should continue on.

How to Signal While Riding...