CBBC wants to get everyone thinking about riding safely and smoothly. 
New riders join the club throughout the year, and old riders move to
 other categories. It takes some time before a group of riders mesh 
smoothly in a pack. The guidelines below were compiled by the 
executive committee and some experienced club members. They cover 
many, but not all aspects of safe riding. They mainly concern riding 
in a group and riding in traffic. One element of a smooth group ride 
is that everyone knows what the "rules" are. We hope that putting 
these in writing will help.

 To download one of the most comprehensive Ride Leader Guidelines 
(from the Princeton Freewheelers site,) click here.


  1. Arrive 10-15 Minutes early and be ready to leave on time. Remember that the scheduled ride time is the time the ride will leave the parking lot.
  2. Make sure your bicycle is in proper working order BEFORE you arrive.
  3. Carry a spare tube, patch kit, pump and water bottle.
  4. Practice safety and obey all traffic laws.
  6. Leaders are not responsible for those who ride ahead of the group.
  7. ALWAYS NOTIFY THE LEADER before leaving the group.
  8. Leaders will adhere to the advertised speed of the ride.
  9. Any rider who appears to be riding in an irresponsible manner may be asked to leave the ride.
  10. In the case of inclement weather, or if the leader fails to appear (probably because of an emergency), form a group and go on a ride if you like.


BE PREPARED - Be considerate of your fellow riders by showing up at 
the meeting place ready to ride. That means with your bike operating 
correctly and with your tires pumped up. If you aren't familiar with 
how to tune-up your bike, take it to one of the many fine shops in the 
area and let them make sure it is ready to roll. If you are not sure 
what type of riding you are capable of, be sure to call the ride 
leader or ride category coordinator and ask some questions. If you are 
still unsure, try a ride one category below the one you think you can 
do for your first time out and judge from there.

BE PREDICTABLE - Predictability is the foundation of safe riding. Be 
sure that others know what you intend to do. In order for people to 
stay out of your way, they need to know where you are going. Learn the 
conventions so that you know what to expect of other riders.

HEADS UP - Pay attention to the road, traffic and other riders.
 Anticipate what is going to happen. Be prepared for the unexpected.

HELMETS - This is easy. Wear a helmet. This will minimize injuries 
when things don't work out as planned. No matter how experienced and 
careful you are, the unexpected can happen. People who have had an 
accident often say that something happened and it was all over before 
they could react. It CAN happen to you. Helmets reduce head injuries 
by 80% or more. With the wide variety of lightweight helmets 
available, there is no excuse to ride without one. Expensive, you say?
 Pay whatever you think your brains are worth.


RIDE SMOOTHLY - Remember that the safety of a group of riders depends 
on the actions of each rider. Riders must ride smoothly and 
predictably to avoid collisions. Keep in mind that someone is probably 
very close behind you. Don't brake hard unless you absolutely must and
 then call out to warn other riders. Glance over your shoulder before 
you move out of your line. When you are out on your own, you can do 
anything you like. The dynamics of the pack are more complicated. A 
pack of experienced riders that ride together often moves like a unit.
It only takes one rider to disrupt the flow. There is another 
advantage to riding smoothly: you save energy and feel fresher at the 
end of the ride.

SIGNALS - A few signals help the people in the back of the pack avoid
 potholes and road trash. They generally can't see it until it's too 
late. A point with your hand is generally enough to warn the other 
riders. Call out if it is something particularly nasty. Something
 short and understandable (like "HOLE") is best. A few other calls that 
are standard in the club:

TRACKS - Railroad tracks

GLASS - Broken glass in the path

CAR RIGHT (or LEFT) - A car is coming from that direction

CAR BACK (or CAR UP) - A car is coming from the rear (or front)

ON YOUR RIGHT (or LEFT) - I am close at your side or intend to pass on
 your right (or left)

Some riders will call out "CLEAR" to indicate that an intersection is 
free of cross traffic. Be wary of this signal as it is not always 
reliable. Do not depend on it. Check to make sure that the traffic is 
clear before you cross. If you feel compelled to use this signal, do
 so only when the traffic is clear for a distance. If the visibility is 
limited (because of a curve or hill) it is best to not give any 
signal. Let the other riders check for themselves.

INTERSECTIONS - Sometimes the whole group can't make it through the 
intersection without getting split up by cars. The bikers that make it 
through in the first wave should try to slow up a bit to let the 
second wave catch up before picking up the pace. Occasionally, bikers 
take unnecessary chances with cars just to avoid getting dropped by 
the people who got through the intersection first. Give them a break.

STAY TO THE RIGHT - When riding, stay to the right of the road unless 
you are riding double or are passing. This will allow others to pass 
on your left without going into the lane of oncoming traffic. This is 
particularly important on the hills where the pack breaks up. Too 
often, riders will climb near the center line forcing faster riders to 
ride in the lane of oncoming traffic in order to pass. If you are 
getting passed on the hills, move over to give them some room. Stay 
out of the lane of oncoming traffic. Cars travel fast and can appear 
suddenly. Try not to pass on the right. If you must, give an "ON YOUR 
RIGHT" signal.


SHARE THE ROAD - Nearly all the roads we ride on carry auto traffic as 
well as bicycles. We are adamant about our right to ride these roads 
but we have an obligation to ride in a manner than keeps conflicts to 
a minimum. The vast majority of the drivers are considerate of bikers. 
We tend to focus on the few that we exchange words with before they 
speed into the distance. Try to remember the ones that stop so that 
you can make a left turn. Most of us also drive.

COMMUNICATION - Avoid shouting at motorists or using nonstandard hand
signals. I know, sometimes it is just too much to ask. But it doesn't 
help, and it can make enemies of the motorists.

RIDING DOUBLE - Riding two abreast is fine when the traffic is light 
and traffic can be seen well in advance. Sooner or later, a car will 
overtake the pack and the riders should be prepared to single up to 
allow the traffic by. The rider on the left should drop behind the 
rider on the right. The line of riders on the right will have to 
spread out to allow room for the riders moving in. This means the 
riders in the front must speed up and the riders in the rear slow up.

STAY IN YOUR LANE - Stay out of the lane of the oncoming traffic at 
all times. Cars approach too fast for safety and drivers do not expect 
a rider in their lane. Avoid riding three abreast for this reason. It 
places the rider on the left too close to the oncoming traffic. Stay 
out of the right hand turn lane when you are at an intersection 
waiting for the traffic to clear. This allows traffic to turn right 
while the pack is waiting for an opening.

SIGNAL TURNS - Riders should always signal turns. Let the traffic know
 what to expect. Signal like you mean it. Some rider's signals are so 
anemic that they could go unnoticed. All riders in a pack should 
signal. One or two people in a pack of twenty or so is not very 
convincing to drivers. It can lead to confusion.

LEFT TURNS - Left turns are one of the more dangerous maneuvers for a 
bike in traffic and should be done with care, following the rules of 
the road. Remember, the car behind is anxious to get around and may be 
tempted to pass. Begin the turn well in advance. Signal the turn and 
when the traffic behind is clear, move to the left hand side of the 
lane. Do not pull in front of a car expecting it to slow down for you. 
Stay on the left of the lane as you approach intersection and turn
 left when the oncoming traffic is clear. Before turning, glance over 
your left shoulder - a car may decide to pass you on the left as you 

PASSING CARS - Think twice any time you are tempted to pass a moving 
car, whether on the left or right. If a car is going slow enough to 
pass, it's probably going to do something other than go straight. It may 
turn into you as you pass. Be sure that you know what it will do 
before you pass. 
Riding to the front of a line of cars at a stop light and/or stop sign 
should be avoided. Ever notice how many people don't bother to signal? 
Cars can turn into you just as you start to pass. Another thing about 
passing cars at an intersection; those cars probably just passed you. 
Now they will have to re-pass you once you are through the 
intersection. A cyclist at the front can also slow up cars going 
through the intersection when the light turns green. Their patience 
may wear a bit thin in heavy traffic.

STOPPING - Every once in a while, the pack needs to pull over while
 someone adjusts a brake or visits nature. Move to the side of the road 
and out of the lane of traffic. There is no excuse for causing 
congestion when we are not even riding. This seems obvious, but a 
surprising number of people camp out in the lane of traffic when the 
pack comes to a stop.


Don't surprise pedestrians. When overtaking them (or other cyclists) 
call out "ON YOUR LEFT" (or RIGHT) well in advance. Be as polite as 
possible so that you don't sound like you are forcing them off the 
road. Let them know where you intend to go and then be ready for them 
to jump in front of you; sometimes they will. If the lead rider spots 
a pedestrian approaching the group on the same side of the road, they 
should call out "WALKER UP" so that the entire group is aware of the
 hazard. The group should move out from the right side of the road to
allow the pedestrian room to get by.



Observe all traffic laws. Your bicycle is legally considered a
 vehicle, so you're subject to the same traffic laws as the drivers of 
motorized vehicles.
Use hand and voice signals when turning or stopping.

  3. Ride with traffic. Motorists don't look for bicycles going the "wrong way".
When riding at night, state law requires you to have, at a minimum, a 
white front head lamp and a red rear reflector, each visible from a
 distance of 500 feet. It's also a good idea to have a red taillight or 
blinker and to wear reflective clothing and safety vests to increase 
visibility. Flashing lights are not legal headlights.
Look ahead for road hazards (glass, potholes, cracks, metal grates,
gravel, etc.) and call them out to other riders.

  6. Cross railroad tracks at a 90° angle.
Watch for car doors opening in your path.
If you stop for any reason, move yourself and your bicycle completely
 off the road or trail.
Pass on the left, and use a bell or your voice to alert others that 
you're passing.

  10. When there's traffic behind you, ride single-file so cars can pass.

  11. Always wear your Helmet!!!


As you become a more experienced rider, you will find that riding in a 
paceline is an exciting way to enhance your riding experience. In a
 paceline, the front rider breaks the wind, allowing the riders behind 
to draft him. By drafting the bicycle in front of you, you can reduce
 your energy output considerably. This has the effect of allowing the
 overall group to move faster than its riders could alone. While 
pacelines can be exciting and beneficial to everyone in the group, 
they can also be extremely dangerous. Since you are riding at a 
relatively high rate of speed only inches from the bicycle in front, 
you have very little time to react to any situations that may develop.

Tips for the Lead Rider in a Paceline


Ride smoothly at an even speed. On flat road your speed should be 
constant. If there is an incline in the road, your speed should 
decline slightly to keep the overall effort constant. Conversely, if
 there is a decline in the road, your speed should accelerate slightly.

  2. Avoid braking at the front of a paceline! If you find yourself 
approaching a pothole or other obstacle that you can't avoid, it is 
better to ride through it and risk a flat, than to use your brakes and 
cause a serious accident further back in the line.
  3. When assuming the front of a paceline, keep your speed smooth until 
the rider pulling off is able to get back in the line. If you are able 
to accelerate, do so smoothly and gradually so as not to cause a break 
in the line.

  4. It is the responsibility of the lead rider to steer the paceline clear 
of, and call out, any oncoming obstacles. This is especially important 
in a paceline where 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.

  5. Be aware of wind direction. If there is a cross wind from the left,
 you should move as far to the left as you safely can to allow the 
riders behind you to ride on the right.
Stay at the front only as long as you are comfortably able to maintain 
the pace. Do not feel the need to stay out front as long, or go quite 
as fast, as others may have. It is better to take a short pull and get 
off before bogging down the whole line.

  7. When you are finished with your pull and ready to get off the front 
you should first look over your shoulder to see if it is safe to move 
over. If it is clear, wiggle your arm to signal to the next rider that 
you are pulling off. The arm you wiggle signals the side that you want
 the other riders to pass you on. Keep pedaling as you move off the 
front. Don't slow your cadence until the following rider has begun to
 pull through.

  8. Try not to use your brakes. Try sitting up or moving out of the draft 
slightly to let the air resistance slow you. If you must brake, use
 your rear brake to smoothly slow yourself.

Tips for All Riders in a Paceline


Ride smoothly and keep the gap in front of you constant. Avoid any sudden moves.

  2. Try not to use your brakes. Try sitting up or moving out of the draft 
slightly to let the air resistance slow you. If you must brake,
 feather your rear brake to smoothly slow yourself.

  3. The distance that you keep between your front wheel, and the rear 
wheel of the rider in front of you, will depend on your experience and
 comfort level with the other riders. Very experienced riders who have 
ridden together a lot may keep this gap as small as a few inches. If 
you have less experience, or are riding behind riders that you are not 
familiar with, you should increase this gap to 1-2 feet or more.

  4. Keep your front wheel slightly offset from the rear wheel of the rider 
in front of you.
Look past the rider in front of you and up the road as much as
 possible. Avoid staring at the rear wheel in front of you as you will 
not be able to oncoming situations.

  6. When re-entering the paceline after pulling off the front, begin 
pedaling about 2-3 riders from the back to increase your speed and
 move smoothly back into the line. If you wait until you are at the
 back before you accelerate, you will have to jump to catch the back of 
the line.