Some Tips for the Outdoor Cycling Season

Group Ride Etiquette and Rules

Riding safely in a group requires everyone to think and ride as one.  All of our group rides are an opportunity for members and potential members to share a portion of the ride together. Experienced team members have the opportunity to greet, welcome and assist new members.  Inexperienced members will benefit from the knowledge of the group and have the opportunity to increase their fitness, bike handling skills and overall confidence.

General Expectations:

“Leave no one behind” –No one is to be “dropped” from the group.  Our team has clearly established “re-grouping” points along regular ride routes towards Headingley.  We will establish re-grouping points prior to rides that take an alternate route. These locations are intended to ensure that all bikes are mechanically sound, that riders are not in any type of peril, to allow club leaders to ensure that everyone is accounted for and to provided a workout plan that will meet the needs of the majority of the group. In the case of a mechanical at any point during a ride, in order to remain warm, riders are encouraged to either wait it out, or safely loop back and/or around the riders providing assistance until the group is ready to proceed together.

Controlled pace – The route that team takes out of the city is expected to be used as a warm up prior to the main workout set.  The speed of the group will not exceed 30km/hr until we reach the workout staging area just past the Perimeter overpass.  At this point depending on the workout, individuals or small groups may branch off to complete their set, with the understanding that they will re-group at the Gravel road before Beaudry Park.

Drafting – By riding closely behind another cyclist or in a group, and taking turns leading the group, everyone benefits from a reduction of wind resistance.  Riding through the city and park riders should maintain a single file line in order to be tolerated by traffic and to safely negotiate our potholed streets. This will allow the group to remain together and strong through the city and teach inexperienced riders group riding etiquette and cycling confidence. Once out of the city, depending on the workout we may switch to a single or double paceline to benefit from drafting. When drafting you should always be behind the rider in front of you and NEVER overlap wheels.

Communication – When you see an obstacle in the road ahead of you, point your hand down at the obstacle as early as possible to let the other riders in the line know an obstacle is forthcoming. Lead riders will point out the obstacle and steer the group as gently as possible around it.  The key to successful group riding is trusting that the rider in front of you will not steer their bike into a hole but rather will signal the obstacle in a timely fashion. If you do find yourself stuck in a parallel crack on the road or riding through a hole, keep your wheel pointed straight ahead and ride it out.

There are many valuable details also posted on the Tribalistic Triathlon Team Blog site that relate to group riding dynamics on the road such as pacelines, peeling off, changing positions, filling gaps, pulling through, adjusting speed, climbing and descending. All of these points will be rehearsed and promoted throughout the season.

Points to remember: No aerobars when riding in a group or in the city. Obey the rules of the road, this means stopping at lights. Ensure you have materials to change and inflate your own flat tires (this includes the skills/knowledge). Bring enough fluids and fuel and clothing.  Be aware of the group and act in a way that promotes positive group dynamics


These rules are intended to set safety standards for group rides.

1. Wear a helmet and protective eyewear.

2. Be predictable with all your actions. Maintain a steady straight line and avoid

braking or changing direction suddenly.

3. Three or more in a group will ride no more than two abreast.

4. Pass on the left.

5. Ride overlapped only if your handlebars are past the seat of the other rider.

6. Use aero bars only if no one is riding in front of you.

7. When standing out of the saddle, always pedal while simultaneously standing up to

avoid a lag in momentum.

8. Signal to others: point to a hole or obstacle; wave back to signal the group is

approaching a slower rider or a parked car; sweep an open hand in a line to signal

a crack or tar snake; straight arm right to signal a right turn; straight arm left to

signal a left turn; bent elbow with either open hand to signal slow down or stop.

9. Do not hop hazards and obstacles; instead, slow down, avoid the obstacle and

signal to others.

10. Tell the coach or another team member if you are leaving a club workout.

11. Don’t leave anyone alone if they have a mechanical or health problem.

12. Ensure your equipment is reliable and that you are self sufficient.

13. No head phones.

14. Use a fender in the rain.

15. If you get a flat in the middle of the pack, raise your hand, yell out “flat”, and hold

your line until everyone has passed.

16. Avoid leaving gaps when following wheels

17. Riding formation: Riders should pair off in 2 by 2 formation. You should not sit

directly on the wheel of the rider in front. Try to maintain about a 30cm – 60cm

distance off the rear of and slightly off to the side of the rider in front.

The reason you offset slightly is to get better vision down the line, giving you more

time to react to any problems. The roll over procedure is simple. The two front

riders, on a safe section of road, move out approximately a meter. This will leave a

gap for the following two riders to move through. The two riders rolling over will

simultaneously wave the following riders through. They then soft pedal until the

bunch has passed them, whereby they slot in at the rear.

Pace line: The formation is similar to a chain, where the rolling off the front occurs

at speed by the lead rider. The way the rider rolls off is usually dependent upon the

direction of the wind. The rider always rolls off to the side the wind is coming from.

In the case of a head or tail wind rolling off to the left towards the gutter is generally

the best way.

The rider rolling off immediately starts soft-pedaling dropping speed. The rider

coming through does not pick up speed. Those riders not able or wanting to join

the pace line should stay slightly off the back of the line containing the riders

coming off the front. You will get good cover here, plus not disrupt the riders in the

pace line.

Equipment to Bring

Saddle Bag, inner tubes, patch Kit, phone, Hex tool, Tire levers, Inflation tool, Front and rear blinking lights, Water bottles

Dressing for the ride

Check the weather before you go out. Wear more than you think as it’s always cooler on the bike with the wind that is produced. Layers can vary, and this could be an entire book. Best to ask an experienced member or one of the coaches for tips!