RIDER GUIDELINES FOR CHARLES RIVER WHEELMEN RIDES
This information is for riders new to the club or new to group riding, and describes what to expect on our rides, and what is expected of riders. Riding in a group is very different than riding on your own or with a few friends, and we ask that you pay close attention to the recommendations below. We wish to increase your enjoyment of the ride as well as promote safe riding.
CRW Safety Policy
The CRW promotes safe, courteous, and lawful cycling practices. CRW members are expected to cycle in a safe, courteous, and lawful manner when participating in CRW rides, and to encourage the same among fellow members and CRW guests.
Before the Ride
Read the ride announcement carefully and make sure that you are prepared for the distance and terrain as described. Contact the ride leader if you have questions.
Helmets are required on CRW rides. They should be properly adjusted and secured.
You should be able to fix a flat if you have one and should carry a pump or CO2 cartridge, a spare tube and/or patch kit and tire irons. If you've never fixed a flat and don't know how to, consider taking a course such as the AMC Bicycle Repair workshop, or courses offered by local bike shops.
It's a good idea to carry tools to make minor adjustments,. The basic tools required to fix most things on modern bikes are 4,5 and 6 millimeter Allen wrenches and 8, 9, and 10 millimeter wrenches. A universal tool, available at your local bike shop, has all these, as well as a chain tool, which is very handy to have should your chain break.
Carry some form of identification, along with the number of someone to contact in case of emergency. If you have a cell phone, you can program that number under the name ”ICE” which responders are trained to look for. It is also useful to bring along your health insurance ID, some money and a credit card.
Bring sufficient water or energy drink to stay hydrated over the course of the ride. You can either use water bottles attached to the bike or a hydration pack, such as a Camelbak.
At the Ride Start
All our rides have one or more start times listed in the calendar. This is the time that the ride will actually start, i.e., riders leave on their bikes. You should plan on arriving at least 15 minutes before the start time to allow time for assembling your bike, signing the Release Form (and Minor Release Form if appropriate) if not a member, listening to the pre-ride talk, etc. Arriving late is not fair to the ride leaders and the other riders.
When there is a large group, the riders will be staggered. The ride leader will generally announce that the faster riders should leave first with others to follow in stages. Please cooperate so we can achieve the desired result of spreading out the riders.
Riding in Groups
Maintain a safe distance between you and other riders, and adjust the distance between you and other riders depending on terrain and speed. On downhill at high speed, it is especially difficult to slow down or to stop, and you should maintain a significantly larger gap. Unless it’s an emergency, slow down gradually and give plenty of advanced notice. Don't stop short in front of another rider.
Riding in a large cluster increases the risk of crashes and makes it difficult for motorists or other cyclists to pass. Try to break into smaller groups (4 to 6 at most). Motorists can more easily pass a smaller group.
Do not use a portable music player, like an iPod. It reduces your awareness of traffic and your ability to hear signals and warnings from other riders. In fact, it makes little sense to ride with a group if you are going to completely ignore everyone else while listening to music.
At all times exercise civility on the road, even when motorists are less than gracious. Motorists notice courtesy, and it helps make the roads safer for all cyclists.
When riding in a group, it is not a good idea to use aero bars, since this reduces your ability to quickly react. Similarly, riding on aero bars on rough pavement is risky since you have a lot less ability to avoid potholes or to recover after hitting one.
When in a paceline, ride in a predictable way, without sudden swerving or slowing. Scan the road far enough ahead to have time to avoid hazards gracefully. If you can't gracefully avoid potholes, ride over them.
When riding in a paceline, do not ride with your front wheel ahead of the back of the leading rider's rear wheel. If the front rider swerves or turns, you will likely crash.
Riding in Traffic
Never call out “clear.” It is each rider’s individual responsibility to verify that the traffic conditions are safe. What is safe for the person in front of you may not be safe for you, and you are responsible for your own safety. Proceed across an intersection only when you have determined that it is safe to do so..
Be aware that a passing motorist could turn across your path at an intersecting roadway or driveway.
Be aware of other vehicles and try not to obstruct their progress unless safety considerations dictate otherwise. On quiet roads with little traffic, you can ride two abreast, but you should pull into single file whenever a motorist approaches. Each member of the group is responsible for being aware of traffic and being considerate.
Many riders use a rear-view mirror, either a small one attached to the rider’s helmet or glasses, or a handlebar-mounted one. Being able to check traffic behind you with the help of a mirror is good safety practice. Looking back, however, can be more reliable since using a mirror creates blind spots.