Club Rides are NOT Races. All members are expected to treat them appropriately. This is to ensure that all rides remain safe but still enjoyable at all times. It is essential that everyone follows a set of rules, the club is not responsible for your safety; everyone on the ride must be responsible for their own safety and by their behaviour ensure the safety of other club members and road users. Always remember that not everyone in the group may be as confident or have the bike handling skills that you have.

Ride Etiquette


Follow the Highway Code at all times – It applies to all road users.

It is mandatory that well fitted cycling helmets are worn at all times during club rides and events.

Ensure that your bike is roadworthy, the brakes are fully operational and tyres are at the correct pressure for road conditions and weather. When riding in wet conditions, it is recommended that mudguards are fitted to protect yourself and the person riding behind you from any spray that can be hazardous.

Make sure you have an adequate repair kit – it is recommended to carry the following: puncture repair kit, tyre levers, inner tubes, pump/CO2 and multi-tool including chain tool.

Ensure you have a helmet, waterproof jacket, food, water/energy drink, money, mobile phone & contact details in the event of an emergency, always use the ID dog tags recommended by Octagon Cycling Club.

Dress accordingly for the weather conditions. Always check the weather forecast before riding.

  • It is recommended that all riders have a working rear LED light with fully charged batteries, hi-viz/bright clothing at all times.

  • Under 16 riders must accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • When conditions permit, cycle a maximum of two-abreast in parallel lines.

  • Focus on keeping the group neat and tidy, if the group size over 10, split the riders into two groups, trying to maintain a gap of 150meters at all times, allowing other road users the chance to pass.

  • Ride directly behind the rider in front of you, with a maximum of 60cm from your front wheel to the rear wheel of the rider in front. There should also be 30/45cm from your shoulders to the rider beside you.

  • The lead cyclist should navigate and point out hazards in the road by either shouting or using hand signals, preferably both. Listen to them and act on the calls and signals, this should then be relayed from the front/back of the group.

  • Be prepared to ride single file on small busy roads. The inside rider at the front should speed up to create space for outside riders to fill-in, in the event of meeting traffic. There should be no need to brake whilst singling out.

  • Riders at the back of the group to shout “Car Back - Single File”, if there are any vehicles approaching from behind. Listen and act upon their calls, don’t look back and check yourself as you will move off your line and could cause an accident. Relay the call forward through the group.

  • Riders at the front of the group to shout “Car Up, Single File”, if there are any vehicles approaching the front of the group. Listen and act upon their calls. Do not look behind, hold your line. Relay the call backwards through the group.

  • Ride directly behind the rider in front, if the inside rider behind cycles in the middle of the two wheels in front they will push the cyclist on the outside into the path of oncoming vehicles.

  • Keep your brakes covered/in reach when appropriate but always when riding in close formation.

  • Brake gently and smoothly as safely as you can when riding in the group, calling out either “slowing” or “stopping”.

  • When riding on the front keep pedaling, especially when riding downhill. If the lead rider freewheels, all riders behind will have to brake.

  • Talk to the rider next to you. But do not lose concentration on what is happening around you. Point out with hand signals and shouts all potholes, manhole covers and other dangers that could cause a puncture or accident. Follow the hand signals and calls from the front riders as they would have seen the potential danger before you, then you must communicate back down the pack with clear signals.

  • If you are at the back of the group and you or someone else is being dropped, it is your responsibility to call the rider in front by shouting “easy-up” this indicates that the pace is too high and the group needs to slow to allow them to catch up. This must be communicated through the pack to the lead rider. The lead cyclist will not be aware if you start to fall behind.

  • When asked to “ease-up”, do not brake suddenly, reduce your speed by pedaling less hard or freewheeling for a moment. Look at your speedo – if someone is being dropped you probably only need to reduce your speed by 1mph to allow them to catch up and stay in contact with the group.

  • Keep the pace smooth and constant, keeping the pack as a compact unit.

  • Check over your shoulder for other riders and/or traffic before moving out to the right.

If you are on the front, remember other riders are following your call and signals. Stop at T-junctions and only pull-out when it is safe for the entire group to make the move. If you decide to pull out on a junction or roundabout, you need to call “clear” or “wait” to warn the group of hazards, always look both ways for yourself.

If you are feeling tired, let other members of the group know. You may be able to shelter within the pack or they may need to slow down to get you home safely. Remember accidents happen when riders are tired and lose concentration.

Try to cycle with confidence. If you’re nervous you will tense up and become less likely to be able to respond to things quickly. Be assertive.

If you puncture shout “puncture”. This should be relayed around the group. Ease down slowly so the rider behind does not hit you. Get your bike of the road to replace the tube.

  • It is recommended to have spare tubes when riding in a group as this takes less time to replace than trying to repair.

  • Actively encourage fellow riders to follow these guidelines during every ride.

  • Ask before you ride whether there is a First Aider in the group there are several members that are.


  • Do not overlap wheels, or nudge between the wheels of the rider in front of you, this could cause a clash of wheels.

  • Do not ride off the front, remember this is a group ride. If you want a fast ride then there will be a faster group, so choose which one you want to ride with, be sure you can maintain the pace of the group you choose.


  • Do not make any sudden moves or change of direction, remember the rider behind you is following your wheel, they need to be able to trust you.


  • Do not only focus on the wheel in front, be aware of everything that is going on around you. Look ahead and listen.


  • Do not use Tri-Bars when riding in a group.


  • Do not accelerate up the side of the group except in an emergency. Shout up the pack to communicate with the front riders. If you need to get to the front, then always check in front and behind before you make your move.


  • Do not pull out at junctions or roundabouts without looking first do not rely on a shout from other riders always look as well.


  • Do not split away from the group without telling the other riders.


  • Do not speed up when approaching a climb. If you are stronger on the hills remember to wait for others to catch up, try to keep the group together.


  • Do not sprint to road signs, this practice is not recommended on today’s busy roads. If you need sprint training then do this on your own.


  • Do not signal drivers to pass you or the group, let them make their own decision.


  • Do not take a toilet stop in front of the other riders or of the opposite sex. Make sure the group knows you need to stop in advance.



  • Car up/ Car back” be prepared to go to single file if needed.

  • Hole” shouts, combined with a signal to the right or left.

  • Slowing” Combined with a hand signal.

  • Stopping” shouts, watch for riders in front stop peddling.

  • Wait” shouts, normally at junctions and roundabouts.

  • Clear” Normally at junctions or roundabout. Always look before you go.

  • On the left/right” shouts, be prepared to pull out to pass or avoid the obstacle.

  • Single out/single file” be prepared to go to single file promptly. The rider at the front to accelerate and others pull in. There should be no need to brake.

Hand signals

  • Arm out to the left or right indicates turning whichever way.

  • Arm in the air signals a rider is slowing or needs to stop.


  • Pointing down to the road on the left or the right means

  • there is a hazard such as a pot hole or manhole.


  • Left arm signaling behind back, the rider is about to move to into the road. e.g. to pass a parked car or an obstacle on the nearside of the road.

Please follow these guidelines to help keep yourself and fellow riders safe.

Be considerate to all other road users and uphold and promote the reputation of Octagon Cycling Club.

Most of all enjoy your riding either with OCC or on your own.

Created by cyclists for cyclists