Club members shall:
- have due regard for their own safety, the safety of other riders in the group, and the safey of other road users;
- be familiar with the safety requirements below;
- be familair with RSA cycling guidance;
- obey the group captain on all club spins;
- not half-wheel at any time;
- never ride more than two abreast;
- call all hazards when riding at the front;
- remain courteous to others at all times when cycling.
Remember that, when out and about in WCCC kit, members represent the club and their club mates, and therefore each member is a club ambassador. Members, use this power wisely, and don't let it get to your head.
For the safety of yourself, other riders, and other road users, members are asked to obey the following:
When cycling in group formation, whether two abreast or single file, maintain a straight line, without sudden changes in direction or pace. All actions should be predictable as much as possible.
Half-wheeling (overlapping wheels with the rider in front) is a no-no. It is dangerous, annoying, and screws up the group formation and tempo.
While drafting, it is prudent to follow a line several centimetres to one side of the rider in front (preferably the leeward side). This allows some space to manoeuvre if the rider in front brakes suddenly. Of course, all riders should avoid sudden braking. But, just in case, move slightly to one side, without messing up the line. Keeping slightly to one side also permits a better view of what is happening ahead. When we say slightly, we mean a few centimetres. Not metres.
Riders at the front are obliged to use vocal and hand signals to indicate turns, braking and stopping.
Lead riders are obliged to warn of all hazards, including potholes, gravel, poor surfaces, debris, gullies, pedestrians, speed ramps, animals, parked vehicles, ice, and large puddles (because there could be a submerged pothole).
On narrower roads, lead riders should verbally warn of oncoming vehicles using the 'car on' call. Riders at the rear should similarly warn of vehicles behind using the 'car back' call. While many clubs use 'car down' and 'car up' in this regard, these calls are not intuitive. Some clubs appear to use up/down calls in reverse order, and in groups consisting of riders from mixed clubs (eg. sportives), it can all get messy. We think 'car on' and 'car back' are more intuitive.
Riders in the group are obliged to pass on all signals and warnings to those further back.
If you brush against another rider, don't panic. Simply move away gently without sudden moves. Unless he/she stinks, in which case move away as fast as possible.
When getting out of the saddle (eg. on a climb), your bike may move suddenly backwards, causing an accident. Try to eliminate this backwards movement as much as possible, chiefly by coming off the saddle only during a strong downstroke. For this reason, riders should also allow a small space to develop between them and the rider in front on climbs. Drafting is less relevant on climbs in any case.
When the group is going downhill, lead riders should ensure that they maintain a sufficient pace, in order to avoid frantic braking manoeuvres behind. Remember, the riders behind will tend to move faster than the lead riders.
Road cyclists are a funny bunch. We have strong opinions about what's cool and what's not. To avoid becoming the victim of a serious bitching session, obey the following protocols:
Take your turn at the front. If you are absolutely wrecked, it is OK to stay near the back where you can draft along, but make sure you inform the captain.
When moving up to take your turn at the front, do so smoothly. Any sudden sprint when moving to the front will be seen as an attack, and will result in serious grumbling among the troops.
At the front, maintain the pace consistently. When the group has two lines, adopt the pace of the rider you followed up the line, and who now rides beside you. When the group is following a single file formation, you may have to use your speedometer to maintain the right pace. You may also need to glance over your shoulder now and then to ensure you have not dropped the group (because you're such a powerful rider of course).
When in formation, do not allow a gap to develop between you and the rider in front. This issue probably irks club cyclists more than any other. While you may be happy to forego the big energy savings available through drafting, the rider sitting on your wheel may not be so inclined. Your drafting of the rider in front also benefits the riders behind. So no gaps please.
If you are struggling to stay on the wheel of the rider in front, wave the rider behind through. This reduces the possibility of gaps developing. Just because you are a wuss does not mean the rider behind should get dropped by the bunch too.
Experienced riders should discreetly point out any mistakes that newer riders are making, and only towards the end of the ride. After all, experienced riders were once novices too. And remember, before critizing another rider, cycle 1 km on their bike. That way, when you criticize, you will be 1 km away, and you'll have their bike.
And a few final thoughts:
Thank courteous drivers with a wave.
Greet other cyclists with a wave too.
If you have an impending shnot or spit or some other similarly disgusting requirement, hold it until it is safe to eject. Preferably when you are at the back of the group, and there are no cars behind. And try not to get it all over your WCCC kit.