SPITFIRE Ride Etiquette


This mnemonic can be used as an aide-memoir to the key points to run through before a ride.

Safety Pre-Ride Briefing
Ride Leaders accept responsibility for leading the ride, and have a duty of care to reduce the chance of riders being exposed to any risk of injury as far as is practicable. Carry out necessary control measures but remind riders they are all responsible for their actions. Visually check that all riders have appropriate clothing given the weather condition and a properly fitted helmet etc. There is an element of personal responsibility for riders to perform an ‘M’ check and ensure their bike is roadworthy. Everyone should help the Ride Leader to make the group work efficiently and look out for their fellow riders. Headcount in and out.

Planning of Route
Ideally with low traffic volume. Consider scenic routes or destinations of interest given the weather, time of year, capability and experience of the group. Choose hilly or flat routes based upon the nature of the group and ride. Consider other events that are on the date planned that might run through the same roads.

Outline the route, distance, hills, surfaces and road types to be encountered, as well as known hazards, comfort and cafe stops. Make the average speed of the ride clear to all riders, checking the capabilities and expectations of the group before departure.

Decide on the process of rotation given the ability of the group. Remind as appropriate how to deal with hills (both climbing and desending), bends, gear selection and the transition between seated and standing. Also communicaste the choice of line, spacing, signalling and words of communication to be used. Any extra precautions as necessary given the weather and conditions expected during the ride, such as wind, slippery surfaces and the like.

Food and Drink
Make sure riders have appropriate nutrition given the length of ride. For anything over 90 minutes, riders should have food or gels and a second bottle. Decide on appropriate food stops, off the road, and ideally scenic.

Choose a safe place to stop in the event of a mechanical, in particular, avoiding bends, junctions and hazards where last of visibility to traffic could cause further issues. Assess the problem, decide whether to hold the ride or leave the affected rider with a helper. In the event of an injury or accident, the Ride Leader should make sure the parties are protected and provide appropriate warnings to other traffic. Then call for assistance, inform next-of-kin and/or arrange recovery as necessary. It is not a Ride Leader responsibility to administer first-aid, but kits are available from the Club required. HCC is required to complete a British Cycling incident form for all significant incidents.

Ride Position
It is not necessary for the ride leader to be on the front for the entire ride. It may be the best position when there are sections of more complex route or narrow lanes to negotiate. Or when it might be required to single-out to facilitate traffic passing or reduce risk to the group. The best position is often in the middle, on the right-hand side where visibility is best. On long hills it may be appropriate to be back marker, so as to count in the group. If rotating, take a natural position within the group.

This is not just cycling etiquette but to other road users. Make sure the group is a manageable size do aid flow of over-taking traffic. Thank as a driver where appropriate and be respectful of other road users at all times. Avoid confrontations with other road users if possible, even if they are at fault. Obey all traffic lights, lane markings and Highway Code instruction. We are representing HCC.

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