Club etiquette, guidance and advice
Club rules require the wearing of a helmet. This is also sensible; if you fall off or are knocked off your bike you are likely to impact your head and a helmet could be the difference between life and death. If you have a crash and the helmet takes any impact, it is sensible to replace it - even if you can't see any damage.
Hand and voice signals
Point out pot-holes, tree branches, piles of manure or other hazards to riders behind you by pointing down and to the left or right. Pointing down and waggling your fingers is used to indicate gravel or other slippery surface. Put your left arm behind you and point to the right to indicate a parked car or other hazard, likewise with your right hand.
Warn riders of cars coming towards you by shouting 'car front.' For a car coming up behind, shout 'car back.' If you hear that, move to your left and ride single file.
If you are slowing or stopping suddenly, shout 'slowing' or 'stopping' to warn riders behind you of what you are doing.
Club riders are expected to follow the Highway Code. Do not ride through red lights or on the pavement; wait at pedestrian crossings and red lights, use hand signals when turning. Overtaking on the inside (left), particularly when trucks or buses are turning left, is highly dangerous and is a factor in many fatalities. DO NOT DO IT.
Riding 2 abreast is acceptable if the road is wide enough; riding 3 abreast should be avoided. If the road narrows or there are cars, ride in single file. If riding in a group, riders should leave gaps between small groups of riders so that passing cars are able to leap-frog. Don't antagonise or abuse other road users.
Avoid 'wheel overlap' - where your front wheel overlaps with the rear wheel of the rider in front. Any slight movement - avoiding a pot-hole or tree branch, a gust of wind, etc - from either of you is likely to bring you both crashing down.
Hold your line
Keep to your line; don't veer all over the road or swerve about needlessly or suddenly pull out of a group. Your fellow riders need to be able to rely on you not to do something unexpected or stupid.
Also, avoid 'half-wheeling' - where you are riding in a group in pairs and one member of the front pair ups the pace, thus forcing the rest to chase and breaking up the group. Groups are stronger when they stay together.
Always wear (e.g. a wrist band) or carry something that clearly shows your name and the contact details of your next of kin, as well as any medical alerts or allergies. You can get an app for a smart-phone which shows your contact details on the home screen.
Punctures happen. Always carry a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump. Fellow club members will always assist you if you need help (with copious advice if help is not needed) but you are expected to carry your own spares and tools. Co2 pumps are effective but will generally only pump 1 tyre; if you have 2 punctures you'll still benefit from carrying a pump.
It is not compulsory to wear club kit (unless racing in club colours) but it is strongly encouraged and the famous Old Ports red train has been an impressive sight on the roads of Kent and surrounds for nearly 100 years. When wearing club kit remember that your kit is recognised - do not annoy, offend, antagonise or abuse other road users.
Enjoy your ride!
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