As a fair few of us organising rides around here use it (obviously the specifics are just for my rides but the general gist is used by many), I thought I might as well move it over:
Abridged version for the hard of reading:
PLEASE TRY NOT TO CRASH.
DON'T RIDE LIKE A TIT IF IT WILL AFFECT OTHERS ON THE RIDE.
If you are behind the leader when he comes to a junction, stop, mark the direction taken for the rest of the group and move on again when the nominated tail ender arrives.
Ride your own ride.
More for those who like a little more organisation:
(I wont call them rules cos its up to you, but heres a few simple ways to make things run smoothly)
Before you get there.
- LET THE ORGANISER KNOW YOU ARE COMING. It means they can let YOU know if its off/postponed/moved/running late...
If you want to go but can't make it, let the organiser know as if it looks like nobody is interested they won't bother organising any more.
- Make sure you have the ride leaders mobile number (mine is in my profile). Text message is the prefered method of contact as a reply can be made without removing helmet etc. The main exceptions are in the event of an emergency or a breakdown when the fact it is a call not a text alerts the leader to the fact it is something urgent.
- If you are going to be late or not going to make it, please have the decency to text the organiser and let them know so the ride isn't held up waiting for people who aren't coming.
- Bring a copy of the route if it is available to you, and a map (or at least familiarise yourself with the route/area, using a map beforehand) so if for any reason you do split from the group you can continue alone.
- Make sure your bike is in a good enough condition to make the distance. A ride truncated by your poor maintenance is no fun for anyone.
- Try to arrive with a full tank, or fill up on arrival at the start point if possible.
- Like your mum said, make sure you go before you go.
On the road.
If you are second on the road, don't sit right up the leaders arse (or anyone else's for that matter). There is no need for it and it pisses them off!
Give everyone some space.
The Marker System
The system is designed so anyone from a racer to a novice can follow a great route as worked out by the ride leader, possibly on unfamiliar roads, without the hassle of trying to navigate yourself as the route will be marked for you.
It is designed so all ride attendees can and positively should ride at a pace they are comfortable with, be that fast, slow or somewhere in between.
It is not designed to provide a "group" ride where all attendees stick together in one big gaggle riding to the pace of the slowest rider. If you choose to slow down to ride the route with a slower rider, or ride in a mini "gaggle" of similar paced riders that is fine, but the social part of the ride is primarily during the breaks for food, fuel and drink along the way.
The idea is not to keep up, but to follow the route at your own pace. Any pressure felt to keep up is purely self induced and quite frankly if you do not have the common sense and willpower to know when enough is enough for you then you really are not welcome on the ride. ALL riders are welcome, as long as they are safe. If you are riding out of your comfort zone to keep up you are not safe, hence not welcome.
How the system works:
THE SYSTEM RELIES ON YOU TO DO YOUR BIT SO PLEASE GET THE FOLLOWING STRAIGHT IN YOUR HEAD.
It requires a leader, a tailender, and the riders(you!).
- The leader - is familiar with the route, and follows it. He should carry a mobile in case of problems on route. He should point out to the first person behind him where to sit to be best positioned to mark each junction.
- The tailender - is ideally familiar with the route also, but doesn't have to be. They will stay at the back for the entire ride and will be pointed out at the beginning of the ride. (They may wear a fluro vest to make them obvious). The tailender is exactly that, everyone else stays in front of them, so they should move the junction marker on once they arrive, this also ensures there is no confusion as to who is the rear bike.
They should carry a mobile with the leaders number in case of problems on route.
If anyone drops out of the group the tailender should stop with them and find out what is going on.
If there is a problem they should get in touch with the leader, or if they are just stopping for a pee wait with them so the marker stays in place at the next junction.
- The riders - at any point the route deviates from the strip of tarmac in front, the first of the riders behind the leader will stop to mark the way at the junction in a place prominent to the rest of the following group.
THEY MUST NOT MOVE UNTIL THE TAILENDER ARRIVES.
If it seems like you have waited ages, wait some more. If they still haven't arrived, phone the leader as he may have heard from them.
Once the tailender has arrived, the junction marker can then work their way carefully back towards the front. Overtaking is encouraged, but please be courteous!
If anyone sees someone making dangerous overtakes (repeatedly - we all make mistakes sometimes) point it out to the leader, who will have a quiet word. If they carry on they will be asked to leave.
Meanwhile the group all move forward one, so number two, becomes number one behind the leader so marks the next junction.
If riders are going to drop off the back of the group (behind the tail ender), they must inform the tailender what's going on so the ride leader does not wait for them unnecessarily at the next break.
- Occasionally the system fails. This is an unavoidable fact of life. Smile. Get over it.
If the system fails and you get split from the ride, text the ride leader to find where to meet up.
Next to your own personal safety, and definitely more important, should come consideration towards others in the group.
So please follow these few simple points:
- Do not ride above your ability/limits to try and keep up. There will be a bike waiting for you at the next junction to show you where to go. Do not feel you are holding the group up. You are not. Riding fast is tiring, so marking junctions is a welcome break for those quicker than you.
- There will also be regular stops for a breather/fag break during which you can catch up safely. (Just because we have pulled over for a couple of minutes it doesn't mean we are having a fag break tho! -if the leaders lid is still on, he ain't planning on stopping)
- Do not get pushed along by a faster bike behind you. Move over and let them through. Also do not ride harder than you feel comfortable/are safe too to keep up with others. Only play hard with people you know and trust. Slower riders, beware you may be holding up a faster rider and move over, let them past.
- If you are the faster bike, don't make stupid manoeuvres to get past (especially passing them on the left! ). Wait till they let you through, or find a safe place to get past.
Faster riders, please give plenty of room when passing and only go for a safe clean pass.
- It doesn't matter whether you ride like a foggy or a fanny, just go at your own pace.
- Its not a race and you wont get left behind. Just cos you cant see the bike in front doesn't mean you've got to ride like a loon to catch it up again. Take it steady, someone will be waiting somewhere.
- If everyone follows these simple ideas we can all enjoy a cracking ride, and have a good chat at the destination.
- If you bring along some friends, who may have not read this, please brief them on what is expected.