The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a safe and enjoyable group ride. The document is separated into 3 sections: Calls to be made by riders, guidelines for Riders and guidelines for Leaders. The document makes the distinction between action that is Mandatory for the safety of the group, and Guidance based on advice from experienced CTC riders.

Calls – Mandatory

Car Front (or Car Down)Made by the Leader (or others near the front): a vehicle coming towards the group may be a hazard.
Car Back (or Car Up)Made by the Back Marker (or riders near the back) – a vehicle behind that may be overtaking.
Stopping / SlowingThe rider intends to Stop or Slow down.
Single file / Single outAn instruction from Leader or Back Marker. Mandatory move to single file riding to allow a car to overtake or because of a narrow road.
Car Left / RightTo warn of a car approaching. There may be a requirement to stop.
Open GapsA mandatory instruction from Leader or Back Marker to split into smaller groups to allow traffic to overtake safely. Typical group size is 5 riders, who will then need to self-discipline (with calls). The groups should be at least 5 car lengths apart.
ClearA courtesy call to assist riders in crossing an intersection.
Other advisory calls"To alert other riders of a Runner, Horse, Hole, Gravel, Puncture etc?(use appropriate hand signals as necessary)."
All Up!A call (often mandatory) made by the back marker to advise the leader that all riders are accounted for.

Guidelines for Riders

Please read and observe the following guidelines. These will add to your enjoyment and ensure everyone comes home safely. You have a duty to yourself, fellow riders and other road users.

Mandatory ActionExplanation
Obey the Highway Code – Stop at red lightsWSCTC prides itself on considerate and responsible cycling.
Adhere to instructions from the Leader or Back MarkerFollow their guidance for the safety of yourself and fellow riders.
Learn & use the calls (see table above).These are simple and help to ensure our safety
Use hand signals when turning and to point out hazardsBe considerate to other road users and the group
Guidance for RidersExplanation
Get your bike readyCheck that your bike is in sound condition, with tyres pumped.
Be preparedBring water, a phone, tools, spare tubes, next of kin details.
Put lights on your bikeThe ride may be delayed and return after dark. Consider using the lights during the day if riding in shadow or poor visibility.
MudguardsAs a courtesy to following riders, use mudguards in wet weather.
Wear appropriate clothingThink about the weather and visibility. We recommend a helmet and Hi Viz clothing.
Arrive in good timeFor the briefing.
Seek adviceWe have many experienced riders who will be only too pleased to advise on bikes, clothing, safety, repairs, good rides.


Guidelines for Leaders

Leaders must be registered (as leaders) and be paid up members of the CTC. Certain mandatory action is required to ensure essential CTC insurance. Your overall responsibility is to make sure everyone comes home safely.

Mandatory ActionExplanation
Plan the route in advancePlan a route that takes into consideration road conditions, group riding strength, weather, daylight hours and appropriate stops.
Appoint a Back MarkerAppoint a reliable & experienced rider to act as your eyes & ears and protect the group at the back. Count riders & advise back marker.
Sign up visitorsCTC insurance requires non-CTC riders to be registered for the ride.
Brief the GroupAt the start of the ride, briefly explain the route and coffee stop. Introduce the back marker, and warn the group of any likely hazards. Subject to traffic conditions split the ride into smaller groups.
Warning signalsUse hand signals and calls as appropriate.
Guidance to LeadersExplanation
Newcomers / visitorsAssign an experienced rider to stay with a visitor.
Signpost & Regroup as necessaryAsk a rider to stay and signpost if a change in direction – regroup at a safe location from time to time to ensure no rider is left behind. Use the opportunity for an additional briefing of any hazards ahead.
"Accidents?(Carry a first aid kit if qualified)"Read the detailed guidelines for action to be taken in the event of an accident (warning parties, call emergency services, protect the injured party – silver blanket for shock, apply first aid if qualified). Complete a CTC incident report upon return.
In heavy trafficIt is hazardous to undertake (filter through) stationary vehicles when in a group. Exercise caution when overtaking – cyclists may become “stranded” in the right hand lane. Stay back and be patient.
PuncturesAt least one experienced rider (who knows the destination) stays with the unfortunate cyclist. The group might welcome a break.
Post-ride debriefConduct a short review of remaining riders to get their views on the day and opportunities for improvement.

These guidelines can be downloaded as a PDF file from here.

A more detailed set of guidelines can be seen here