Central Oregon Wheelers

Introduction to Riding with the Club

Riding with a group of fellow cyclists on a Club ride has many benefits but is also accompanied by individual rider responsibilities. Please ride safely, show up for the ride on time, and bring along provisions that will enable you to complete the ride. 

A link to the ODOT Booklet  to help bicyclists understand how to ride safely and legally on the streets, roads and highways of Oregon.

Wheelers Rider Requirements

  • Helmets are required on all rides: ASTM, CPSC or Snell approved.
  • Riders who are not COWS member must join as a guest for free online (one-time use).
  • Arrive early. Rides leave at the time stated in the ride description. Please arrive 10 minutes prior to the ride to allow yourself time to prepare.
  • Bring along a bottle (or two) of water to stay hydrated.
  • Bring along an energy bar or other food.
  • Bring a tire pump, tools, and a spare tube. Know/learn how to fix a flat - don't make the ride leader be your bike mechanic.
  • Bring some cash, you never know. Also many rides include a stop for refreshments.
  • Carry some sort of identification, like RoadID or create something with your name, address, an emergency contact, and medical problems or medications. 

Guidelines for Riding with a Group

Cycling with a group is a lot of fun and you are more visible to motorists than riding solo. However, group riding can have its own risks. Follow these practices and it should be smooth sailing.

Be Predictable: Group riding requires extraordinary attention to cycling in a very predictable manner.  Others expect you to consistently ride in a straight line, at a constant speed, and to clearly signal changes.  Pedal continuously at a cadence and speed that are consistent with those around you.

Communicate: Communication is a requirement of safe cycling.  Participants make a positive contribution to a ride when they provide respectful feedback, reminders and instructive dialogue regarding cycling etiquette and safety.  It is incumbent on all of us to offer courteous input regarding mistakes and riding habits that are dangerous. 

Change Positions Correctly: If you want to pass, do so on the left and say, "On your left!" to warn the cyclists ahead that you are passing.  Sprinting around the group while a car is trying to pass is dangerous.

Announce Hazards: When riding in a group many cyclists may not have a good view of the road surface ahead because of the riders in front of them.  It is important to indicate hazards by pointing to them and by shouting "Hole!" or "Glass!" or “Rock!” etc.  As cars approach shout, "Car back!" or "Car up!" and then quickly move into single file as far to the right as is reasonable.

Watch the Pace: A group ride, by definition, is designed to accommodate a range of abilities.  Although it is natural for groups to form, no one should be intentionally dropped.  When riding near others, adjust your speed to maintain your position and help keep the group together.  Resist the temptation at the front of the group to speed up; maintain a constant tempo or level of effort.  Likewise, if an individual or the paceline is surging, say, "Easy!" to moderate the pace.  It may be best to let those that are surging to go.

Regroups: Help maintain group cohesiveness and camaraderie.  As a courtesy, the last cyclist to join the regroup should determine when the group restarts the ride.  Faster riders are encouraged to take turns as “sweep,” for those who fall off the back.

Keep the Group Informed: If you decide to leave the group and ride on your own, inform the ride leader, or another rider, so that people don’t waste time looking for you.

Stop Signs & 4-Way Stops: Use hand signals and a loud voice to let other riders know that you are slowing and stopping.  Follow traffic laws by yielding to vehicles that stop first.  Those at the back of the group must not develop a tendency to follow the leader through intersections. Each rider is responsible for his or her own safety; don’t follow the herd. Riders cannot assume the intersection is clear for the whole group.  Proceed in small groups. Communicate your intentions to motorists.

Move Fully Off the Road When You Stop: Insure individual and group safety, and do not interfere with traffic.

Leave a Gap for Cars: When riding up hills or on narrow roads where you are impeding faster traffic, leave a gap between every two to five bicycles so that motorists can take advantage of shorter passing intervals.  If five or more vehicles accumulate behind the group, pull over at the next safe pull out, and allow the vehicles to pass as required in the Oregon Vehicle Code.

Provide Camaraderie and Support: Remember we are a social recreational bicycle club.  Watch out for your fellow cyclist before, during and after the ride.  Help make newcomers feel welcome by introducing yourself.  Don’t immediately spin off to join up with your old cycling buddies. Instead, spend a portion of the ride with the new cyclist. 

Real life methods to avoid getting hit

This webpage suggests some real life methods to avoid getting hit.  How to Avoid Getting Hit by a Car

Cycling Questions you are too afraid to ask

Here is an interesting blog compliments of the Boulder Cycling Club that provides answers to some rather interesting questions. Check it out

An Introduction to Pacelines 

Pacelines are clearly not for everyone and in fact if you have never been on one, we encourage you not to join in on one without proper schooling.  If you are curious about them, here is an interesting introduction to pacelines -- compliments of the Boulder Cycling Club.  An Introduction to Pacelines

Central Oregon Wheelers is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization.

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