- Group Riding responsibilities
- How to ride in a group
- Supported / self supported
- Groups stick together
- You are responsible
- Club Etiquette
- Winter Riding
BMCC Group Rides cater for a wide range of abilities and fitness levels.
Over the course of the weekend there will be some faster rides and some slower ones; some with a designated ride leader and some without; some suitable for beginners and some in which experience is assumed and is indeed a prerequisite.
We encourage you to read the explanation below before joining one of our rides as rides are safer and more enjoyable if all people on them are at a similar level.
Group riding is a wonderful experience for anyone who cycles regularly.
A well organised group can nearly always travel further and faster than an individual cyclist and it’s always nicer sitting in a café with your friends than caking alone.
But, riding in close proximity to other cyclists does bring inherent risks and the information below on safety, etiquette, kit and bikes, which applies to all rides whether supported or self-supported, is designed to minimise these
Whilst it goes without saying that riding alone you are responsible for your own safety, when riding in a group, you also carry a degree of responsibility for the other group members.
In addition to this, all cyclists are ambassadors for the wider cycling community and, whilst riding in a Mitre group, are more specifically ambassadors for the club.
We treat all other road users with respect and courtesy be they other cyclists, pedestrians, motorists or horses. We also always obey the highway code.
How to ride in a group
A pdf guide with top tips how to ride in a group
Supported or not?
On these rides, the whole group sticks together and nobody gets dropped. If you are unable to keep up, one of the ride leaders or an experienced member may take you out of the group and ride with you back to Brighton at a pace you are able to manage.
Please carefully choose the ride you wish to join so that you are confident with the pace and distance as it is far more enjoyable and safer for everyone if the ride stays together.
While the intention is to keep these rides together, if a rider is unable to keep the pace then they might find themselves riding home alone. With this in mind, it is vital that riders take personal responsibility to know the route and have the correct kit and adequate food and water to complete the ride alone.
GPX files for every route are available on the website and will usually also be publicised on the Facebook page a day or so before the ride takes place.
Groups Stick together
The group works most efficiently when it stays together and rides at a constant pace which is impossible if one or two faster riders decide to shoot to the front and race up every incline.
On larger hills then it’s normal for everyone to go at their own pace and regroup at the top.
If you want to ride faster than the group is doing then make sure you let other riders know that you intend to go off the front on your own, otherwise people might assume that you’re lying injured somewhere further back and retrace their steps to look for you.
Obviously this means that there are weeks when you’ll be riding slightly more slowly than you’d like and others when you’ll have the pleasure of being towed around behind riders slightly faster than you – just enjoy both for the experience they are.
You are responsible for yourself and your bike
Saturday rides are not supported and the groups do not have a formally designated ride leader so it is important that you are self-sufficient and, worst case scenario, could get yourself home unaided from a fairly remote location.
That said, whether you ride with the social group or the racing snakes, we would never intentionally leave anyone out there in distress so if you or your bike is in a bad way then make sure you let one of the more experienced riders know about it at the earliest possible opportunity.
That way you can assess whether you’re OK to continue and, if need be, come up with a plan for your safe return even if that means somebody else riding home with you.
Note that the level of sympathy you receive is likely to vary inversely with the pace of the ride. If you choose to go with the fastest group, then there is an implicit assumption that you are an experienced cyclist capable of taking care of your own nutrition and roadside repairs.
If you’re with the slowest group on the day then it’s reasonable to expect a bit more latitude. Saturday rides are not for riders who have never ridden in a group before – See Come and Try It rides in the Sunday section.
BMCC Club etiquette
- None of the rides are races – the aim is to keep the ride together.
- Please observe the rules of the road at all times, i.e. no red light jumping, pavement riding, undertaking large vehicles, etc.
- Ride in pairs wherever it’s possible and safe to do so.
- Don’t ride more than two abreast and keep to the left unless going around obstructions.
- Use hand signals to point out obstructions, pot holes and changes of direction – only take your hands off the bar if you are confident doing so.
- Only ride in single file if a queue of vehicles has built up behind the ride – the ride leader will usually decide when this should happen.
- Once you are on the front do not increase pace so others drop behind at the back.
- If you find the pace too slow and wish to ride on your own, inform the ride leader.
- If you have a mechanical issue then please make it known to the group – all rides will wait for mechanical issues.
- Groups should be kept to a manageable size which is an absolute maximum of 10 – if there are more than this then the peloton should be split into smaller groups.
- We encounter lots of horses on the quieter country lanes we use for our club rides.
- Our policy is to slow right down, talk to the horse riders, and to pass on the other side of the road. Sometimes horses can be startled by the sudden noise of a loud freewheel, so always just slow pedal.
- Click for the official guidance from Cycle UK and the British Horse Society.
- Remember the horses may already be twitchy – you’re probably not the first to pass them.
- Cycling Guidance leaflet
Special Arrangements for Winter Riding
- For the purposes of Brighton Mitre, winter officially starts when the clocks go back and daylight saving begins, and finishes when we commence BST.
- In winter, it is expected that all riders will fit mudguards to their bike for the sake of both their drivetrain and the person behind. Note that at the rear, the bottom of the mudguard needs to extend at least below the level of the axle or else spray will still hit the person behind from under the bottom of the guard. The club has team issue mud-flaps that can be attached especially for this purpose. If you’re in any doubt about fitting mudguards to your bike, then speak to other members who will be happy to help.
- Winter tyres are highly recommended as they offer increased protection against punctures which are far more likely in the Winter. The group is likely to be sympathetic to your plight if they are forced to stand around in the cold and rain whilst you attend to a hole in your Conti 4S, less so if you’re removing debris from a paper thin summer racing tyre.
- It is the club’s policy that group rides be cancelled if the weather is forecast to drop below zero overnight the night before a ride to prevent multiple pile ups on patches of ice. Even on days when this has not been the case, there are still frequently patches of ice, especially north of the downs. Always take additional care when riding in temperatures close to zero. Keep a look out on Facebook to check for cancellations.
- Rides may also need to be cancelled if the wind is forecast to be particularly strong and gusty. Again, Facebook for info.