It is essential within the group that there should be good communication between those at the front of the group and those at the back. Where there is a large group communication becomes a problem. The optimal size seems to be 10. Where the group is larger, say nearer 20, communication breaks down. Large groups also critically increase the difficulty of carrying out such manoeuvres as negotiating a road junction or singling out to allow vehicles to pass Motorists seem particularly confused by a large group of cyclists, and often misjudge overtaking the group and dangerously cut in.
The Committee strongly advises that a large group should split into two groups of a fewer safer number.
The Sunday Run is a social event. It is not a race. Members should ride in pairs and should be in line with the pair in front of them. There is an understandable tendency for riders to take a line to one side of the rider in front of them and to overlap a little. This causes the group to echelon and spread across the road, giving the appearance, when the group is approached from front or back, that the riders in the group are riding 3 and 4 abreast. This is particularly noticeable going uphill. The Highway Code states that cyclists should ride no more than two abreast and on narrow or busy roads should ride in single file.
Members should usually ride in pairs in line but always single out in the interests of safety.
Particular care must be taken at road junctions. Groups should try to remain orderly and avoid bunching at the mouth of the junction. Members of the group, who have negotiated the junction, should be aware that other members may have had to wait and need time to rejoin.
Each member of the group is individually responsible for his or her own safety.
The best way to single out is that riders on the inside should in turn slightly accelerate to allow riders on the outside to in turn slip in behind them. The instinctive reaction to an oncoming car is to brake. This has a ripple effect through the group and makes singling out more difficult, and is the more likely to cause a crash.
Members should have a clear and well understood method of singling out.
Taking turns at the front
It seems only fair that all members of the group should take a turn at the front, particularly when the group is riding into a strong wind or other adverse weather. The best way to change over at the front is as follows. Firstly to clearly tell the group that there is to be a change at the front. Then the rider on the outside at the front accelerates and moves over in front of the nearside rider. The outside riders then move up one and the last rider on the inside will move to the outside to reform into pairs.
It is recommended that members use the above procedure.
The other method where the two front riders move apart and the group rides between needs greater care as while the two riders are moving to the back there is a section of the group that is 4 abreast.
Communication within the group
It is important that information is passed quickly and clearly to all members of the group. Some shouts and signals are standard.
- “Car down” This warns that a vehicle of any type is approaching the front of the group.
- “Car up” This warns that a vehicle of any type is approaching the rear of the group.
- “On the left” This shout often accompanied by putting the left arm behind the back warns following riders that there is an obstruction on the nearside of the road. This may be a parked car, a pedestrian…
- “Hole” This shout accompanied by pointing to the road with the appropriate right or left hand is a warning that there is some hazard in the road. This may be a pothole, a branch, a brick, horse droppings…
- “Easy” This is a request to slow down and be careful, for example because there is a hazard ahead, some horses, a loose dog, some walkers, the group is approaching a junction, there is some problem in the group, a puncture or because the group is breaking up because the speed is too high.
- “Stopping” This is self explanatory. The group should avoid sudden braking and spreading across the road.
It is very important that shouts and signals are passed on through the group, both to ensure that shouts and signals are passed on through the group, both to ensure that the shouts and signals are heard, seen and understood and that all members of the group are informed.