BCC RIDE PRACTICES

Group Rides

Barrie Cycling Club (BCC) has several group rides per week planned for the year, all with a slightly different emphasis. Please see the website for updated information on the rides: The Barrie Cycling Club.

Sunday Morning Road Ride (Downtown):

This ride is a friendly ride where usually no one will be dropped. The group will probably wait for you, periodically, if necessary. There will be no designated ride leader for this ride. All riders should be self sufficient, but other riders should be willing to support each other. Distance and time will vary according to season and who attends the ride. Approx. 2 – 6 hours.

Tuesday Social Group Ride:

The Tuesday night social ride will be a fun ride for all.  There will be no racing for sprint signs and every effort will be made to keep the group together.  As the season progresses riders’ abilities increase so as time goes on the average speed will increase.  If you’re coming out in mid July for your very first road ride you would be better suited to do the “learn to ride” first.

A few simple rules will be followed for the enjoyment of all.  When riding on the flats we will ride in a rotating peloton keeping all riders together.  Climbing will be at your own speed with regrouping at the top, if you try to crush the hill and show everyone how amazing you are you will only have a longer wait at the top.  Descending is a lot like climbing, it will be done at your own comfort level with regrouping at the bottom.  Any passing on downhills will always be done safely with no riders ever crossing the centre line.  If you are a fast descender try to position yourself near the front of the peloton prior to the crest.  Stop signs will be respected and there will be no sprinting off the front, the idea will be to bring all riders up to speed without creating gaps.

Riders who cannot keep the pace with the majority will be assisted and coached.  At the discretion of the ride leader slower riders may be separated from the group with a seasoned rider who will help them continue at a more comfortable pace.

Road riding is a fun and fast sport that needs to be safe and tempered with a degree of discipline, and that, is what this ride is all about.

Tuesday Training Ride (Sunnidale):

This ride is mainly a training ride that will be at a higher pace than the social ride. It is popular among more experienced cyclists and those looking for a higher level of aerobic fitness. You may be dropped and riders may not wait for others to catch up after the climbs. Distances and routes will vary based on season and daylight. This ride will always include an experienced club member. Approx. 2-3hrs.

Tuesday Women's Only Ride:

Starting at the same time as our open Tuesday group events, this ride allows ladies to meet new riders and cruise at a social pace. Pace ranges from 23 - 25km/hr and length is approximately 2hrs.

Thursday Morning Ride (Training):

This ride is for the early risers! Leaves from Fred Grant Square at 6am. Ride ranges from 1hr to 2hrs depending on group and pace is approximately 28 km - 30 km/hr.

Membership:

You must be a member in good standing to join in any group ride or race event of the Barrie Cycling Club unless otherwise specified on our website.

Group Etiquette: 

Since these are group rides, you should be prepared to ride as a group, using these practices as your guide. (If you prefer to ride at your own pace in your own way, please choose to ride on your own at another time and place.) You must ride according to the Highway Traffic Act, which means things like: staying to the right hand side of the lane (single or double file), stopping at STOP signs and red traffic lights; signalling turns; waiting in line at the back of a traffic queue (no filtering to the front) and using good observation at all times. We will ride as a group, which means things like: going at the same speed and waiting for the rest of the group if it gets stuck at traffic lights or at a busy intersection; or if someone has a flat. Waiting may mean stopping and waiting, well over to the side of the road away from traffic, or it may mean riding on SLOWLY, in proper formation, so that the back riders can easily catch up. If for any reason you do not want the group to wait for you, please be sure to let someone know.

Safety:

Each individual is responsible for her or his own safety. You must wear a helmet and brightly coloured clothing is recommended. You can use the check lists of items you may want to carry with you (see below) but it is up to you to carry enough food and drink, clothing, medical supplies, repair kit, cell phone and anything else you may need to satisfy your level of risk. There is no designated ride leader who will carry such items. The club holds skills training clinics from time to time, designed to improve safety for you and those around you. Every member is encouraged to attend these clinics regularly. See the website for further information. Although the club makes a reasonable attempt to conduct its events safely, you should recognize that riding a bicycle on public roads can be hazardous and you must prepare adequately.

Equipment: 

You should always bring a bike in good working order. If you show up on a machine that an experienced member thinks is unsafe, you may not be welcome to join the group. Triathlon bars are very unsafe in a group setting and are therefore not permitted. They must be removed from the bicycle before arriving at the meeting place. Gears and brakes must be easily accessible from the drop bar position – which is the most stable position on a bike. Wheels should be running true and tires should be in good condition and inflated appropriately. Check all nuts and bolts for tightness. You must carry a reliable pump – with the right adapter for your tubes/tubeless tires, and at least one spare, intact inner tube/tubeless tire with the right valve stem for your rims. Carry allen keys, tire levers, cash, an ID card and sufficient fluid for the ride. Most of these items must be attended to for the safety and convenience of your fellow riders. You may wish to invest in taking a bicycle maintenance course (see your local bike store) and know how to use the tools you carry with you. Most people will be on road bikes except during our winter rides. Mountain bikes are fine but you may have trouble keeping up with the group, depending on tires, road conditions etc.

Formation: 

We will quickly form into tight single file or double file formation, according to traffic conditions or upon the advice of an ‘ad hoc’ leader. The default formation is always double file, but if conditions are unsafe for this, single file is used. Very often, the first few kms of the ride will be single file until we get out of town.

Social Pace Line:

Social Pace Line begins with riders in double file formation. Ride side by side with your front wheel in line with your partner’s. Try not to pull ahead (known as ‘half-wheeling’ and very un-cool). Check your computer to ensure you are maintaining the group’s speed when you are at the front. Otherwise, follow the rider in front of you, but with a slight offset to provide extra braking distance in case of emergency. Ideally, your front wheel should be at least 3 feet behind the back wheel of the person in front of you. Increase that distance according to your skill-level and comfort, the skill-level of the person you are following and the skill-level of the group as a whole. You will also want to increase that distance a little to account for rough road conditions, higher speeds during descents or any other time you need more visibility or manoeuvring space. Do not make sudden changes in speed or direction. Remember, other riders are very close behind you, and they depend on your consistency. Always have your hands close to your brakes so that you can react quickly in an emergency; that is, on the drops or hoods only; NEVER on the top of the bars.

Rotating:

The 2 riders at the front of the social pace line do the brunt of the work into the wind. The following riders make about 30% less effort, yet ride at the same speed. It benefits the group as a whole to rotate the leaders off the front once in a while and replace them. This is done by rotating clockwise, having the rider closest to the shoulder drop back one place and the outside rider moving to the right so another rider may pull through. The amount of time a pair will spend on the front depends on how fast the pace is, how strong the wind is and how strong that particular pair is. It could be 30 seconds up to 15 minutes. They make a small hand signal to show they are about to break formation. Rider dropping back must then pedal a little softer so that their speed drops slightly relative to the rest of the group. It will now feel harder for them because they are riding into the wind but the kms/hr should remain the same. 

Other Types of Pace Line:

Social pace line is the default formation any time we are on the road, it is the preferred formation for fast and slow touring and most training rides. There are 3 exceptions. 1. When traffic is heavy, we simply ride in single file, as described above. 2. When a fast-paced training ride is required, the formation usually develops into Single Pace Line (Racing Pace Line). This is a more advanced technique that is taught at our clinics and on some rides. 3. Echelon is the 3rd formation. It too is advanced but should not be used on our training rides. It should only be used when either the road is closed (as in an official race with marshals) or when you are absolutely sure there will be no traffic. It is a racing pace line used when there are strong cross-winds. We recommend that if you have not tried these techniques yet, or if it has been a while since you were skilled at them, that you attend our clinics when offered. They require practice to become proficient. The effort is worth it however; the result is group riding that is smoother, safer, and faster for all.

Communication: 
***Keep your head up and your eyes looking ahead***

In a close formation, you must be looking up and ahead at all times. Look to the front of the group or at least a few riders ahead of you. This way, you will see any problems or changes in direction or speed, well in advance. The riders close to you (left, right or directly in front) will be sensed using your peripheral vision, which is more adept at judging movement than your straight-ahead vision.

For some things we rely on other group members (when it is hard to see the road ahead) and for other things we must rely on ourselves (traffic safety). In general, we do not communicate by yelling things out. It is usually impossible to hear what is being yelled. “Car!” can sound very much like “Clear!” to someone with wind in their ears. At intersections, you MUST look for yourself to see if it safe to cross. Do not yell about cars coming in either direction (on-coming or passing) on the road in the normal way. They have every right to be there and that is exactly where we should expect to find cars. Since we will be riding in an orderly fashion close to the right hand side of the travel lane, at all times, we should have nothing to worry about. It is up to the driver of the vehicle to assess how best to proceed past an orderly group of cyclists, just as she or he would proceed past any other slow-moving road user. An experienced group member may order “Single file” if necessary, but under normal circumstances even on narrow roads, it is safer to ride in double file since it forces the traffic to slow down and pass safely, rather than to try to squeeze past when there isn’t quite enough room. So, we will save our yelling for warnings of an urgent or unusual nature.

Please signal all turns and stops with regular arm signals, well in advance. Also, point out potholes and hazardous objects in the road so that following riders can avoid them.Up-hills and Down-hills:

When we ride as a group, we try to keep the pace as even as possible. Increases and decreases in speed must be gradual and all associated gear changes smooth. At an up-hill, we climb at the pace of the two lead riders, who will try to keep the pace steady. If this is too slow for you, hard luck! These are group rides – remember. You should not break ranks and show how fast you can ride to the top. There is no point to that; you will only have to wait for everyone else to catch up. In the process you will wear out the weaker riders, who, having extended themselves too much on the hill, will not be able to increase their speed at the top. The group will inevitably break up. If you are interested in doing hill intervals, pick a couple of buddies and do it at another place and time, or choose a more advanced group. Alternatively, an even, moderate pace up a hill will keep everyone together and ready to increase speed at the top. This will maximize the average speed of the ride and the training effect for everyone. If you need to get out of the saddle to climb (only on very steep hills), wait for the part of the pedal stroke where you are actively pushing down. This will reduce the ‘pause effect’. If you stand while not actively applying power to at least 1 of the pedals, the rider behind you may crash into your back wheel. Practice while out on your own.

Down-hills should be approached in the same way. Follow the lead riders. Increase the distance from yourself to the rider in front of you a little, to give yourself a little more reaction time in case of emergency. If your speed picks up too much, do not break ranks or pass other riders. Gradually decrease your speed, by applying the back brake lightly, and pedalling against it if necessary. NEVER go down a hill with your hands on the top of the bars. They should always be on the drops. This puts your hands close to the brakes in the most powerful position (in case of emergency) and it lowers your centre of gravity making you more stable and safe.

Changes of Speed and Direction:

All changes should be smooth and gradual. Remember, everyone behind is depending on you to lead them safely up the road, around potholes, dead animals and corners, and up and down hills. There must be no sudden movements to left or right (switching). Switching is very dangerous in a group and can instantly lead to serious injury for fellow riders, as a result of a crash. Common sense is a virtue. Do not remove things from pockets, eat, drink, take off clothing, startle another rider, suddenly break ranks or do anything else that may result in an erratic movement when riding in a group. If the speed is fast you must be especially vigilant. Your hands must be on the bars at all times. To eat, etc. you must wait until it is your turn to be at the back of the group, when no one is following. Drinking and the ‘shoulder check’ should be practiced ahead of time to ensure that they can be performed without swerving.

Avoid sudden braking at all costs. Be aware that the front brake has a very abrupt stopping action whereas the back brake is less abrupt. Know which is which. To reduce speed slightly, use the back brake lightly and pedal against it at the same time. To increase speed, first pedal faster in the gear you are in, then change up to your next gear. Your cadence should be between 80 and 120 rpm for regular flat riding, on hills this may be reduced down to 60 rpm or lower. The higher the cadence, the smoother rider you will be, better able to adapt to changes of speed and other manoeuvres.

Time Trials: 

The BCC will run a monthly Time Trial starting on the last Thurs. in May The time trials are ridden as individual events. There should be no influence from any other cyclists as you try to ride your fastest. All our TT’s are run using the rules of the Ontario Cycling Association (OCA), plus some of our own. For more information see the OCA webpage: www.ontariocycling.org The OCA bases their rules on those of the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) who can be found at: www.canadiancycling.ca Ultimately, the CCA conforms to the rules as set out by the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the world’s regulatory body for cycling.

Their website is: UCI Rules Page

Rules:

  • Obey the starter’s instructions.
  • Respect the wishes of all marshals and timekeepers.
  • Warm up using a piece of road away from the start/finish area.
  • Once the event has started, do not cross the start or finish line unless you are starting or finishing your time trial.
  • While you are waiting to start, keep over to the side, well off the travel lane of the road.
  • Have respect for nearby residents. Do not pee on their bushes or buildings, or otherwise be disrespectful. If you do, we will lose the opportunity to use the location.
  • You may use aero bars in a TT.
  • As with all BCC events, you must wear a helmet. Brightly coloured clothing is recommended for greater visibility.
  • BCC Time Trials starts do not have a holder. We start with one foot on the ground, the front tire not beyond the start line. The start intervals are usually 30 seconds. The starter will count down the last few seconds. You may start after the starter says “Go”.
  • All BCC TT’s are individual. This means that you cannot draft on any part of the course. If you do, you will be disqualified. Drafting, means not following in anyone’s slipstream and leaving a lateral distance of 2 metres when you pass someone. After 1km of the pass there should be 25 metres distance between the riders, i.e. the passing rider should steadily pull ahead and the passed rider should steadily pull back. See CCA rules 2.4.017 and 2.4.018 of the 2002 handbook or check the websites above for updates.
  • Be aware of the dangers of intersections along the course, even if you do have ‘Right of Way,’ and act accordingly. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
  • Many of our courses have a turn-around point at midway. Be aware of the traffic around you and turn safely. If there is a turn marshal, she or he is there for guidance only. Ultimately, you must determine when you can safely turn, but you must stop if a marshal gives that instruction. The turn is around the outside of the cone, or if there is no cone around the outside of a mark, or just in front of the marshal.
  • As you pass the timekeeper, you must call out your number. Failure to do so may mean that you will not get a result.
  • Do not disturb the timekeeper while he or she is trying to get results.
  • When you finish, move quickly away from the start/finish area to begin your cool-down.
  • When you stop, remain aware of traffic, move off the road and, once again, respect local residents.

Pursuits (Interclubs):

Participants are divided into groups according to their ability. The groups are set off at intervals in a ‘handicapped’ system. The race Director / Secretary calculates the handicaps based on past performance and they may not be disputed. You must set off in the group you are assigned to. The groups should form up according to the group riding procedures above. The pace line used would be the single or racing pace line formation. The objective is to work together within your group to catch and pass all the groups ahead of you (or to stay away from all the groups behind), and, after completing all the laps assigned, to cross the finish line first. Drafting is allowed among any participants in the race.

B.C.C. holds a variety of events which should be suitable for most levels of ability and need. We do not expect new members to be expert cyclists, but we would like to encourage all members to develop their skills and be attentive of safe riding practices.

*Last Updated: Feb. 22, 2011.
**Information obtained from the Newmarket Eagles Cycling Club