Joyriders is a group of like-minded people that enjoy riding their bikes with others. As we run many group rides during nearly every day of the year, it’s important that riding in groups (bunches) safely and efficiently is something we can all develop for our own enjoyment and safety regardless if you’re trying to move up levels or just ride socially. Yes, this page is long and there is a lot of information here, but safety is of utmost importance. We urge you to read the attached basics of riding as a group and never hesitate to ask your ride leaders or other experienced Joyriders for tips about the ways of our rides.
Please understand that particularly in Singapore where we have people from many different countries and different experience levels. You may be used to other signals or bunch management but we need one form in Joyriders and these are described here. We are always open to suggestions and if you find something here that you feel can be improved, please raise it with a ride leader or drop Joyce an email with your thoughts.
On the ride
Obey the road rules. you are a vehicle and they are for your safety and so that others can know what to expect.
You are responsible for yourself in a group. Your ride leader is usually a volunteer who has offered to share their local knowledge or cycling experience. Please follow their advice and instructions for everyone’s enjoyment and safety.
Look out for hazards and other road and trail users and don’t just rely on the person in front.
Riding in close proximity to other cyclists takes practice. Relax and enjoy the company but remain aware of others around you. Learn the communication signals given below – they are for your benefit and that of the others in the group.
Riding as a close group is enjoyable and enables easy conversation and takes advantage of the shelter from riders in front. It can take a while to get used to, but the best way to learn is to follow the example of those around you, especially experienced riders.
A group usually works well with cyclists riding two abreast. The Road rules specifically allows this. It is sociable and keeps everyone together
Important things to do when riding within a group:
• Be predictable with all your actions
• Hold your line – no wobbling or riding from side to side
• Ride at an even speed – use a smooth pedaling rhythm and change speed smoothly and avoid surging
• Brake carefully and indicate to others when you are braking – by voice or hand signal. Most crashes that occur in group riding result from braking – so follow these simple rules
• Keep pedaling if you stand up – wait until you’re at the top of your pedal stroke and continue pedaling as you lift off the seat (otherwise your speed will change markedly as you stand up causing difficulties for the other riders)
• Ride clear of the other bikes – at least a wheel diameter away from other bikes (with experienced riders that distance can be reduced)
• Do not overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel on the person in front – striking the wheel in front can cause you to loose balance with dire consequences
• Overtake other riders on their right – however, if there is plenty of room on the left, you may overtake on the left provided you advise the rider in front that you are overtaking on the left (voice) and they acknowledge having heard you
• Look ahead – watch the shoulders of the riders in front and, if possible, look ahead of them (avoid looking down at the rear wheel in front of you as that can result in you not seeing hand signals and a change in direction until it is too late)
• Stay alert – have an escape strategy
• Communicate to the other riders and listen to their communications – always indicate your intentions before you do something and indicate any hazards on the pavement or ahead
• Assist other group members if possible — the aim is enjoyment with sharing and support
• Enjoy the company and the ride
Communications within the group
Advise other riders of your intentions – use hand signals and a voice warning where possible (remember it can be hard for some people to hear voices especially when the wind is blowing in their ears)
Watch and listen to the communications from others as they indicate their intentions
Pass the signals on – they are intended for all in the group, so pass them on, up or down the group
At the front you are responsible for looking ahead and give early warnings of hazards – remember that those behind cannot see the road ahead.
Calls and hand signals
Some groups use slightly different signals – but they have the same effect
‘Slowing’ or ‘stopping’ (voice)
Hand signal: open hand held backwards towards riders behind
‘Turning left / right’ (voice) – at an intersection
Hand signal: arm straight out indicating direction
‘Straight ahead’ (voice) – when riding straight through an intersection
‘Car left / right’ (voice) at an intersection to warn others, especially when you are making the crossing and others may follow without looking (NOT ‘car’ by itself as it can be confused with ‘clear’)
‘Clear’ (voice) at an intersection to advise others that there are no vehicles approaching – use carefully
‘On your left / right’ (voice) to advise a rider ahead that you are approaching from behind and intending to overtake
‘Standing’ (voice) before you stand on your pedals to advise other riders that you may change speed (surge) as you change riding position
‘Single file’ (voice) when the group must form into a single file due to narrowing road, a hazardous location or to clear an obstruction
Hand signal: raised open hand above the helmet pointing forward
Hazards – ‘glass’, ‘pothole’, ‘bollard‘, etc
With hand signal (important): point hand at hazard, and change direction to avoid the hazard – if necessary
Remember, the rider behind can not see the hazard and relies on your signal
‘Obstacle‘ or ‘car‘ if car parked in the lane ahead
With hand signal: bent arm behind the back and the hand pointing towards the direction of movement
Sometimes necessary to also form a single line at such locations to avoid the riders on the right moving out into the traffic lane
‘Car back’ (voice) if car (or truck or bus) coming from behind – usually called from the back of the group
Sometimes necessary to also form a single line to allow vehicle to overtake the group, particularly on narrow road or near the crest of a hill
‘Car up’, ‘runner up’, ‘walker up’, etc (voice) for hazard coming towards group
Pace-line riding, additional voice calls (see next section):
Pace-line riding voice calls
• ‘Rolling’ to indicate for the group to rotate positions
• ‘Last rider’ to advise the other rider that they are no at the back of the group
• ‘Double up’ to move from single file into a double line
• ‘All on’ to indicate to riders ahead that all riders have joined the group – no on left behind”
• ‘Ease up’ to request the speed to be slower
Riding in a pace-line
Riding in a pace-line or bunch offers several benefits including cycling efficiency (up to 35% less energy expended) and visibility on the road. Safe riding in a pace-line is paramount – it requires discipline, vigilance, predictable behavior, and clear communications through standardised communications within the group.
On roads, a pace-line is generally formed with a double pace-line of riders but on narrow or busy roads, a single pace-line should be used. The pace-line is only as fast as the slowest rider. It is up to riders at the back of the pace-line to call ‘ease up’ if anyone is being left behind. When a dropped rider rejoins, call ‘all on’ – but doesn’t mean that the original speed should be resumed. Rather the speed should be adjusted so that all riders can stay with the pace-line.
Riders form up in pairs in a 2 x 2 configuration. Ride evenly with your partner, handlebar to handlebar. Keep approximately one wheel diameter distance from the rear wheel of the rider in front. Rather than looking at the wheel ahead, focus on the person in front and further on through the line. This allows you to be more aware of your surroundings.
Double pace-line rotation
To share the workload, riders in the pace-line take turns at the front.
To achieve this, we use a counter-clockwise rotation to move riders around.
Rotation is initiated by the riders on the front calling ‘rolling’.
Single pace-line rotation
Single line pace-line rotation should only be performed when it is safe to do so.
Credit: Master Geoff
Below are some of the videos on safe riding from the Youtube channel MoveHappySG