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.

Wheelers Rider Requirements

  • Helmets are required on all rides: ASTM, CPSC or Snell approved.
  • Riders who are not COWS members need to sign in on the waiver/sign in sheet at the beginning of the ride.
  • Arrive early. Rides leave at the time stated in the ride description. Please arrive 15 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. Most rides include a stop for refreshments.
  • Carry some sort of identification 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 after each rider comes to a stop at the limit line. 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.

Ride Safely.  Follow the Rules of the Road

The League of American Bicyclists promotes six Rules of the Road that will prepare you for a safe and fun bike ride no matter where you are riding. 
1. Follow the law.
Your safety and the reputation of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.
2. Be predictable.
Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.
3. Be conspicuous.
Ride where drivers can see you; wear bright clothing. Use a front white light and red rear light and reflectors at night or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t ride on sidewalks.
4. Think ahead.
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
5. Ride Ready.
Check that your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.
6. Keep your cool.
Road rage benefits no one, and always makes a bad situation worse.

 Safety Documents

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

Ride Cancellations

From time to time it may be necessary for the Club to cancel a ride due to inclement weather or other safety considerations. Check the ride calendar to see whether a ride has been cancelled.  Also, where possible, the ride leader will  send out an email to registered riders notifying them that the ride has been cancelled.  

Central Oregon Wheelers is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization. PO Box 542, Bend OR, 97709

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