Ride Headquarters Riding Rules
The rules laid out below are requirements of all riders who join in any of our rides. Should a rider not be interested in following one ore more of these rules, that rider should not attend a ride. We also have rules to maximize the enjoyment for all on every ride.
Our Rides Are A Bit Different From Most Group Rides
- Variation: We have routes that change fairly frequently. We want to explore and show riders new cool roads.
- Multiple Ride Leaders: We call them Super Domestiques and you can spot them because they have tags on one of their jersey pockets.
- No-Drop Style. We’ve designed some of our rides so no one gets dropped should someone experience a mechanical or a "hunger flat." We ask that everyone come prepared for the posted pace and distance for the ride being attended. Some of our other rides are “drop” rides; keep up or you’ll be on your own.
- Obey the law: We don’t spray-paint arrows on the road. It’s illegal. Therefore, we ride as groups and use Garmin computers to follow the route.
Ride Headquarters Riding Tenets
- Ride single file at these times:
- On curvy roads
- On busy roads. “Busy” means a car every few seconds.
- Ride double – or single – file at these times:
- On wide straight roads
- On very quiet roads where you see a car infrequently.
- When riding two abreast leave about 6” to 1’ between your handlebar next your neighbor’s handlebar; no more or less than this. Do not take up the entire lane; take up less than half the lane.
- Obey traffic laws as if you were driving your car.
- Never cross the yellow line. Ever. Don’t go near the double yellow line – stay to the right of the right half of the lane.
- Stop at stop signs and stop lights. Running lights and stop signs is particularly dangerous behavior when riding in a group.
- Signal when you’re turning unless it’s unsafe to do so.
- Signal sudden/unexpected road hazards or stops if it’s safe to do so. Always call out anything sudden/unexpected.
- Always ride with traffic.
- Take lane markings seriously.
- Be good representatives for sport of cycling.
- Ride just to the left of the white line. Never ride in the middle of the road.
- Be courteous to your fellow riders.
- Be courteous to cars and pedestrians.
- Make eye contact with motorists and other cyclists to let them know you are there.
- Do not ride on the sidewalk.
- Be present to your surroundings.
- No earbuds.
- No half-wheeling – overlapping your front wheel with another rider’s back wheel. This is extremely dangerous.
- No breaking formation from one or two riders across.
- This includes not bunching up at stop signs and lights or anytime anyone stops for any reason (like a flat, mechanical, etc.)
- Don’t fixate on the wheel in front of you. Look ahead on the road to see traffic and the riders ahead; this will afford you much better reaction time if something is happening.
- Be predictable
- Ride at a constant speed; don’t brake suddenly.
- Ride in a straight line; don’t swerve or change direction without purpose. Look ahead on the road to see if there are any obstacles well ahead of them so you can steer predictably around the impediment, not when you’re right on top of them.
What to Bring For the Ride
- Waiver: Ride Headquarters requires a signed waiver before your first ride. You can fill out a paper copy here to complete before you ride.
- Bike: A properly maintained bike appropriate for the kind of riding you’ll be doing with the group. Flat pedals and tri/aero bars are dangerous in group rides so please don’t group ride with these.
- Cycling shoes that are outfitted with cleats.
- Appropriate clothes for changing temperatures.
- Tool kit: including at least one appropriate tube. Some of our rides are self guided so you may be on your own if you have a mechanical so you’ll want to bring an entire tool kit.
- Water: Two full water bottles
- Food so you don’t bonk
- Fenders: Please be kind; if the roads are wet put on a back fender that covers enough of your rear wheel so that no one has to eat liquefied road grit!
- Lights: If there’s dim sunlight or if the ride begins or ends when the sun isn’t shining. Front and rear lights are important when it's dusk, dawn, and nighttime.
We have a lot next to our shop. If that fills up, there is a church parking lot across the street and a few feet west of us. Please do not park there Sunday mornings between 10 and 11am.
When Rolling Out
- Watch for traffic and cars pulling out of neighboring driveways.
Out On the Road
Don’t ride ahead of earshot if you’re not the designated Super Domestique. If you ride too far in front of the RSC Super Dom you are on your own. You can tell who the Super Dom is because he or she will be wearing a blue pocket tag. We suggest you don’t ride ahead of the leader because you might miss a turn; we won’t be chasing you down to inform you. The Super Dom is also riding at the designated speed.
Ride in an organized paceline. We do this only when it’s appropriate to ride two abreast. The rules are simple:
- Pull off to the left. Pull through on the right. Pull off slowly and predictably.
- As you come to the front of the paceline, keep your speed constant as the rider in front of you pulls off. Be very steady in pace and line.
- Pull for as long as you like, or until your pace begins to slow, and then pull off to the left.
- Always look behind you to ensure that no one is overlapping your rear wheel.
- Once you’ve pulled off to the left let yourself slowly drift to the back of the group and then get on the tail.
- Pro tip: when you’re ready to pull off the front of the paceline, flick your elbow out to alert the rider behind that it’s that rider’s turn to take a pull.
- If you’re too tired to pull at the front, either simply pull off after a couple seconds of pulling – once the rider that just pulled of is in a safe position for you to pull off. Or, stay near the back of the group; pull out of the paceline in the middle anytime – when it’s safe to do so.
- Never allow gaps to form between riders. If you find a gap, fill it. Do this smoothly and carefully. No sudden accelerating or braking.
On busy and winding roads without a good shoulder:
- Always ride single file; no exceptions.
- Ride in small groups of 2-4 riders. Leave gaps to the next group of riders so cars can get past each group one at a time. This is significantly safer than riding as one big group and forcing cars to cross the yellow line for a significant amount of time.
You call them out to help other riders
- “Car back”: this means get in a single file pace line because we want to provide room for a car to pass safely.
- Car up – If a car is turning in front of the group or in the same lane traveling more slowly than the group.
- Slowing – When the group unexpectly slows down. Examples: when a flat happens, an unexpected turn arises, chipmunk pops out of nowhere.
- At intersections:
- Call “Cars” when they are present, Don’t call “Clear” because it’s everyone’s responsibility to determine when the road is clear enough to be safe to cross.
Hand signals are optional and may be used when it’s safe to do so. These are explained here so you know what they mean.
- Left turn: Point to the left with outstretched arm.
- Right turn: Point to the right with outstretched arm or bend left arm upward (as if in a car to signal a right-hand turn).
- Slowing or Stopping: Open, outfacing hand on lower back or open palm pointing backwards.
- Danger in the road: Point at it before you get to it.
- Pedestrian to the right: Slap hip twice with right hand, then point to the right.
Ride Headquarters rides are fun adventures, and they’re not for everyone. If you prefer not to follow these rules, please don’t ride with the group. We’re confident if you join us, you’ll have a lot of fun!