In order to make your ride with us as safe and as enjoyable as possible, we ask all our riders to follow these simple rules:-
- Wear an approved helmet. The current helmet standard is AS/NZS 2063:1996. Check the sticker inside the helmet. Make sure it fits reasonably tightly, sits level, comes down onto your forehead, and that the strap is tight enough to prevent it being pushed back on your head in case of a fall or being knocked off your bike. A one inch rotation upwards is about the most you want. Remember, your helmet is your first line of defence against head injury. It's not meant to be a fashion object!
- Make sure your bike has a bell. Use it to warn pedestrians and other cyclists that you are about to pass them. Remember, if they don't know you're there you can't blame them if they move in front of you.
- Don’t “tail gate” or “slip-stream". A dangerous practice. Leave at least one bike length’s clearance between your bike and the bike in front of you when riding in-line with other cyclists. This would allow you enough time to react and avoid an accident should the cyclist in front of you have an accident or need to slow, stop or swerve unexpectedly. Also, your view of the road ahead is obstructed by the cyclist in front of you when you ride too close to them. Allow more than one bike length’s clearance when you are riding behind cyclists riding two abreast immediately in front of you. This allows space for the rider on the right hand side of the pair to drop back to form a single file when required.
- Two abreast riding.
- When riding two abreast: a) allow about a bike and rider width between you and the rider alongside you, giving more clearance to inexperienced riders and b) when there is a need to form a single file due to say an oncoming traffic, narrowing of the track or when approaching a tight turn, the rider on the right of the duo should call something like “dropping back to single file” and should slow down and drop behind the kerbside rider so that both of you end up riding single file a safe distance apart.
- Never ride more than two abreast.
- Allow more than one bike length’s clearance when you are riding behind cyclists riding two abreast immediately in front of you. This allows space for the rider on the right hand side of the pair to drop back to form a single file when required.
- Make sure your bike has brakes that work! Brakes are used for more than stopping. They help you slow down for intersections, keep your speed down on a long descent, and of course they help you stop before you hit something or something hits you.
- Bring a pump, spare tube, and drinking water. You never know when you'll get a flat, and the quickest way to get on the road again is to replace the tube. And remember, cycling is hot work. You'll need plenty of drinking water. It's best if you can have a water bottle that fits in a cage on your bike.
- Know and abide by the road rules. The road rules are there so that others can predict what you will do. Hand signals, riding on the correct side of the road, making turns correctly, etc. all make for safer cycling. If you decide to weave down the middle of the road or make a right hand turn from the left hand lane you're not only breaking the law, you're making it very hard for a motorist or fellow cyclist to know what you're doing.
- Call your intentions to other cyclists. Everyone rides at different speeds, but it's often difficult to know when someone is about to overtake you. So give them a call ("Passing") as you approach, "Stopping" if you're going to stop and "Bump" if there's a pothole ahead that a following cyclist may hit.
and some handy hints ...
- Make sure your seat is the correct height. The correct height is when you can sit on the seat with your heels on the pedals and pedal backwards so that your legs straighten but you don't move your buttocks. Get someone to hold the bike!
- Hard narrow tyres make riding easier. Many people ride with fat soft tyres that look cool but feel like you're riding in glue, comfortable but a lot of work. For road and bike path use, smooth and narrow is better. For off-road work, thick and knobbly is the way to go. Look on the side of the tyre for the recommended pressure and pump your tyres to that pressure. Pressing the tyre with a finger doesn't tell you the pressure. Use a gauge.
- Keep your chain clean. A dirty chain is like oiling it with grinding paste, a nice mixture of oil and sand right inside where you can't see it, wearing the links away till eventually the chain breaks. Usually about 10 km from home! Clean and oil it regularly.
- Look out for opening doors when passing parked cars. 40% of bike accidents involve cyclists running into opening car doors. You may not see that driver leaning down to pick up his keys from the floor, and he may not see you when he opens his door, so leave about a metre clearance when passing parked cars.
- Secure your shoe laces inside your shoe. Shoe laces catching in your chain can cause a serious accident. Secure your laces inside your shoe, or better still, get some dedicated cycling shoes with velcro lace loops and a reinforced midsole. Try the multi-purpose ones before you splash out on a racing design!
- Try to keep following cyclists in view. Punctures do happen, people do fall off, and they do have accidents. By keeping an eye on those following, you can go back and help if needed.
- If you have to rest, say so. If you have to walk up a hill, do so. Take it easy and enjoy yourself! We are a recreational riding club, not a racing club. We will wait for you. We will help you with punctures. So don't be nervous about riding with us. Come along and give it a go!
and finally ... enjoy yourself!