718 Group Riding Guide
Heading off on a new bike adventure is a great feeling. Riding with others that you just met is part of the excitement. This sense of newness comes with a need to understand how all of these strangers will ride safely in a group.
The following are some guidelines to be familiar with as we ride. These guidelines are based on the types of riding that we do at 718 (mainly, loaded adventure bike riding), both in the city and in the country.
Single File on the Hudson River Greenway (if applicable): This is the busiest bike path in America. We are slow and we are wide, and it's best practice to ride single file for these first 10 miles in order to let faster traffic (mainly, speeding roadies heading up to 9W) pass safely.
No Forced Left Turns: This means that we don't promote the idea of taking a left turn as a motor vehicle would on multi-lane roads. Instead, we cross the intersection, then cross again as a pedestrian. We are riding bikes that are generally slower moving, so “taking the lane” in order to make that vehicular left turn is more dangerous for us.
Obey All Traffic Signals and Signs: That’s how we roll
Helmets are Required on our Rides
LIghts: It's a good idea to have at least a rear red light on during the day as it helps with other cyclists keeping in visual contact with the group. Lights are legally required in NY State before sunrise and after sunset
Pass on the Left: Only pass other cyclists and pedestrians on the left. When preparing for a pass, it's good practice to sound a bell about 50 feet from passing. As you are set to pass, saying “On your left” tells the other cyclist/pedestrian that you are about to appear on the left to pass (so as not to startle them). Many folks wear headphones, so take extra caution in passing these people as you may startle them or they may swerve or weave about.
Slowing and Stopping: Slowing and stopping requires both a verbal and hand signal in order to make sure we don't crash into each other. Calling out “slowing” and/or “stopping” is an important part of safe group riding. The hand signal for slowing and stopping is the same gesture (think of it like a car brake light).
Turning Signals: See below
Crossing an intersection: After checking both ways, riders are to say “Going Through” to indicate that they are safely crossing the intersection. It is the responsibility of each subsequent rider to make the same check and verbal signals. Do not assume that a safe crossing by a rider ahead of you implies it is safe for following riders.
Pointing Out Obstacles and Road Conditions: If safe enough to do so, riders should point out obstacles and road conditions to riders behind them. Things like glass, sewer grates, debris etc are things that riders should point out, along with a verbal call.
It’s Not a Race: Our lizard brains want to pass the person in front of us. Try to suppress these feelings and just enjoy the ride. We stop every 8-10 miles, so you’ll soon be all caught up!
Know the Route: A safe group is a group where everyone knows where they are going. Don't reply on the group or your buddy to lead you along, as you may find yourself apart from the group. Maps are made available weeks in advance of each ride.