Cycling in and around NYC can be a wonderful experience. But it can also be very dangerous if you’re not careful. Whether you are a new rider or have been cycling for many years, it is important to understand group riding etiquette and common cycling rules.
1. Safety is the number one priority when riding solo or with a group. You MUST wear a helmet for all group rides. Make sure your helmet fits well, is correctly adjusted and doesn’t have any damage. If you crash, replace your helmet immediately.
2. ALWAYS bring a flat repair kit. This includes a spare tube, tire levers, C02 Cartridge, Micro-inflate (optional patch kit and hand pump)
3. Carry ID (Road ID or Drivers Licence), Money / Credit Card, MetroCard & Phone
4. Dress for the weather! Especially in transition seasons! The weather is unpredictable and temperatures change drastically throughout the day. If it’s 35 degrees and supposed to warm up to 55 degrees, wear/bring breathable layers – including vests and jackets that you can stuff in your back pocket, arm / leg warmers, gloves, shoe covers, etc.
5. Bring nutrition. It’s always a good idea to carry a gel, some chews or a PB&J with you in case you start bonking (or to share with a friend in need). Salt pills will help prevent cramping. Hydration is extremely important. Make sure you have water bottle cages mounted to your bike, and fill your bottles before every ride.
6. Plan ahead. Make sure you have the necessary gear you need before Saturday morning. Stop at a bike shop to pick up things you need during the week.
7. If you prefer NOT to ride through the city, feel free to take the subway to the GWB and meet us at Strictly Bicycles. Don’t forget to check for any train delays or schedule changes.
8. When riding, behave predictably & hold your line. Avoid any sudden movements, stops or turns. You can avoid dangerous situations and crashes when other riders can anticipate your riding behavior.
9. Never “half-wheel” someone. If you’re going to draft, get directly behind them. If you’re wheel is right next to theirs (aka half-wheeling) and they make a sudden move, there is a good chance you’ll have to swerve or crash.
10. Bicycles are considered motor vehicles and are subject to all the same laws of the road. Cyclists are legally required to stop at red lights. (often times cyclists ride through a red light in the event that the intersection is “clear.” Please be aware that while this is often accepted, you are still subject to ticketing should a police officer spot you, and safety always comes first).
11. Pedestrians always have the right of way.
12. Sharpen your senses. You are not permitted to wear headphones on group rides or runs. Save the music for days when you workout solo.
13. Wear eye protection. (Empire Members get deals on Rudy Project & other brands at Promotive.com)
14. Cyclists are required to ride “with” traffic not against it.
15. When making a left-hand turn, you must get in the left hand lane, signal your intentions and turn when clear. Even on a multi-lane road. This is predictable behavior and the safest way to ride.
16. Whenever possible, make eye contact with drivers & pedestrians so you know they acknowledge your presence.
17. Stay in control of your bike at all times. Releasing both hands from the handlebars or hopping the bike over objects in the road, for example, can cause a dangerous loss of control.
18. It is not advised to draft behind someone in your aerobars, as you are less in control of your bike when steering with your forearms, and your hands are not always able to grab the brakes quickly.
19. If an intersection is clear, yell “CLEAR” so the rider behind you knows its safe to cross. If it’s not clear, yell “STOP or HOLD UP” so they know to break. If you’re leading a large group and it’s only clear for a moment, stop and wait until its safe for the group to cross. You can also signal with your hand.
20. ON THE ROAD: Stay to the right and pass others on the left. Do not ride directly beside someone on a busy road or one with no shoulder. Never pass on the inside. IN CENTRAL PARK: observe the cycling lanes (there is 1 for faster riders and 1 for slower riders)
21. If you see an obstacle such as a hole or glass that might endanger another rider behind you, it is important to call it out or motion for riders to move out of the way. Use hand motions (such as pointing at the object) or yell out if you’re unable to take your hands off your bars.
22. When riding past parked cars, beware of doors opening!
23. When riding near busses, beware that they may suddenly turn into a bus stop!
24. If you cannot see the full crosswalk due to parked cars, beware that there might be a dog or pedestrian that could step off the curb without you seeing them.
25. Know your ability. Establish what you are capable of doing before showing up for a ride. Determine what ride category suits you best and go to rides which are your level. If its your first time riding with a group, please attend a Monday night ride first, and/or an introductory ride over the GWB.
26. Take care of your bike! Ensure your tires are pumped and your water bottles are filled for every ride. Ensure your bike is in good working condition!
27. If you don’t know how to fix a flat, take a class or attend one of our tire changing clinics. (bring a flat repair kit even if you’re unsure of how to fix it!)
28. Be cautious of paint & leaves – particularly when the ground is wet!
29. Be respectful of other cyclists, drivers, police & other authority with whom we share the road. Politeness can go a long way. Say hello to other cyclists on the road as you pass. Be polite and respectful to authority.
30. Be polite to riders on other teams. A competitor one day, might be a teammate the next. At the end of the day, we’re all just out there to ride bikes and have fun.
31. Lastly (and maybe most importantly)… If you need to spit, pee, blow a snot rocket, etc…. make sure no other riders are in close range!!
This list is not meant to scare anyone or deter you from joining the group ride. It is to ensure that everyone comes on time and prepared, and understands the rules of cycling. We want to ensure that everyone is safe and has fun.
Have a great ride!
-The Empire Tri Club