We want the group rides to be enjoyable for everybody. Nobody likes being dropped off the back of the group to face the wind alone. Group rides aren't races, or chances to show how strong you are. As far as possible, maintain the integrity of the group by keeping a steady pace and by watching for people getting dropped. The following rules of the road apply to all Southwest CycleSport rides.
Obey all traffic signs and signals - Blowing through red lights and stop signs is a recipe for disaster. Remember, no cyclist has ever won a battle with a motor vehicle. If in doubt what the laws are, check http://www.biketexas.org/cycling_rules.html
Maintain the smooth flow of the group - It is each rider’s responsibility to maintain the smooth flow of the group. When riding in a group, sudden movements of any single rider can be disastrous. This means that abrupt braking, swerving, or any type of erratic riding is dangerous. While leading the group, each rider must make his or her own best judgment regarding how long to lead. The proper way to pace yourself is to maintain the same speed as the former rider at the front, pulling longer if you feel strong, shorter if you can't keep the pace. If the speed is obviously beyond your capability, then you should stay at the back and tell each rider to 'pull-in' in front of you as they move toward the back. If you need to stand, do so smoothly thereby keeping a steady pressure on the pedals. This will keep you from moving backward relative to the rider behind you. Lastly, pedal down hill when you are at the front of the group; No one likes to ride under brakes.
Never ride more than two abreast - In Austin, we are blessed with many roads that have very wide shoulders. (Bee Cave, Loop 360, Southwest Parkway, FM 620, etc.) Riding two abreast is perfectly appropriate where there is a wide shoulder. On other roads with little or no shoulder, single file is the only safe way to ride as a group. To repeat: NO cyclist has ever won a battle with a motor vehicle.
Never "half wheel" - Do not overlap wheels. A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause you to touch wheels and fall.
Stay to the right - Pass on the left side only. Never, ever pass on the right.
Ride Predictably - Riding erratically or unsafely endangers everybody in the group, not just yourself. Make it easy for other riders as well as vehicular traffic to anticipate your next move. Do this by riding in a straight line, keeping a consistent pace and by not slamming your brakes. The leading rider is responsible for alerting for potholes, grilles, parked cars and other hazards. Point out and call out any road hazards ahead.
Stay Focused - Keep an eye on the road ahead and other riders around you. Be attentive of audible and hand signals by riders warning others of pedestrians, potholes, parked cars or other roadside obstacles. Anticipate sudden moves by other riders as they swerve or brake hard to avoid an obstacle.
Stay off aero bars - Aero bars are appropriate for time trials and triathlons; they are not appropriate for group riding. Stay off your aero bars if you are drafting in a group. It is dangerous as you are not able to get to your brakes quickly. If you must use your bars slide a few bike-lengths behind the last person in the group.