This guide has been developed to help you to prepare for and enjoy safe rides in the Cowichan Valley. Please remember, however, that you have the ultimate responsibility for your own safety and compliance with road laws. Always remember that when you are riding as you are an ambassador for all cyclists.
Be aware that the ride leader can cancel or change the ride if the weather or other conditions dictate. Be prepared, be sensible, think of others and enjoy your rides.
Before The Ride
- Ensure your bike is mechanically sound, tires pumped, chain lubricated etc.;
- Pack provisions and equipment appropriate to the ride;
- Always bring some nutrition irrespective of the destination. Bananas or bars are an excellent food for cyclists;
- Always bring water, irrespective of the season, temperature or location of the ride;
- Always carry spare tube, tire levers and a puncture repair kit;
- Wear / Carry suitable clothing for the anticipated weather conditions;
- Always wear an approved helmet (It's the LAW).
- Be at the meeting point before the advertised departure time;
- Introduce yourself to the Ride Leader;
- Listen to any pre-ride announcements by the Ride Leader and note who the "Tail End Charlie" is;
- Advise the Ride Leader if you need to leave the group before the ride ends;
- Ride between the Ride Leader and the "Tail End Charlie" unless otherwise arranged;
- Riding two-abreast may be legal but it is not always safe. Always ride single file when there are cars back. Be guided by the Ride Leader and your common sense;
- It is important at intersections that you check to see that the rider following you sees you turn. Those behind you might not be familiar with the route.
- When stopping, ensure you are not a hazard to the rider behind you. Call out "STOPPING", use hand signals, or pull over to the right. Do not obstruct the road or pathway when stopped, think of other users;
- When pulling out on to the road, ensure you do not do so in front of on-coming riders or traffic;
- In the event of a problem, advise another rider as soon as you stop. They or the Tail End Charlie can then assist you if required;
- Always keep roads and paths clear when re-grouping so as other uses are not held up;
- Do not automatically follow another rider without checking for yourself that it is safe, sensible and legal to do so;
- Riders who notice a hazard (glass pothole etc) on the road / track should advise the riders behind them of the pending hazard with standard hand signals;
- Don't be afraid to ask for help from other cyclists.
Rides on Trails
These rules are in addition to those above. On shared pathways/trails we need to give due consideration to other users. These users may be pedestrians, horse riders, or fellow cyclists. We do this to show respect to other path/trail users, for our safety and the safety of everyone using the trails.
- Speed: This is set by the leader and is dependent on the conditions. All riders must stay behind the leader;
- Single File: On pathways and trails, members should travel in single file and only pass another rider when they have clear view ahead and behind AND it is safe to do so. (See note below concerning communication.)
- Don't BLOCK the path/trail: PULL OFF THE PATH/TRAIL WHEN STOPPED, so that the path is clear for others to use.
- Courtesy/safety: Show courtesy towards other path/trail users - pedestrians, equestrians, and other cyclists;
- When approaching other path/trail users (other than horse riders), and who may not have seen you, SOUND a bell/horn or speak to them audibly well beforehand, to alert them of your presence;
- GREET other users as you pass;
- Horse riders:
- DO NOT APPROACH but STOP and pull OFF THE TRAIL well ahead of the horses.
- DO NOT ring a BELL or sound a HORN.
- Pass the horses or allow them to pass with MINIMUM NOISE.
- Speak quietly if necessary or remain silent.
- Attempt to pass a horse ONLY if it is STATIONARY or WALKING.
- When changing pace, CALL - "slowing" or "stopping" to the riders behind and USE HAND SIGNALS.
- Call "passing" before you pass another rider.
- Call to alert riders behind of other path/trail traffic Example…. "rider up" or "rider back" or "walkers ahead" etc...