Many of the riders on Spidermonkey have many years of experience. Watch them…and learn from them.  Stay in the back on group rides until you are confident enough to come up front.  YOU are responsible for the safety of everyone behind you.  If you have questions…ask… Spidermonkeys are willing to teach and share their experience.

The most important parts of group riding are communication and thinking about the people behind you.

NOTE: Only Group Ride Leaders can call a Spidermonkey group ride. This is to ensure the safety of all participants.

1. Announce Hazards

Keep on the lookout for things that could cause problems and shout out a warning or point out the hazard. If it’s not anything immediately dangerous, don’t scream, treat it like the telephone game. Stay in the back until you are comfortable pointing things out. If you aren’t comfortable pointing and there is somebody behind you, shout. Keep in mind that when you shout things, it’s hard to hear what you are yelling. So the people behind you will treat a shout as an alert to something potentially serious. We encourage you to get comfortable pointing things out. But don’t be afraid to shout if something comes up suddenly (a quick stop or a sudden pothole).

2. Potholes, squirrels, water bottles, etc.

The person in front of you should point out potholes so that you can avoid it. But if for some reason a pothole, squirrel, water bottle, etc, comes up on you suddenly, do not brake or make a sudden swerve to avoid it – that is dangerous to the people behind you and next to you and could cause a crash. Instead, ride through it keeping both hands firmly on your handlebars. If it’s a pothole, yell to the people behind you so they know it’s there. You won’t even notice running over the water bottle. And chances are, you’ll miss the squirrel.

3. People behind you

When there are people behind you, you are leading them. People will follow you wherever you go and they can not see in front of you.  You are now much longer than the length of your bike, you are now as long as all the people behind you combined – like a snake!

4. Traffic lights

If the first rider coming to a yellow light goes through, others may be tempted to run the light.  Don’t risk the safety of your group.  Don’t go through red lights.  It might be safe at the time you go through, but it could be dangerous for the last person in line.

5. Braking

In order to ride safely it’s important to ride smoothly and avoid hard braking as much as possible. Even light braking or swerving by someone in front can have a ripple effect and cause problems at the rear of the pack. Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed.

6. Rain

Our rides are canceled if it is raining. If we get caught in the rain, slow down. Remind the group to be extra cautious: Allow extra distance for stopping in rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet. Also, painted pavement and bridges are slippery when wet, so avoid riding on them.

7. Flat tire

If you get a flat tire, do not panic. Do not immediately stop. It is perfectly safe to ride on a flat tire until it is safe to pull over. Call out the flat, let everyone know you are slowing down and pull over when everybody behind you is aware that you are pulling off.

8. Hold your line

This means swerving as little as possible. If you need to move left or right, do so gradually after checking the area for other riders and pointing out your move to make your fellow riders aware of your intentions. If you notice that someone is swerving, they’re probably tired or inexperienced. Stay away from him or her!

9. Don’t look back, keep your head up and eyes in front of you! 

Looking back causes even skilled riders to swerve, which can cause a crash.  Focus on the rider(s) ahead. Do not get into the bad habit of looking at the rider next to you while talking instead of looking in front of you. This is so dangerous and leaves the riders behind you blind. Do not make the common mistake of focusing on the back wheel in front of you. Look up at the shoulders of the riders ahead and occasionally look at the road ahead and the riders up front so you can see what’s going on and be prepared for sudden changes.

10. Consistent route

We have a specific route for a reason, stay on it!  As a courtesy to those who may not be able to stay with the group, we have designated areas where we stop to wait for those riders.

11. Don’t Overlap Wheels

Overlapping is putting your front wheel next to someone’s rear wheel. This is asking for trouble, because if they move, they’ll bump your front wheel, possibly knocking you down. Try to always be behind the bike(s) in front unless you’re passing.

12. Bikes and Aero Bars

Never ride on your aero bars on our rides. Tri bikes and single speeds are not allowed on our rides.

13. Passing other riders

The person in the front of the group is responsible for announcing “on your left” before passing other riders. This isn’t just a courtesy, it also helps us avoid potentially dangerous situations: if a rider doesn’t know we are coming, they might unintentionally get in our way.

14. Bring on the ride

You must wear a helmet. Always bring a tube, a CO2 and tire levers. Bringing a cell phone and cash is a good idea, too. Headphones are NOT allowed on our rides.

15. Hands on Handlebars

Always keep your hands on your handlebars unless you are pointing out obstructions or drinking water. If you must stretch or show somebody your awesome post up, move to the back of the group and do it when nobody is behind you.

16. Getting off the front of a paceline

Look over your shoulder to ensure there is no traffic or bikes. Signal to the rider behind you and then move over to allow enough room for the rider behind you to get to the front. Then you can slow down. Do not move far enough away that you take up the entire lane of traffic, you should be right next to the rider behind you as you rotate back. A common beginner faux pas is to stop pedaling just before pulling off the front. This creates an accordion effect toward the rear. Keep a steady pressure on the pedals until you have cleared the front. After pulling off, soft pedal and let the group pull through. As the last couple riders are passing through, begin to apply more pressure to smoothly take your position at the rear. If you don’t time it correctly, you’ll create a gap and have to sprint to get back on.

17. Steady paceline

When you have taken your turn at the front of a paceline, always move to the back of the paceline. The only exception is if somebody tells you that you can go in front of them. When you are moving to the back, do not point to a gap and move into the gap, even if you think there is plenty of room. This is not allowed because it can cause everybody in the line behind the gap to have to slow down to let you in safely. Also, the person you moved in front of may be surging to fill the gap. Your move could be very dangerous and mess up the paceline if you move in front of them.

If you don’t want to rotate in the paceline, before the paceline starts, pull out of the paceline and move to the back. Let people know when they are rotating back that they can move in front of you.

If you are in the paceline and decide that you can’t pull at this speed, rotate to the front and do a token pull. As soon as there is room to move over, signal and move over. Go to the back of the paceline.

If you are in the paceline and are about to lose the wheel in front of you, pull out of the paceline and go to the back of the paceline.

If you slow the paceline down, it is dangerous for all. Don’t take it personally if you’re asked to get off the front of the paceline. The goal is to go fast but be smooth.

If you want to increase the speed of the paceline, wait until you are in the front. Then, slowly increase the speed.

After pulling, do not slow down too much since you will have to get back onto the paceline quickly. If you are sprinting to get back on, you probably should not be rotating through and may cause the back group to get dropped.

18. Sprints

Do not sprint out of turning corners and stoplights, this creates gaps in the back making it difficult for us to work together. Our rides have points where we sprints. ALWAYS look over your shoulder to check for traffic and other riders before moving over to sprint. If there is too much traffic and it’s not safe to sprint, abandon the sprint completely, there are always other sprint points. As soon as you are done sprinting, move back over and out of traffic.

19. Attack!

Except during our sprint points, attacking is not allowed on our rides. Attacking means you decide to pull out of the paceline and hammer past the leader of the paceline. It can cause chaos and confusion in the paceline and is dangerous. If a rider attacks, do not chase. Stay where you are and let them go.

20. Two abreast

We ride one or two abreast. Never more than two. If you find yourself riding with more than one other person, slow down or speed up to get into another lane to even things out.

21. Ride Leaders

There are leaders on our ride. They are the backbone of all of our rides. Respect them and listen to them. Everything they do is to keep our rides as safe as possible. They are awesome. If you refuse to listen to them, you suck and are not welcome on our rides.

22. Saturday Ride

Our Saturday ride is a fun ride to welcome newcomers and should be a pleasant pace of around 22mph once we get out of the city. This is an important ride for all of you to remember what it was like to go out on your first ride and give new people a chance to ride with us in a group. We will ride together as a group the entire way up to Highland Park. There are opportunities to go faster when we do sprints, University, boat ramps, and on the way back. If that’s not enough, drop back and chase the group or come out on Sunday. Do not do a break away and do not chase people down.

23. Wednesday Night Ride

Our Wednesday night ride is a team only ride for experienced riders. We encourage everybody to come out and try it once you have been on our other rides and are comfortable riding in a paceline. This ride is a chance to work on advanced skills. A smooth paceline is key. The strongest riders should be in the front doing the work. If you are having an off day or aren’t one of the strongest, we encourage you to stay in the back, not rotate through, and just try to hang on as long as possible.

For more group ride information: