General Information for all riders
Our evening rides are all approximately 2 hours, sometimes longer during long summer evenings. Daytime rides are also 2 hours in length though as the season progresses certain start times will be adjusted and durations extended. Notice will be given via the google groups distribution list. Various special rides involving breakfasts and/or lunches will be longer.
Notice to all riders: Be honest with yourself when judging the length, speed and difficulty of the ride you wish to attend. If in doubt, you are encouraged to contact the ride leader or another rider to ensure the ride is suitable to your expectations.
In keeping with our mission statement, other than Sportif rides, we do not drop riders without their consent. We stop for mechanicals and flats. All participants should be equipped with the necessary tools, viable spare tubes, inflation equipment and have their bicycles in good repair.
Helmets are compulsory.
Always bring enough water and nutrition to last you about 2 hours, or the usual ride duration. Ensure you are prepared for the weather conditions.
Everyone who rides with us must be a member of the Silver Spokes with proof of OCA Insurance. Guests can ride once and only with proof of OCA Insurance and must complete a Ride Waiver form available from the Ride Leader. Ride Leaders will be provided with the current year’s list of members in good standing.
Remember that only rides listed on regular or special rides schedule are considered Silver Spokes rides. If you arrange to meet a group of friends for a ride at a different time please include the disclaimer in your arrangements that the ride is not an approved Silver Spokes ride.
Learn to Group Ride
We recommend that everyone new to club riding/riding in groups participate in the Learn to Group Ride program sponsored by the Silver Spokes Cycling Club. This has been offered annually in the spring to anyone from young adults through to retirees who wish to become involved more seriously in paved road and/or mixed surface cycling.
The program involves 5 sessions of group bicycle rides lasting about one and a half to two hours.
The pace will vary between 18-23 km/h and will cover approximately 20-35 km. After a 20-minute information session that covers everything from safe communication in a group, effective use of gears, bike maintenance and much more, experienced club riders will provide on the road coaching as they ride alongside
Interested persons need a mechanically sound road bicycle, a helmet, be comfortable on a bike for at least one hour at 20 km/h, and have an interest in learning about cycling safely and efficiently in a group on quiet paved back roads.
General Group Information
- A Ride Leader will be appointed for each Club ride and will identify himself/herself to the group. The Ride Leader may describe the general ride route, give a few safety tips and describe any ride segments that may have a higher level of risk, i.e. steep hills or sections of the road requiring single file riding. The Ride Leader has the final decision on all matters pertaining to the Club ride and his/her decisions must be respected by all participants.
- Rides will be conducted only when there is adequate light. Club rides will not run if lightning is present and will be cancelled or shortened if there is heavy rain, fog or if lightning is sighted.
- Groups to be limited to 16 riders to facilitate communication, rotations & passing by motorized vehicles. At the discretion of the rider leader, larger groups may be split up and keep a reasonable distance from each other. (minimum of 100 metres)
- Club rides on roads will be planned to use lesser-travelled roads where possible and practical. Where practical groups can ride two aside. (local bylaws can state such formations are prohibited “except when passing’ – Norfolk has no such bylaw)
- Ride smooth and steady at all times. No sudden abrupt movements or over reactions to pot holes, road debris etc.
- Never overlap wheels – this is a prime cause of accidents. However, it is good to ride slightly offset, in case of a sudden stop you don’t immediately run into the wheel ahead. This offset gives you space and time to recover. Riding offset is not overlapping, you are still behind the wheel in front of you, just off to the side a bit.
- Don’t be that person who surges when it’s their turn to pull or leaves a gap in the rotation.
- Never cross the Centre Yellow Line. On roads without painted lines, stay within the right most lane.
- Stay 0.5m to1.0m from the road’s edge or neighbouring cyclists to avoid hazards and allow for maneuvering. This suggests the outer line of cyclists will roughly be in the middle of right lane of the road.
- Keep to the right unless passing on hills or descents. Always pass with caution on the left. Verbally indicate your presence if blocked to right, hold your place until you are clear to pass.
Communication is essential to a good ride. Make sure you point to and call out hazards and traffic situations in a polite way. Those in the mid-pack should pass these calls back so everyone is aware. Below are standard announcements:
- “Car Back” warns riders that a car is approaching from the rear and to move to the right to allow the car to safely pass.
- “Car Up” warns that there is a car approaching from the front. This is important on hilly or winding roads where visibility is limited.
- “Single up” tells the group that riders need to move into single file.
- “Car left” or “Car Right” warns riders at intersections that a car is approaching and might cross their path.
- “Walker Up” or “Runner Up” warns that there is a pedestrian on the side of the road.
- “Tracks” warns of railroad tracks ahead.
- “Road Kill” is self explanatory.
- “Hole(s)” warns riders of dangerous holes, cracks or breaks in the pavement. On roads with a lot of holes riders can point instead of calling out every hole.
- “Slowing” or “Stopping” warns riders of a change in speed. This can be done with a hand signal but calling is helpful if there is a sudden or unexpected stop.
- “On your left” warns that riders that you are passing. Riders should always pass on the left.
- Standard for signaling Right Turns will be the Right Arm extended straight out.
- Pay attention in groups; be decisive and deliberate but always defensive and considerate in your actions, especially with your fellow riders.
- Advise the intent or need to move back in a group well in advance.
- Avoid squeezing fellow cyclists when group is transitioning.
- With the exception of Elite Rides, participants will not be dropped (see Ride Principles) during a Club ride unless they first confirm with the Ride Leader that they are detaching from the group. Riders must notify the Ride Leader if they are detaching.
- When necessary to re-group, do so well beyond an intersection. Alternatively, diminish speed until all riders have caught up and are ready to resume the previous pace. Never under any circumstance “fan out” and block traffic. At stop signs and traffic lights the group will sustain the formation to the right, single file or two aside, while approaching the traffic control.
- Advise the Ride Leader and other members should you feel a group or an individual is riding in an unsafe manner. Be polite and do not yell. Any rider is welcome to withdraw from the ride if they feel unsafe.
Important Safety Considerations
On all rides we wear helmets and obey the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). We follow all traffic laws, road signs and traffic signals. Motorists have greater respect for cyclists who follow the same rules of the road.
Helmets are Mandatory. The use of cycling gloves and protective eyewear that includes UV protection is highly recommended, as is perspiration resistant sunscreen with a suitable SPF rating.
- Use lights in low light (rain, mist, ground fog); white on the front, red at rear, pulsing advantageous and recommended – The HTA states that bikes in use before dawn & after dusk must have functioning lights.
- Stay out of motorist blind spots, especially trucks/farm equipment and make eye contact with drivers.
- When in groups, leave gaps for motorists and other cyclists to pass.
- Yield to pedestrians; warn with your bell or a friendly greeting when approaching.
Any and every accident on a Club ride shall be immediately reported by the Ride Leader to the Club President or next delegate. The Ride Leader is also responsible for issuing an Accident report as outlined on the OCA Website. A list of Club Executives can be found on the Club website.
Sharing the Road (or Trail) is a multi faceted proposition!
Ride Principles and Descriptions
We are a road cycling club, mountain bikes are not suitable for our rides. Hybrids and cross bikes can be on certain special rides. Since the purpose of the various group rides is different, finding out the group’s pace, distance, and goals will help you join a ride that’s right for you. Ideally, you will have completed our Learn to Group Ride program.
Please choose a ride that is suited to your ability. If in doubt, discuss the route and expected speed with the ride leader before starting out. If you still find that the ride is too fast, let the ride leader know so that the group can reduce the pace to help you complete that ride; however, you should not participate in similar future rides until you are sure you can keep up.
The term “Pace” used in each of the following Ride descriptions represents the range of speed that can be expected during each type of ride. These are not minimums or maximums, just guidelines. They can be expected to vary depending on the topography and wind conditions. Speeds will typically be a little higher when going downhill or with a tailwind, and lower when going uphill or into a headwind.
With the exception of Elite rides, no one will be “dropped”, meaning left behind on their own for the remainder of the ride. However, with topographical and wind conditions gaps in the group will occur and this is no reason for alarm. When these situations arise, those at the front can be expected to ease their pace until the group has reformed.
Don’t try to change the pace of a ride. If a ride you choose is slower than you would like, don’t try to “improve” the ride by riding off the front of the group or surging at the front. If you know the route, you may advise the ride leader, detach and complete the ride on your own; otherwise, stay with the group and enjoy the more leisurely pace. In the future you are welcome to participate in other rides more suited to your abilities.
This ride is intended to introduce the solo rider to group riding. The focus is on getting comfortable riding in a group and learning the rules and etiquette of riding safely in a group. The Pace will vary between 20-26 km/h, and cover approximately 40 km. There will be instruction and reminders on the “dos and don’ts” of group riding. No one gets dropped and all riders wait at a suitable location or reduce their pace to allow everyone to catch up. Assistance with mechanical issues is always at hand.
This ride is a relaxed ride intended for riders with a bit more fitness and confidence with group riding. Riders can hone their skills with more experienced riders. Pace will vary between 24-28 km/h and rides cover approximately 50 km. No one gets dropped and all riders wait at a suitable location or reduce their pace to allow everyone to catch up. Assistance with mechanical issues is always at hand.
This ride is a step up from the casual ride, the pace will vary between 26-32 km/h or higher if conditions and capabilities allow. Rides will cover approximately 50-60 km. Morning rides from Hay Creek are longer as the season progresses. Hill sprints and longer pulls at higher speeds are permissible but only to the extent that others can improve their strength & stamina. No one gets dropped and all riders wait at a suitable location or reduce their pace to allow everyone to catch up. Assistance with mechanical issues is always at hand. These rides can be a means of improving fitness and endurance should the participants chose to advance to the Sportif rides.
Multi Surface Cross/Gravel ride
Touring with pace of 20-25 km/h average…No one gets left behind. 40-70 km, 2-3 hours on road, rail trails, gravel roads, fire roads, access roads, etc, with some riding experience suggested. Equipment should be Cyclocross or gravel bike with adequate tires…30-40mm width. Mountain bikes may not be applicable for this ride unless rider is comfortable with travel speed of the group…Please have spare tubes/tubeless repair, CO2, pump, etc..
Oh, and watch out for fences!
Ride Info: Emailed prior to ride.
These rides are fast, with the pace of 32 km/h and faster as the season progresses. Rides will cover approximately 60-70km. Long stretches in excess of 36 km/h are frequent. No one gets dropped and all riders wait at a suitable location or reduce their pace to allow everyone to catch up. Assistance with mechanical issues is always at hand. If you try this ride once or twice and find it too difficult you may need to reassess your expectations and revert to the touring group.
These rides are regarded as Training rides, are very fast, competitive in nature and best suited to the fittest and most skilled of riders. Long stretches well in excess of 40 km/h are frequent. These rides require superior individual bike handling skills, a certain amount of tenacity and, frankly, a willingness to suffer. If you have a flat tire or a mechanical you need to know how to fix it on your own and know your way home. If you try this ride and find it too difficult, you need to reassess your expectations and revert to the Sportif Group.
Ride Leader guidelines for this season.
Please refer to the OCA website: www.ontariocycling.org
Go to Clubs and to General and OCA Club Forms.
- Please read and review the Suggested Practices for Group Activities. This document can be found as a link on our website, www.silverspokes .com. It can also be found on the OCA website.
- Please read our own Rider Guidelines and follow them.
– Please be aware of membership requirements for cycling with our club.
– Riders must have signed membership forms and waivers prior to participation in club rides.
– As a ride leader is prudent that you confirm with the riders before the ride begins that everyone is a member and has filled out the paper work. Riders cannot ride without signing the waivers. No Exceptions!!
– Rider leaders and Riders have a responsibility to use reasonable judgment when riding with the club. Riders should honestly identify their skill level and ride leaders should encourage them to ride with the appropriate group.
– Prior to the start of the ride, the ride leader should assess the size of the group and the skill level of the riders. It is recommended that no more than 12 riders of similar capabilities ride in one group. If the group size is too large, it should be split into 2 groups with both groups following the same route.
– The ride leader should recommend that riders with less skill ride at the back of the group until they have more experience.
Ride routes should be discussed at the start of the ride. Do not leave any riders behind without their consent.
– Ride leaders should make it a habit to discuss a safety tip each week. New and experienced riders will benefit from the information.
It is the responsibility of the ride leader to fill out an accident report in the event of an accident. The form can be found on the OCA website under the club forms section. It can be faxed to the OCA using the number on the form.
This must be completed ASAP after the incident so that the OCA is aware of the accident.