Winchester CTC is welcoming many new members. To help both riders and leaders stay safe and enjoy the rides, we have produced outline guidance for group riding. Please read and apply them.

In this section you will find:

Winchester CTC
Summary Guidance for Riders

Winchester CTC is welcoming many new members. To help both riders and leaders stay safe and enjoy the rides, we have produced outline guidance for group riding. Please read and apply them. Please note that this is a summary only and only highlights the most important points. Please see the more detailed Guidance for Riders, which explains each point and provides further useful information.

1. Ride safely and always follow the Highway Code.
2. Look out for others in your group and don't be afraid to ask for assistance yourself.
3. Make sure you are known to the leader and follow their instructions. Most rides also have a backmarker to ensure the group stays together.
4. Do not ride more than two abreast except when overtaking.
5. Ride in single file on narrow and busy roads if it is safe to do so. Always overtake on the right.
6. In a large group, be prepared to split into smaller groups to allow cars to pass. Leave a gap of about 4 car lengths.

7. Do not ride too closely to the rider in front.
8. Communicate your intentions – slowing, stopping, turning, changing position etc.
9. Support other group members by making them aware of road hazards (cars, potholes, etc.) and by passing messages along the group.
10. At turnings and junctions ensure those behind you can see the route ahead. Wait if asked to by the leader.
11. Tell the leader if anyone is missing or if you are leaving the group.
12. Don't let your lights impair the vision of others. This may be the case with some bright and flashing lights. Avoid using flashing lights after dusk when riding in a group.
13. Wear reflective or light-coloured clothing and ride a roadworthy bike.
14. Ensure you have the tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs.
15. Ensure you have a contact address and emergency phone number with you which the leader can access.
Download this file (GuidanceSummary_V1_PublishedMarch2015.pdf)GuidanceSummary_V1_PublishedMarch2015.pdf[Guidance Summary]148 kB

Winchester CTC – Notes for Leaders and Backmarkers


We appreciate the fact that you have volunteered to give some of your time to help the club. The aim of these notes is to help you plan your ride and lead it on the day. Leaders are an essential part of our rides and make an important contribution to the success of the club. Leading a ride can be an enjoyable activity and members of the committee and other leaders will be happy to help. Just ask.

In order to lead rides for us, the Winchester CTC Secretary registers you as a volunteer leader with Cycling UK nationally. The only other formality is that you have to be a current member of Cycling UK. This registration gives you adequate insurance cover when leading a ride for Winchester CTC. A summary of the insurance arrangements is included at the end of notes, including a link to the full documentation on the Cycling UK national website.

All those attending Winchester CTC rides are asked to follow the published Summary Rider Guidance and Rider Guidance. You can, therefore, expect riders in your group to have read the guidance. If the behaviour of certain riders contravenes these documents, please remind them of the documents and the need to read them. Poor behaviour by riders may result in them being asked to leave the group

In addition to cooperation from fellow riders, the leader on the day can also expect support from other volunteer leaders. Many leaders are very experienced and more than happy to share their knowledge with you both before and during the ride.    

Each group of riders is different and some elements of the guidance is more relevant to rides with a higher number of novice cyclists whilst other elements are more appropriate for leading faster, more experienced groups.


At the end of these notes is a Checklist with a summary of what you need to do when leading a ride. It is designed as an aide-mémoire and is an addition to these notes rather than a replacement. It follows the same order as the full guidance and is divided into 3 sections.

  • Before ride
  • On the day
  • After the ride


We run Ride Leader Workshops (3 hours) at regular intervals. Existing leaders are more than happy to offer support both before and during a ride and also act as mentor if required.

We maintain a Leaders’ Google Group list, which is used for swaps and general issues relating to leading rides. Please check with the Secretary that your name has been added.

Before the ride

Route: Devise a route that is suitable in distance and difficulty for the group you are leading. Wherever possible, choose minor roads and avoid complicated junctions, although it may be necessary to use short sections of main roads. The “Our Rides” section on our website gives approximate distances and speed ranges for each type of ride.

How you work out the route is up to you: Many leaders rely on maps (OS Landranger 1:50 000) but increasingly leaders are also using mapping software to devise routes. We are also developing a Route Library on the website and this may help you. Other leaders will also be happy to help you work out a route.

It is not essential to ride the route in advance although obviously, this can be useful if you have time. Identify points of interest, refreshment stops and toilets. Some leaders publish details on our Facebook page or our Winchester CTC Google Group. If you do this, post the information sufficiently in advance to give riders the chance to see it. If you are unsure of anything, don’t hesitate to ask another leader or ride coordinator. It can be helpful to have an extra paper copy of the route available on the day for backmarkers or deputies.

Refreshment stops: these are an integral part of Winchester CTC rides. With groups getting larger, we ask leaders to check that the chosen refreshment stops are open, can accommodate the likely numbers and that food will be available. In conjunction with our sister group Southampton CTC, we produce a Café List. There is a link from the home page of our website – just below the Twitter feed.  It contains most of the information that you will need.

It is often difficult to estimate how many riders will turn up on the day. You should be able to give an estimate and if on the day it is significantly different, please ring from the start. Make sure you have the telephone number with you or have access to the Café List. If you are leading a Sunday ride, don’t forget that the two groups – moderate and faster – often use the same coffee venue. Please liaise with the other leader.

In some cases, particularly in winter when there is ice or snow, it may be necessary to modify the route or occasionally cancel the ride. It is up to you to decide whether to cancel the ride. Often the roads are only icy at the start of the ride and the Hampshire Gritted Road map at can be helpful. The roads shown in red are usually gritted and so can often be used at the start of rides. If conditions improve, you can revert to more minor roads or if they don’t, you may wish to return to Winchester immediately. If you decide to cancel the ride, please put a note on either the Winchester CTC Google Group or on our Facebook page. Please go to the start venue if at all possible or if you live outside Winchester, ask a Winchester-based leader to do this for you, just in case riders don’t see the announcement.   

On the day

At the start:

Make sure that riders and/or bikes do not cause an obstruction at the meet point.

Appoint a backmarker, if possible a registered leader. Exchange mobile phone numbers. Make sure they know the route, including the location of refreshment stops and ideally give them a map. If the group is larger than about 15 riders, we recommend splitting the ride into smaller groups. Ask someone to lead and back-mark each sub-group, where possible a registered leader.

We welcome children on our led rides. All children under 18 must have a signed parental consent form (available from the Secretary).

The minimum age for unaccompanied children on rides is 13. There is no lower age limit if accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis but a signed parental consent form is still needed.

Children aged 13 – 17 may ride unaccompanied on provision of a signed parental consent form subject to the requirement that on their first two rides they must be accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis. During these two rides the adult remains responsible for the child during the ride and should remain with the child and in particular should not ride on ahead. This two-ride rule allows us to check that a child is capable of riding in a group.

We occasionally agree to look after a child whose parent or guardian is known to us and we know the capabilities of the child. In this case, an individual rider agrees to act as the responsible adult. This is very much the exception to the rule and is always agreed in advance. This rule does not apply to open events where the parents fill in a consent form when the child enters the event.

Introduce yourself and the backmarker to riders and explain briefly where the ride is going. If there are newcomers, welcome them to the group. Non-members are allowed to ride with us for 3 rides before joining. This gives them a chance to find out whether we are right for them. Try to ascertain the group-cycling experience of newcomers and introduce them to a few members who can “help” them on the ride.

On Sunday and Wednesday rides, we have 2 and in some cases 3 groups (medium, medium + and faster) starting from the same venue. Liaise with the other leader so that you know who is in your group. When you are about to leave with your group, say clearly which group is about to move.

Cycling UK asks us to get contact details for new riders, ideally at the start but if not, this can be done at the first refreshment stop. Winchester CTC has printed business cards and on the reverse of these cards there is space for new riders to enter their contact details. These cards are available from the Winchester CTC secretary or Ride coordinator. If you are unable to obtain this information, please ask the rider to email the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On the road:

Where possible, lead from the near the front of the group. The Rider Guidance is designed to maximise the safety of groups. Please make sure that riders follow the rider guidance and have a word with any who do not ride with consideration for the group.

The Rider Guidance contains information on safe riding and the use of hand signals and verbal instructions. Ensure that you are familiar with the various signals and give a loud verbal warning in advance of your intentions when approaching major roads, roundabouts, fords etc. Use your judgement to assess the speed of approaching traffic. Riders take individual responsibility at junctions but you may give guidance such as “clear”, or “stop, car from left”, etc. If often helps to establish eye contact with driver(s) waiting at, or approaching the junction from a minor side road, to encourage them to give way. If the group has to split at a junction, wait somewhere safe to reassemble.

The Rider Guidance contains particular information on how to approach horses. Make sure that riders follow this guidance.

The Rider Guidance contains information on singling up when road and/or traffic conditions dictate, and where safe to do so.  This instruction may come from the leader or it may come from someone else in the group who is aware of what is happening behind the group.  

If you are unsure of the route, stop well before the next junction at a safe point to consult the map.

If you need to stop the group, ensure that you stop in a safe place, avoiding road junctions, bends and other road hazards. Warn riders before stopping and keep the carriageway clear.

The same applies when a rider has a puncture or mechanical problem. Ask the group to wait in a safe place. If the mechanical problem can be dealt with quickly, you may decide to keep the group together and then continue. In some cases, it may make sense to split the group and several riders should wait and help the rider sort out the problem. Exchange mobile phone numbers if possible and ensure that they know the route.  Ideally, assign a fellow leader to stay with the group.  The leader is not responsible for roadside repairs, although the more you can help, the better it is. All riders are advised to carry at least spare tubes, tyre levers and pump. Allen keys and multi-tools are also useful. Nowadays, the mobile phone is often a valuable tool if the problem is more serious and cannot be resolved at the roadside.    

When the route deviates from “ahead” at a junction, ask a rider to wait for any slower riders and link up with the backmarker if necessary. This keeps the group moving. If the ride has spread out for any reason, slow the ride down. From time to time, you may need to stop to draw the group back together. Sometimes riders turn up who cannot manage the advertised pace of the group. If this is obvious from the outset, you or the backmarker may need to have a word with them and suggest that they return to Winchester whilst still on familiar roads. In this case, encourage them to try one of our slower rides. If the rider is only slightly slower and there is a short cut that can be taken, this can be suggested to them and in this case, the rider(s) should be accompanied by another leader. We do not leave riders behind but working with other leaders, this situation can usually be handled. If the ride is advertised as suitable for novices, it is very unlikely that this situation will apply.

Group riding is generally a safe activity but accidents do happen, either because of something within the group or an external factor.

In the event of an accident, make sure that the scene is safe and that other traffic is aware that something has happened. Call an ambulance if necessary. Avoid moving the rider. If another vehicle is involved and an injury has occurred, call the police. You may decide to split the group at this stage and either nominate a leader to take the group going on or ask some experienced riders to remain with the injured rider. Exchange mobile phone numbers.

After the accident, contact the Winchester CTC secretary for an Incident Report form. After completion, the secretary will send it to the CYCLING UK insurer and CYCLING UK officer responsible for member groups.  This is done after every accident on a CTC/CYCLING UK ride, where a rider attends A+E at the time or later and even if no other person is involved.  

Towards the end of the ride, make sure that everyone in the group knows where the ride ends. Usually, riders will go their own way on reaching the city boundary, but check everyone knows how to get home from where they are.

The Winchester CTC Newsletter and website is always looking for good photos of our rides. If you or others on your ride take photos that might be suitable, you are encouraged to send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We should like to expand our route library. Please consider sending the gpx file of your route to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Registered leaders are covered by Organisers’ Liability and all CTC/Cycling UK members are covered by 3rd party insurance.

Organisers’ Liability cover: Cover is provided to all volunteer registered leaders of Winchester CTC (maximum of £10,000,000 per incident) provided that they are current members of CTC/Cycling UK.  As a leader or event organiser, you are covered against any claim made against you or the Member Group for injury or damage caused to a third party during a led ride or as part of an open event organised by Winchester CTC/Cycling UK.

Non-members are covered for the duration of the ride only against claims made against them by a CTC/CYCLING UK member on the ride. There should be no more than 10 non-members on any one ride and a non-member may only participate in 3 Winchester CTC rides before they are required to become members. This limitation does not apply to open events registered with CTC/Cycling UK. The full guidance is available at

Third-party insurance: Cover of a maximum of £10,000,000 per incident is available to all current individual members of CTC/Cycling UK for injury or damage caused by that member to a third party. Members are covered while cycling in touring competitions, reliability or Audax events, time-trials and record breaking. You are not insured for any other form of competitive cycling. The full guidance is at



Winchester CTC - GUIDANCE FOR RIDERS (Road Riding only)

Please read the 'Our Rides' section on the Winchester CTC website and try to attend rides appropriate to your abilities and aspirations. If that is not obvious from the ride descriptions, please contact us in advance if possible or tell us. Your constructive suggestions will help us meet the needs of as many cyclists as possible.

Road conduct

1. Ride safely and always follow the Highway Code. Please remember that when you are out on a club ride, you represent the club. Be courteous to all other road users, even if they aren't courteous to you. Ensure you have a roadworthy bike. Get it checked by a bike shop if necessary.

2. Cycling in a group is great fun but different from cycling on your own. Be aware of others in your group and don't be afraid to ask for assistance yourself. Group riding is about trust and responsibility. Each member should feel responsible for the whole group.

3. Follow the instructions of the group leader. They should make themselves known to you. However, in a large group this may not always be possible so make sure you are known to the leader, especially if you are new to the group. Most rides also have a backmarker to ensure the group stays together. Try not to overtake the leader but if you do, e.g. on a long uphill, stop at the top where safe, to regroup.

4. Do not ride more than two abreast except when overtaking. Overtake efficiently. If riding alone within a group, ride behind the inner rider of a pair. Do not make sudden swerves or pull back when getting out of the saddle. The inside rider should ride sensibly close to the kerb (as a general guide ½ to 1 metre) although this may not be possible if the road surface is poor. The outside rider should be about a handlebars width outside them. When riding the outside position of the leading pair, slow down and be particularly careful on the approach to blind corners; there may be a car approaching.

5. Change to single file riding when necessary (for example on narrow or busy roads) and when instructed to single up. Defer to the leader's judgement on this. However, do not single out where this may encourage unsafe overtaking by vehicles. When singling out, the inside rider of each pair should normally move forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. Always ride on the correct side of the road. Always overtake on the right. Take care on lanes, looking over hedges and listening for approaching traffic.

6. In a large group and if there is traffic behind which is unable to overtake, be prepared to split into smaller groups of about 3 to 5 to help it pass. The gap between groups should be around 4 car lengths (20m). Where appropriate and courteous, pull in to let the car pass. If given, follow the leader's guidance on this.

7. Do not ride too closely to the rider in front; especially when riding two abreast; you or your partner may need to cut in suddenly. Do not overlap wheels with the rider in front. Avoid sudden changes in speed. On ascents, ride well to the left to allow faster climbers to pass on your right.

8. Always communicate your intentions. Look behind before starting or changing position. If you need to slow down or stop, shout "SLOWING" or "STOPPING". Stop close to the verge at a safe point.

9. Support other group members by making them aware of road hazards:

a) For dangerous road surfaces (potholes, gravel, wet leaves etc.), call out and point down with left or right hand.

b) For general hazards (e.g. walker, jogger, dog, parked car etc.) call "on the left" or "on the right" and slow the ride down as appropriate.

c) When approaching horses particular care is needed. Ensure both rider and horse are aware of your presence and pass slowly and carefully. The horse will often be aware of you before the rider. Use verbal messages and not your bell. The last person past the horse(s) should inform the horse rider(s).

d) If necessary, warning of approaching traffic should be given by shouting "car down" for oncoming vehicles. Similarly, the back marker (or last rider) and other riders towards the rear should give warning of traffic from behind by shouting "car up".

e) Pass messages up and down the group so that everyone follows suit.

Additional guidance on warning messages can be found on this website here

10. At junctions and major turnings, ensure that those behind you can see the route ahead. Check that the next rider in the group can see you and which way you are turning. If they can't, either wait at the junction or tell the leader. Don't block the sight of motorists already at the junction and waiting to pull out.

11. If you want to leave the group during the ride, tell the leader or backmarker so that you are not treated as a "missing person". Try to make sure the leader knows if someone leaves but has not told the leader.

12. You are encouraged to use lights where necessary but do not use flashing front or rear lights when riding in a group after dusk. The only exception is the back-marker, appointed by the leader of the ride, who may use a flashing rear light. Ensure that your light settings are set to a level that does not impair the vision of fellow riders. There are lights available that have lower settings for group riding.

13. Wear light or bright coloured clothing, with reflective strips, bands or belts at night or in particularly dull weather. Carry working front and rear lights when necessary. Consider duplicating your rear light and/or carry spare batteries. Without adequate lighting the leader may refuse to allow you to join or continue with the group.

14. On a typical club ride, we suggest you carry:

a. spare tube(s) and puncture repair kit, pump, tyre levers, multi-tool and any tool specifically needed to adjust your bike

b. drink, food (on longer rides) and money for emergencies and refreshment stops.

c. wet weather and/or warm clothing when necessary. Additional clothing may be needed when returning to Winchester in the evening.

15. Always make sure you have:

a. home address and telephone contact number for emergencies: co-locate with money,

b. if possible a mobile phone for emergency use. You may like to consider storing an I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) number; If you keep your phone locked, please keep emergency contact details as per point 15a,

c. advised the leader if you have any medical condition which may have an impact on your safety or the safety of the group.

Other Guidance

If you see yourself as a fast cyclist or are training for a speed event, we recommend the Guidance produced by the Winchester racing club VCV. See covers essential rules for group riding and the etiquette to be adopted by a fast moving peloton.



Warning calls when riding in a group

These calls are based on the guidance produced by West Surrey CTC.

Pass warning messages quickly up and down the line so that everyone follows suit.

  • "Car up" or "car behind": There is a vehicle coming up behind the group.
  • "Car down" or "car ahead": There is a vehicle approaching the front of the group.
  • "Single file": A call from the Ride Leader or backmarker when a column of cyclists riding 2 abreast blocks cars from passing safely (overtaking or meeting) on narrow or busy roads or when riding round bends. This call must be relayed backward or forward by everyone to ensure that the move to single file is executed quickly and safely. When singling out, the inside rider of each pair should normally move forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. The call "single file" also alerts everyone to the need to assist in creating spaces for outside riders coming in.
  • "Open Gaps" To help motor traffic overtake the group (or if traffic behind is unable to overtake, you will be requested, where safe, to split into smaller groups of 3 – 5 riders (minimum of 4 car lengths between groups) with the call "open gaps". If you can count 5 riders ahead, you need to open up a gap in front of you.
  • "Clear" and "Stop! Car Left/Right": This call informs following riders at junctions, when the group is joining or crossing another road, if the road is clear. "Clear" means that the junction is safe to cross/turn. If the situation changes and traffic appears, immediately shout "Stop! Car on left/right". Do not use the shout "Not Clear" as some of this shout might not have been fully heard due to weather conditions or traffic noise. If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
  • "Hole"/"Gravel": Any pothole or gravel that could cause a rider to fall. If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it. Do this by either pointing or adding to the call "on the left (or right)".
  • "Hazard Left/Right" A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians. For hazards on the left an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard.
  • "Stopping!" and "Slowing": A call that each rider must make to warn others. If you brake without letting those behind know your intention they can easily run into you.
  • "Puncture": Let other riders know. They will wait while you repair it (you will probably be given help).
  • "Horse(s)": The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind call out to the rider. Do not ring your bell. Pay attention to any request by the horse rider – they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists. Last person past the horse(s) to inform the horse rider(s).

Checklist for Leaders

This following checklist provides an aide-mémoire and is an addition to the Notes for Leaders and Backmarkers. It follows the same order as the full guidance. It is divided into 3 sections:

  • Before ride
  • On the day
  • After the ride


Before ride



a)      Devise suitable route (distance and pace),

b)      Publicise route on Google Group/Facebook if coffee and lunch destinations not in programme. If you have one, include gpx

c)       Take copy of route or list of key locations to give to backmarker


Refreshment Stops


Contact coffee stop & lunch stop if appropriate giving approximate number of riders and time


Check weather forecast and act accordingly


On the day


At start

a)      Appoint backmarker and advise him/her of route. Exchange mobile phone numbers

b)      Welcome new riders and take contact details

c)       Introduce yourself and backmarker to group and explain ride format

d)      If Group size exceeds 10 – 12, split into two groups with a leader in each group.



On ride

You do not have to be at the very front of the group.

Lead the ride at the advertised pace.

Mechanical and medical problems: Ask other riders for help if necessary

Towards end of ride ensure that everyone knows how to get back into Winchester.


After ride


Forward contact details for any new riders to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


In the event of any incident and obtain an Incident form, contact the Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Download this file (Checklist for leaders.pdf)Checklist for leaders[Checklist for Ride leaders]469 kB