Winchester CTC supports Cycle Winchester, a local community action group, campaigning to make Winchester  better by bike.

Cycle Winchester

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.

Winchester CTC – RIDING GUIDANCE (Road Riding) Revised January 2020

Please read the 'Our Rides' section on the Winchester CTC website and try to attend rides appropriate to your abilities and aspirations. If you are not sure which ride to try, please contact Winchester CTC Secretary

Riding in a group is great fun but is different from cycling on your own. The following guidance is designed to make the rides safe and enjoyable for all.

  1. Ride safely and follow the Highway Code. When on a club ride, you represent the club. Be courteous to other road users, even if they aren't courteous to you. Ensure you have a roadworthy bike.
  2. Group riding is about trust and responsibility and each member should feel responsible for the whole group. Be aware of others in your group and don't be afraid to ask for assistance.
  3. Follow the instructions of the group leader. They should introduce themselves but in a large group this is not always possible. Make sure you are known to the leader, especially if new to the group. Most rides have a backmarker to ensure the group stays together. If you find yourself ahead of the leader, e.g. on a long uphill, stop at the top where safe to regroup. Also stop if you get to a junction.
  4. Do not ride more than two abreast except when overtaking. Overtake efficiently. If riding alone behind a pair, ride behind the inner rider. If riding on the inside, do not ride too close to the kerb where road surfaces are often poor. If riding on the outside ride about a handlebar’s width to the right. Slow down when approaching blind corners as there may be a car approaching.
  5. Change to single file riding when necessary (e.g. on narrow or busy roads) and when instructed to single up. Defer to the leader's judgement. N.B. We do not single where this may encourage unsafe overtaking by vehicles. When singling, the inside rider of each pair normally moves forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. Always ride on the correct side of the road and overtake on the right. Take care on narrow roads, looking over hedges and listening for approaching traffic.
  6. Please be courteous to other road users. An angry and frustrated driver will often take risks and drive aggressively, endangering the safety of the whole group. In a large group and, particularly if there is traffic behind that cannot overtake, be prepared to split into smaller groups of about 4 to 6 to help it pass. The gap between groups should be at least 4 car lengths (20m). Where appropriate and courteous, pull in to let the car pass. Follow the leader's guidance on this or take action yourself if the leader is unaware of the problem.
  7. Do not ride too close 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. Do not swerve suddenly and 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:
    1. Dangerous road surfaces (potholes, gravel, wet leaves etc.): Call out and point down with left or right hand.
    2. General hazards (e.g. walker, jogger, dog, parked car etc.): Call "on the left" or "on the right" and slow down as appropriate.
    3. 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 that they are the back of the group. For further information see the Cycling UK campaign “Be Nice Say Hi
    4. Warn of approaching traffic by shouting "car down" for oncoming vehicles and “car up” for traffic from behind.
    5. Pass messages up and down the group so that everyone follows suit.

 A List of warning calls when riding in a group can be found  here

  1. At junctions and turnings, check that the next rider in the group can see which way you are turning. If they can't, tell the leader or wait at the junction. Don't block the sight of motorists already at the junction and waiting to pull out.
  2. 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". Tell the leader if someone leaves the group without telling the leader.
  3. Carry front and rear lights where necessary. Do not use flashing front or rear lights when riding in a group after dusk. The only exception is the back-marker, 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. 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.
  4. Wear light or bright coloured clothing, with reflective strips, bands or belts at night or in particularly dull weather.
  5. On a typical club ride, we suggest you carry:
    1. spare tube(s) and puncture repair kit, pump, tyre levers, multi-tool and any tool specifically needed to adjust your bike;
    2. drink, food (on longer rides) and money for emergencies (cards not always accepted) and refreshment stops;
    3. 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:

    1. home address and telephone contact number for emergencies: co-locate with money;
    2. if possible, a mobile phone for emergency use. 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;
    3. advise the leader if you have any medical condition which may impact on your safety or the safety of the group.


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 Winchester CTC Google Group 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 Winchester CTC Secretary


In the event of any incident and obtain an Incident form, contact the Secretary Winchester CTC Secretary