The Rotary Club has a keen interest in ensuring that the community and authorities are happy for the ride to occur so that we can continue to run this great event.
Our Agreement with the NSW Police Force is that we must at all times manage and reduce the risk to Riders and support personnel as fully as we can so that we can continue to hold the ride each year with the number of riders that we do.
Please keep in mind that, there are no road closures for this event and we travel on a variety of local streets, freeways and country roads. Please be polite and courteous to all members of the public and other road users at all times regardless of their disposition.
Obey the Road Rules
Riders participating in the Sydney to Surfers Ride must obey the road rules, stop at traffic lights, stop at stop signs, give way to traffic when appropriate.
Single or Double File
In order to reduce concern and frustration that might be caused to other road users, unless directed to do otherwise by your Pack Captain (eg where there are dual lanes, on the Freeway etc) all riders should ride single file at all times.
When in single file formation you need to keep up with the riders in front so that the Pack is not strung out too far. Although the Pack needs to be tight, keep a distance that is comfortable for you and for the rider directly in front of you, generally about 500mm from the front wheel (each rider’s comfort zone will be a little different).
Keep a constant watch to maintain your spacing – increase the distance when going downhill and in adverse weather conditions.
If you are in the middle of the Pack and the tail end has dropped off, call that up the line so that the Pack Captain is aware and can take action to lower the speed while the rest of the Pack catch up.
When riding over hills whether in single or dual file formation, the lead riders should slow over the crest to allow others to catch up. On big or steep hills where the Pack becomes strung out, lead riders should stop at the top of the hill where safe to do so and wait for the Pack to regroup.
When riding in double file formation riders pair off shoulder to shoulder. When braking, apply your brakes gently and call out “slowing” when you do so. Avoid hard braking which can cause accidents for those behind.
If you bump into the rider alongside you or touch a wheel in front, ‘do not panic’. Gently recover. In the majority of situations where riders touch wheels there is no problem unless you panic and hit the brakes and/or make another sudden manoeuvre.
Leading the Pack at the front requires a good deal of concentration and care. You need to keep abreast of your fellow leader (if riding in double file), obey the road rules, call the pot holes and obstacles and watch for traffic light changes. Also, lead rider(s) have the responsibility to maintain a good even pace for the Pack – the pace that has been agreed on by the Pack Captain – and make sure the group stays together.
In most cases the pace will be a bit slower uphill and a bit faster downhill so it is not simply a case of looking at the bike computer. The idea is to make sure that you maintain approximately the same effort without allowing the ride to develop into a race resulting in the Pack splitting.
Being predictable is the key to pack riding. This means no sudden movements in any direction. Keep it smooth.
It is most likely that you will be riding with people whom you haven’t ridden with before, so assess your level in the Pack and the level of those around you. If you are one of the more experienced riders, give the less experienced riders the room they need and encourage them along the way.
Keep your line
Don’t weave across the road, keep your relative position from the edges of the road even when cornering. When riding past someone and moving in front of them, be sure not to cut them off.
There should be no gaps in the Pack. As soon as you see a gap, move up and fill it by riding into the space in a steady and controlled manner. There is no need to sprint into the space and then slam on the brakes, just gradually fill in any gaps as soon as you see them.
No sudden braking
Any changes in speed become increasingly more difficult to deal with the further back you are in the Pack. If there is a reason for the Pack to stop, keep your relative position and don’t use it as an opportunity to overtake riders that have slowed or stopped in front of you.
Communications and signals
Your Pack Captain will brief the Pack on the ‘calls’ and hand signals to be used during the ride. Where there are situations that need pointing out such as turning, stopping, slowing, potholes, glass, etc you can do by signaling, usually either calling or pointing to a hazard.
The main calls will include ‘stopping‘, ‘slowing‘, ‘rolling‘, ‘car back‘, ‘car up‘. All riders have a responsibility to pass on the calls and signals right through the Pack to the last rider and Sweep.
There may be occasions where situations demand that you call out a hazard to avoid incidents. Keep in mind that there could be riders several metres behind you who cannot see the hazard. This could be anything from a dog running out in front of the bunch, to accidentally dropping a bottle in the middle of the bunch. If you drop a drink bottle, don’t stop.
Riders in the front can’t safely see whether any of the Pack has dropped back or the Pack has split or is too strung out. Riders at the back must communicate to the front and vice versa.
Getting out of the saddle
Even experienced riders slow when they stand to put more pressure on the pedals (eg to help on a steeper climb). The sensation of having the wheel slowing in front of you is very disconcerting and can lead to an accident. For the rider getting out of the saddle – try to come up slowly and maintain pressure on the pedals to eliminate/diminish the slowing movement of your back wheel.
For the following rider – make sure you leave sufficient room between you and the rider ahead to accommodate them if/when they ‘get out of the saddle’. This applies particularly when there is a climb approaching.
If you are on the front, you must keep pedalling. Lead riders should never freewheel downhill – this prevents having riders behind you having to ‘sit on their brakes’. Typically the front few riders keep pedalling and the riders behind will freewheel or soft tap.
It is easy to find yourself constantly looking at the wheel of the bike ahead. Instead, try to keep your focus both between the rider ahead and the rider 3 or 4 places ahead. Also scan the road ahead for lights, road conditions, changing positions of riders and any of their hand signals. This allows you to anticipate problems and take corrective action early.
Half-wheeling is the practice of having your front wheel overlap with the rear wheel of the rider ahead. Don’t let it happen – ever. It is very dangerous as you will be the one to crash and fall if you connect with the wheel in front. Worse still you could end up bringing the riders behind you down as well.
Passing on the Left
It is extremely unsafe, bad etiquette and foolhardy to pass a rider on his or her left. Always overtake on the right.
Passing other Packs
With between 40 and 50 riders merging when one Pack passes another it is important to call up the line that a Pack is passing. The passing Pack is to do so in single file and only when it is safe traffic wise and space wise to do so – otherwise the Pack seeking to pass should wait behind the support vehicle until it is safe to pass.
Once the passing decision has been made, all riders should accelerate and ride hard past the Pack, slowing slightly when well clear to allow the remainder of the Pack to catch up and for the Pack to reform before continuing.
Rolling – Rotating the Lead Riders
Once on the freeway your Pack Captain will most likely have the Pack form into double file (two columns of riders) and rotate the front leaders. This is referred to as ‘rolling’.
Rolling is done by ‘rolling forward’ from the front right hand column to the left column.
Rolling will either be initiated by the lead pair when they become fatigued – by calling out ‘rolling’ or by a signal from the Pack Captain. On the signal – the left hand lead rider keeps speed constant, the right hand lead rider accelerates slightly and overtakes. Once clear of the left hand lead rider’s front wheel the passing rider then pulls smoothly into the left hand lead rider position, slowing slightly to match the speed of the rider they have just passed. The right hand rider moves up by one position and takes the right hand lead position. All riders in the right hand column also moves up one position. The tail rider in the left column moves across to the right hand column.
These guidelines are provided to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all riders. If you are unsure about anything or feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time, raise your concerns with your Pack Captain.