2017 BCC Framework
The BCC Difference
The club was established in 2007 with the sole purpose networking cyclists, establishing immediate camaraderie, facilitating a smooth assimilation into the club through a framework which empowers a cyclist (new or old) with fundamentals of group riding safety/skills. This allows an individual cyclist to then focus on building their fitness, setting goals and achieving more then they originally thought possible. Since then, it has built a strong reputation for being safe on its rides and for having the level of camaraderie that all group settings should strive for.
- High Level of Care
- Empower New Riders
- Be Ambassadors of Cycling
- Strive for Ride consistency in terms of Quality and Enjoyment
- Have Fun.*
* Importantly, sometimes laying everything out on the road is part of the fun (i.e. the classic sprint points that our groups have already). For general ride fun and consistency, the type of ride structure discussed in this document is obviously important to consider as a ride marshal (especially for the beginner groups, where “laying it out” may not be possible right away), but the marshal should also mention that it is okay at certain points in a ride to “go for it” so long as people learn to regroup at the end of any “segment” and reformulate into a group for recovery together. There’s more to this, but I think you know what I’m getting at already.
All BCC Riders/marshals should be able to exhibit all these qualities. As ride leaders/marshals, we too, need to be able to enjoy our group rides. If at any point in time you feel that you cannot maintain these standards, please pass on the responsibility to a fellow marshal and take time to reset. This framework is designed to act as preventative maintenance for BCC Group rides. Understanding the importance of these key points will ensure safe group riding and the overall enjoyment of every member in the club. Think of the BCC as the Starbucks( of Cycling Clubs where no matter the route or pace group the level of care is the same amongst the riders of the group. Consistency in all aspects leads to a well-respected group of cyclists and that is what the Riders of BCC are – Members of an Extremely Reputable Cycling Club in Canada.
- Think of everyone in your group when you make a decision.
- Things that you would do when riding by yourself are not always going to work when you are managing a group. i.e. making a turn - don’t make the turn unless all the group can safely navigate the turn. This puts the group at risk because not everyone’s reaction may be fast enough as yours. Moreover, this type of situation can confuse oncoming cars since they naturally expect a group of cyclists to move together as a unit at all times.
Routes & Groups
- Marshals should lead by example and post their route/distance choice and Speed groups online ahead of time.
- Since the ride starts can be chaotic, as marshals we need to take charge and state our intentions and help other riders make a decision more readily. If the choices are clear at the start of a ride, it then becomes the responsibility of the individual to have chosen the correct route/pace group and therefore absolves any recourse. With that said, sometimes people make mistakes and try to bite off more than they can chew.
Marshal Safety Recap (Pre-Ride)
- Lead Marshals should recap key safety concerns at the start of the ride. Get everyone’s attention and stay key safety concerns depending on the route/weather variables. ie. For an Up North Ride - revisit the no passing on an up hill and downhill rule on single lane roads.
Group Ride Position/Responsibility
- Front of the Pace Line - Know the route; Hold the pace agreed by everyone in the group; Look back regularly to ensure the group is together and there are no gaps in the pace line. Riders at the front are responsible for the entire group and should always be looking ahead for safe line on the road to take avoiding pot holes as well as checking the intersections for potential hazards. When they call a stop, everyone should respect their call. Depending on the size of the group and the speed, two front riders will have to decide quickly and stick to the decision.
- Middle of the Pace Line - Don’t half wheel and help the pace line leaders by reminding the riders in the middle of the pace line to eliminate gaps and stay together. This will help the leaders to implement a more consistent pace upfalse flats and hills. Gaps cause an accordion effect and break groups apart as they cause an unnecessary “interval workout” for riders. – Ideally, this will not need to be addressed if no gaps form in the first place. Therefore, ensure you communicate any change in the pace to the leaders so this does not become an issue.
- Back of the Pace Line - Know the route, Keep an eye out for cars so you can call “Car Back”. Check for clear lanes when the group needs to turn and facilitate safe merging/lane change. Help keep the group tight and to the right depending on the road situation. i.e. Going up a hill up north we should always be tight to the right and in some cases single file if the traffic level is high. Cars tend to pass blindly and if the pace line is scattered, there is increased chance of an accident.
Pace Line Rotation
- To help with safety and to allow members to practice proper Group ride position and responsibility it is important to set a pace line rotation time.
- Choose 30sec, 60secs, 90secs. *
* It is also good to encourage that people communicate when they are feeling too tired to do a full pull on the front and an improvised rotation length may become necessary on occasion. If this is communicated well, this will also allow the next riders to hold a pace that allows for recovery for that individual.
- Anything longer than this will allow for complacency and lead to lack of communication within a ride and this increases risk, making a ride less safe.
Safety(During a Ride)
- Managing safety during a ride can sometimes be difficult and sometimes known as “herding cats”. Ride marshals in a group lead by example by exhibiting a high level of communication with each other and with the rest of the group.
- In our experience, maintaining a high level of communication keeps new groups riders aware of what is going on and helps to maintain safe riding practices.