Cycling Club

The safety of our bike rides is really important. It is essential to know and practice how to ride in a group safely, exercise good judgment and thus not endanger others.

Cycling on the road  can be perilous and riders can be at risk of injuring themselves. Riding in a group poses additional risks because you will be moving fast in close proximity to others with traffic all around you. Riders are responsible for riding within their limits as well as assisting others to make sure our rides and events are safe and enjoyable.


Most of the time road conditions will require that we ride single file. The Ride Leader will call “Single File!" and hold up one arm. We always ride “tight to the right” of the lane. We may be able to ride in a double line, where we pair up to ride two-by-two. As a group, we always aim to ride predictably and smoothly, avoiding sudden actions that could surprise riders and traffic around us. All our rides are “no-drop” rides, as such we ride as fast as the slowest rider to ensure that the group stays together and no one gets overextended or frustrated.

  • Maintain a space of 0.5-1.5 m between you and the wheel in front of you; in wet weather make it 2-4 m to allow adequate space for braking.
  • Look ahead up the line and keep your eye on the back of rider in front of you: do not watch their rear wheel.
  • Ride handlebar to handlebar with your partner in line: do not overlap wheels with another rider.
  • If you hear something happen behind you (rider crash or mechanical problem), do not turn around suddenly, but keep riding forward looking ahead until it is safe to stop and pull over.

We encourage each other, lead by example, and provide advice on safety practices and skill improvement.



  1. Obey all traffic laws and rules of the road.
  2. It is the responsibility of every rider to maintain a tight bunch. Do your part to keep a tight formation. Ride bar-to-bar with the person beside you to avoid the risk of wheel overlap.
  3. Use hand signals and point out obstacles for other riders. If you don’t have time to use hand signals, use your voice e.g. “Stopping!”. Also, use your voice for other calls such as “Car up!” or “Car back!”. If you are in the middle of the bunch, relay hand signals and calls so everyone is aware.
  4. Maintain a constant even pedal stroke and constant even power. Soft pedal instead of coasting. Do not throw down a power surge on inclines. Do not half-wheel on the front: it causes accumulated acceleration that is stressful for the rest of the bunch. Be constantly aware of your speed and position (bar-to-bar) relative to the other riders around you so you don’t half-wheel or overlap wheels accidentally.
  5. When starting up (traffic light, stop sign, group stop), the riders in the front must soft pedal (ride intentionally slow) to wait for all riders behind to clip in. Check that the group is all together and then gradually increase speed.
  6. If you are going to stand up and ride out of the saddle, make sure you do it at the top of your pedal stroke with downward pressure on the pedal to minimize the degree your bike shoots backward to avoid surprising the rider behind you who could crash into you if they aren’t ready to compensate for your sudden action.
  7. If passing/overtaking other riders, first check behind you for cars or other riders, then pass ONLY on the left of the rider you are overtaking. This rule applies especially to sprint segments and hill climbing.
  8. Be aware of what is going on around you and communicate to others. Tell other riders/Ride Leader if there is a split in the group. Call “Pace!” if the group is riding too fast.
  9. Riders in the back of the bunch are responsible for communicating to those in the front when it is safe to turn or change lanes. If there is traffic coming, call and repeat “Wait!”—when it is safe, call “Clear!”
  10. If you leave a ride before it ends, tell the Ride Leader or other riders that you are leaving.



A bell and LIGHTS are REQUIRED

A bell is required at all times, by Ontario Law.

By law, lights are to be turned on thirty minutes before sunset and are to remain on thirty minutes after sunrise. For early/late season rides, all riders need functioning lights.


Follow the “eight-second rule”: if the countdown timer is estimated to reach seven by the time the group is at the line, the group should stop,if it’s at nine or above the group continues as one unit through the light.


Ear buds, music and phone calls are not permitted on club rides. Safety, spatial awareness, communication and respect for your fellow riders all take precedence. If you have arrived at a club ride with ear buds in, please remove them and put them in your back pocket. If you need to conduct a phone call, please remove yourself from the ride to do so.


Group rides are all about safety, trust and etiquette. Riding with aero bars in a pack is dangerous. You have less stability and are unable to react to changes in the pack, road conditions, hazards and pace. We want your hands close to your controls… specifically your brakes. There are reasons triathlons and time trials are individual events and do not allow drafting. Bring a road bike and enjoy the group tactics and draft. If you have clip on aero bars attached to your road bike, please remove them before joining a club ride.


Rain/snow is something all cyclists must ride through at some point. In the wet, the grip of your tires is reduced. Slow down extra for corners and do your best to use extra caution or try to avoid rolling over anything metal (train tracks, metal construction plates, sewers) as they become slippery when wet. When in doubt, dismount and walk.


  • Never turn or brake on metal—slow down gradually in advance when you can, release the brakes and roll straight.
  • Cross tracks as close to a 90° angle as you can and ride straight without turning.
  • Sewer grates are best avoided and are a good reason not to hug the curb while riding. Depending on their design, some slotted sewer grates can trap your tire and cause a crash.
  • A metal bridge should be safe to cross when it’s dry, but if the bridge is wet, use extra caution, and don’t brake or turn while crossing it. If in doubt, dismount and walk. You can always switch to ‘pedestrian mode’ if you feel unsafe on a roadway for any reason.
  • As you approach a stop give your brake lever a couple light squeezes. This will squeegee the water from the rim and make the pads more efficient even if they’re still damp. Leave extra space and begin slowing down sooner than you would in dry conditions. (Not necessary if you have disc brakes.)
  • If you typically ride in dry conditions, you probably give little thought to your body position when stopping. But in wet conditions it is imperative to shift your weight back to maximize rear wheel traction. As you approach a stop, slide back on your saddle.
  • Probably the worst thing you can do in wet conditions is brake in a corner. You risk losing complete control and exponentially increase your chances of going down. Instead, brake early and release before actually making your turn.
  • Braking in the wet should primarily be with your rear brake. While it feels wrong and takes some practice, if you keep pedaling while braking, it reduces the chance of your rear wheel locking up and skidding/fishtailing.
  • Caution is also required when rolling over a patch of fallen leaves, steel street plates, wood or metal bridge decking and painted road markings which all require extra caution when damp.
  • As a cyclist, you should always avoid puddles. What might appear to be something minor could actually be a deep pothole or sewer grate. Avoid them and reduce your chances of a trip over the handlebars.
  • Disc brakes are the best option. Rims with an aluminum braking surface are your next bet in the rain. The brakes used on carbon rims are less effective when wet.
  • If you know you’ll be riding the whole day in wet conditions, letting 10 or so psi out of our tires will allow for more contact between the tire and the road.
  • Lights on. Just as cars are required to have their lights on if they’re using their windshield wipers, cyclists should also light up in wet conditions.
  • Keep an old rag near where you store your bicycle and wipe off your wet chain as soon as you get home to preserve its lifespan. Be sure to re-lube your chain once it’s dry, before you set out on your next ride.
  • Wet shoes? Remove the insoles and stuff your shoes with newspaper. It will absorb all the moisture and should be dry to wear the next day.




Required Items

A Road Bike

You must bring a multi-geared, drop bar, road bike for all group rides.

The bike should be in good operating condition. This includes proper air pressure in tires, chain lubed, brakes aligned with sufficient braking power available, components in working order, etc.

You must have a bell or other sound making device attached to your bike. This is required by Ontario Law.

If the Ride Leader deems your bike to not be in rideable condition, you will not be able to participate in the ride as it is a safety issue for the group.

A Helmet

This is required, you will not be able to ride without a helmet.


Recommended Items

Your Cycling Kit

It is not required, but it is highly recommended that you wear our Bike Asylum Kit as it identifies you as part of our club group. It is highly recommended that you wear a pair of padded shorts and a cycling jersey. These will keep you comfortable (top and bottom) over the duration of the ride. For colder rides, you may wish to bring layers and/or arm/leg/knee warmers. Keep in mind, as you ride you may warm up and these will need to be packed away.

Spare Tube / Puncture Kit

It is inevitable that you will get a puncture while on the road. It happens to everyone at some point, sometimes multiple times per ride. Make sure you have a spare inner tube that fits your tire, tire levers to get your tires off and some way to re-inflate your tire such as a hand pump or a CO2 cartridge.

Emergency Contact Info

Your emergency contact info should be readily available. You should also have a way of contacting the ride leader or the shop with you during the ride.


On most rides, you will need one bottle of water and one bottle of electrolytes and food. Nothing is worse than being an hour away from the nearest town and running out of energy. Plan on one bottle of water/electrolytes for every 45 minutes of activity and burning a few hundred calories per hour at a minimum. It is highly recommended to bring an energy bar (~250 cals) and a few gels (100 cals each) to any ride. Bananas are great portable energy too. Eat them before you get hungry.


For early morning rides, evenings rides, as daylight fades, or in wet or foggy conditions you should have lights for your bike. In most circumstances, a white front light and a red rear light will suffice. However, if you are riding pre-dawn, or in dusk, you should have a front light with enough power to allow you to see road hazards (500 or more lumens).


Riding in a Group

Riding in groups is one of the best cycling experiences around. It can be social enough for a chat and structured to go faster than you ever could on your own. The exact execution of these groups is dictated by the rider skill level and range of structure, with the most structured and disciplined group riding being the fastest and most efficient. Regardless, there are huge benefits to utilizing a paceline as soon as you are comfortable with it.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep the Pace- Going to the front you may need to do more work but you don't need to speed up. Keep track of the group's pace as you approach the front and hold it while you're there.
  2. Micro Adjust- Use skills like soft pedaling, air braking and feathering to make small changes to your speed as opposed to slamming on the brakes every time. 
  3. Don't Stare- It is easy to get locked on the wheel in front of you. Not only is that boring, but it is also not giving you any time to react to changing situations. Keep scanning the road about 10m ahead for upcoming obstacles. Use the gaps in the riders to make this easier.
  4. Ease Off the Gas- When preparing to move backwards through the group, you just need to slightly ease off the gas to allow the group to start overtaking you. Remember - small adjustments!
  5. Share and Share Alike- Short pulls keep the paceline moving. A paceline that is consistently moving doesn't leave any particular rider exposed to the wind which makes the ride smoother for everyone involved!
  6. Conserve Energy- If you're getting burnt out, let the others know and have them slot in front of you. This provides you some time to recover before you burn out.



We routinely ride using a single paceline or a double rotating paceline as shown in the animations at the bottom. Which type is used at any given time is subject to the road, traffic, weather and group conditions. The ride leader will give the group instructions to use one type or another.



Communication while riding is incredibly important. As you are part of the flow of traffic, you need to be able to communicate with your fellow drivers and riders. The graphic at the bottom shows some of the most common hand signals that we use as a group to enable this communication. Remember, wind noise, traffic, and other audio interference over the length of a peloton make verbal communication unreliable and verbal communication with motor vehicles is impractical. Hand signals are the best approach for communications.

There are nuances to signaling that are explained in the various GCN Videos linked below. Sometimes it may be more appropriate to yell instead of using a hand signal. This will be covered in the links.


Pace Group Definitions

We organize by pace in order to deliver an experience that fits the skill level of our riders.

Average Pace/Speed - Speed will vary at different points of the ride dependent on road conditions and terrain. Therefore, this is the average pace/speed that will appear on your Strava post at the end of your ride. 


Final Thoughts 

  • Ride in a group that suits your capabilities.
  • Ride within the guidelines of the group you are in. Respect the posted pace and etiquette of that group.
  • Don't chase riders that ride too hard. They will soon realize their error and adjust back to the group or ride off into the sunset as a lone hero. 
  • Pay attention to the Ride Leader and other riders around you. 



Don’t Be THAT Rider: Cycling Group Ride Etiquette

How To Ride In A Group Of Cyclists

How to ride in a group: Eight tips on group riding etiquette

How To Ride In A Group - Group Riding Etiquette

Everything You Need To Take On A Bike Ride (& How To Carry It)

How To Use Your Gears On A Bike: Beginner Series

How To Use Clip-In Pedals & Cleats | Clipless Tips For Beginners