Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to wear a helmet to ride with the group?
Yes, for your safety we require all riders to wear an ANSI approved helmet.
What happens if I can’t stay with the group?
We always try to make sure that everyone has a SAFE and fun time. If there is a group leader he/she will slow the group within the stated pace of the ride. If you are still unable to stay with the group due to fitness or equipment issues the leader will ensure you know the way back, and if you need help will arrange for themself or a volunteer to ride back with you or to get a ride back for you.
Why does a ride require I have a headlight and tail light?
Some rides may start during the late afternoon and the ride leader feels that the ride might continue during dusk or evening. As a club we always do our best to ensure that all our rides are as safe as possible.
Must I sign the ride waiver?
Yes, for liability of our volunteer ride leaders if they request you sign a waiver prior to starting a ride you must sign it to ride with the group.
Why does the description recommend a bottle of water and spare tube?
Most of our rides consist of roadways and country riding where bathrooms and water fountains may not be readily available. You may get a flat tire. While many of our riders will happily help you fix your flat, they may not be able to help you if you do not have a spare tube.
Must I be a club member to join a group ride?
No, anyone can join in group rides as long as they have an approved helmet and sign the ride waiver, but only club members can lead a ride.
I’m new to riding do I have to wear the skin tight clothes?
No, ride whatever you feel comfortable in. Many of our members wear regular workout clothes like shorts and t-shirts. You may want to join us for a few mellow rides to learn the ropes of group riding first.
Tips for Safe Cycling
- Always wear a helmet. Don’t let the Illinois summer heat tempt you to ride without full protection for your brain. Consider investing in a helmet with extra vents for air flow and cooling properties. Drink before you’re thirsty. Dehydration is a leading cause of heat exhaustion. Keep hydrated to reduce your risk and improve your performance.
- Always do an ABCD Quick Check before you ride. Checking the air pressure, tire condition, brakes, crank, chain and quick releases before your ride will reduce the likelihood of getting stuck on the side of the road with a mechanical problem. Nobody wants to fix a flat in the middle of nowhere with the Illinois sun beating down on their neck.
- Wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sizzling summer rays.
- When riding on trails, follow the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Rules of the Trail: leave no trace; always yield to pedestrians, horses and slower moving traffic; and never scare animals. For more information on the Rules of the Trail, visit the IMBA website.
Tips for New Riders
You don’t need to wear spandex to enjoy cycling. But avoid clothes like blue jeans and wear bright workout friendly shirts. Be sure to tuck you shoe laces and keep you pant legs away from your chain to keep you clothes clean and you safe.
Always carry water with you and drink before you thirsty, about one water bottle every 12 miles. If you’re riding with a group and aren’t comfortable drinking while riding wait for the group to stop first, we usually stop every few miles.
Increase you distance gradually, know your pace (average speed) and only increase one at a time. When pedaling try not to pedal really fast / hard and only stand when sprinting or hill climbing.
When braking be sure to do so carefully, if you squeeze toe hard on the front brake you could go end over end. When braking in groups be sure to call out and not to brake suddenly or you could cause a pile up.
Only pass when traffic allows safe passing and only on the left of a rider, pedestrian or vehicle. Be sure to let the person know by calling out loudly, “On your left!”
When crossing railroad tracks adjust your speed and cross at a right angle, crossing tracks sideways or could cause tire to slip and you to fall.
Numb hands/groins or sore neck/back?
If you find that riding constantly causes problems be sure to change positions regularly, any time the group stops that you stretch some. If the problem persists look into cycling gloves, different seats or get professionally fitted.
Communicating to Others
Signals- Only do the arm signals if you can do so safely.
- Left turn-point left with arm straight out fingers together and outstretched.
- Right turn-point right with arm straight out fingers together and outstretched.
- Slow down and stop – left arm pointing downward, open palm fingers together and outstretched.
Verbalize to warn those around you:
- Say loudly what you are doing – “slowing”, “stopping”, “left turn”, etc.
- Do your arm signal before the turn and have both hands on the handlebars for the turn.
- Speak loudly your left, right turn and especially the slowing and stopping intention.
- Point out and SPEAK road hazards – “hole”, “gravel”, “roadkill”, “glass”, etc.
- Speak loud and clear, relay warnings from ahead or behind you to keep fellow cyclists informed.
- Don’t weave. Ride in a straight line.
- Stay on right side of road. Never cross middle line in the road.
- Even when riding side by side – stay to the right and don’t even get close to center line and only ride side by side only when safe.