Cycling is a great sport. It is even better when enjoyed with others. However, when you mix people, speed and egos, trouble can be just up the road.

Road riding is fast. You are with others who may or may not be skilled in riding at speed with other riders. You are on a road where dogs, cars, people, horses, rabbits, etc. can come out of seemingly nowhere. When you obey the rules, and expect the unexpected, you increase the possibility you will come home with no chunks of flesh missing.

Ride leaders need to control the pack so everyone can have a safer ride. Almost nothing is worse than a messed up road ride. The beauty of the ride is gone, you are chasing or being chased, tempers can flare. Not a pleasant way to spend your time. On the other hand, a smooth running pack is a joy to ride in. A good ride leader and experienced riders are needed to maintain a good steady rhythm. We can all learn the rules of the pack in order to increase our safe enjoyment of a sport you can enjoy all of your life. The following guidelines and tips should be read and adhered to by all OCC group ride participants.

OCC Road Bike Etiquette Guide

New to group riding, or looking for some helpful tips? Check out our Road Bike Etiquette guide, produced by former OCC President Rob Narejko. This document is intended for the novice cycling enthusiast who rides, or wants to ride, in a pack.

OCC Group Ride Guidelines

General Guidelines


Communication is essential to a good ride. Make sure you point to and call out hazards and traffic situations, but remember to do it in a polite way. Those in the mid-pack should pass these calls back so that everyone is aware. Here are the standard announcements used in our club:


During a descent, riders should spread out farther than normal, and any paceline rotation should stop. If you want to be at the front of a decent, make sure you are at the top of the hill first! Passing each other on a downhill can be very dangerous and is discouraged. The group will regroup at the end of the descent (see Regrouping, below) so there is no need to push beyond your comfort level.


On all long climbs (such as the escarpment), the group breaks any paceline formation and riders can go as hard or as easy as they wish. We will regroup at the top (see Regrouping, below). Riders are reminded to always stay to the right, which is especially important on hills, and pass on the left only.


Regrouping is necessary to ensure the pack stays tight and all riders are accounted for. If the group becomes too spread out, the ride leader can call for a regroup at the next intersection. Here are a few guidelines:

Hammer Zones

Generally-speaking, the final few KM stretch back to the meeting point (e.g. south on Appleby Line, east on 1 Side Road, south on Fifth Line) is a free-for-all when riders can push it as hard as they want, or take it easy and cruise. Going hard is optional, not compulsory. These sections are generally quieter stretches of road with no intersections, and since they end at the parking lot, no regrouping is needed. There are other sections of road that are common Hammer Zones (such as 3rd Line south of 15 Side Road), which the ride leader will indicate on the ride. On those mid-ride stretches, there is always a regrouping at the next intersection.

Paceline Riding

For the majority of our ‘recreational’ rides (Groups 1-4), we ride in either a single-file paceline or a rotating paceline. Here is a description of each:

Single-File Paceline

When we are on a 2 lane road (1 lane in each direction), in general, if there are higher volumes of vehicles present, we endeavor to ride single-file. Roads that would fall under this category include sections of Derry, Campbellville, Britannia, Tremaine, Guelph Line, etc.


Rotating Paceline

The paceline format we have decided on is a ‘social’ or ‘conversational’ rotating paceline. It gives everyone an opportunity to lead for as long/little as they are comfortable with. It also means we are never more than two wide on the road, so it lends itself to a safer riding experience.

Ride Leader Training

Ride leader training is delivered at the start of every season. You can view the Ride Leader Training Presentation, or contact us if you want to view a recording of the training.