Cycle Stratford’s rides and events are for members, but non-members are also welcome. They must sign a waiver provided by the ride leader. Non-members can join two rides before they must join the Club.
Cyclists must carry valid identification and are encouraged to carry a cell phone.
All members and guests must wear an approved bicycle helmet which fits properly and is worn correctly. It is illegal for cyclists under the age of 18 to ride without an approved helmet.
Cyclists should be able to fix their own basic problems such as a flat tire. Always carry a spare inner tube that is the correct size for your wheels.
Bright clothing is recommended for increased visibility.
Carry sufficient food and fluids, plus a repair kit, an air pump, and a spare inner tube.
Young cyclists (under 12) should read the “Young Cyclists Guide” published by the Province of Ontario. The club can provide a copy.
Although the club makes reasonable attempts to conduct its rides and events safely, each member is responsible for her or his own safety.
All rules of the road apply to cyclists including traffic lights, stop signs, one-way streets, crosswalks, etc.
Don’t assume motorists can see you. Be courteous and respectful of motorists and other road users. Most will return your courtesy. This is also important to leave a positive image for our club.
Cycle Stratford members ride in single file, at least one bicycle length apart when biking on a busy road or going up or down hills. Riding side by side is allowed on quiet country roads at the discretion of the leader. Never ride three abreast, regardless of the quality of the conversation.
Groups of twelve or more will break into smaller groups so cars are able to move safely back into the right lane in case of oncoming traffic.
Stay together, in line. Wait for the rest of the group if it is delayed at a traffic light or for other reasons.
Riders should limit talking to keep focused on the ride and road conditions and listen to communication from the leader.
Pedal smoothly without rapid acceleration or braking. If you cannot keep up with the group, let others and particularly the leader know.
Do not ride on the sidewalk unless absolutely necessary.
Check with a bike shop to make sure your bike is fit for the type of rides in which you are participating. Bikes must be the proper type, frame and size for the rider, with all equipment functioning fully.
Keep your bike in good working order, to increase your enjoyment of cycling and for safety. The wheels should run true, with tires that are in good condition and inflated properly. The nuts and bolts should be fastened properly.
Cycles must have functioning front and rear lights. It is illegal to ride from a half hour before sunset to sunrise without proper lights.
Brakes (very important!) should be maintained and tested regularly. If you aren’t sure about the safety of your bike, take it to one of our local bike shops for their expert work.
By law, all cycles are required to have a bell or a horn.
Use a mirror to avoid the need to look over your shoulder for traffic approaching from the rear.
Road bikes with drop down handlebars are a must when riding in groups going above an average speed of 20 km/hr. Aerobars must not be used when riding in groups.
If your bike breaks down, your CAA membership allows you to call for help.
Road Cycling: Sharing the Road
Cyclists should ride one half to one meter from the curb or edge of the road or parked cars. Be cautious when passing parked cars in case a motorist opens a door. Do not weave in and out of parking spaces. Maintain your line of travel.
Where there is no room to safely share the road, it is legal for cyclists to take the whole lane. However, this is not recommended on high speed roads or in heavy traffic.
Road Surfaces: Be aware of surfaces and obstacles, holes, rocks, glass, loose and slippery surfaces. Point to hazards when you see them and move left or right to avoid them. Be very cautious at railway tracks, which should always be crossed at right angles to the tracks.
Left Turn: Left arm straight out. Pointing to the left gives a clearer signal. When safe to do so, signal, move to the left lane and complete your turn into the left lane. When safe to do so, move back over to the right lane signaling as you do so
Right Turn: Right arm straight out. Point to the right to signal clearly. If taking your hand from the right brake is uncomfortable, use the left arm bent upward at the elbow. Drivers do not always watch for cyclists. Be very cautious at intersections. It can be useful to take the whole lane when approaching intersections, if traffic is not moving at a high speed.
Stop or slow: Left arm out and down 90° from elbow and palm back.
Riding in a Group
Group rides are more fun and relaxing when everyone works together.
Each group has an informal “target” speed and length of ride.
The ride leader will advise the group of the destination, anticipated speed, who will be the “sweep”.
The ride leader is responsible for all riders and has the authority to decide if a rider is not ready to ride at the speed of the leader’s group. This rider may be advised to bike with a different group more suited to his/her ability.
The lead may be passed to another rider when it is safe to do so.
Ride leaders, and sweeps keep track of the group on a particular ride, ensuring everyone completes the ride safely. Cycle Stratford rides do not use a strict formation such as a pace line or other formation. No minimum or top speeds are enforced, however the ride leader is responsible for all riders and has the authority to decide if a rider is not ready to ride at the speed of the leader’s group. This rider may be advised to bike with a different group more suited to his/her ability.
Prior to departing on a ride, the group of riders must agree upon and understand the route they will be riding on. It is important for riders to understand the route distance and what will be required of them to complete the route. If a rider is unsure if they can complete the route they must make their voice heard to ensure the group can adjust the route, or the rider switches to a different group.
Cycle Stratford long distance ride groups naturally spread out on the country roads and a series of checkpoints help ensure riders periodically check in with the ride lead and sweep. Checkpoints ensure all riders are safe and accounted for even when the group spreads out.
Please review our full Ride Ahead Policy here.
The leader must communicate with the group at all times. Messages musts be passed up and down the line – “stopping”, “slowing”, “car back”, “car front” “biker (or walker) up (or back)”. “All through” at traffic lights lets the leader know all the group got through the light.
Leave No Rider Behind. If a rider has a health or mechanical issue and cannot continue the ride, the rider should not be left alone. “I am okay. You go ahead.” is not a reason to leave a rider alone. No Exceptions to this Rule.
Weather / Cancellation
Keeping our club members safe while out on rides is important and as such, Ride Leads pay attention to the current and expected weather forecasts.
In general, our rides run rain or shine and will not be cancelled simply due to rain. Many cyclists enjoy riding in all kinds of weather, however, there are certain situations when a ride may be cancelled.
Extreme weather conditions such as high winds, lightning, high heat or heavy rain can be dangerous for riders. If the weather is questionable or the Ride Leader feels it is unsafe to ride, it may be necessary to cancel or reschedule the ride.
If a ride needs to be cancelled, wherever possible a notification will be sent out to club members via email, and a message posted to social media at least 1-2 hours prior to the ride.
However, as weather patterns around Stratford and area are unpredictable, it may be necessary for a Ride Leader to cancel at the last minute OR change the ride route or duration based on weather. The Ride Leader will endeavor to show up at the starting point to inform any members who show up that the ride has been cancelled.
Ultimately, it is up to each member to decide if they want to ride or not based on the expected weather forecast. Be smart, and if you are caught out on a ride during inclement weather, find shelter until the weather passes.
Please consult Environment Canada prior to your ride and pay particular attention to any posted Alerts.
Accidents / Incident Reporting
After an accident where there is injury, police and EMS should be called immediately. Two riders wait with the injured rider.
For all accidents and incidents, a report should be filed with the Club Safety Officer giving the date, time and details of the accident.
Please refer to our Incident Reporting Procedure page for full details, and link to a downloadable Incident Report Form
Cycle Stratford's harassment policy can be found here.