Ottawa Bicycle Club group rides are organized in packs of about six to twelve cyclists grouped according to speed, distance, ability, and interest of the participants. Riding in a pack allows riders to meet and converse with other riders, saves energy (particularly when riding into the wind), and it is easier for the tour leader to guide and direct riders. And, if you suffer a flat tire or any other problem, you will have other riders in your pack able and willing to help you.
Advantages of Double File
The default formation is double file, changing to single file if traffic and road conditions dictate, provided that doing so does not imperil the safety of the pack. Riding double file is the traditional format for cycling groups-it permits easy conversation with other riders, uses the road space efficiently, and minimizes the overall size of each pack. To share the work riders change positions in the pack (rotation) so that each rider takes only a short turn at the front, followed by a longer opportunity to draft behind other riders.
Stay with the Pack
When you join a pack it is your responsibility to stay with the pack until the end of the tour, or until you advise the pack leader that you are leaving.
Pack Members Responsibilities
It is important that you become familiar with the terminology and techniques of group riding. This will enable you to be an effective member of the "team," know what to do, and know what the other riders are, or should be, doing.
Sunday Tour Pack Speeds.
For Sunday tours, riders form groups according to their expected speeds. These range from easy riding Ramblers to the fast Sportif groups. Riders self-select which group to ride with. Sportif groups are performance-oriented so riders in these groups are expected to be fit, experienced, and self-sufficient. The other groups are more social or recreational in nature, and any rider experiencing difficulty will get support from other riders.
New or Inexperienced Riders
If you have no experience riding in a group, you will be expected to take the free group riding techniques training program. You should join the Ramblers group for your first ride.
Meals on the Tour
Lunch breaks vary from group to group. Some groups stop for lunch at restaurants and spend an hour or so there, while others catch a quick snack at a convenience store and are on their bikes again promptly. If you have a preference, it's a good idea to check with the leader before you start out. If you do go to a pub or a restaurant, remember that they are businesses and understandably won't take too kindly to a bunch of cyclists bringing in their own food and drink. On the other hand, businesses are usually quite happy to fill the water bottles of good customers.