Full Ride Guidelines

613 Cycling Ride Guidelines


  • As per OCA rules all participants must be a 613 Cycling member in good standing or a declared/approved guest of an OCA/UCI affiliated club.
  • You need a suitable bike for the ride type (road/gravel/mtb) in good working order.
  • Be self-sufficient. Do not rely on others for flat repairs, water, food etc. Bring a charged cell phone, ID, emergency information and the proper clothing for the day.
  • You need to have a certain minimal level of fitness. Members should be able to ride for 1.5 hrs at 27km/hr as a baseline. Some rides may require additional fitness or skill but will be identified appropriately.
  • You need to have a basic understanding of group riding skills. If you do not, we will offer beginner group riding skill sessions throughout the season (check our calendar), or you can check out the Group Riding Clinics or Advanced Skills Clinics offered by the Ottawa Bicycle Club.
  • You need to be familiar with and willing to abide by our ride guidelines, be courteous and respectful of other cyclists and road users.
  • It is important that you are 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.


  • Our groups usually meet in the parking lot at 203 Richmond Rd, (Bushtukah). Times vary by ride; please check our Calendar.
  • When you arrive at the ride start find out who the ride leader is and ensure you know the ride pace and approx. distance. Notwithstanding how many riders show up, no group shall be larger than 16 riders, ideally we try to have groups of 8-10.
  • Groups are defined by speed and distance. Our goal is to have smaller groups of 8 to 10 compatible riders. Our experience has shown that to have a group of cyclists who have similar fitness, and goals in mind for that day’s ride results in a more enjoyable, safer and harmonious ride. So, think about whether you want to go hard or easy that day and pick the appropriate day to ride according to our schedule.
  • All 613 Cycling rides are no drop. We do not leave club mates behind to fend for themselves. Though we rely on members to pick rides appropriate to their fitness level on the day. 
  • A designated club Ride Leader will lead all groups. These volunteers know the route, carry a cell phone and have been instructed on how we ride. There is only one Ride Leader per group, and everyone must follow that person’s instructions. The Ride Leader will explain all the information to the group before they depart. Repetition of our ride practices week after week is key to members absorbing the information, but also necessary to identify new riders and inform them of our ride practices. Nothing ruins a group ride quicker than a new rider not knowing the rotation and being out of sync. It’s all about everyone being on the same page.



  • Ride smooth and steady at all times. No sudden, abrupt movements or over reactions to potholes, road debris, etc.
  • Follow the rules of the road. We are considered vehicles within the jurisdictions we frequently ride and are therefore required to act accordingly. 
  • Treat other road users with respect, especially those smaller and slower than you. We often ride on trails or multi-use paths that have other cyclists and pedestrians. We strive to ride courteously by riding at a speed that is respectful to other users, yielding to slower users, and passing at a safe and comfortable distance.
  • Never overlap wheels - that is one of the prime causes of incidents on rides. However, it is good practice when following a wheel to be just slightly offset (laterally), i.e. 3-4”, so that if there is a sudden stop you don’t immediately slam into the wheel ahead. The offset gives you some additional space to recover. This does not mean you overlap - you are still riding behind the person in front.
  • Don’t surge when it’s your turn to pull at the front or leave gaps in the rotation, and once again, never ever overlap wheels.
  • When you see someone committing a ride foul politely say something. We are all responsible for the quality of our rides. But be polite and do not yell. If they continue to commit the foul, notify the designated Ride Leader.
  • Never cross the yellow line. On roads without painted lines stay on one half of the road. On a 4+ lane road (2+ lanes in each direction) stay within the right-most lane and do not cross the dashed white line (unless the ride is taking a left turn or necessary to pass an obstruction).
  • These are group rides. The use of aero bars or headphones are not permitted during the ride.



Communication is essential to a good ride. It is the responsibility of everyone to 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:

  • "Car Back" - warns riders in front that there is a car approaching from the rear and to maintain a tight and compact shape to the group.
  • "Car Up" - warns the group that there is a car approaching from the front. This is especially important on hilly or winding roads where visibility is limited.
  • "Single Up" - tells the group that riders need to be in single file.
  • "Car Left or Right" - warning riders at intersections that a car is approaching and might cross the path.
  • "Walker or Runner Up" - warning riders that there is a pedestrian on the group's side of the road
  • "Tracks" - warns of railroad tracks
  • "Road Kill" - kind of an obvious one
  • "Hole(s)" - warning riders about dangerous (read: can cause damage or an accident) breaks in pavement. Riders can sometimes point instead of/in addition to calling the hazard, especially on roads with lots of holes.
  • "Slowing" or "Stopping" - warns riders about a change in speed. Can be done with a hand signal, but calling this is helpful, especially if a sudden/unexpected stop.
  • "On Your Left or Right" - warning riders that you are overtaking. Riders should always overtake on the left, but if forced to overtake on the right (to avoid a dangerous situation, for example) it should always be announced.
  • “Nice move” - when someone commits a ride foul (like cutting a turn), do not use profanity or yelling to get your point across.



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 dangerous and must be undertaken with caution. The group will regroup at the end of the descent (see Regrouping, below) so there is no need to push beyond your comfort level.

In our routes we have several descents that can generate sustained speeds in excess of 60 km/h. On those descents we recommend the group take the following actions:

  • The group should move into a single file formation.
  • Riders should move 1 to 2 m from the right edge of the road. It is not safe to ride close to the edge of the road at high speeds due to wind gusts.
  • Riders should open up gaps of at least 3-4 m plus between each rider front to back.
  • Send the fastest descending riders down first to avoid bottlenecks. The goal is to reduce the amount of passing on the descent.
  • All passing must happen on the left. Never pass on the right.
  • If you have a mechanical issue during the decent, safely pull over and signal your intention if it is safe to do so.



On all longer climbs (such as up fortune), 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). 


Regrouping is necessary to ensure all riders are accounted for and that everyone gets home safely. If the group becomes too spread out, the ride leader can call for a regroup at the next intersection, hill top, etc. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Regrouping is mandatory after all long climbs and major descents so that riders are not pushed beyond their comfort zones.
  • All riders must wait at the regrouping spot. Under no circumstances should anybody soft pedal down the road if the ride leader has determined a regroup stop is needed. 
  • We never regroup in a manner that is unsafe or would obstruct traffic in any way. If the shoulder is too narrow, on a blind corner, or otherwise unsuitable, the group should continue until an appropriate regrouping spot is identified. All riders should pull off the road or as far to the right as possible to avoid blocking traffic.


The Basic Ride Formation: “Tight and to the Right”

  • Our goal as a disciplined and well-organized club is to share the enjoyment of the road with our club members as well as the general public. We are well aware that we have to share the road with motorized vehicles. To reduce the potential conflict between these two groups we try to travel at off peak hours and frequent lesser travelled roads when possible. 
  • In order to further protect ourselves we travel two abreast or in a double paceline. This is an internationally recognized cycling formation used by professionals and amateurs around the world. The main objective of the double paceline is to reduce the length of the line of cyclists in order to allow vehicles to pass with greater ease and increased safety. It encourages drivers to make full lane changes when passing which provides a safer gap between the passing vehicle and the cyclists. At 613 cycling we have implemented a compromised position we call “Tight and to the Right”. The idea is to take a traditional two abreast formation and position it as far right as is safely possible. Our goal is to accommodate the approaching driver with a clear view forward so that they make a clean and safe pass as soon as possible.
  • In order for us to accomplish this, we as a club, are required to ride in a formation that is ‘tight’ and well disciplined. By ‘tight’ we mean that the cyclists are to be 1-3ft apart laterally at the shoulders, and 1-3ft apart front to back (wheel to wheel). The group’s primary goal is to maintain the cohesion of this formation. It is the individual discipline of each rider to hold their position in a smooth predictable manner and not create gaps or overlaps which jeopardize the ride quality. There are times that the lead rider will raise a hand and recommend that all riders go single file due to traffic and other road hazards. Please be aware at all times.

For the majority of our road rides, we ride in either a single-file formation or a rotating “social” 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 or as 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. 

In the Social Paceline we start from the premise of the two abreast formation. The two leading cyclists are breaking the wind and setting the pace. The lead cyclist on the right, after a reasonable period of time (e.g. 2-4 minutes, it’s flexible) asks the cyclist on their left to “Cover Me”. That means the leading left cyclist will gently ride forward and fade right to shelter the right side of the group. In turn the left side of the group will gently advance forward to the front of the group beside the right line. Those two riders will now lead the group for whatever time they feel comfortable with, again it’s negotiable.  All passes are to be done smoothly and gently and make sure that your rear wheel is clear before you fade right. If you want to remain at the back of the group please communicate to those in front of you to “go ahead” and they will rotate to the left (outer) side of paceline and rotate through the group.

A very important point to rotating a group: While you are in front of the group, the group is at your mercy. Anything you do, good or bad, will affect the entire group. If your pass is smooth and steady, then the group will remain smooth and steady. If you accelerate aggressively it will start to shatter the group and create gaps and confusion. If you half wheel the lead rider beside you it will offset the whole group or create gaps. We all have a responsibility to the riders behind us to move in a smooth and predictable way and watch the road surface ahead.

Every group ride has to have a degree of compromise. One person’s hammerfest is another person’s recovery ride. We try to accommodate everyone’s wishes by offering as many different groups as possible. We also offer different opportunities along the route for some hard efforts. Almost all our routes involve sections where the option exists for the riders to break from the group and go as fast as they wish. We call these the Hot Spots. All long climbs are automatically Hots Spots and as such the groups are permitted to break formation and regroup at the pre-designated spots at the top. We do ask you to stay to the right and not scatter across the hill when the group breaks apart. Slower riders stay right and make room for the faster riders to get by without forcing them too far out. 

We also offer Hot Spots on flatter terrain your ride leader should inform you of the Hot Spot locations before and during each ride. There are three common denominators to a Hot Spot:

  • A quiet section of road
  • No traffic lights or stop signs
  • A safe regrouping location at the end of the section

Some rules about Hot Spots:

  • Going hard is optional, not compulsory. Those that choose to cruise can rest assured that the group will wait for them at the regrouping point (stop sign, top of the hill, café stop, etc).
  • All riders must wait at the regrouping spot. Under no circumstances can anybody soft pedal down the road. This causes confusion for the late arrivers. They think the group is leaving them behind. If you feel the need to keep moving come back toward the late arrivers and then ride back with them.
  • Never regroup in a manner that would obstruct traffic in any way. All of our regrouping spots offer plenty of space to pull over safely. No excuses for blocking traffic. 


Rest stops or lunch breaks will vary from group to group and ride to ride. This will be part of the ride planning and will be clear to everyone before the ride sets off. Some rides will involve longer stops at cafés or restaurants, while others will be a quick gas station coke and chocolate bar before rolling again. If you have a preference or a time limitation, it is a good idea to check with the ride leader before you set off. 

Always be respectful of the establishment and other customers! We are not special just because we have a cool cycling kit.



  • Ensure that riders are 613 or OCA/UCI affiliated members. Uninsured riders cannot participate 
  • Know the route 
  • Inform your group of the ride destination, the distance, the speed range, and plans for a snack or lunch break
  • Enforce the group’s assigned route, speed range, etc
  • Ensure riders are able to practise good group riding techniques
  • Call changes in formation (from double to single file and vice-versa) 
  • Direct the group regarding when to pull over and resume the ride
  • Know how many riders are in the group 
  • Act as the spokesperson for the group in cases of disputes with other road users
  • When there are accidents or other mishaps, fills in the OCA Sport Injury Report Form and submits it to the Ride Lead Director directly
  • In case of issues or incidents affecting the group, notifies the Ride Lead Director directly