MapMyRide has been selected as the preferred option to create and store BUG routes, providing a rich resource to share and enhance. A Smartphone App is also available to support the downloading of routes for GPS-based use on rides
All members are actively encouraged to view, utilise and contribute to the ride library by uploading additional rides
Using the Ride Library is easy. Login at MapMyRide, create a profile for yourself, then search for and join the Group ‘St George BUG’. By clicking on this Group you will then view all of the rides that are available for use, or to select other actions as required
When riding a bicycle you are required by law to wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened. In NSW, there are no exemptions from wearing an approved bicycle helmet. Research into crashes has shown that helmets reduce head injured by 60 percent and brain injuries by 58 percent.
Approved bicycle helmets have stickers or labels (usually located inside) certifying that they meet the Australian & New Zealand standard (AS/NZS 2063) and have passed stringent safety tests. All helmets manufactured after 31st March, 2011 must have an identifying mark from a body accredited or approved by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) certifying compliance with the above standard.
It is important that the bicycle helmet fits correctly.
The helmet should fit comfortably and securely when the straps are fastened
The straps should not be twisted, not cover the ears. When done up correctly, the straps should provide a snug fit over the ears and under the chin.
A bicycle helmet should be replaced if:
it’s been dropped onto a hard surface or involved in a crash or severe fall
you see cracks in the foam
the straps look worn or frayed.
Is your helmet properly adjusted?
Allow two fingers between your eyebrows and your helmet.
Allow two fingers between the helmet strap and your chin
Ensure the straps join in a ‘V’ just below your ears
In NSW, a bicycle must be fitted with a working bell or horn to help sound a warning to other cyclists or pedestrians. The bike must have at least one working brake.
When riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions, you must display all of the following:
a steady or flashing white light on the front of the bike that is visible for at least 200 metres
a steady or flashing red light on the rear of the bike that is visible for at least 200 metres
a red reflector on the rear of the bike that is visible for at least 50 metres when illuminated by a vehicle’s headlight on low beam.
We are NOT discussing peloton riding but looking at riding in less formal groups - much like we enjoy on most BUG rides.
One excellent tool a Ride Leader can use to help manage a group is hand signals, sometimes accompanied by voice calls. In the BUG we have developed a pretty good and fairly standard system. We encourage you to learn the calls and what action to take.
Ride at a safe distance from the rider ahead of you. Naturally this distance will vary according to conditions such as road or path surface, speed, and skill levels, but as a rule of thumb one bike length would be a good distance to work with. If you find this uncomfortably close then move back a little more, but start training yourself to ride a little closer until it feels easier.
It is a rider's responsibility to keep up with the group. It may take a little extra effort now and then, but everyone in the group benefits. If a rider is having real problems with the pace, advise the Ride Leader who will decide on the best way to manage the difficulty.
Riding two abreast is allowed on multi-lane roads, and is often the best way to ride because it gives the group greater visibility but also because it forces motorists to pass in the adjacent lane leaving a safe passing distance. One of the most dangerous things a following rider can do is to 'half-wheel'. This is when a rider follows another, but sits to one side and overlaps his/her front wheel with the leading rider's back wheel. Never do this.
Having a chat while riding is one of those things we all enjoy. There is nothing wrong with having a chat, but do not keep looking at the other rider! Keep your eyes on the action ahead and to the sides, keep scanning the path and do not allow the conversation to impede your judgement or reaction time. This becomes particularly important when the group has to negotiate some obstacle or intersection.
Intersections and obstacles present extra challenges. Even if others have assured you it is safe to proceed across the intersection, or to make the turn, you must take responsibility for your own actions. Look and make sure that it is safe to proceed.
It is so easy while riding along in a group to forget about how the group as a unit is behaving. This job is made so much easier if each member of the group is aware of possible problems such as is the group strung out too far; are some people riding three abreast; are some people riding on the wrong side of a shared path; does the group as a whole look and behave as a single unit? Remember - other road and path users soon become annoyed by what seems to be a rabble of riders, but a well formed group will cause no angst.
Dealing with Motorists
Occasionally if you ride on public roads you will strike an aggressive motorist. One who does not recognise your right to operate your bicycle on a public road, with the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators.
So how do you best respond to them? Experience has shown that it is best to ignore them and continue behaving correctly, in accordance with the road rules. Definitely to not take any action (e.g. hand gestures) to escalate the level of aggression present in the situation. If it comes down to it these people are driving a much heavier vehicle than you and they could be dangerous, also they may take out their aggression on the next cyclist they come across.
If the incident is serious, you should report it to the Police as soon as practical. If possible take the registration number of the offender and also the registration numbers or details of any witnesses to the incident.
For new cyclists hill climbing is one of the most daunting aspects of cycling. Fit, experienced cyclists however enjoy hill climbing immensely and realise that it is in fact one of the best parts of cycling. There is no substitute however to fitness, it is your basic aerobic capacity that limits your hill climbing ability and this can only be improved through more cycling and continually pushing your limits.
For the vast majority of people the best technique is to remain seated throughout the climb. Most people climb fastest when seated and pedalling in the appropriate gear at a good cadence. Many beginners try to climb hills by riding at too low a cadence. A cadence (speed of crank revolutions) of 70 rpm should be a minimum.
Although it gets more difficult with increasing steepness and fatigue the idea is to maintain the smoothness of your pedal stroke through the climb. As for your posture on the bike, try to keep your upper body as relaxed and still as possible for maximum efficiency. Keep your elbows slightly bent, but not sticking out to the side. If you are riding a bike with dropped handlebars your hands should be on the brake hoods or on the top of the bars. This gives you are relaxed riding position and opens up your chest for easier breathing.
One of the most advanced skills required on our rides is the ability to descend steep (and perhaps bumpy) hills. The focus is deliberately upon how to descend safely, rather than on how to descend at the maximum possible speed.
Do not go faster than you would otherwise just to keep up with the other riders in your group. Ride within your own ability. Everybody is different and each bike is different. One important riding habit is to look far enough in front of you to match the speed at which you are riding. If you are descending are 60 km/h you need to watch the road much further in front of the bike in order to have time to react to any hazards.
Things happen faster at higher speed therefore you need to leave more space in which to react for them. If you are riding in a group then spread out. This will allow each rider to take their preferred line through the corners. It also allows greater margin if a rider needs to brake for some reason.
Taking more space also extends to your positioning on the road when descending. You should ride further to the right of the lane when descending. Don't worry about slowing down cars; your own safety comes first. Riding further to the right gives you more room to manoeuvre if you run wide on a corner and allows you to swerve left if necessary to avoid potholes or other road surface imperfections. You should avoid potholes, bumps, lane line reflectors etc. at speed as they can easily cause an accident.
For long descents you should use both your front and rear brakes equally. Braking generates considerable heat in the bike's rims and on a long descent these can result in the rims becoming very hot and potentially blowing a tyre off the rim. Using both brakes equally spreads this heat (to apply the rear brake equally with the front it is necessary to apply greater force on the rear brake lever due to cable friction).
If it is raining, your ability to see the road in front of you will be significantly reduced, both from water getting in your eyes and also from the overall reduction in visibility. To improve your braking capability in the wet you should periodically lightly apply your brakes so as so drag the brake blocks across the rim surface. This will remove excess water from the rims and reduce your stopping distance should you need to apply your brakes.