The following information which is broken in to 3 sections and is provided for the benefit of all riders without prejudice.
Notes and Etiquette for Branch Rides
The Ulysses Club does not promote or endorse any set rules for rides, however some guidelines and points of etiquette have proven useful.
Those who have been riding in group for a while (not just with Ulysses) will find them obvious and commonsense, whereas others relatively new to it should be able to take some value from them.
Although not compulsory, it is highly recommended, that you and your passenger wear appropriate clothing, gloves and footwear on the rides. This is for your own benefit and safety. Lets face it, no one wants to crash but sometimes it is totally unavoidable and without the proper safety gear on, you will come off worse for wear.
Branch rides are always lead by the Ride Leader.
The Ride Leader will be at the head of the ride at all times.
He/she should not be overtaken by anyone during the ride except in exceptional circumstances.
The Ride Leader may or may not wear a hi-viz vest, so it is worthwhile making yourself familiar with who he/she is, the color of his/her riding gear (and vest if worn), helmet and the type of bike they are riding.
The Ride Leader should have a good knowledge of the type and condition of the roads to be traveled on the ride, the length and time taken to complete the ride and the type of rider experience required to complete the ride safely.
Riders will rarely be deterred from attending a ride, but should be aware of any particular skills or levels of experience required to complete the ride safely, ie tight twisties, gravel roads, ice/snow etc.
Ultimately it is an individual decision whether to attend the ride or not, so if you’re unsure of anything, ask before the ride gets underway.
The Ride Leader and Tail End Charlie should work together to ensure the ride goes smoothly and does not become separated or too strung out.
A simple system of per-arranged signals can be helpful to indicate if everyone is ready to go or not, for example: crossed wrists may mean ‘Wait, someone isn’t ready’, or double thumbs up may indicate ‘Everyone is ready, lets go!’.
The Ride Leader shouldn’t proceed until everyone is ready to go.
Tail End Charlie (TEC)
TEC will be anyone with a good understanding of the requirements of the role.
He/she will remain at the rear of the ride to ensure no one becomes lost or left behind and to provide assistance to other riders as necessary.
He/she should always be the last rider in the group, whilst maintaining visibility of the riders in front
TEC will usually wear the hi-viz vest to ensure he/she is clearly visible to the other riders.
Riders should make themselves aware of who is doing TEC and take note of his/her riding hear, vest color and type of bike.
This is a simple list of the riders attending the ride with basic details such as your name, bike rego, your contact phone number and an emergency contact number. Whilst not compulsory, they are a commonsense way to keep track of who is on the ride and who should be contacted in case of an emergency.
Once completed these should be handed to TEC for the duration of the ride. The Ride Leader may also take a copy (photo) of the sheet using his/her mobile phone. This ensures the sheet is available in the event TEC becomes separated, lost or is otherwise unavailable.
A Corner Marker is usually the rider immediately behind the Ride Leader.
As the Ride Leader approaches a chosen corner he/she will point to the side of the road to indicate where he wants the Corner Marker to stop.
The Corner Marker should note the direction taken by the Ride Leader, stop as close as possible to the point chosen by the Ride Leader and then indicate the direction to be taken using the bikes indicators and clearly pointing in that direction.
The Corner Marker must remain in position until all riders have passed and TEC arrives.
See the Do’s and Don’ts of Corner Markers also on this web site.
Guidelines & Etiquette
Always arrive at the departure point with a full tank of fuel, or with enough time and money to refuel before the scheduled departure time.
Bring enough money to refuel again during the ride if necessary.
If you own a mobile phone, ensure it’s charged and bring it with you.
Your bike must be registered and in a roadworthy condition to take part in the ride. If not, you may be asked to leave the ride.
You too must be in a suitable condition to take part in the ride.
In the interests of safety, you must hold a current riders license and not be effected by drugs, alcohol or lack of sleep.
If not, you may be asked to leave the ride.
If you’re aware of an existing medical condition that may make you a danger to yourself or others on the ride, please consider carefully before attending the ride.
Be ready to go at the designated departure time. ‘Departure time’ is the time we ride off, not the time you arrive at the departure point.
You should try arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for fueling or unexpected delays.
The Ride Leader always leads the group and should not be overtaken.
Tail End Charlie rides at the rear of the group to provide a level of safety and support for the other riders.
It is therefore essential that riders near the rear of the group also keep TEC in their mirrors and be prepared to slow down, pull over and wait for him, or go back to render assistance if he fails to come into view in a reasonable time (a couple of minutes).
Where the road allows we ride in a staggered formation, not immediately behind one another or side by side.
Staggered formation provides slightly more room in the event you need to stop in a hurry.
Staggered formation is not always possible, particularly on twisty or narrow back roads.
In some cases single file at a safe distance is the best option.
In any case, try not to ride in the blind spot of the rider in front of you.
In the general course of a ride, always try to leave sufficient space between yourself and the rider in front.
Tailgating is always dangerous.
A good rule of thumb is two seconds between bikes.
Pick a point at the side of the road as the rider in front passes, (a line or mark on the road, a post or tree, then count one thousand and one, one thousand and two etc).
Allow another second or two in wet weather or poor visibility.
You may change your position on the road within the group, but ensure there is enough room to do so safely and always use a head check and indicate your intentions to the riders behind before doing so.
Never pass on the left.
When overtaking slower vehicles you should maintain your passing speed well after you’ve gone past the slower vehicle.
This will create space for following riders when they in turn pass the slow vehicle and reduces the chances of them being ‘hung out’ on the wrong side of the road.
Generally speaking we keep to the left lane on multi-lane roads.
This is a general courtesy for road-users however the Ride Leader may choose another lane appropriate to the traffic, road conditions and direction he/she plans to go.
Current road laws apply.
Your responsibility, no excuses.
Hoon behavior such as burnouts or wheel-standing etc makes us all look bad.
When re-grouping or at designated fuel/refreshment stop, be ready to move off when the Tail End Charlie indicates everyone is ready to go.
Be considerate, don’t hold the group up by wandering away without telling TEC.
It’s your responsibility to ensure you’re re-fueled and refreshed in the time allotted by the Ride Leader.
In case of emergency or breakdown you must clearly indicate your intention to stop and get off the road as quickly and safely as possible.
Depending on the severity of the incident the group will continue on with the ride.
It is the role of Tail End Charlie to provide assistance.
If you intend to leave the group during the ride you should inform the Ride Leader and Tail End Charlie at the first opportunity before doing so.
The most important thing is to remember is to be thoughtful and considerate of the those around you.
Consider their safety and yours at all times.
Enjoy the ride and get home safe.
Corner marking is a simple, effective and essential method of showing people on a ride the direction taken by the Ride Leader.
The job of Corner Marker falls almost exclusively to the rider immediately behind the Ride Leader.
As the Ride Leader approaches the intersection at which he intends to turn, he will turn on his indicator in the direction he intends to turn, then point to the place at the side of the road he needs the Corner Marker to stop.
This will usually be a safe distance from the intended corner.
The Ride Leader will then turn the corner in the direction he indicated and continue on with the ride.
These are some simple do’s and don'ts for rider immediately behind the Ride Leader.
If you do not want to be a Corner Marker, please ensure that you do not sit near the front of the ride, especially behind the Ride Leader.
DO - be alert and remain a safe distance back from the Ride Leader.
Pay attention to what he/she is doing.
You may be expected to mark a corner at any time.
If you are unfamiliar with the ride this could come when unexpected.
DON’T - ride too close behind the Ride Leader.
Allow a safe distance (100 or 200 meters).
DO - stop as close to the point indicated by the Ride Leader as possible.
In any case, always find a safe place to stop off the road.
Make sure you’re visible to the following riding group and other traffic.
DON’T - panic and slam on your brakes to stop in a hurry.
This is unsafe for you and everyone following you.
It is safer for everyone to go past the corner, turn around and return to it when it’s safe to do so.
DO - steady yourself and your bike before doing anything else when you stop.
Remain sitting on your bike.
DON’T - get off the bike and leave it unattended.
A riderless bike doesn’t mean much to following riders and only confuses everyone.
If you need to leave your bike for any reason (call of nature), wait for Tail End Charlie before doing so.
DO - extend your arm to full length, 90 degrees from your body and in the direction taken by the Ride Leader.
This may be left, right or straight ahead, but even an oblique angle such as at complicated intersections or roundabouts.
Always extend your arm full length and indicate as best as possible the direction taken by the Ride Leader.
DON’T - half cock your arm or wave your arms around ‘in the general direction’ taken by the Ride Leader.
This can cause confusion especially in traffic when following riders may have limited time and need clear directions.
DO - use your indicator in the direction taken by the Ride Leader in addition to your outstretched arm, indicating the direction taken by the Ride Leader.
DON’T - sit on your bike with no indicators going.
To following riders you may appear to be merely a parked rider.
DON’T - use your hazard flashers.
This is confusing to following riders and may appear to indicate something is wrong.
Also, we can’t go in both directions.
Also, take care that you are not indicating left just because you pulled over on the left side of the road.
This is a common mistake and very confusing.
DO - remain observant.
Keep an eye out for approaching riders and ensure you clearly indicate the direction to go.
Also, keep an eye out for riders who may miss the corner marker and continue straight ahead.
You should sound your horn several times if one of our riders doesn’t turn as required.
DON’T - become distracted.
You may be waiting for several minutes or longer before the following riders and TEC catch up, so don’t fiddle with mobile phones, cameras or your iPOD while you’re waiting.
DO - keep an eye out for Tail End Charlie who will signal you to rejoin the ride as he/she approaches.
DON’T - take off your helmet or gloves or step away from the bike.
This wastes time when TEC catches up and only extends the distance between yourself and the body of the ride.
DO - inform tail end Charlie of any abnormalities (including riders who continued on), or potential emergencies when he/she arrives at your location.
DON’T - turn the bike off.
This will turn off the indicators and result in confusion for following riders.
DO - remain at the corner until TEC arrives or you are relieved by someone else on the ride.
There may have been an incident or the ride may have become separated at another point.
TEC, the Ride Leader or other riders may be looking for you.
If you leave the corner it will only serve to further confuse the situation.
DON’T - leave your corner until collected by Tail End Charlie or another member of the ride.
This may be a long delay if there has been an incident, but your corner may still be vital to following riders.
Imagine the consequences if the following riders go straight ahead instead of turning.
DO - keep an eye out for indications by TEC as he/she approaches.
He/she will flash headlights or sound a horn (or both).
He/she will indicate if you are to join the re-join the ride in front of him/her or wait until he/she passes you.
He/she will indicate when it’s safe to pass and re-join the ride.
DON’T - just pull out in front of TEC as he/she approaches unless you’re indicated to do so.
He/she may have traffic following close behind or some other situation you’re not aware of.
This could be potentially dangerous.
DO - enjoy the ride and get home safe.