Common Terms and Signals on a Group Ride

Below are some of the common verbal signals expected on Shawnee Trail Cycling Club rides.  Being consistent in your communication is essential in a group ride.  Using unexpected commands leaves those cyclists behind you clueless and can lead to an accident.

Don't make up signals because you think they may be more appropriate.

ALWAYS repeat commands you hear so they can be passed to those in front and behind you!

Common Terms Used on STCC Rides

Verbal Command Description Hand Signal
Biker Up Similar to “Car Up”, this indicates that one or more cyclists are coming towards the group. None
Biker Down Not something we ever want to hear, but it does happen occasionally.  Yelling “biker down”, tells the rest of the group there has been an accident.  The group will stop to render assistance, including calling for medical care if needed. None
Car Back When someone yells, "Car Back", this means that there is a car coming up from behind. It is intended to be a verbal caution indicating that a stop may be necessary. If you hear this, repeat the call so that others know that you are aware of the vehicle is behind you. It is also common courtesy to repeat this so that others behind you also know about the car. None
Car Left Usually announced when coming up to an intersection and gives an indication that vehicle is approaching the intersection from the left.  Cyclists should always use additional volume with this command as it is as much for the approaching vehicle as it is for the group.  Riders should always use caution with an approaching vehicle – even if there is a stop sign, it doesn’t mean the vehicle will actually stop. None
Car Right Usually announced when coming up to an intersection and gives an indication that vehicle is approaching the intersection from the right. .  Cyclists should always use additional volume with this command as it is as much for the approaching vehicle as it is for the group.   Riders should always use caution with an approaching vehicle – even if there is a stop sign, it doesn’t mean the vehicle will actually stop. None
Car Up When someone yells, "Car Up", this means that there is a car approaching the group from the front. It is intended to be a verbal caution indicating that a stop may be necessary. This is also especially helpful to cyclists behind you that may be riding two-up on single lane roads.  If you hear this, proceed with caution and “single up” if possible. None
Clear Announced when entering an intersection or other area where you may encounter vehicles, other bikes or pedestrians.  Treat this command as “information only”.  You should always view the area yourself to ensure nothing has changed as you approach the area. None
Dog When someone yells “dog”, all cyclists in the group should be prepared for an encounter with one of our furry friends.  
Debris If you see an obstacle such as a hole or glass that might endanger another rider behind you, it is important to call it out or motion for riders to move out of the way.  
Gap Announcing “Gap” when you are on a group ride indicates to those in front that the group is breaking apart and some cyclists are being dropped.  This is especially important on group rides where the leader wishes to keep the group together.  The ride leader can choose to slow the pace allowing the gapped rider to catch up, or the group sweeper can go back to assist. None
Going Left Warns the group of an upcoming left hand turn.
Going Right Warns the group of an upcoming turn to the right.
Green Up Yelling “Green Up” when a group is at a stoplight, tells the group that the light has turned green and the group is proceeding. None
Hold your line When someone yells, "Hold your line", this means that you need to stay in a straight line as best you can. In most cases, the person yelling this out to you is attempting to pass. If you swing out or if you don't keep your bike steady, you could cause the other cyclist trouble. None
Hole! Normally accompanied by a hand signal pointing to the hole, this warns the riders behind that an obstruction is coming up and should be avoided.  
Mechanical Yelling “mechanical” indicates to the rest of the group that a rider has a problem with their bike.  This could be a flat or something more serious. None
On your left When someone yells, "On your Left", this means that they are passing you on your left. No need to take this personally. Let them pass as they have the right of way. You should never hear "On your Right". That is, a cyclist should never pass on the right. However, there are many cyclists with varying experience. Be on the look out for those that will pass on your right. If someone does this, kindly remind him or her that they should pass on the left. Also, it is common courtesy to say "Thank You" to the person yelling "on your left". This indicates to them that you've heard them. None
Ready to Roll Warning from the front of the group that a light is about to turn green and to prepare to move.  This reduces delay from the group and helps them traverse the intersection quickly and safely. None
Rolling Announced from the front of the group as it is safe for the group to move forward from being stopped.  This generally is at a stop sign, but can occur anywhere the group has had to stop. None
Runner/Walker Right Warning to riders in the group that a walker or jogger is coming towards the group and the group should shift to the left to avoid.  
Single Up

 

When this announcement is made, all riders should get into single file formation.  
Slowing When someone yells out "Slowing", this means that there is something that is causing the group to slow down. This can be anything from a light, a slower group of bikes, a car up ahead. In any event, prepare to slow down. Tap your brakes and repeat the yell "Slowing". This is to indicate to others that you've heard them and you are also slowing. This will also alert those behind you that you are slowing down.
Stopping When someone yells out "Stopping", this means that there is something that is causing the group to stop. This can be anything from a light, a slower group of bikes, a stop sign or a car up ahead. In any event, prepare to stop. Tap you brakes and repeat the yell "Stopping". This is to indicate to others that you've heard them and you are also slowing to a stop. This will also alert those behind you that you are slowing to a stop. It's VERY important not to slam on your brakes especially if there are others behind you!!
Take the Lane

 

When a group is required to change lanes, it is expected that those in the back of the group, with the best view of traffic approaching from the read, should clear the lane first.  They should announce “Take the Lane”, which all riders should pass to the front of the group.  Shawnee Trail Cycling Club uses this, rather than “Clear” or “Clear Back” because of the confusion with the word “Car” in our Texas wind. None
Tracks Yelling “tracks” tells riders in the group to be aware the group is about to cross railroad tracks.  Always cross tracks at a right angle.  
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