Ride Etiquette

The ELAM social ride etiquette is a set of rules that allows us to ride together in a group safely, without anyone getting lost, while allowing all members of the group to ride at their own pace. The following description may sound a bit complicated, but when you join a ride, you’ll find that it is really easy to use.

Removing all of the worry of keeping up, not getting lost, remembering the route, etc. really does allow you to relax, and helps to make our social rides so enjoyable.

First of all, remember the golden rule:


Never do something you feel to be unsafe or inappropriate, no matter what other people may be doing. The person ahead of you may be a better rider, on a better bike or on better tyres. Conversely, they may be a worse rider, taking risks and making misjudgements. Always make your own decisions, don’t just blindly follow the person ahead of you. It’s your neck!

The key to a good, safe social ride is two simple rules:

  • No overtaking the leader
  • When a junction isn’t marked by a rider, follow the main road

There are three people in the convoy who keep things running smoothly:

  • The leader
  • The number two
  • Tail-end Charlie

The leader is responsible for route finding, and obviously goes at the front of the convoy. The number two stops at junctions where we turn off the main road and marks the turn for all the following riders. Tail-end Charlie stays at the back and lets the number two rider know that everyone is through the junction. The person who is now behind the leader becomes the new number two.

Nobody can get left behind because the leader will stop at a turn-off and wait for the next rider. The number two rider will wait for tail-end Charlie to make sure that everyone is still together.

Nobody can get lost provided that they always stick to the main road except where otherwise directed.

There’s no need to ride close together because it doesn’t matter if you lose sight of the person ahead of you.

You won’t get stuck behind a slower rider because you can overtake anyone (providing you are safe & courteous) except the leader.


The convoy sets out down an A-road. The leader reaches a roundabout and indicates left onto a B-road. The leader will also signal for the number two rider to mark the junction. This signal is pointing to the ground. The leader makes the turn and the number two rider finds a safe, visible place to stop at the roundabout. All the other riders spot the number two and make the turn as indicated. The tail-end Charlie, who will be distinctively dressed, appears and the number two sets off, now second from the back.