Rider Guidelines

(Last updated - November 17, 2023)

Intro -- What is a Group Rider?

Before the Ride

   1.1 Documentation

   1.2 Preparation

   1.3 Pre-Ride Discussion

During the Ride

   2.1 Splitting Groups Mid-Ride

   2.2 Communication

   2.3 General Guidelines

   2.4 Accidents and Medical Emergencies

   2.5 Prohibition of Traditional Headphones/Earbuds and Limits on Bone Conducting Headphones

After the Ride

   3.1 At the Finish

   3.2 Later

Compliance and Enforcement

   4.1 Compliance

   4.2 Enforcement

Intro -- What is a Group Rider?

Congratulations and thank you for being a member of the Jersey Shore Touring Society (JSTS).

JSTS is a cycling club whose primary focus is on social rather than competitive riding. We have rides for cyclists of all levels, from beginner to experienced, throughout Monmouth and Ocean County. We offer a full schedule of road rides throughout the year, as well as mountain bike and virtual (Zwift) rides during the autumn and winter. Our goal is to ride smart and safe.

Group riding offers benefits over riding alone, such as the ability to share effort, and of course, the opportunity for socialization. Group riding, though, also comes with additional responsibilities, as the safety of a group of riders depends on the actions of each rider.

In your role as a group rider, you are responsible for riding safely. This includes following the advice and instruction of the ride leader regarding the course or process to be followed, as well as following local traffic laws. It is NOT just listening to the safety speech before the ride.

HOWEVER, keep in mind that this should not dominate your ride – you are there to have FUN just like the rest of the group. ALSO, with very few exceptions, all the members of the club are ADULTS. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own actions. The key to a safe ride is CLEAR COMMUNICATION, between the leader and the group, as well as, among the members of the group.

Before the Ride

1.1 Documentation

  • All JSTS outdoor rides are for MEMBERS ONLY. Therefore, you must join the club in order to join an outdoor ride. JSTS offers a FREE Trial Membership if you would like to try riding with the club before becoming a paid member.
  • Register for the ride on the JSTS website or using the Wild Apricot Member App (available for Android and iOS). You will not be allowed to join the group unless you are registered for the ride.
  • Subscribe to the JSTS Email List(s) so that you receive any updates about the ride. Check your email within 90 minutes of the scheduled start time for updates from the ride leader (including cancellation).
  • You are expected to download the planned route to your GPS device or bring your own printed route sheet. A ride leader might have a few route sheets on hand, but this is not a requirement (and it is becoming less common).
  • The Wild Apricot Member App makes it easy for you to access contact details for all riders in the group. Alternatively, make sure you have the ride leader’s phone number in case you need to contact him or her during the ride.
  • Please make every effort to cancel your registration if for some reason you choose not to attend a ride for which you have registered. You can do this on the JSTS website or using the Wild Apricot Member App. This will allow the ride leader to know who to expect for the ride.

1.2   Preparation

  • Be honest about your ability to ride at the designated level and ride pace. Note that "rolling" on the route sheet means there can be some hilly areas. Some of our rides are designated for new riders and riders new to group cycling. These rides are shorter and easier, and will give you the opportunity to assess your skills. If you have any questions about a specific ride, do not hesitate to reach out to the ride leader before the ride (their contact info will be listed in the ride details). The more often you ride, the better you will become.
  • You are required to wear a helmet on all rides. Wear clothing that makes you visible. Bike shorts with padding, gloves and comfortable tops to wick away perspiration are highly recommended. Some riders use sweat bands or skull caps to keep the perspiration from their faces. Dress in layers so you are comfortable, as you will get warmer as you ride. You will be more comfortable in stiff soled shoes or bike shoes (whether you clip in or not) and not sneakers.
  • Your bike must be in good working order. Check the condition of your tires, brakes, and cables. Inflate your tires to a pressure level suitable for the ride. If you have any doubts about the condition of your bike, take it to a bike shop. There is a list of shops on the JSTS website.
  • If you will be riding an electric bicycle (E-bike), please refer to the additional information found here.
  • You are responsible for your provisions. You should carry an extra tube on group rides. The club encourages you to also carry a basic multi-tool (including Allen keys), tire levers, patch kit, tire boot and pump or CO2 cartridge.
  • It is highly recommended to have a front light (white) and a rear light (red) so that you are visible to drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians. Make sure your lights are fully charged before each ride.
  • Review the route to become familiar with the course. Know where the rest stops are located.
  • Arrive at the start location at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time so that you are prepared to depart on time. (If you are new to the group, then allow more time rather than less.) Arrive early enough to leave time to use the restroom before departure, if need be.
  • Be sure to introduce yourself to the ride leader. If you are comfortable, please inform the ride leader of any of your medical issues of which they should be aware (such as asthma, allergies, seizure history, etc.).
  • The ride leader may ask you about your current riding status (such as how far you’ve ridden, at what pace you ride, etc.) to determine if you might have a problem keeping up with the group. The ride leader may take the opportunity to assess your bike and its suitability for the ride.
  • Please note that if the ride leader determines a rider is physically unprepared, lacks adequate water, snacks, spare tube, pump, or their bike is not suited to the ride or in good working order, then the ride leader can ask that rider to join one of the easier ride categories or to come back another time when they are better prepared.
  • The ride leader may break large groups into smaller riding groups that are appropriate to the pace and route. Please cooperate with him or her in this effort.

1.3 Pre-Ride Discussion

  • The ride leader will give a pre-ride talk to the group. The importance of a pre-ride discussion cannot be overemphasized. It lets you know what the ride leader expects from you and what you can expect from him or her. Please pay close attention (and do not distract others from paying attention).
  • The ride leader will introduce himself or herself. They will describe the ride, including distance and pace, and inform the group of any changes to the route due to road conditions that may not be reflected in the RWGPS file or on the route sheet.
  • The ride leader will discuss safety concerns, emphasizing predictable, single-file riding, as well as being attentive to local traffic laws and using common sense.
  • You are expected to indicate your intentions by using hand and voice signals, such as stopping, slowing, left turn, etc., and calling out conditions such as holes, glass, grate, etc.
  • You are encouraged to ride at a steady, constant effort, and not to surge.  All rides are no-drop.  If you surge ahead of the group and miss a turn, then you are on your own.
  • You will be asked to keep an eye out for any lagging riders so that the group does not lose or drop any rider.
  • Please ask any questions you may have about the ride, such as mileage, rest stops, food, etc., before the ride starts.

During the Ride

2.1 Splitting the Group Mid-Ride

  • Sometimes the need will arise for the ride leader to split the group after the ride is underway. Some riders may want to ride at a slower pace later in the ride or may want to stop more often for breaks. Please cooperate with the ride leader in this effort.
  • The ride leader will make every effort to ensure each sub-group has at least 2 riders so no rider ends up riding alone.  

2.2 Communication

  • Communicate using signals to help the people in the back of the pack avoid potholes and obstacles that they generally can't see until it's too late.
  • Pointing with your hand is generally enough to warn the other riders of obstacles in the roadway. Call out if it is something particularly hazardous in the roadway, or if there is something in the surroundings that other riders should be aware of.  Use something short and easy to understand.  The following are a few of the standard calls used by JSTS riders:
    • HOLE [IN or OUT]: Pothole [IN = on the right; OUT = on the left].
    • ROUGH ROAD: Road surface is uneven and possibly dangerous.
    • TRACKS: Railroad tracks.
    • GLASS: Broken glass in the road.
    • GRAVEL (or SAND or STICKS): Hazardous material in the road.
    • WATER: Water in the road.
    • GRATE (or, if appropriate, DOUBLE GRATE): Sewer grate in the road.
    • CAR RIGHT (or LEFT): A car is coming from that direction.
    • CAR BACK (or CAR UP): A car is coming from the rear (or front).
    • ON YOUR LEFT (or if unavoidable, RIGHT): I am close at your side or intend to pass on your left (or right). Passing on the right is typically avoided unless absolutely necessary.
    • SLOWING: Riders in front are slowing.
    • STOPPING: Riders in front are stopping.
  • When approaching (or at) an intersection, all riders should call out to indicate if the intersection is safe to cross. Even if a rider in front of you calls out “CLEAR”, indicating that the intersection is safe to cross, you should still take proper precautions prior to going through an intersection to make sure that the road is still clear of vehicles when you enter the intersection. If the intersection is not safe to cross (or will not be safe to cross for the riders following them), you should call out the hazard (“CAR RIGHT”, “CAR LEFT”, etc).
  • In general, all riders arriving at an intersection at the same time should attempt to cross that intersection as a single unit. Therefore, riders at the front should not cross an intersection unless there is enough time for the other riders to safely cross as well. For busier intersections or larger groups it may be necessary for riders to cross an intersection in subgroups. In that case, subgroups that cross first should wait for the remaining subgroups in a safe area on the far side of the intersection.
  • Call out the phrase “MECHANICAL” for any instance in which you need the group to come to a stop. This can be a physical issue or a bicycle-related mechanical issue that requires the rider in need to stop.

2.3 General Guidelines

  • You are required to obey all New Jersey traffic laws. Your bicycle is legally considered a vehicle. You are subject to the same traffic laws as the drivers of motorized vehicles. This includes observing stop signs, red lights, one way roads, pedestrian crossings, etc. "Share the road" is a two-way street, and we cannot expect drivers to yield to cyclists if cyclists don't also follow the rules. NJ Department of Transportation bicycling regulations are available the DOT website.
  • Ride safely and be predictable so the other members of the group, as well as motorists and pedestrians, can anticipate your actions.
  • Try to stay together as a group (or sub-group in the case of split groups).
  • Ensure you are not overlapping your front wheel to another rider’s rear wheel. This is extremely dangerous. If the leading rider swerves across the trailing rider’s path and hits his or her front wheel, you are almost certain to take a spill (and the leading rider may as well).
  • The use of aero bars is prohibited on all club rides.
  • If you are riding carelessly and not practicing safe cycling, the ride leader may speak to you and ask you to modify your riding behavior for safety. If you continue to be troublesome after the ride leader has spoken with you, the ride leader may politely but firmly insist that you leave the group. If necessary, the ride leader will stop the group and wait until you leave before the rest of the group continues. If the issue is very flagrant, and/or you refuse to leave the group, the ride leader may inform the BOARD of the situation.
  • If you believe another rider is riding carelessly and not practicing safe cycling, you may, if comfortable, inform the ride leader and ask him or her to speak to the rider in question. If you are not comfortable with this, you may inform the BOARD of the situation as soon as possible after the ride.

2.4 Accidents and Medical Emergencies

  • When you’re on a ride and an accident or medical emergency occurs, teamwork is critical.  The ride leader (or another individual, if the ride leader is unable) will direct the group as follows (depending on the group size, one person may need to do multiple tasks):

  • Have one person take charge of the victim (usually a leader).


  • Have someone else direct traffic around the site until help arrives.

  • Have someone else get all cyclists off the road.

  • Have another person call 911 on a cell phone or flag down a passing car.  If the accident occurred with a moving vehicle, call 911 immediately.

  • Ask someone to write down, or record using audio or video, the details of what happened, as it is easy to forget the details. Record the victim’s reactions, as this information could be critical to emergency personnel.

  • Have someone take photos of the accident including the bike, vehicle, location (such as street signs or house addresses), helmet and the injured rider.

  • When accidents occur, an accident report should be completed after the ride (for insurance purposes).  The form is available on the club’s web site.

  • If it is determined that the rider cannot continue on the ride, ask for two (2) volunteers to stay with the rider. NEVER LEAVE A RIDER ALONE.

  • If the rider is deemed capable of continuing the ride, you may need to have two (2) other riders support the injured person to make it back to the start location safely.

2.5 Prohibition of Traditional Headphones/Earbuds and Limits on Bone Conducting Headphones

  • Participants in JSTS group rides are strictly prohibited from using traditional headphones or earbuds while on a club group ride. Traditional headphones or earbuds include any audio device that covers or significantly obstructs the ears, reducing or eliminating the ability to hear external sounds.
  • Bone conducting headphones are permitted solely for hearing turn by turn directions from a connected device and signals from radar devices. Bone conducting headphones are defined as audio devices that transmit sound through the user's bones, allowing for external sound perception while still enabling clear communication. The use of bone conducting headphones for personal non urgent phone calls, listening to music, podcasts, or any audio content not mentioned above is strictly prohibited.
  • If a participant receives a phone call while connected to any headset, if deemed urgent for any kind of work or family related matter, they should immediately call “MECHANICAL” and stop. Based on the emergency, the Ride Leader will decide next steps for the group and whether the participant should continue the ride.
  • When using bone conducting headphones in an emergency, participants are expected to prioritize their safety and the safety of others by maintaining focus and adhering to traffic rules and regulations.
  • Definition of Turn-by-Turn Directions - turn-by-turn directions refers to audible guidance communicated by mobile device. This enables riders to ride without having to look at mounted devices on bicycles resulting in smoother riding.
  • Definition of Radar Device - A radar device is a device that warns cyclists of vehicles approaching from behind (e.g., Varia).
  • Participants who observe violations of this policy are encouraged to report them to the designated club officials for appropriate action.
  • By adhering to this policy, participants in JSTS group rides demonstrate their commitment to their own safety, the safety of others, and the overall success and enjoyment of the cycling experience.

After the Ride

3.1  At the Finish

  • The ride leader may ask for any comments and suggestions about the ride and the club. Feel free to provide any you would like.
  • The ride leader may make general announcements about upcoming JSTS events. You may want to listen in case any of these might be of interest.

3.2  Later

  • If you would like, send pictures and corresponding comments to the club’s social media coordinator at social.media@jsts.us.
  • If you have any more comments and suggestions, feel free to contact the ride leader or the Board with them.

Compliance and Enforcement

4.1  Compliance

  • All participants in JSTS group rides are required to comply with these guidelines. Compliance with these guidelines ensures the safety and well-being of all participants during group rides.

4.2  Enforcement

  • JSTS reserves the right to enforce these guidelines through educational initiatives, verbal reminders, and, if necessary, disciplinary actions, including potential suspension or expulsion from future group rides.

Jersey Shore Touring Society is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 8581, Red Bank, NJ 07701

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