Safety comes first and we have a strict "no rider left behind" policy. No matter if you are taking your time and riding slower than some of the other riders, if you are ailing and need encouragement or more substantial help, or have mechanical problems, the group will not leave a rider alone or behind. You will always have friends around to help and make sure that you are okay!
The stage will be canceled or rescheduled. We ride in the dark and we ride in the cold ... but we do not ride on wet roads.
This can really help assure cables are in good shape & tight, shifting is adjusted properly, tires are in good shape, brake pads have enough "meat", fresh grip tape always helps, etc.
These lights tend to dim rather than just go out which can be difficult to notice. Best to be proactive.
This is money very well spent and you can obtain one from Road ID by clicking HERE. Hopefully you won't need this, but in the event of an accident, it will help medics know of any pertinent medical conditions and will help us (your riding buddies) to contact your loved ones without delay. Hint: after you have one, just keep it in your bike shoe or helmet so that you always remember to put it on for every ride.
We use the standard verbal commands as well as hand commands. Yell "Car back" when a car is approaching from the rear, yell "Car up" when a car is approaching up ahead, Yell "Car Right/Left" when a car is approaching from the side or pulling out of a driveway etc. Yell "Slowing" or "Stopping" depending on the degree of deceleration. Don't assume the person in back of you sees the same thing you are slowing for. Yell "Hole" or "Bump" and point at it with a finger as you pass to prevent the next guy from diving into a pot hole etc. Yell "Gravel" and wiggle your fingers at it to warn others of bad traction ahead. If turning, the person in front needs to yell the direction and use the hand signal well in advance of the turn. In general, use your common sense to warn folks behind you of imminent danger.
Most important, yell "DOG <direction>" at first sign that a canine is approaching with ill intent. A squirt of mace or a kick in the head can often ward off mean dogs. Be prepared ... sooner or later one WILL find you on the road.
Pace lines allow you to go fast, because the rider in the front is doing most of the work (breaking the wind) at a pace he/she can't maintain. When he tires, he pulls out to the left, then catches on to the back of the pack. It's pretty exhilarating. Problem is, you're nose to ass of the person in front of you, so you can't see much of the road - particularly things like holes in pavement. For this reason there is a lot of verbal and hand signaling that needs to occur. Use standard verbal commands as well as hand commands liberally. This is most important for the rider in front, who has the best forward view; don't get so tired in the front that you can't do this job well.
If you are not comfortable riding in a close pace line...don't do it. If you do do it, don't overlap your tire with the rider in front of you (like wise the person in back of you should not). This means you must be alert to the use of your brakes and adjust your pedal cadence to maintain a reasonably constant separation with the biker in front of you. Try to travel in a straight line. Bouncing around adds a level of unpredictability. Pace lines are fun and fast but a little dangerous, know your skill level.
In Ohio we are treated like a car, we have a right to ride on the road. However don't tempt fate. When cars approach from the rear GET IN SINGLE FILE and let the person pass the group. It just pisses folks off if you stay double wide (or worse triple wide which is illegal I believe). And yes I know its a pain but STOP at stop signs. We have had folks pulled over by the police for blowing through stop signs. You can be ticketed.
Wear a helmet...duh
Carry a spare tube and a supply of air (pump or CO2 cartridge inflator) and learn how to change a flat
Here are some other useful sources for you to take a look at:
How to Use a CO2 Inflation System by Performance Bicycle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?