The purpose of the Club is to support recreational cyclists.
We are not racers and do not promote ourselves as such.
We may feel like we are racing along on some of our rides but we are in fact a group of recreational cyclists riding for any number of personal reasons. Fitness. Love of the sport. Camaraderie. Training for future rides. Love of the outdoors. A need to be challenged physically. But first and foremost, our group rides are offered for recreational purposes.
I read a Bicycling.com article last night about a cyclist who was injured on a ride and is now suing the group with whom he was riding. That particular group ride is a “popular, famously aggressive group ride.” It is known for its high speeds and competitive atmosphere. And as a “show-and-go” or “racer” ride, the group sometimes exceeded speeds 30 mph on the flats. According to the article, the ride attracts riders of all levels of skill and fitness. A little like some of our rides, just a lot faster.
As I read the article, I asked myself “What would I do if I joined a fast, aggressive ride and was injured?” And then I asked, “What would others in the Club do in that situation? Do others that come out and join us on our Club-led rides know that they are joining our rides at their own risk?”
I pulled out our Club ride waiver and reread the paragraph at the top of the form. It states that, as a rider, you understand that we are riding on roads that may have hazards, that this activity involves risks and dangers of serious bodily injury (and, possibly, death), and if you believe conditions to be unsafe, you will immediately discontinue further participation.
White Clay Bicycle Club rides are open to the public. Our rides are not members-only rides – all are welcome to join provided you can maintain the advertised pace of the group. The one thing that we ask is that, as a rider, you review the ride waiver and sign it before joining us on a ride. The ride waiver explains that there is a risk in riding and establishes an understanding with the participant that they understand and accept that risk and will not hold the Club or the other participants liable for something that may happen on a ride. The ride wavier not only tells participants what to expect, but what they are personally agreeing to do during a ride – to ride in a safe, prudent and courteous manner, to obey all traffic laws, no cell phone use, no ear plugs, and to discontinue participation if they believe that conditions are unsafe.
From information within the article I read last night, the ride at issue was not a ride sponsored by a club but an ad-hoc “show-and-go” event. There was no ride waiver, just a group of cyclists on a ride with the understanding that the rider assumes all risk. But the lesson learned here is valuable and important to all of us as riders and Club-members: to participate in WCBC rides, you must sign the ride waiver.
For your own benefit, please review the paragraph on the ride waiver next time you sign in for a ride and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
If you are interested, here is a link to the Bicycling.com article that I reference above – https://www.bicycling.com/news/a22119670/cyclist-sues-group-ride/
Be safe out there.
(And no, we did not sneak text into the waiver about tipping the ride leaders $5 after each ride…at least not yet.)