Ever wanted to know what the Tour-de-France riders are saying to each other as they pedal gently through the undulating Pyrenees?
Well, read on!
When you hear (or say) This: It Means:
OTHER ROAD USERS APPROACHING
“CAR UP” (yer bum!) Car coming up from behind - shouted to people in front of you.
“CAR DOWN” (yer throat!) Car approaching from ahead - shouted to people behind you.
“OIL UP/DOWN” Lorry version of Car Up and Car Down.
“HORSE UP/DOWN” Horse version of Car Up and Car Down.
“SINGLE OUT” Form a single file to make it easier for another vehicle to pass or to pass another obstacle.
“ON THE LEFT” Shouted by leading riders. The group is approaching an obstruction on the left - could be a walker, animal, or approaching rider.
“ON THE RIGHT” Like ON THE LEFT - but the other side!
THINGS TO AVOID RUNNING OVER
“POTHOLES” Pothole below - wave your hand over it, to alert following riders.
“GLASS” Glass below - wave your hand over it, to alert following riders.
“BELOW” Like pothole or glass, if you can’t think of the right word.
OVERTAKING OTHER RIDERS
“ON THE INSIDE” If you are about to overtake another cyclist, shout this if you are going to pass on the inside (i.e. the nearside, left in this country). If you hear this, let the other rider(s) pass.
“ON THE OUTSIDE” If you are about to overtake another cyclist, shout this if you are going to pass on the outside (i.e. the offside, right in this country). If you hear this, let the other rider(s) pass.
AT ROAD JUNCTIONS
“CAR LEFT” Beware - a vehicle is approaching from the LEFT.
“CAR RIGHT” Beware - a vehicle is approaching from the RIGHT.
“CLEAR” OK to carry-on - but ALWAYS LOOK just-in-case !
“GOING LEFT/RIGHT” Ride leader talking to someone alongside, who may not be able to see a hand signal.
“PUNCTURE” Shout this in case of any type of breakdown - passed up the line, the ride leader will get the message!
“EASY” Shouted by riders who are being left behind by the ride leader, OR by person in front if he is slowing down.
“STOPPING” Shouted by riders who are stopping - so riders in front AND behind know you are stopping. DON’T FORGET to listen-out for this one.
“OFF THE BACK”Rider in e.g. the middle of the group, shouts ahead to ride leader on realising that someone is being left behind.
HINTS FOR RIDE LEADERS
Keep an eye - and ear - open for what’s going on behind you - if you keep hearing things like “EASY” and “OFF THE BACK” - slow the pace down a little!
Ask someone who looks conspicuous to ride at the back - preferable slightly to the offside so you can see them clearly. If your tail-ender vanishes you know something’s amiss!
Keep a spare map or instructions with you. If you feel the group is too big, split it up and ask for volunteers to lead the smaller groups. A group size of less than 10 is comfortable, 20 starts to get unmanageable.
HINTS FOR RIDERS
The key one is - WATCH THE RIDE LEADER! It’s not unknown for the ride leader to stop and check directions, and even giving the proper warnings collisions have been known to occur.
If stopping at any time PULL OVER TO THE NEARSIDE - think - would you stand in the middle of the road if you hadn’t got your bike? Don’t forget, even if you are on the grass, the back wheel of your bike may be sticking out.
Give the person in front room. Going downhill, they may want to slow down. Going uphill, they may stall.
And don’t forget, when riders get tired, concentration is lost.....