ride information

    DGBC Response to Safe at Home Restrictions Easing    

Now that Illinois has begun easing “Safe at Home” restrictions, let’s address how the DGBC is impacted. In consultation with Ride Illinois and several other clubs, DGBC will wait until we reach Phase IV (Revitalization) of the Restore Illinois Plan before again sponsoring group rides. Phase 3 (Recovery) allows gatherings of up to 10 people, but publicly publishing group rides on the DGBC website or via the Google Group mailings will be received by a wider audience than just club members. With the precautions necessary to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, even a group of 10 riders can be difficult to manage. This is not to say, however, that the club is discouraging members from any group riding. It is our suggestion that any group rides among members be arranged by invitation only. So if you feel like riding with a few regular cycling friends, by all means arrange a ride among yourselves. However, it should not be advertised on the DGBC event calendar or distributed through the Google Group.

If you begin riding in small groups, we recommend following the guidelines published by USA Cycling. Although you may associate this group with bike racing, their guidelines apply to recreational clubs like ours as well:
What do these guidelines mean to DBGC? How can we adapt them for our group rides? Consider that while your health choices are your own, when you are riding in a group you are also impacting others and should act accordingly.

Key principles

  • You have the responsibility to not spread the virus and to not contract the virus.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is easily spread, but is also controllable
  • The virus primarily spreads through direct contact and droplets.
  • On-bike, outdoor activities are very likely a low risk of infection. So pay at least as much attention to the off-bike activities.
All riders must/should
  • Have no COVID-19 symptoms for the previous 14 days and have limited their exposure to contracting COVID-19, including no regular contact with anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Assume that you have the virus and don’t spread it to the other riders
  • Assume that other riders have the virus and don’t catch it from them.

Ride practices

  • Meet in areas that lessen your exposure to others.
  • Lower the ride intensity so that exertion levels reduce risk of transmission.
  • Be self-sufficient with food and drink, as well all tools, equipment and clothing needed, carry hand sanitizer, and wear or carry a face covering.
  • Limit stops to resupply. When stopping, respect social distancing, wear a face covering and wash/sanitize your hands.

Are group rides safe?

  • Small group rides with people you know well (close contacts) are likely safe. If you are feeling sick, stay home.
  • Small group rides with individuals other than close contacts can be risky, but that risk can be mitigated with some simple behavioral changes.
  • Ride side by side and at an increased trailing distance; the farther away the better (dependent on ride speed)

How do we make small group rides safer?

Scenario 1

You have been staying at home and working from home for weeks. You decide to go for an hour-long road ride on the quiet country roads near your house.

This is very low risk from a COVID-19 perspective. You will not be interacting with others during the ride. You should consider at least carrying a face covering and hand sanitizer in case you need to interact with anyone.

Scenario 2

You have been staying at home with your spouse, and the two of you decide to go for a mountain bike ride together on the local trail system at mid-day on a weekday. You expect to see a few hikers while you are out.

The risk here is higher than riding alone, but not because you are riding with your spouse. The elevated risk comes from the interactions with others.

Possible Mitigation: Avoid interaction with others while on the trail by pulling over and letting them by at a safe distance. If driving to the trails, park away from others. Consider a face covering before, during or after your ride.

Scenario 3

Your club is holding a small group ride with ten or less people (6 optimum), who you know at least in passing. The road ride will be three hours and will stop to regroup and have snacks at a gas station at the halfway point.

The risk here is higher than riding with someone you have been living with and know the health history of. You do not know who may or may not be protecting themselves. You will also be stopping at a public location.

Possible Mitigation: You should use a face covering especially when stopped at a store. Use care when stopped, and make sure you wash or sanitize your hands. Do not share bottles or food with anyone else.


We try to schedule rides that appeal to riders with a range of abilities and interests. A successful ride begins by selecting one that is appropriate for your abilities and continues when you arrive at the start location with enough time to have your bike ready prior to the scheduled start time.

First time riders are encouraged to contact the ride leader prior the ride. Minors welcome if accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Helmets are required.

Tips

  • Do: choose a ride consistent with your abilities.
  • Do: remember that the Illinois Vehicle Code also applies to bicycles.
  • Do: inform the ride leader if you must leave before the end of the ride.
  • Don't: forget your cycling shoes.
  • Don't: wear headphones or earbuds.

We Recommend

  • a bike in good working order with properly inflated tires;
  • wallet with cash, ID, and Medical Alert information if necessary;
  • flat tire repair items: tube, pump, tire lever, patch kit & tire boot;
  • hydration & nutrition: e.g. water bottle, energy bar, gel;
  • phone (fully charged) and
  • non-essentials: sunscreen, multitool, chamois butt'r, bandaids.

Ride Ratings

The club attempts to schedule rides for all abilities to encourage an active membership. What’s your ride style?

  • A Group: Averaging 17+ miles per hour on flat, windless terrain and rolling +3 mph to +5 mph faster. This is a fast pace for the fittest riders with competitive riding as the focus. These are generally no-drop, gather at crossings - exceptions will be published by the ride leader well in advance.
  • B+ Group: Averaging 15-17 miles per hour on flat, windless terrain and rolling +3 mph to +5 mph faster. These are generally no-drop, gather at crossings - exceptions will be published by the ride leader well in advance.
  • B Group: Averaging 12-15 miles per hour on flat, windless terrain and rolling +3 mph to +5 mph faster. This is a moderate pace for fit riders with fitness as the focus. These are generally no-drop, gather at crossings - exceptions will be published by the ride leader well in advance.
  • C Group: Averaging 10-12 miles per hour on flat, windless terrain and rolling +3 mph to +5 mph faster. This is an easy pace that focuses on conversation and exploration rather than fitness. These are always no-drop rides.

Some rides will have both an A group and B groups riding. If you’re in doubt, contact the ride leader.  Don’t know how fast you can ride over a distance?  Start out with one of our no-drop rides and you can measure your speed and fitness against other riders.  Please do not start with an A group if you’re unsure of your fitness level.

Group Riding

We are not a racing club but do frequently ride in groups. If you are new to group riding there are a few things to keep in mind when you are in the vicinity of others:
  • ride predictably without sudden braking or weaving;
  • signal and/or call out any hazards;
  • pass the signal on if a rider in front of you points out a hazard;
  • signal and give warning if you need to move out of a group;
  • pass only on the left; and
  • don't overlap wheels or follow the rider in front of you too closely.

What’s it like to lead a bicycle ride?

Plenty of people are nervous about leading a ride! But leading can be fun and rewarding, especially when you share the task with a co-leader. Being a leader involves:

  • Choosing an appropriate route for the skill level of the riders
  • Adjusting your pace so riders are not left behind
  • Sharing a few simple ride rules with the group before departure
  • Keeping an eye on how everyone in the group is faring while they’re riding
  • Understanding emergency procedures in the case of an accident
  • Making safe choices about riding in traffic that consider all abilities in your group

The benefits?

  • Undying gratitude from your riders and the opportunity to be a true advocate for cycling
  • Decision control over where you stop for snacks
  • Looks good on your resume
  • Advocating something you really love to do

We are always looking for ride leaders and ride sweeps (following the group and making sure no one gets lost).  It’s not hard and any one of our regular leaders would be thrilled to co-lead with you so you can get your feet wet.  Our goal as a club is to encourage as many of our members as possible to volunteer to help with ride leadership during the season.

Interested? Send an email to ride@aol@dgbikeclub.ru.org and our Ride Coordinator will get in touch. Thanks!