Pelotonia is a grassroots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer
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Rider safety continues to be our top priority throughout Pelotonia weekend. Please take every precaution to keep yourself and your fellow Riders safe. Knowing you are minimizing your risks will bring greater confidence and increased peace of mind during your ride. We hope you find this information helpful as you prepare for the event.


Ride Safe Initiative (RSI)

What is the Pelotonia Ride Safe Initiative?
The Pelotonia Ride Safe Initiative, or RSI as we like to call it, is a structured safety program for Riders and Pelotons intended to enhance the culture of safety within the event. Cycling safety and fundraising are equally important to the success of Pelotonia. The components of the Ride Safe Initiative are: RSI Ground Leads, RSI Road Leads, the RSI Challenge and Pelotonia specific Group Riding Skills Courses.

How can I help enhance Pelotonia’s culture of safety?

  • Become an RSI Ground Lead
    An RSI Ground Lead is a registered Rider that assists the Peloton Captain in carrying out the planning and execution of safety education, training and awareness for their respective Peloton leading up to Pelotonia weekend. RSI Ground Leads can be a major contributor to the Peloton, the safety of its members and the continued success of Pelotonia.
  • Become an RSI Pacesetter
    An RSI Pacesetter is a registered Rider that completes the RSI Challenge. This online tool contains safety-related questions to give Riders a good idea of how prepared they are to make a contribution to Pelotonia’s culture of safety. An RSI Pacesetter badge will be added to their rider profile to show they have completed the RSI Challenge.
  • Become an RSI Road Lead
    An RSI Road Lead is a registered Rider that provides extra safety and security during Pelotonia. Road Leads offer assistance along the route and monitor cycling safety, especially amongst their Peloton. RSI Road Leads lookout for unsafe Rider behavior and express concerns directly to their fellow rider(s).
  • Become an RSI Scholar
    An RSI Scholar is a registered Rider that has completed a group riding or safety skills clinic. If a Rider needs to meet this requirement, Pelotonia has partnered with Tricia Kovacs to offer RSI approved clinics. Once the Rider has completed a clinic, an RSI Scholar badge will be added to their Rider profile.

How many Ground Leads and Road Leads should each Peloton have?

  • Each Peloton should strive to have one (1) RSI Ground Lead.
  • Each Peloton should strive to have one (1) RSI Road Lead for every fifty (50) Peloton members. Pelotons with fewer than 50 members should have a least one RSI Road Lead.

How do I get started?
Since we think being a smartie when it comes to rules of the road is the most important aspect of the Ride Safe Initiative, we’ve created an RSI Challenge. Take the Challenge to show us you know the basics on group riding and you’ve got what it takes to make a positive contribution to our culture of safety. Even better, once you take the Challenge you’ll become an RSI Pacesetter and a badge will appear on your Rider profile.

How can I find courses that teach safe group riding?

Tricia Kovacs is a life-long Ohio cyclist certified to teach cycling through Cycling Savvy and League of American Bicyclists. She is a member of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits and Ohio Bicycle Federation, advocating for better bicycle laws in Ohio and improving the infrastructure for cycling in central Ohio.  She will be hosting our 2019 RSI Clinics.

RSI Clinics are designed to cover many cycling-related topics such as:

  • Details on the principles of cycling on urban/suburban/rural roads
  • Basic bicycle safety check
  • Rules of the road and Ohio Traffic laws
  • Sharing the road with motorists safely and courteously
  • The importance of hand signals, announcing road hazards and other best practices for group riding
  • Each clinic includes a 10-mile ride in a semi-rural setting in eastern Franklin County

Schedule for 2020 RSI Clinics – coming soon! Questions? Email

How will my Peloton benefit by participating in the Pelotonia Ride Safe Initiative?
Taking part in the Pelotonia RSI will enhance your Pelotons reputation and public perception. It will also help to boost the overall safety of the event. Awards will be given to the top safety-conscious Pelotons during the Pelotonia check presentation ceremony.

Rules of the Road

Click here for a PDF version of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Cycling Smarter Guide created by the ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. This is a quick and easy read about the rules/regulations regarding bicycling in Ohio. PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT.

  • Pelotonia is not a race.
  • The ride is conducted on open roads. Motor vehicle traffic will be present. Be aware of what’s going on around you at all times.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Ride as far to the right of the road as is safely possible, except to pass.
  • Pass on the left side only.
  • Helmets must be worn at all times while riding.
  • Headphones, iPods, and radios are not permitted while riding.
  • Endangering the safety of your fellow Riders is strictly prohibited.
  • Ride defensively in consideration of your fellow Riders and ride in control of your bike at all times (i.e. be able to stop within a reasonable distance).
  • Communicate with your fellow Riders using proper cycling terms such as “On your left,” “Car back,” etc.
  • Use proper hand signals when turning.
  • Make left turns from the center of the road or left turn lane.
  • Cross railroad tracks at right angles to avoid dropping wheels into space between the rails and road.
  • Do not cross the yellow centerline regardless of the passing zone.
  • Obey instructions from the Pelotonia road crew and pay attention to information posted on Pelotonia road signs.
  • Each Rider is expected to speak out when observing a violation. When spoken to, the response should be in appreciation of the concern expressed.

Tips for Safe Riding

Be Predictable
Group riding requires even more attention to predictability than riding alone. Other Riders expect you to continue straight ahead at a constant speed unless you indicate differently.
Use Signals
Use hand and verbal signals to communicate with fellow cyclists and other traffic. Hand signals for turning and stopping are as follows: left arm straight out to signal a left turn; left arm out and down with your palm to the rear to signal slowing or stopping; and for a right turn, put your right arm straight out or put your left arm out and up.
Give Warnings
Warn cyclists behind you well in advance of changes in your direction or speed. To notify the group of a change in path, the lead Rider should call out “left turn” or “right turn” in addition to giving a hand signal.
Change Positions Correctly
Generally, slower traffic stays right so you should pass others on their left. Say “on your left” to warn the cyclist ahead of you that you are passing. If you need to pass someone on the right, say “on your right” clearly since this is an unusual maneuver.
Announce Hazards
When riding in a group, most of the cyclists do not have a good view of the road surface ahead, so it is important to announce holes, glass, sand, grates, and other hazards. The leader should indicate hazards by pointing down to the left or right, and by shouting “hole,” “bump,” etc. where required for safety.
Watch for Traffic Coming From the Rear
Because those in front cannot see traffic approaching from the rear, it is the responsibility of the Riders in back to inform the others by saying “car back” when rounding curves, on narrow roads, or when riding double. It is also helpful to warn of traffic approaching from the front with “car up.”
Watch Out at Intersections
When approaching intersections that require vehicles to yield or stop, the lead Rider will say “slowing” or “stopping” to alert those behind to the change in speed. When passing through an intersection, some cyclists say “clear” if there is no cross traffic. Note that each cyclist is responsible for verifying that the way is indeed clear.
Leave a Gap for Cars
When riding up hills or on narrow roads where you are impeding faster traffic, leave a gap for cars between every three or four bikes. That way a motorist can take advantage of shorter passing intervals and eventually move around the entire group.
Move Off the Road When You Stop
Whether you are stopping because of mechanical problems or to regroup with your companions, move well off the road so you don’t interfere with traffic. When you start up again, each cyclist should look for, and yield to, traffic.
Ride One or Two Across
Ride single file or two abreast as appropriate to the roadway and traffic conditions and where allowed by law. Most state vehicle codes permit narrow vehicles such as bikes and motorcycles to ride two abreast within the lane. Even where riding double is legal, courtesy dictates that you single up when cars are trying to pass you.

Preparing for Pelotonia

The following is a suggested packing list for Pelotonia weekend. Each Rider is permitted one duffel bag, which cannot exceed 20 pounds. Please bring only those items essential to the weekend.

    • Helmet
    • Tuned-up bike with a hand pump and at least two CO2 cartridges + nozzle
    • Saddlebag with tire levers, patch kit, two spare inner tubes, and a cycling multi-tool
    • Cycling shoes, cycling shorts and/or tights, cycling shirt or jersey, socks, gloves
    • Extra water bottle
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Cell phone for emergency use only (in a ziplock bag, carry with you)
    • Identification, money/credit card (carry with you)
    • Prescription medications and car/home key (carry with you – do not pack them in your luggage)
    • Casual clothes
    • Sleeping clothes
    • Rain gear
    • Sweatshirt or fleece
    • Plastic trash bag(s) – to protect dry clothing in case of rain and to pack wet items
    • Pillow and pillowcase
    • Sleeping bag or bed linens
    • Toiletry kit
    • Towels

Heat, Hydration and Skin Care

Heat and Hydration
Please remember to keep yourself well hydrated before, during and after the ride (regardless of weather). It is critically important to avoid dehydration by drinking water and sports drinks on a schedule throughout the ride (roughly one liter per hour, starting with water and switching to sports drinks after the first hour or two). Do not rely on thirst – thirst only kicks in when you are already on the road to becoming dehydrated. It is also important, however, not to over-consume water. Over-hydration with straight water lacking the sodium found in sports drinks may result in hyponatremia, sometimes referred to as water toxicity. Click here for a quick guide for tips on staying cool and hydrated during your ride.

Follow these tips from Susan Massick, MD at Ohio State Dermatology to keep yourself on the road and your skin well protected.

Sun protection
Use Sunscreen:
Apply 30 minutes before you head out on your training ride
Apply liberally, particularly on head/neck/ears and exposed areas
Choose broad-spectrum coverage with both UVA and UVB protection and SPF 50+
Reapply every 2 hours

Wear Proper Gear
Cover areas as much as possible
Wear UPF jerseys, the darker the fabric and tighter the knit the more protective it is
Sunglasses to protect your eyes

Seek Shade
Avoid training at high sun intensity hours (10 am-3 PM with highest UV index)
Seek shade when possible

Bike Maintenance

Learn easy maintenance tips to take care of your bike in these free videos from Howcast that cover the basics of how to become a knowledgeable road biker.