How to be a gentleman cyclist

An etiquette guide for cyclists who care

by Sarah Barth   May 3, 2014  

Gentleman cyclist.png

Have you ever wondered how a noble cyclist is distinguished from the riff raff? Ever felt like your etiquette could do with some brushing up?

If so, this short video guide is for you. Learn a standard of behaviour that’ll set you apart in the group, just out on the bike, or off it too, with seven simple steps.

1.Don’t ignore a fellow cyclist

A cheery wave and a smile please, says the Global Cycling Network.

2. Point out potholes

Don’t leave your mates at the back of the group to find their wheels mangled; just point it out.

3. Share your food

If someone’s looking a bit peaky, offer them some of your stash. If it’s a gel they’re not familiar with, you might want to check they’re aware of rule #7.

4. Help out with repairs

Don’t ride on by when someone’s looking pathetic at the roadside. You might need that karma to come on round one day.

5. Offer a helping shove to the arse on a climb

Keep the group together by giving someone a shove up a long climb.

6. Carry cash

Don’t be that dude at the coffee shop. Bring your own cash.

7. No farting

...Or at least head to the back of the pack.



Now here at we’re not generally a fan of ‘rules’ when it comes to cycling. We’re more of the opinion that if you like to ride, go and do it your way.

But, if you’re after a little additional guidance, here’s How Not To Be  A Knob To Female Cyclists.

22 user comments

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Are you daring to suggest other rules !?

posted by cyclingdave70 [18 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 7:59

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Re rule 7, a steersman on a tandem should always give fair warning to the stoker of impending "event" so that their face can be averted,. Smile

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 8:18

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Rule no 5 seems to have changed.....

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1079 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 9:40

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There's only one set of rules.

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posted by chrisp1973 [57 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 9:51

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chrisp1973 wrote:
There's only one set of rules.

Only one rule 'ride your bike'!

posted by madonepro [34 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 10:04

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most of this kind of etiquette stuff is nonsense but I think the principle of checking a rider you pass on the roadside is OK is a certainly one to live by still as even if it's something easy to fix it's a morale boost to know someone's looking out for you

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posted by Northernbike [115 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 10:05

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I've surprised a few by stopping to help as I drove by, both in car and motorbike. Worth it for the look of pleased amazement alone.

posted by simon F [978 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 10:11

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Someone who shall remain nameless, ( ok it was 'Clarkson'. So named as he's always in top gear..) guffed in my face on a club run recently. I could taste it. Sick

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1028 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 10:18

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It was nice yesterday to get heartfelt thanks from two ladies after I'd calmly asked if their horses were OK with me approaching slowly up the singlelane. Admittedly as this was up a 10% slope I didn't really need to dab the brakes much…

posted by Trull [55 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 10:30

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8. Smile and say, "Good day," when you encounter walkers on off road tracks


posted by OldRidgeback [2128 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 14:02

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Give a friendly wave to motorists that actually wait for safe space to overtake you.

Ride like you're invisible, not invincible!

posted by Big Softy [14 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 15:15

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If someone doesn't obey the first of these rules, don't throw a hissy fit and start moaning on internet forae about 'ignorant roadies'.

posted by andyp [796 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 18:41

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It's courtesy innit ? cultivate the environment you want and it follows. As said above, stopping to help people when you're in a car often surprises (but it shouldn't really).

I always call out & ask horse riders if it's ok to pass and their surprise sometimes worries me about the behaviour of others.

Another one I find if driving through the surrey hills is to make a point of slowing down, indicating and overtaking cyclists I invariably see those behind me in my rear view mirror following suit.

On the whole I find the great majority of cyclists courteous and interested in those who partake of the same hobby as themselves.

posted by arfa [445 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 20:46

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For a laugh see the Velominati "the Rules" here:-


posted by Sudor [179 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 23:19

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I hate rules and cycle Nazis who seem to think they have the power to draw up and enforce such stupid jobs worth rules. Well I got some news for you! Go figure with your rules. You obviously haven't got enough going on in your lives.


posted by Airzound [201 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 23:49

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That's a bit harsh. Plain Face

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [217 posts]
4th May 2014 - 0:57

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OldRidgeback wrote:
8. Smile and say, "Good day," when you encounter walkers on off road tracks

Off road tracks? What on earth are you doing off road?! Wink

Big Softy wrote:
Give a friendly wave to motorists that actually wait for safe space to overtake you.

Second that, generally acknowledging the courtesy offered by other road users is a good thing. Another one of mine is a nod/wave to oncoming drivers who wait for you to pass through narrow gaps first.

posted by parksey [178 posts]
4th May 2014 - 6:55

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4. Help out with repairs

here's one tip I could offer to riders that work in bike shops (specifically if like me you work as a mechanic)

If I see a rider with a mechanical, I'll always stop and assist. Nothing like having a professional mechanic help you out!

Afterwards, I'll give them a business card for our shop (I always carry 1 or 2 with my money) and invite them to come and see us if they need any help in the future Wink

posted by hampstead_bandit [118 posts]
4th May 2014 - 8:47

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Take care if literally applying Rule 5 without either asking or considering the placing on of the hand. It can be taken the wrong way if no warning is given, or enquiry made. That said I was grateful to the pack from Coatbridge who let me draft them for a spell on the uphill stretch on the A89 the other day, after already impressing them with an earlier hill climb on the 1-speed Brompton, sadly a bit under geared to stretch out as they upped the pace on the flatter sections.

I became subtly aware of a gentle force just below my left shoulder, looking a bit out of place on a Brompton and wearing a jacket & trousers, amid the group tops and road bikes, as I began to slip back on one of the hills.

Thanks guys much appreciated.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [468 posts]
4th May 2014 - 14:03

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Country Life recently ran an article on what constitutes a gentleman. One of their stipulations is that a gentleman never wears Lycra.

They're seeking nominations for their gentleman of the year award, so I've put forward Sir Bradley of Wiggins. My reasoning is that, Lycra notwithstanding, anyone dubbed 'le gentleman' by the French must be doing their bit to export the best of the British character to the world.

Noli porcum linguere

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posted by captain_slog [263 posts]
5th May 2014 - 14:28

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"5. Offer a helping shove to the arse on a climb
Keep the group together by giving someone a shove up a long climb."

The last time I did that (30yrs ago?) I got a mouthful of foul abuse.
I have never done it since, at least, not without specifically asking if they wanted a push.


posted by davebinks [123 posts]
7th May 2014 - 18:06

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What constitutes a gentleman...
Somebody once suggested to me that the difference between a woman & a lady could be determined by whether they rode side saddle or not...
A gentleman wouldn't make the judgement.

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [176 posts]
7th May 2014 - 21:19

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