I have ridden for the last three weekends (two short and one long ride) with Islington CC and thoroughly enjoyed it every weekend, I can't praise enough the warm welcome by all, great ethics of waiting for the last rider and general enjoyment by all for simply riding a bike out into the beautiful quiet lanes surrounding London.
Having ridden with many cycling clubs/teams over the UK and Europe there is, I feel, an area which stood out and should be improved upon to help everyone long term at the club. This was the need to improve rider and group safety. As this club grows, which it will and very quickly, larger numbers will be riding all over London and around the lanes with little or limited group riding.
Riding in a group on the road is safe (contrary to belief). Its all comes down to the riders and what they look like as a group on the road from a motorist perspective.
The ideal is everyone side by side, two a breast. A shorter group on the road and easier for a motorist to overtake. Imagine if you are driving along a country lane and see a group of 10 cyclists ahead riding side by side. They are visible, uniform , compact and predicable. They would be effectively the same length as a slow moving mini bus. Not a problem.
On the other hand if you came across the same 10 cyclists riding in single file that's two mini buses to overtake (a motorist will not want to 'pull in' to a line of cyclist if they misjudge an overtake - the results would be catastrophic). Something even worse - half a group in single file and side by side - even the most skilled driver would struggle to get past without having to calculate variable risk whilst overtaking.
I know at times the group is fragmented due to terrain, up and down. However for the most part we take our time riding and enjoy a chat. If we can improve and stay compact we'll be safer. To instil a simple and very effective way of riding (from grass roots as new riders join) that would go a long long way to prevent any potential mishaps with cars.
The article below prompted me to share my thoughts. http://ukcyclelaws.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-laws-according-to-highway-code.html?m=1