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How To Ride In A Group - Group Riding Etiquette



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group riding lets you meet new people

see new places and enjoy eating lots of

cake during the mid ride cafe stop it

may seem intimidating your first time

but stick with us and we'll talk you

through the basics when the road allows

you'll usually be riding two abreast in

a double pace line this allows everyone

behind the two leading riders to shelter

from the wind until it's their turn to

ride on the front the time each rider

spends on the front is usually decided

before the ride start with an

understanding that the tired riders will

take shorter turns at the front the most

important technique in group riding is

keeping everything as smooth and

controlled as possible due to the

proximity of other riders around you

grabbing a handful of brake or putting

in a hard acceleration could cause a

crash or break up the group and either

way you won't be winning many friends

who are cycling close to other riders

can seem daunting at first it soon

becomes second nature due to the smooth

controlled flow within the group you

should have your hands on the hoods or

the drops covering the brakes at all

times for your first group rides you

want to keep at least a wheel length

between your front wheel and the back

wheel of whoever's in front of you when

you gain confidence in your own

abilities and those of the group you can

close the gap to whatever distance you

feel comfortable with it's also

important to make sure you never overlap

with the back wheel of the rider in

front as a single gust of wind could

cause contact it may be tempting to look

down at the wheel in front but instead

try to keep your head up enjoying the

countryside or looking out for any

hazards or signals coming from other

riders be aware that when riders stand

out of their saddle their bikes will

temporarily slow down it's only a very

minor and brief deceleration but can

cause overlapping or even contact so

when approaching a hill it's a good idea

to leave a slightly bigger gap to

account for this slowing there are many

different formations use to allow riders

to take turns on the front in the wind

but we're going to show possibly the

most common and simple technique a

double pace line involves riders

rotating either clockwise or

anti-clockwise on the front of the group

in this example we're going to look at

anti-clockwise when the inside front

rider has finished their turn on the

front their shout or gesture to let

everyone know it's time to rotate change

and then begin to slow this allows the

outside front rider to move across to

take up the position change be careful

not to overlap wheels whilst this is

happening

the rider behind then takes up position

besides a new inside rider so they're

both at the front meanwhile the rear

most inside line rider will be waiting

until the rider next to them has

advanced before gently accelerating and

steering into the outside line again

you'll want to keep these changes smooth

and controlled if done correctly the

changes in pace are very small and will

keep the group flying along at a

consistent speed communication is key

and it's a responsibility of the front

riders to warn the rest about any

hazards corners or junctions everyone in

the group all the way to the last rider

should then repeat the call or gesture

you can use a combination of simple hand

gestures and vocal cues to signal holes

vehicles or other road furniture

depending on where you ride these

gestures can vary slightly but if you're

new to the group then it still might be

a good idea to ask before the ride gets

going there's no need to shout at the

top of your voice if this can spook

riders and cause more confusion

remember that later you leave the signal

the shorter the reaction time gentle

crawling out and subtle hand signals go

a long way to help the group maneuver

and build everyone's confidence in each

other finally remember that nothing

Royals a group up more than a rider who

hath wheels

this means consistently pushing the pace

when you're on the front so your wheel

is always slightly ahead of the rider

besides you this can fragment the group

and makes life difficult for everyone

you're riding with keep your pace even

with the rider beside you and you'll be

a welcome addition to group rides the

world over

you