Index July 27, 2018/

Introduction to Group Riding Techniques

Introduction to Group Riding Techniques

Cycling in a group safely and efficiently is one of the key skills of road cycling.  It’s a ton of fun and can be highly exhilarating - however, the first time you ride in a group can be a confusing experience. Check out this essential information before heading out, and be sure your ride leader knows you are a new rider but eager to learn.  Here’s a summary of the techniques you need to know to stay safe, give you confidence and have an enjoyable time. 

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. The time each rider spends on the front is often decided before the ride starts, with an understanding that everyone pulls as hard as their strength and fitness allows.   

Keep your speed and line as smooth and controlled as possible, as everyone is riding in close proximity to one another. This means no grabbing handfuls of brake or fast accelerating. Always have your hands covering the brakes, either on the hoods or the drops. 

Starting out, it's best to keep at least a wheel length between your front wheel and the back wheel of whoever is in front of you. As you progress, you can close this gap up, but you should always avoid overlapping your wheel with the person in front at all costs.  A wheel at speed making contact with another rider is your worst mistake.  A gust of wind or bump in the road simply has to be handled smoothly. Try to keep your head up and look ahead for hazards or signals from the other riders.  When approaching hills, it's important to widen the gap between cyclists to allow for slowing down.

The front riders are responsible for warning the group about upcoming hazards, corners or junctions, and the signals should then be passed all the way back through the group. It’s your responsibility to be familiar with hand gestures and calls, and if you are in front, call clearly and give notice of hazards as early as you can to give time for the group to react. Keep your pace even with the rider beside you, and you'll be all set. 

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