8 Tips On Group Riding
Group Rides at ERIK’S shops start by the first week of May. There are over 30 rides in total for all styles and levels of cycling. Riding in a group is a great way to meet new people, spend time with friends and share your love of riding with other like-minded cyclists. During these rides, first and foremost, we want all riders to be safe on the roads and trails. When we ride in a group, we need to be aware that our conduct as cyclists affects other riders, pedestrians, and drivers. Riding responsibly is not only for your own safety, but that of your fellow cyclists.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you hit the road.
Ride Predictably: This is the most important rule of riding in a group. Being predictable helps everyone ride together safely and more efficiently. Avoid making decisions and turns at the last moment and try to ride in a straight line and at a steady pace when possible.
Communicate: When you are in the lead, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and everyone behind you. Point and call out all possible road hazards such as loose gravel on the roadway, large cracks and potholes, debris and road kill. Use common hand signals for slowing, stopping, turning, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with hand signals, ask your ride leader for a brief explainer.
Follow the Rules: When riding on the road, cyclists must obey all traffic laws. Do not blow stop signs or traffic lights. If the group does get separated at an intersection, the lead group should pedal softly until the rest have rejoined. If you are caught by the light, DO NOT run a red light to stay with the group. In an altercation with a car, the car will always win.
Don’t Ride Too Close: If you are overlapping wheels with the rider in front of you, they may only need to move a few inches in the wrong direction to crash you and everyone behind you. Stay back and stay safe. Give the rider in front of you some space; you’ll still get plenty of draft.
Ride Steady: Hold your line and maintain a steady speed; do not yo-yo in the pack. When you take the lead, hold the current pace. If you want to accelerate do it gradually and only after the previous leader has rejoined the rear of the group. Riding steady does not only refer to speed it also pertains to effort, when riding into or with a headwind, up or down a hill, stay consistent with your effort or exertion.
Ride Right: When possible, ride to the far right of your lane or trail. This allows other riders to more easily pass you on your left, lowers the risk of a head-on crash when rounding curves and corners, and keeps you out of the flow of traffic. Where there is no safe shoulder, you and your group may take the entire lane.
Don’t ride on aero bars: You can join a group ride with a Triathlon or TT bike, but for the safety of everyone you cannot ride on the aero bars in a group ride.
New to Group Rides? If you are new to group riding, let the ride leader know. Riding in a group isn’t exactly intuitive, but we are here to help you get comfortable with the process.
Following the above guidelines will keep all riders safe and having fun. And remember, never hesitate to ask questions. Chances are other riders will be wondering the same thing.
Now find a ride! There are group rides for all cycling styles and skill levels, from casual, morning mountain bike rides to fast-paced, 50-mile road rides. Check out all of the ERIK’S Group Rides and join us for a ride!