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Beginners and group riding

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Beginners and group riding

Post  Spindoctor on Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:23 pm

When many people first join they can find riding in a group somewhat daunting, and many of the riders around you will have covered many miles together and ride in close quarters with relative comfort and (hopefully) little risk

The routes of our group rides are all chosen so that it's reasonable to ride in twos for 90+% of the ride. Riding in twos is fine in most situations, but occasionally it may be courteous or safer to single out to respond to traffic hazards.

While riding in twos is usually reasonable other road users will find the sight of riders in threes (or more) highly irritating. Indeed if the group is not in military style formation it will look from behind that the "group was all over the bloody road" to coin the pub conversation. So, to prevent confrontation, stick to twos and keep all the gaps even.

Typically, we all should be within 1m of the guy in front. Riding a few cm outside or inside the line of the rider in front will give you more of an escape route if they slow down suddenly. If you ride >1m behind then you'll not be getting much shelter and the guy next to you will have a dilemma. If he rides in position, then the formation is shot, if he rides with you he's working harder than necessary.

Riding 20m off the back all day is asking for trouble as it is unlikely that everybody else will realise if you're held up for any reason, or suffering.
Call out and preferably point hazards such as pot-holes, road debris etc to those behind.

Avoid doing anything suddenly, especially braking, but if you are slowing – shout about it to warn those behind you
Try not to jump out of the saddle onto the pedals on climbs. This causes the riders centre of gravity to move forward and the bike moves back to compensate. The rider behind then has to take evasive action, followed by the rider behind them etc. With practice you can actually take about 2 pedal revs to get yourself up on the pedals and minimise the backwards lunge of your rear wheel.

It's no good riding faster than the whole group can manage and it’s counterproductive to have the weakest rider hanging off the back and therefore having to work harder. If you see someone struggling then tell the front riders to ease off

In general, a rider that is finding it hard is the least able to influence how the group is riding; breathlessness or pride tend to inhibit a shout and when it does come it will be given with some emotion! Therefore it's really everyone's job to watch out for the signs that someone is under too much pressure and then to act.

Don't get dragged into slanging matches with motorists as you'll drag all your mates into it as well and it doesn't help the profile of cyclists generally. Respect for cyclists is something we all need to work hard on to build in the UAE - plus you can never think of the best response until the adrenalin has subsided anyway!
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Spindoctor

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Join date : 2011-04-01
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