As a cyclist, riding a group can be intimidating. It is not as simple as going with a couple of friends for a leisurely ride through the neighborhood. However, the benefits of riding with others can outweigh the fears. In a group, you get the opportunity for social interaction, the motivation of others, and the increased skill development as a cyclist.
Mandatory Rules for Group Cycling
On the other hand, when choosing a cycling group, it is important to know what type of group you are choosing. If you are new to cycling, do not sign up for the “cycle till you vomit” group. This group is obviously out of your league. Once you’ve selected the right group for you, there are basic skills about group cycling that you must know and obey. If you don’t, you will put yourself and the rest of the group at risk of some serious road rash.
What are these mandatory rules for group cycling? Read on to discover what you need to know before heading out in a group.
Hold Your Line
If you are not capable of cycling in a straight line, do not join a cycling group. The first of the mandatory rules for group cycling is as stated, hold your line. Each person must stay true to their own line. You can’t meander back and forth through the members of the group. If you do, you’re going to be wiping people out. To practice, you should ride in a line about 12 to 24 inches from the right of the shoulder line. When you can master that concept, then go to the next mandatory rule for group cycling.
What is the slipstream? The slipstream is each cyclist riding behind the person in front of them within a few inches or a few feet between the front of their bicycle and the back wheel of the other bicycle. Being behind the rider in front of you provides the least amount of wind resistance. In other words, you are “drafting” behind the leader. By drafting, you can save up to 30% of your energy capacity to the cyclist in front. when riding in the slipstream, it is important to keep a steady line to take advantage of the reduction in wind resistance.
The next of the mandatory rules for group cycling is to keep a steady speed. As a group, you are riding together. This does not mean that you should tailgate the person in front of you or show impatience at the pace set by the leader. Many groups take turns with the leader in front, if your group does, do not blast forward when it is your turn as the leader. You need to continue at a steady pace.
In a large group, it can be hard to see or hear what is going on in front of you. The people in front are responsible for identifying and pointing out obstacles. However, if you are staring at the rear wheel in front of you, you won’t know what’s coming until you drive off into that huge pothole and knock the riders out behind you. Keep your eyes up and alert.
When taking your first group cycling ride, it is important to know the mandatory rules of group cycling. If you are not aware of your responsibilities as a cyclist in a group, you will put yourself and others in danger. However, by being aware of your responsibilities, some of the intimidation of riding in a group for the first time can be eliminated.