Group Riding Etiquette
This may be the most important rule. It involves every aspect of riding from changing positions the group following the traffic rules.Smooth predictable riding isn’t just a matter of style, it’s key to all safety.
Do NOT Overlap Wheels:
This habit will get you in some real trouble. It can happen from lack of concentration, or maybe you just don’t know any better, but sooner or later you’ll crash from this habit. JUST DON’T do it!!!
This includes speed and line. You will contribute to a crash if you drift around all over the road. When everyone is working for the group, maintain a steady speed as you go to the front. Avoid yo-yoing around the pack, be a rock steady rider. When you are leading ride a straight line and a constant speed. Steady pressure on the pedals, uphill or downhill, headwind or tailwind. No sudden moves and control your spacing by using your body position and feather your brakes. Sudden breaking will set off general alarms in everyone, if you do need to use your breaks feather them and keep smooth pedaling against the resistance.
When you are in the lead you are responsible for the safety of everyone around you. Point out obstacles in the road. Be vocal about upcoming hazards, move slowly and smoothly around them. Be vocal about upcoming turns, lights, stopping. Always move together as a group smoothly. The front rider announces the upcoming hazard and the riders must relay the message down to the rear of the group.
If you are staring at something it’s likely you’ll hit it. Learn to be comfortable looking around and through the riders ahead of you. This will allow you to see things developing around you with the group.
Know Your Limitations:
If you aren’t strong enough, or are too tired, to take a turn at the front stay in the group or near the back. Let the stronger riders do the work. Allow the stronger riders in front of you instead of making them go to the back, this will keep them from having to go around you and create a gap in the group.
Change Positions Correctly:
A common beginner faux pas is to stop pedaling just before pulling off the front. This creates an accordion effect toward the rear. Keep a steady pressure on the pedals until you have cleared the front. After pulling off, soft pedal and let the group pull through. As the last couple riders are passing through, begin to apply more pressure to smoothly take your position at the rear. If you don’t time this correctly, you’ll create a gap and have to sprint to get back on the group.
Closing Gaps/Slowing Down:
Avoid erratic movements, no sudden changes in speed, close gaps gradually and no sharp breaking. As you get close to the rider ahead, soft pedal and join the group smoothly.
No Half Wheeling:
Riding slightly ahead instead of along side your fellow rider disrupts the groups order and dynamic, it also is extremely annoying to the rider beside you. Ride side by side as if you are seated next to one another in a car. Think of your entire group as a team, not just how strong you are in that moment. You never know when the pace is going to heat up and you might want these same people to help you. Make friends and teammates by being a team player.
Have fun and bring a smile!