If you are taking part in your first sportive or heading out on your first club-run, you might be nervous about riding in a group. Follow our Top 10 group riding tips.
If you’re not use to riding in a group, it can be a bit nerve wracking but try to stay relaxed, follow these tips and avoid tensing up.
Let the other riders know youare fairly new to group riding and that you’d appreciate their patience, advice and tips. Make sure you ask if they say or do something you don’t understand and remember, everyone was new to group riding once.
Successful group riding is all about good communication. Along with verbal calls, there are a number of hand signals that you should be aware of. Again, if you are unsure what a signal means, ask. Always pass signals on through the group. Communication is especially important if you’re on the front of the group when you’ll need to point out obstructions, hazards and any upcoming turns.
Look through the group
Don’t just stare at the wheel or backside in front. Look through the group at the road ahead and try to anticipate how the riders ahead will react.
It’s okay to leave a bit of a gap to the wheel ahead and even to ride slightly to one side of it. However, always avoid overlapping your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front as, if they have to swerve to avoid a hazard or just have a lapse in concentration, they’ll take out your wheel
Easy on the brakes
Avoid grabbing handfuls of brakes. Freewheel, sit more upright or use light braking to adjust your speed gradually. This is one of the reasons why looking through the group and anticipating the actions of the riders in front is so important.
Don’t half wheel
If you’re on the front, avoid pushing the pace and constantly moving ahead of the riding next to you. Known as half-wheeling, it’ll push up the speed of the group and is considered bad form.
Avoid kicking back your rear wheel
On rises, be aware of your rear wheel kicking back when you stand out of the saddle as it can catch the rider behind you unaware if their close on your wheel. With good technique, a smooth rise and correct gear selection it can be avoided.
Don’t surge or slow
When you come to the front, try to keep the pace/intensity of the group consistent. Don’t surge if you’re feeling strong and conversely, if you’re struggling, don’t try and slow the group. If you’re on a good day, just do a long turn and, if not, just put in a few pedal strokes before pulling off and settling back in the wheels.
Mudguards on, tri-bars off
In the winter especially, your ride mates will definitely appreciate you having mudguards and some clubs insist on them. Also, if you have clip-on tri-bars, take them off for group rides.