The benefits of group riding are wide and varied and by following a few simple tips and techniques, you can make the most of your time on your bike by maximising the camaraderie, support and slipstreaming effect of riding with others.
When riding a sportive you’ll often find yourself in a group travelling at a similar speed so here’s a few pointers from British Cycling's Coaching and Education team on how to make the most of it.
- Ensure you are looking ahead and keeping a consistent line of travel.
- It is important to be aware of your speed - there is no point sitting at a comfortable pace in the group and then putting the hammer down when it is your turn on the front as this will just fragment the group and most likely annoy those around you!
- Communicate with other riders to establish your position or your intentions i.e. vocal instructions such as ‘coming through', ‘car up / down', ‘on your left' and ‘single out' are common place on the road and should be understood before setting off.
- Hand signals perform a similar job and are just as important when passing instructions through a group from front to back.
- Observe and anticipate other riders, other road traffic and the situations that are unfolding. Observation is not just limited to what you can see but also what you can hear too.
- Avoid making any sudden movements, such as braking harshly or cutting across other riders. Only move if clear to do so, remember to observe and anticipate. Don't overlap wheels or force your way through.
- Be assertive with your position; stand up if necessary to give yourself space and to prevent other riders from coming too close.
- Be prepared to make contact, staying relaxed is the key, if you're not relaxed then when a rider makes contact you will increase your chances of crashing. Maintain a strong and relaxed position on the bike, loose shoulders with a bend in the elbow to allow for movement and contact.
- Most of all, enjoy it! It's a great feeling sharing the work.
All riders in a group have a responsibility for the safety of both themselves and the other members of the group. Knowledge and appreciation of the do's and don'ts of group riding ensure the safety of the group while maximising the benefits and enjoyment of riding with friends.
British Cycling is proud to provide a comprehensive Coach Education Programme for people who want to coach. To ensure that there is something of interest for everyone, we offer various pathways, tailored for individual coaches and their needs. Whether you are interested in coaching beginners or performance-orientated riders, we can help you realise your coaching goals.