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Riding in a Group Safely1st July 2016 Personal Injury
How to be a link in a well-oiled chain
Do you, or have you ever wanted to, ride in a group? Here at Twisted Spokes we appreciate the benefit of riding in groups and encourage others to get involved if they haven't already done so. You'll save energy, you'll be safer and it's a great opportunity to make friends. You may even find that you ride faster, with less effort! If you are planning to get involved in a group ride, whether it's with the ultimate aim of taking part in competitions or just for fun, take a look at the Twisted Spokes tips on the dos and don'ts of riding in a group safely.
Shrewsbury Cycle Grand Prix. Photo taken by head of Twisted Spokes, Jane Bedford McLaren
The dos of riding in a group
- Use the right riding technique and etiquette;
- If it is your first time riding, ride at the back and watch the more experienced riders;
- Listen to other, more experienced, riders and take on board their advice, even if you are a strong rider;
- Ride with your hand on the hoods or the drops so you can dab your brakes;
- If you think someone next to you is going to move into your space, give them a gentle tap or a vocal warning to tell them that you are there;
- If you are at the front of the group, give hand or vocal warnings of any hazards;
- Point to hazards on the road, such as pot holes, and when the group needs to slow, pat your hand at the side to show this. A hand behind the back shows that there is an obstruction such as a parked car or a pedestrian ahead;
- Always think about your position in the group. Use experienced riders as a marker;
- Ask experienced riders for tips or advice they'll normally be more than happy to help!
- If you want to pull out always indicate with your hands, even if you know it's clear;
- Keep hydrated, but don't grab your bottle and slow your bike at the expense of other riders;
- Ride in twos, bar-to-bar;
- Be predictable;
- HAVE FUN!
The don'ts of riding in a group
- Don't make any sudden moments left or right without checking you have space
- No sudden braking. This must be a last resort;
- Don't just focus on your front wheel. Look further ahead as this will allow you to spot any hazards and to see which way the group is travelling;
- Although spitting and clearing your nose is acceptable, go to the back or side of the group to do this. Nobody wants whatever has come out of your face, in their face;
- Do not take undue risks ride smart;
- Don't put your wheel directly behind the wheel in front. If this person slows up slightly or brakes due to a hazard, it will cause a crash;
- Don't look at other riders if you are talking to them. Always focus on where you are riding;
In conclusion, there are more 'dos' than 'don'ts' when riding in a group, and it definitely makes cycling more enjoyable. So if you haven't tried it already, grab some friends or join a club and start today!
If you would like information on cycling groups in your area, take a look at the CyclingUK website for details of clubs in your area.