Tips for Riding Your Bike in Large Groups
Have you ever watched the Tour de France and wondered how those cyclists ride that close together without constant accidents? As it turns out, there are common practices for riders in large groups that help keep everyone from getting tangled up. When it comes to cycling in large groups, become familiar with these safety guidelines and cycling etiquette to keep everyone happy and protected while riding. Here are eight tips to help keep your group rides fun and safe!
- Be predictable. The number one rule for cycling in large groups is to always be predictable. Ride in a straight line that moves parallel to the road or path and pedal steadily and smoothly, so you’re not surging forward with each pedal stroke.
- Stay close. In a large group, it’s actually safer to ride close to one another. Ride in a line of one or two riders with a wheel-length between you at the start. Staying close helps with wind resistance, but it also keeps distances predictable, so you don’t trip up cyclists next to you.
- Communicate. You need to be able to communicate with your fellow riders in case anything unusual comes up. If you see a hazard on the road, let everyone know, so no one gets hurt. If you need to move to the back of the pack, tell nearby riders so you can pull out safely.
- Listen up. Similarly, be ready to listen when other riders need to communicate. The person leading your group will have instructions or warnings from time to time, so listen for any information that will affect how you’re riding. As such, don’t use headphones on a group ride.
- Look ahead. A common problem for new cyclists is looking down at their front wheel or the rear wheel of the cyclist in front of them. Doing this makes it difficult to see where you are in relation to other cyclists and the line. Look ahead and pay attention to riders around you as well as changes in terrain.
- Stay steady. No matter what you’re doing during a group ride—moving positions, changing speed, etc.—ride as steadily as possible. Avoid doing anything jerky that could cause cyclists nearby to lose balance or fall.
- Know the signals. Most group rides establish hand signals and other signals ahead of time to help cyclists communicate during the ride. Make sure you’re clear on each of the signals – particularly those that indicate hazards or stopping.
- Ride, don’t race. During a group ride, you’re working as a team to keep the same pace. There’s no need to rush or push ahead of anyone else on the course.
When you ride for Padres Pedal the Cause, it’s definitely not a race! We ride together to raise funds for life-saving research. Follow these tips and stay safe for a great ride. Whatever speed you’re riding and whatever Pedal course you’re on, you’re doing an incredible job helping to fight cancer!