Thursday, June 27, 2013

Group Riding Tips

Keep these tips in mind the next time you go out to ride with a group.
Be cautious of cars approaching from behind. The riders on the back have the responsibility of letting other riders know if cars are approaching. If there's not enough room to ride two-abreast, they should shout out to the group to go single file: "Car, single up!"

The key to an efficient pace line is to maintain speed. Fluctuations in speed quickly sap a group's energy just like when you're on your own doing a time trial. Try to maintain a constant, high speed.

Stay relaxed and don't grip the handlebars too tight. The famous French cyclist Bernard Hinault used to say, "You should still be able to play the piano when riding." When you're tight and stiff your front wheel will go wherever your head turns. Look right and your bike will go right. But if you're relaxed you can look right and still hold a straight line. Holding a line is very important within the context of a group as each member is reliant upon the other members to maintain safety.

Keep your head up. Watch for upcoming obstacles: cars, potholes, rocks, other riders, etc.

Pull off into the wind as others may be overlapping your wheel to the draft side.

Don't throw your bike back as you get out of the saddle. Stand up into the bike and bring the bike forward.

Go easy on the brakes and anticipate pace changes. Try to reduce the accordion or "yo-yo" effect as much as possible.

Recovery is key in a group rotation. Finding the right draft position and staying tight and close have a cumulative effect over time. Riders who know how to make use of the group will save enormous amounts of energy.

Individuals riding as a group can cover distances much faster than one individual and save energy at the same time, as long as the group works well together and safety remains the number one concern.