How to Cycle in a Group: Tips for Beginners
By: Ana Margarita Olar | Vigorbuddy.com
Cycling alone is a little bit different that cycling with a group. So if you decide to bike with a group, take these tips for your safety and enjoyment:
NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS BEFORE A GROUP SPIN:
Check your bike before going to cycle in a group or even if you are going solo. There should be no movements when you clamp the front wheel between your knees.
Next, there should also be no movements when you push down the top of brake lever hoods with your hands.
You also need to check the brake levers by pulling them as hard as you can. See to it that they don’t come in contact with the handlebars even when full pressure is applied. Pump the tires to 100-120 psi.
FOLLOW THE GROUP DYNAMIC DURING A SPIN
When you cycle in a group, you are cycling with a team. You need to learn these basic group dynamics:
Bar to bar- when you cycle in a group, you should be riding two by two and side by side. You should be just a few centimeters away from each other so as a bus, a car, or another rider cannot fit between you. You should also be aligned handlebar to handlebar.
Peeling off- When you get tired of being at the front, make sure that the riders next to you are aware that need to go back. Peel off steadily and in a controlled manner.
Pulling through- When the two riders in front of you got tired and peel off, it’s your duty to come in front and pull the group along. Never get out of the bar to bar formation and maintain a steady speed with the group.
No gaps- When you cycle in a group make sure that there are no gaps. It is the duty of the rider closest to the gap to fill in that gap in a steady and controlled manner so as not to disrupt the group.
Moving about- If you need to move away from a damaged side of the road, or if a part of the road is obstructed, you have to move gradually and steadily. The other riders will just glide along with you.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS DURING A GROUP SPIN
As a part of the group, you should know the established safety signals.
First and foremost, bear in mind that you are responsible for the safety of the whole group. The ride is not a sprint or a contest. You don’t have to show off for anybody.
It is the responsibility of the front riders to warn the others about any road hazards such as parked cars, traffic islands, and any other obstacles.
A pothole may be called: hole left, hole right, or hole center.
Riders at the front should shout car back when a car is approaching and riders at the rear should shout car back when a car will pass them from the back.
These messages should be shouted and passed along the group.
These are just the basics of group cycling. Remember, your safety is in the hands of one another so you should be a responsible biker and a responsible team member as well.