As simple as it is to ride a bicycle, there some things which you should consider before joining a group ride. Of course you could ignore these tips altogether but your first group ride would probably be the last you ever have. It does astonish me that so many riders lack the understanding or etiquette of group riding which puts themselves and the riders around them in danger. So here are my top tips in no particular order on group cycling etiquette.
- Always carry spare tubes, tyre levers and a pump/CO2. Just because others have them along does not mean you should depend them. If you are worried about not fitting everything in jersey back pocket. Then what you would need is a small saddle bag which would fit everything that for need.
- Don’t make any sudden movements when riding in a group, the last thing you want to do is to clip the tyre of another rider and cause a bad accident.
- When braking, slowly engage the brakes, so that the riders behind you have enough time to react. Only brake hard if you really need to.
- Be sure to communicate with other riders. Give verbal and hand signals to show the directions the group is going, or point out dangerous objects or potholes on the road to help those behind you. As the view is often obscured when there are multiple riders in front of you.
- Look ahead at the rear wheel of the rider in front of you so that you do not get too close and that you keep the same pace. That being said, don’t forget to enjoy the view while you are out cycling.
- Spitting or clearing your nose. If you really need to clear the your throat or nostrils, please do so in a respectful manner. Ride to the side of the group and be sure no one is behind you before you spit.
- Lights: if your group is out ridding in the wee early mornings or in darkness of the night be sure that have lights fitted to your bicycle, both front and rear. This is to illuminate the road ahead of you as well as to make yourselves more viable to traffic coming up from the rear.
- Don’t leave someone struggling to change flat tyre on their own, always make sure someone helps out. It make the time spent on the side of the road that much less and it keeps the mood up.
- If it’s your first time riding in a group, start from the back so that you can observe and get the feel of riding in a group.
- If the route has some steep climbs there will certainly be a break in the group, where some rides would be dropped behind. So stop on the peak or on the side of the road to regroup and make a headcount and ensure that everyone is doing alright.
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