Riding in a bunch
can be the most enjoyable experience if done in the right way. However, bunch riding can also be a huge pain if people in the group don’t understand the rules.
Everyone needs to know these rules for everyone’s safety.
A club run must be a tight cohesive bunch – why?
1. You are more predictable for car drivers
2. You are easier to overtake, cars can’t slot in between riders during an overtake
3. You look good – i.e. it looks like you can ride a bike properly
4. The group will ride the route more quickly and efficiently
5. Tired riders can seek shelter and get home
6. Communication – you can’t chat or hear any calls when the group is strung out
When the group sets off don’t dawdle, get into formation quickly.
Call out any obstacles in the road, such as parked cars, when you are arriving at a junction, pot holes etc, warn the group if anyone is getting dropped.
It’s NOT a Race
A group ride is NOT a race. You are not to “Attack” off the front or try to show everyone how strong you are. That’s what races are for.
Do Not accelerate
On a hill do not power up it – if you are a strong rider ease off and “soft pedal”.
Ride a wheel length behind the rider in front. There should be NO gaps in a group ride. As soon as you see a gap, fill it by riding into the space in a steady and controlled manner. There is no need to sprint into the space and then slam on the brakes, just gradually fill in any gaps as soon as you see them.
Do not overtake the front riders – you’ll get your go on the front.
Handlebar to Handlebar
This is probably THE most important rule. Whenever riding in a group you should be riding 2 by 2 , side by side (with only a few centimeters between you, you should not be able to fit a bus between you and rider beside you)
Do not at any time sprint ahead and disrupt the flow. Even if there is a corner coming up, stay side by side and go through the corner like a well oiled machine.
Do not Half Wheel
Riding with your bars ahead of the rider beside you is called “half-wheeling” and is a major faux pas. It’s up to you to keep up with the speed of the slower rider next to you.
Don’t take over the road
Keep to the side of the road, there is no need to take over the whole lane and annoy car drivers.
We swap on the front every 5 minutes, or two miles, this is how we do it:
After having a turn on the front, the right hand rider (i.e. the non-kerbside rider) moves over to the left in front and of his/her partner. He/She is then joined at the front by the rider who WAS riding directly behind. In addition to getting the opportunity to talk with everyone in the group this also means that the group never gets any wider than 2 riders.
Too Tired To Go To The Front?
If you do not want to go to the front, sit at the back and let the riders coming back from the front of the group slot in ahead of you.
Do not work your way up to the front if you are tired
If for whatever reason you do find yourself at the front, go through and tell your partner to move over in front of you.
Everything in moderation
Brake gradually and progressively. Don’t make any quick manoeuvres.
Two hands on handlebars
Never take both hands off your bars in a group.
Riding in Single File
Communicate clearly with the riders around you (the recommended technique is for the inside cyclist to go ahead. The outside cyclist is then able to see immediately when it is safe to move in behind.