With our ever popular BIKE DOCTOR Thursday evening rides about to start We thought we put together Rules of the road. There is nothing worse than a rider behaving badly when it comes to road riding.
With that in mind. We have put together something which is part of our club ethos, and day-to-day dos and don’ts that keep the cycling world spinning happily.
After years of riding many still are looking for the ingredients that makes a perfect group ride if indeed there is one! The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every traffic light or junction. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection and then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PB for his 30 second pull because of a Strava Segment. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the white line and speed past the group for no apparent reason. A breakaway or even end up taking a wrong turn!
Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 4 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides. Here is some of what you learned:
To take your pull without a surge
To hold your line especially in a corner
To know when to ride side by side and when to ride single file
To ride through the top of a climb
To stand up smoothly
To point out road furniture and potholes to the rider behind
To warn others of Traffic lights
To brake less when riding at pace in a line
To take your turn at the front
To follow the wheel in front and not overlap your wheels with fellow riders
To stay on the wheel and not let gaps open
Every Club or ride has its own workings but every group ride adheres to some basics that you should know. With these largely unwritten rules in hand, you may find you have less questions on your next group ride. and Please do ask. The more experienced riders are there to help you!
This the first we say time and time again. Something that doesn't take any skill know how or experience
Wave, Gesture, nod, Smile As simple as that! or even a shout of Stinking wont go a miss! having ventured out this week for my midweek 60 mile plod I was astonished on how many riders passed with out so much of a smile or a nod. Dont be that guy
no matter how good you think you are, you’re never too good to be nice to other riders.
It happens to us all. Your out for a morning ride and you heartbreaking or gears changing behind you. You glance over and there's a total stranger on your wheel
At least have the courtesy to say hello and ask.
It applies to group riding too, but in a different way. Most groups will know one another But dont be tempted to sit there the whole ride! Do your turn its only fare. And especially don’t be the rider who sits on the whole Ride and still contests the sprints. Beating a bunch that have been doing turns on the front on fresh legs is nothing to get excited about.
Similarly, don’t be jumping leapfrog. If your going to the front make sure you have the legs to keep the pace steady and don't ever sit up Time and time again I see riders sprint to the front only to find out they legs are shot and need to recover. Learn to accept when someone else is stronger/on a better day than you. It’s part of the riding experience as a group.
Foremost Red Lights means STOP! If you want to be treated as a road user, then act like a road user.
Be predictable , and you’ll find it easier to stay safe. But if you do something stupid and unpredictable, then the chances are it’s going to be your fault if it ends badly.
On a group ride, stick to two abreast at the most. Never three! there will also be some nutter who will give you tons of abuse however riding two abreast on suitable roads means that traffic can pass you quicker! Likewise don't forget to single out when necessary
Something I always do is, if your passing a Junction try and make eye contact with the driver if he or she is awaiting to pull out. This puts you at ease knowing the driver has seen you.
Ride out of the gutter. There always a tendency to ride close to the kerb or in the gutter. DON'T! Give yourself plenty of room Firstly, there will be a lot less hazards for you to avoid and secondly, you wont be swerving in to the traffic every time you come to a drain
HOLE! STEADY! FAST! SLOW! The annoying habit of group rides turning into yelling competitions.
It’s always good to point out holes and road issues especially on our Roads! However be mindful of what your shouting for! If your gonna yell at every given opportunity two things will happen:
The first is that it’ll get really annoying after a while. Part of the beauty of cycling is being able to ride along and take what’s going on around you, or chat with the person riding next to you in a normal voice. If the group contains a few riders who shout all the time it ruins the ambiance and makes the ride less enjoyable.
The second reason is that if you keep crying wolf, Riders will stop listening so when you really need to let the group now of that huge pot hole that everyone should avoid They simple will not listen to you and before you know it there will be ten riders all with punctures by the side of the road!
What we mention in the start of this post is the basics that all road riders should take the time to learn! Riding in a group is fun and enjoyable and being part of a club something even more special! Every Thursday and Sunday our Group Rides leave the shop you will often here a ride leader mention the following. Please if your not sure Just ask its what we do!
Be predictable. Just like riding in traffic, riding in a group means you need to think about what other people expect you to do. The perfect group ride will be a seamless body of movement and this is, in part, due to the awareness of the riders. The natural extension of this is holding your line. If you have to take the hit and ride through that small pothole, you do it. Just don’t flick the bike around and weave all over the place – nobody can predict that and you’ll eventually cause a crash.
Never overlap wheels.That rider who is just to the left of you will not know you are there You will be in his/hers blind spot just like being in a car. Always ride in front, Behind or next to another rider.
Close Gaps. Dont surge or leave big gaps. It will take huge variable in effort to ride at the same speed and will create surges.
Be Clear from the start. Most of our BIKE DOCTOR Rides will consist of three levels. Beginner or Steady Group, Intermediate Group and Fast group. The reason for these groups are so that there is a group for everyone and all ability's. The groups are led by experienced Ride leaders. Respect them and listen to their instructions. Dont ride with the beginner group or the intermediate group if your intention is to Smash it and Sprint for every strava segment on the Ride! Just don't do it!
The point of having experience is to share it, so help the new riders along, explain the finer points of group riding The more you help them, the faster they’ll make the transition from naive newbie to solid veteran.
And no matter what, don’t be a knob!. If your words or actions make a new rider less motivated to get out and ride, then you've failed. It might seem funny to ride away from the new rider struggling at the back of the group, but it’s not very nice. Just remember that there’s always someone out there that can drop you, too.
A loud bike is so annoying! Keep it Clean and well lubed!! Simple!!.
When you look at it, there are comparatively few things that can go wrong on a road bike and if you get into the habit of keeping things clean a bike should need minimal maintenance unless you've been out in really filthy conditions.
Finally, if you see a rider at the side of the road who’s suffered a mechanical or puncture, then ask if they’re ok, before riding off into the distance. They might have run out of tubes or have no pump! Remember, the first rule? Be nice…
Finally be prepared. That means turning up to a group ride with tires pumped to the correct pressure, Helmet, Decent Kit suitable for the weather and enough water and Nutrition to get you through the ride without bonking!
Whatever you decide! You can be sure of a warm Welcome at BIKE DOCTOR CYCLING CLUB