10 Tips to Group Ride Right
We love group rides. It’s a great place to make lifelong friends, drool over bicycles, cycle consistently, and you also get to discover beautiful trails in town. The icing on the cake is the food stops and photo sessions. But there are a few basic unspoken rules you need to follow, so that you aren’t seen as “that guy” and the group ride invites don’t go dry.
1. Show up at the start line on time
Or even better, reach earlier. Getting dirty looks before you even start the ride isn’t something we recommend.
2. Don’t race
Remember, it’s a group ride and not a race. Don’t try to speed up to the front to show how fast you are. No one cares. The group sets the pace and you ride along.
3. Warn each other
Warn your fellow riders of any obstacles, broken glass or potholes. Point them out with your hands. Not everyone will hear if you yell, especially if it’s noisy. If the rider in front shows you these, pass on the signal. It needs to reach the riders at the back.
4. Communicate with your hands
Signal that you are stopping, overtaking, slowing down, taking a turn or for obstacles.
5. Support weaker riders
While it’s the captain’s job to ensure no one is left behind, do watch out for riders who are struggling.
6. Follow traffic laws
Don’t jump red lights. Don’t jump them on solo rides either. But on group rides it’s even more dangerous and damages the collective reputation of the group and cyclists in general.
7. Keep the line
Ride in one line (or maximum two). Be conscious of traffic and ride at the side of the road. It’s easy to get carried away while chatting with riders and ride beside each other. This can endanger fellow riders and block the road for other vehicles. Keep your gaze forward and your handlebars steady.
8. Lend a hand
If someone in the group has a puncture or has bike trouble, help fix it (only if you know how to :) ). Even if it is being handled by a more experienced rider, wait for the ride to resume. Don’t ditch the group and speed off.
9. Bring a spare
Take along a puncture kit and spare tubes. Even if you don’t know how to fix a flat, someone in the group can help you.
10. Don’t half-wheel your friends
The right way to ride in a double paceline is handlebar-to-handlebar, not half a wheel ahead of the rider next to you. Half-wheeling pisses people off. It also messes the line behind you.
Remember it’s a group ride. If they stop for coffee, you do too. Wait up if there is a mechanical obstacle or someone has slowed down from fatigue.