Tips for riding in a group

Tips for riding in a group
By Adam Newman

Riding with others is one of the best ways to enjoy cycling, but being courteous and safe will make the ride that much better for everyone.

Do not overlap wheels
This is one of the most dangerous things you can do. if your front wheel is overlapping with someone’s rear wheel and they swerve suddenly—touching your front wheel—you will crash. Ride as close as you feel comfortable to the person in front of you, but not so close that you couldn’t avoid danger. Even pros get this one wrong. Don’t be like them.

Hold your line
Don’t assume everyone knows the rule above. Don’t make sudden swerves or stops unless absolutely necessary, or else the person behind you might become very closely acquainted with your backside.

Be vocal
if there is an obstruction in the road, an approaching car, or anything that the other riders should know, yell it out. Keep in mind that you are facing away from riders behind you and the wind is carrying your voice away from those in front of you, so be loud!

Things worth communicating: “Hole!” or “Bump!” “Car up!” (ahead of you) “Car back!” (behind you) “Slowing!”

Point to obstacles in the roadway
if there is a sewer grate, pothole, or another kind of obstacle in the road, point to it so the other riders behind you will know it is there. What is worth pointing out? if it’s something you wouldn’t want to run over, you should probably let others know about it.

Look ahead
Even if riders ahead are pointing out obstacles, you are still responsible for yourself. Look as far ahead, and around, your riding companions as possible. no matter how nice the tush in front of you is, you need to concentrate elsewhere. if you’re riding side-by-side, keep your eyes ahead and save the chit-chat for tea time.

Share the road
You’re likely to get much more respect from drivers if you make an effort to accommodate their rights to the road as well. That means if there is room to move to the right, go for it. if they see you stop at red lights and stop signs, their blood pressure is less likely to skyrocket when they are behind you.

Groups of cyclists often fall victim to group-think—where the guilt is shared among the group—letting people feel they are free to break the rules. Don’t fall into that trap. just because a single bike might be able to dart around that pedestrian, a group of riders likely can’t.

Be as visible as possible
Always assume you are invisible. if there is ever any question if someone saw you, assume they did not. Keep in mind that you are part of a group, and your safety is directly related to everyone else’s in the group.

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