If you become a member of Crest Cycling Club, then you will be able to join them on a number of fantastic rides around Essex, London, and Hertfordshire. However, cycling in a group can be a bit intimidating if you are not used it. Below you can find some tips that you should keep in mind when you are cycling in a group.
Communication is Key
A major factor to a successful group ride is communication, there can be no doubt about that. Cycling groups will often have different phrases and signals that they use to communicate with each other, and it is imperative that you know them as failure to learn them could lead to safety issues. For example, if someone in the group shouts “car down”, it means that there is a car coming towards the group that you need to be aware of. On the other hand, if someone shouts, “car up”, it means that there is a car behind the group that is wanting to come through. If someone in the group holds his hand out and starts moving it up and down like he is stroking an invisible cat or dog, it is a sign that you should slow down.
Always Be Aware
Stay relaxed when you are cycling in a group, but always be mindful of your surroundings and do not just mindlessly follow someone’s wheels. Look beyond the group to survey the road ahead, so you do not get surprised by any obstacles that might appear. When you are moving out of position in your group, let your fellow riders know before you do so otherwise you could end up causing a nasty accident.
Obey the Highway Code
Most Sportives will occur on roads that are open to public traffic and even if you are taking place in one that is on a closed road, there is no guarantee that you will not encounter some traffic while riding, so always be mindful at junctions and cycle on the correct side of the road.
When you are cycling in a group, your movement affects everyone within the group. Therefore, you should always cycle in a straight line, and if you are going to overtake someone always do it via the right side of your group. Do not brake suddenly either as this could cause the cyclist behind you to crash into you. Also, if you are racing and are in a group and are coming up to a feed station, never cut across the group to get to it.
Don't Overlap Wheels
Do not cycle directly behind the wheel of the cyclist in front of you. If you cycle 6 inches to the left or right of their rear wheel you will still receive the same drafting benefits. If you overlap their wheel and they have to brake suddenly for any reason, you will bring both of you down, which could then lead to a lot of the group being take down.
Make Sure Your Bike is Not Faulty
Before you begin your cycle, it is your responsibility to make sure that you bike is maintained properly because faulty brakes or gears can make you a bit of a liability while cycling in a group.
Do Not wheel Suck
Do not always cycle among the wheels and ignore your stint at the front of the pack. Even if you just put in a couple of turns at the front it will be appreciated by your fellow cyclists. However, when it is your turn to cycle at the front, do not up the pace even if you think it has been too slow.
Do Not Ride in the Gutter
If you are at the front of the group, do not ride in the gutter as this will force all your fellow riders to do the same, increasing their chances of hitting obstructions or getting a puncture. You should ride 1 metre from the curb.