Riding in a group is not the same as riding alone – it poses a whole new set of challenges, and has its own rewards.

If you’re used to solitary cycling, then setting off surrounded by other cyclists can be intimidating. There are, however, some hidden benefits!

Here are the tips we’ve been going through to make sure our 4Challenge ride goes as smoothly as possible!

Communication

  • Make sure you go over verbal signals with your group so you all know their meanings.

  • Announce any upcoming hazards - i.e. 'dog!' 'horse!' If you drop something, don't stop, just shout out 'bottle!' etc.
  • Ensure that all of you know your hand signals and are comfortable using them.

Ride consistently and predictably

  • Don’t surprise your team mates with sudden movements, such as weaving or veering across the road. Always take over on the right.

Don’t overlap wheels

  • If the rider ahead needs to brake, you need to ensure you won’t crash into them by riding at least six inches to the left or right of their back wheel.

Prepare yourself and your bike!

  • Make sure your bike is well maintained before riding. Misfiring gears or poor breaks can hurt everyone else around you. Carry suitable spares, clothing, and your own food and drink so that you are self reliant.

Don’t look behind you!

  • Most riders, when they look back, will naturally change their speed and course. This can wreak havoc! Even if you hear a crash behind you, keep looking forward. The group will naturally slow and stop if needed.

Don’t ride in the gutter

  • If you’re in front of the group, sitting in the gutter will force everyone behind you to follow. This can increase the risk of hitting obstacles, such as drains, which can cause punctures. You should ideally ride 1m away from the curb.

When climbing …

  • When you stand to get out of the saddle, your bike will move back slightly. This can cause riders behind to crash! To avoid this, exert more pedal pressure when you stand to keep the speed constant.

When descending …

  • If you’re in front, keep pedalling! You need to maintain a high speed, or riders behind you will have to ‘sit on their brakes’ which is very frustrating. Keep both hands firmly on the bars as you descend, to keep your bike upright.


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