So you are going on a group ride, here are the most important group ride etiquette rules for cyclists.
Make Sure to Point Out ANY Hazards in the Road
Riding in a group makes it hard to see all hazards out there. The best way to make sure everyone is staying safe is to point and call out all hazards. Making sure everyone knows about the hazard is key. Not just the front of the group but everyone needs to know about the hazard. Making sure to physically point and call out anything from a pothole, a dog off leash, glass, or cars pulling out. Key is to stay safe and have fun.
Being Safe on the Road
The riders at the back should keep their attention on cars that are behind the group. Using hand signals to let the car know when it is safe to pass the group or trying to hold them off until it is safe to pass. They should let the group know when a car is passing or trying to pass. The riders in the back should know when it is safe for the group to double up or to ride single file.
Group Ride Pace
The group should always know the pace before the ride. Whether it is a no drop, tempo, or race pace. This is key so you don’t have riders left behind or getting pissed off and never coming back to the ride because it was supposed to be a no drop ride and you have riders pushing a pace that other riders can’t keep up. If you want more of a workout stay on the front longer but don’t increase the pace.
Stay Off of the Brakes
When you are riding in a group you want to stay off the brakes as much as possible. If you need to make minor adjustments to your speed it is best to coast or lay off the pressure on the pedals whenever possible. This allows the riders behind you to do the same thing. When you tap on the brakes the rider behind you needs to make a quick judgment on how hard to hit the breaks.
Usually causing them to slam on the brakes so they don’t run into the back of you. This doesn’t give the rider behind them a lot of time to react and could cause the rider behind you to slam into the back of you and could potentially cause a crash. There are times when you need to use the brakes, but try to make minor speed adjustments without slamming on the brakes to avoid any issues.
Pace the Climbs for the Middle of the Group
When the pack hits rolling hills it can be hard to keep the group together, especially when “that guy” drills it on the front. When drafting is less of a help to the riders in the middle and rear of the group ride, it’s important for the riders at the front to consider everyone when establishing the climbing pace. On social group rides it’s typical to wait at the top of longer climbs, but to minimize the frequency of these soft pedal periods or stoppages, try to set a pace that’s comfortable for the middle of the group. This may mean it’s a bit easy for the fast guys at the front and pretty challenging for some folks at the back, but this pacing strategy is good for keeping the group together over the majority of hills.
Standing Up Out of the Saddle
When you stand up to pedal your weight shifts back and causes your bike to move back.
Sometimes when you do this, your wheel could almost move a full wheel length back and could cause the rider behind you to overlap wheels or run into the back of your wheel. This could cause a crash. If you want to stand up out of the saddle, make sure the rider is a safe distance behind you. If they are not, you can let them know you are getting out of the saddle by flicking both elbows or simply tell them you are getting out of the saddle. Doing this will allow the rider behind you to move away from your wheel without causing a crash.
Don’t Overlap Wheels
In a group never overlap wheels with the rider in front of you. We can’t always see what is going on in front of us and at any moment a rider might swerve to avoid a pothole or they get hit by a gust of wind. When you are overlapping a wheel this could cause them to take out your front wheel and end up on the ground.
We all go on group rides to have fun and enjoy being on the bike with others. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt or not being able to finish the ride because of something that could be prevented. Follow these simple steps to have a fun group ride.
Feehery is a professional crit and road race cyclist who has raced in the USA Professional Cycling Championship for the past ten years. He has won multiple stages, been on the overall podium eight times and won the overall two times in the ten-day crit-racing series, Intelligentsia Cup Chicago. He currently races for the Miami Blazers and uses his global reach to share the mission of Pedal for Alzheimer’s. Feehery won his first National Championship in the overall and crit at the Collegiate Road National Championships in Richmond, Va. He also placed third in the 2016 Tour of Fuzhou and fourth in the 2015 Delta Road Race. Over his professional cycling career, Feehery has over 50 professional wins.