Group Riding Etiquette – DOs and DON’Ts
Cycling is a beautiful sport. There is something special about the simplicity of riding a bike. It gives us the freedom we all crave and allows us to travel at our will to places that would otherwise be too distant by foot.
After the first few miles (or months) of simply “riding a bike” we all learn that there is so much more to it. It’s a competition against ourselves to see how far we can push our bodies and minds while also knowing that it is beneficial for our health.
Then there is the social aspect of the sport. Riding in a peloton (herd of bikers) you interact and socialize with others who share the same passion for the sport as you.
We want you to enjoy your time on the bike; we also want you to be safe while doing it. Here are a few tips on how to be safe and mindful of others during a group ride:
- Follow the leader – most group rides, from the most beginner friendly to the more advanced, tend to have a group leader. They are in charge of making sure that rules are followed and since they have ridden the route often they are ones to give good advice when it comes to safety.
- Don’t get discouraged – Sometimes leaders will comment on your riding (constructive criticism), it does not mean they don’t like you, it means that you might be doing something that could potentially endanger the safety of the group and disrupt the rhythm. They are just trying to keep the group together safely so everyone can enjoy the ride. It might even help you become a better rider!
- No leading without knowing the route – Being upfront trying to lead while not knowing the route is a good way to get riders lost, or worse, potentially causing an accident when people are turning at wrong points. Don’t know the route? Stay behind the leader.
- Do not play music – unless you are with your best group of friends and all of them love hip-hop, avoid putting music on your phone or doing something that might distract or take the joy out of someone’s ride. Not everybody likes metal and most riders are out to enjoy a good time of meditation. Keep the radio for your solo rides and commutes.
- Do not chat too much or talk on the phone – Some rides are more social than others; however, try to keep your focus on the bike ride. Most people are there to get a work out and while the occasional chat is nice it can also become a distraction. Go hang at a bar after the ride and chat your lungs off with a good pint of beer.
- Do not overlap wheels – Unless you are riding in the pro peloton with 200 guys there is no need to overlap wheels in a road full of traffic. This is a hazard that most cyclists overlook and by default end up seeing the asphalt on a very personal level. Keep distance between you and the guy up front. Also learn how to read other riders as riding skills may vary in the group. You are responsible for your own front wheel.
- Bring your own supplies – Sometimes we do forget a tube or the CO2 cartridge but be ready to take care of yourself during a ride. Most cyclists are willing and able to help but it is important to be self-sufficient. Bring your phone and at least a credit card in case you need to call your significant other or UBER to take you home.
- Check your bike before the ride starts – It’s no fun to stop the group every 5 miles because your GPS has fallen off, your tires have low pressure or you’ve dropped the chain 3 times. Make sure that your bike is in top shape before every ride and take it to the shop at least once a month for an inspection.
- FOLLOW THE RULES! – The term Social ride or C pace usually means a slower or moderate pace; A-Pace or Up Tempo means fast and for the more experienced rider. Do not go and show your “mad skills” on the social group or don’t show up on your Unicycle at the “fastest road ride in town”. This will eventually land you in a place you don’t want to be.
- Be comfortable with your skill level – Everybody wants to get better and part of that starts with acknowledging and evaluating your current status. Do not ride “over your head”. Look what happened to the rabbit when he/she raced the turtle, steady and persistent wins the race.
- Smoothness trumps Surges – A smooth ride is a fast and safe ride, surges should only be done when trying to drop the group, which defeats the purpose of a group ride. Surging (attacking) is for racing where your intent is to leave the group behind.
Those are just a few suggestions that will help you and your fellow cyclists enjoy a good time together. While some of these do not apply to all group rides, they are good as a “rule of thumb” if you are riding with a particular group for the first time.
Make sure to take a look at our Event Calendar and come ride with us! We will be more than happy to answer any questions and also be your riding buddies .
Like the Bike Roswell! Guys and Gals say, “Lets ride our bikes”!