How to ride in a group
Use these tips to get the most out of group riding and conserve your energy. You will be able to ride further and faster as a result. Remember when cycling, always wear a helmet.
BEFORE THE RIDE
Fitness is necessary for group riding even if you are using group riding to improve it. A lot of people make the mistake of just finishing cycling after the last sportive of the year and then take out their bikes again in March.
Ensure your bike is in good working order before your group ride. You don’t want any foreseen incidents occurring a few miles in.
Ensure you have enough food and water for the ride together with puncture repair kits, spare inner tubes, and multi-tools. Also, ensure you carry cash and your mobile in a waterproof cover.
DURING THE RIDE
Keep your hands on the hood
Make sure you ride with your hands close to the brakes. A sudden stop or slowing of the pace in front can occur when group riding, and so it is important you have time to react and brake when needed.
Keep your eyes looking ahead
Although tempting to look at someone when you talk to them, always keep your eyes front. Again, a sudden change in pace can be missed, and subsequently an accident can occur.
Maintain the pace
When riding in the group maintain the pace. Try not to do any sudden swerves or braking as this can cause an accident.
Ensure you take your turn leading the peloton. When upfront, keep the pace steady and try and avoid hazards as much as possible. Try and indicate hazards like potholes when you see them. Remember, you are the eyes for your group.
If you are riding on a busy main road, there is little point shouting 'car' as one approaches as there will be cars everywhere. As such, use common sense and shout warnings when there’s a hazard that could catch the group out.
Ensure you are aware of where other riders are around you. If you are riding competitively, you may not know the guy next to you. Remember, just because you know how to ride in a group, the rider next to you may not.
If you need to drop back, signal to those around you. When it is suitable, drop back ensuring disruption is minimal and safe from other traffic.
If you are a strong rider and training, try and protect the weaker riders. You will get more out of the ride as group riding success is co-dependent on each member.
Ride with Sean Kelly in Mallorca