© 2019 Bourne Wheelers CC

A Guide to Riding in a Group

If you’re new to riding in a group here are a few pointers to help. We’re a friendly bunch though so if you’re unsure of anything then do please ask.

We ask that all riders wear a helmet and are sufficiently lit/visible if riding in the dark or dim conditions. Also, a basic ability to replace an inner tube/fix a puncture is required. Other members of the group will always be happy to help but tools etc are necessary.

Carry enough food and drink for your ride, even if there’s a café stop, you don’t want to get caught out.

Tips for group riding:

Relax - If you’re not use to riding in a group, it can be a bit nerve wracking but try to stay relaxed, follow these tips and avoid tensing up.

Ask - Let the other riders know you are fairly new to group riding and that you’d appreciate their patience, advice and tips. Make sure you ask if they say or do something you don’t understand and remember, everyone was new to group riding once.

Communicate - Successful group riding is all about good communication. Along with verbal calls, there are a number of hand signals that you should be aware of. Again, if you are unsure what a signal means, ask. Always pass signals on through the group. Communication is especially important if you’re on the front of the group when you’ll need to point out obstructions, hazards and any upcoming turns.

Look through the group - Don’t just stare at the wheel or backside in front. Look through the group at the road ahead and try to anticipate how the riders ahead will react.

Don’t overlap - It’s okay to leave a bit of a gap to the wheel ahead and even to ride slightly to one side of it. However, always avoid overlapping your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front as, if they have to swerve to avoid a hazard or just have a lapse in concentration, they’ll take out your wheel

Easy on the brakes - Avoid grabbing handfuls of brakes. Freewheel, sit more upright or use light braking to adjust your speed gradually. This is one of the reasons why looking through the group and anticipating the actions of the riders in front is so important.

Don’t half wheel - If you’re on the front, avoid pushing the pace and constantly moving ahead of the riding next to you. Known as half-wheeling, it’ll push up the speed of the group and is considered bad form.

Avoid kicking back your rear wheel - On rises, be aware of your rear wheel kicking back when you stand out of the saddle as it can catch the rider behind you unaware if their close on your wheel. With good technique, a smooth rise and correct gear selection it can be avoided.

Don’t surge or slow - When you come to the front, try to keep the pace/intensity of the group consistent. Don’t surge if you’re feeling strong and conversely, if you’re struggling, don’t try and slow the group. If you’re on a good day, just do a long turn and, if not, just put in a few pedal strokes before pulling off and settling back in the wheels.

Mudguards on, tri-bars off - In the winter especially, your ride mates will definitely appreciate you having mudguards and some clubs insist on them. Also, if you have clip-on tri-bars, take them off for group rides.

Please be considerate to other road users including motorists, horse riders and other cyclists.

Be aware that you ride at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety.