Group riding can be great for your motivation and can help improve your fitness. And of course, it’s also tons of fun.
That said, make sure you know basic group riding skills before you hit the road. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Find the Right Cycling Group
To find group rides in your area, contact your local REI store or another bike shop. Before you join a group ride, make sure you know what to expect. Some groups adhere to a “no-drop” policy, which means that no rider is left behind. Other group rides are more or less races where riders who can’t keep up get left in the dust.
2. Hold Your Line
Make sure you are able to hold a line. This means you should be able to continuously ride parallel to the edge of the road.
3. Be Predictable
Remember that people will be riding close to you. Don’t overreact to hazards. Pedal smoothly and keep your cadence high so you can adjust your speed in small increments. Avoid sudden changes in speed. Change gears often to keep your pace steady.
4. Point out Hazards
When riding in the front, you should alert the group to upcoming hazards such as potholes, rocks, etc. Communication is important. Don’t use headphones when riding with a group.
5. Anticipate Problems
Pay attention to the terrain and wind conditions. Be ready for hills and changes in direction. Don’t fixate on the wheel in front of you. Learn to look around or through those riding ahead of you.
6. Share the Lead
Taking the lead allows others to draft behind you. When you’re ready to leave the front, be sure to let the rider behind you know you’re moving back. Check over your shoulder for cars, gradually peel off the line and drift to the back of the group.