Group rides are a huge part of cycling where avid riders learn new skills, meet new friends, socialize, build confidence and improve fitness. Riding with people can be extremely enjoyable but there are a lot of unwritten rules to the group ride. When speed and egos mix, or someone feels they have something to prove, trouble can surface. To ensure you are one of the riders everyone looks forward to seeing on the group ride, it’s important to know the etiquette riders abide by.
1. Use hand and verbal signals when necessary
Nothing is worse than being at the back of a group and barreling full speed into a giant pothole you didn’t see coming up. Use hand signals to point out obstacles on the road is very appreciated by everyone you ride with. Verbal signals are also good when you can’t take your hands off the bars or there’s a sudden change up ahead that needs to be communicated to the group.
2. Don’t ride erratically
Frequently deviating from your line suddenly and without notice can make everyone riding around you very nervous. While there’s no problem changing your line to navigate the road safely, do so predictably by letting your riding companions know or try and do it preemptively so you aren’t swerving erratically at the last minute. Squirrelly riding won’t get you a good reputation on the group rides.
3. Don’t join a ride or rider uninvited
When you meet another rider or group on the road, be courteous and ask before just latching on to the draft. Sure they may be going your pace or a little faster so you figure riding with them will be enjoyable but just introducing yourself, saying hi and asking is the right thing to do.
4. Obey the rules of the road
This one should be a given. There’s absolutely no reason you should be recklessly running red lights or flaunting the rules of the road while out for a ride. It puts you and anybody you are riding with at risk and it’s, you know, illegal.
5. Don’t overlap wheels
Riding too close to the rider in front of you can see your wheels overlapping. This can be very dangerous because it drastically reduces the amount of time you have to brake or react to changes in their riding. An expected touch of wheels can result in a crash. If you are riding side by side with someone ride handle-bar to handlebar and don’t push to always be slightly ahead of the rider next to you. It’s annoying to ride with someone who is always half-wheeling you.
6. Be mindful when you spit and snot rocket
There are few things grosser than riding through a misty cloud of your riding companion’s snot. Instead of just indiscriminately aiming away from your own body, look back or move slightly out of the pace line to ensure you don’t hit anyone you are riding with.
7. Arrive on time and prepared
There is nothing more annoying than waiting around for late riders. It’s important to be punctual for the group rides. Come prepared as well with sufficient food, water, money, identification and a flat kit so you don’t have to rely on others during the ride. Sure, it happens that you are running late or may forget something time to time but don’t make it a habit.
8. Don’t surge or attack the group ride
A good way to get the wrong reputation on a non-drop ride is to up the pace to the point riders are struggling and dropping off. If you are feeling strong and want to prove it don’t lift the pace to the point it blows the group apart. Instead, sit on the front and take long, steady pulls. Everyone will be grateful and that way the whole group won’t have to slow up and wait for riders who have shelled out the back.