Cycling is one of the finest physical activities that a lot of people practice. It is a passion to many. Those who like to maintain a good fitness routine, often include cycling to their everyday to-do-list. If you are a fitness fanatic and love to ride this eco-friendly vehicle then you must try cycling in a group.
Tips and Techniques for Cycling in a Group
It is a fun activity that can keep you physically fit and mentally refreshed. However, while cycling in a group, you need to maintain some rules to finish your ride properly.
A detailed set of primary cycling tips are discussed below.
1. Arrive Early
If you are a beginner in group cycling, you must go to the starting point earlier than others. Reach the venue at least 10 minutes before the ride starts. Introduce yourself to others in a polite manner. Let the other cyclists know that you are a beginner. Talk to them maintaining a positive attitude. Maintaining punctuality will let you mingle with all easily.
2. Don’t Speed Up Excessively
No matter if it is an easy ride or not, just don’t speed up to show off your cycling skills. Cycling in a group means you have to tag along with other riders maintaining a standard speed.
Speeding up unnecessarily will drain out your energy. At the easy parts, you must reserve energy for the hard parts of the ride. To judge your fitness level, you may ride at a slower pace and stay at the tail end of the group.
3. Avoid Half-Wheel
Avoiding half-wheel is an essential cycling group ride etiquette that you must always follow. Group ride suggests co-operation. Hence, if you tend to be at least half-wheel ahead of a rider who is riding just by your side, it will be considered as a rude behavior.
Follow the pace of your fellow rider so that you can exchange words with him or her. it will make you more sociable and an ideal group cyclist.
4. Carry Enough Food and Water
Always carry enough food and water so that you can eat and drink freely during the ride. Be the one who can offer extra food and water to a fellow rider if he runs out of refreshments. Don’t be the person who bores others by asking for extra food and fluids. Keep a good number of energy bars handy. Always carry some cash and credit card if there is a scope to buy refreshments ion the route.
5. Keep Arrangements to Fix a Flat Tyre
There is no guarantee that you would not be challenged by a flat tyre. To get the problem fixed while cycling in a group, always keep some arrangements handy. You can keep a hand pump, inner tube, and tyre tool to continue a smooth ride.
A set of Allen Wrenches would let you tighten cycle parts such as sit and handlebar. If you don’t feel confident about the self -repairing technique, be prepared to head back home.
6. Ideal Pre Cycling Snacks
People in bike groups, always take their diet seriously. This is why; the experts always suggest consuming some necessary snacks before riding. To charge up your energy for the ride, you can consume certain foods.
Eat light yogurt, banana and almonds, Apple and string cheese, Non-fat milk and granola bar, whole-wheat crackers and peanut butter, dried fruit and nut mix. The food will keep your muscles fuelled and protect them from post cycling soreness.
7. Ideal Post Cycling Snacks
After a session of cycling or workout, your body requires repairmen. This is when you have to consume certain food to refuel the muscle and charge up your body as a whole. To recover the muscles, the experts suggest foods such as small turkey wrap, protein smoothie, a single half-roasted beef sandwich, beef jerky and oranges, hard boiled egg and wheat crackers and lean deli ham and grapes.
8. Keep Proper Hydration in Mind
While cycling in a group, your body not only requires food but fluids as well. Drinking fluids before working out, during working out and after working out are equally important. That is why you must stay hydrated accordingly.
Consuming 17 to 20 ounces of fluid is needed before two hours of exercising. While exercising, you must consume 7 to 10 ounces of fluid in every 10 to 20 minutes. After the workout session, you must take 16 to 24 ounces of fluid. It is needed for every pound of your body weight that you have lost working out.
To quench your thirst and to refill the body with much-needed fluids that you have lost through sweat, consume sports drinks. You can also consume fluids of your choice that are suitable for a high-intensity workout.
Now you know the primary tips of group cycling. It is time we discuss the advanced group cycling tips that will let you ride comfortably with seasoned cyclists.
9. Maintain Smooth Pedalling
When you are cycling in a group, it is essential for you not to pedal too slow. It will move your cycle forward with sudden strokes. This way you would not only make the ride boring but your move can be dangerous for others as well.
This is the reason, expert cyclists always suggest the beginners to maintain 90 revolutions per minute to allow smooth pedalling. A little high speed pedalling will also do. With a stable rpm, it will be easier for you to cycle according to the wind condition and terrains.
While shifting, never look down to check your cycle’s drivetrain. You can practice solo until you get the confidence to do so in a group ride.
10. Ride Close and Remain Predictable
One of the benefits of joining bike groups is that you learn the wind-breaking technique. Before getting involved in a group ride, you can catch up with two or three cyclists and practice.
Choose a flat road and try single file. To find least wind resistance, you can move a foot towards. It is an easy way to practice group ride etiquette & guidelines. Your position may differ depending on the spot you are relative to the wind. The very technique resembles the technique of sailing.
You are now accustomed with the advanced rules of joining group cycling. It is time; you know the essential information that is important to carry on a ride successfully.
11. Select the Right Cycling Group
It is very important for you to select a suitable cycle team. You can check out any REI store or cycle store at your locality to get information for cycling in a group. You can join a ‘no-drop’ policy following group. A ‘no-drop’ group never leaves a rider behind. There are other groups as well that leave riders behind who cannot manage to cope up with fellow riders.
12. Stick to the Line
One of the group cycling rules is, that you have to keep up with your own line. It means you have to ride parallel in a continued way maintaining the edge of the road.
13. Handpick the Hazards
One of the key group ride rules is to make the fellow riders aware of the upcoming hazards. It is essential to communicate in a group ride. You must make the other riders aware of potholes and rocks and another hazard if you notice any before anyone.
14. Predict Interruptions
When you are cycling in a group, you have to be able to expect interruption or problems. Unpredictable wind condition and terrains are common in the hilly areas. Hence, stay focused to notice changes in the ambiance and ride accordingly.
15. Share the Lead
If you are riding in the leading position of a group, then share the position. You can slow down your pace so that the riders behind you can come forward to take over your position. While doing the same, look out for a car and stay attentive.
Primary Group Riding Technique
Any cycling peloton generally starts the race with a double pace line. It helps the riders behind the leading riders get a shield from the wind. The leading position gets decided prior to the race. An understanding gets maintained that shorter turns on the journey will be taken by the tired cyclists.
A stable and standard pace and pedaling must be followed. You must refrain from grabbing irregular brakes and accelerating fast. Your hands must be on the brakes always. Keep at least a single wheel distance from the cyclist who is riding right behind you.
Avoid overlapping the rider who is riding in front of you. It can let you avoid risky contact with the rider caused by a gust of wind or uneven road. Stay attentive and look out for hazards on the road.
Warn Others Regarding Hazards
When you are cycling in a group, it is necessary for you to be communicative and aware of the cycling hand signals. Communicate with the fellow riders in a friendly manner. Make sure to alert them by signaling about possible risks and hazards when you see any.
If you are not aware of the cycling hand signals peloton, then learn them from the fellow riders before kicking on the pedal. Maintain a steady pace and you will rock during your group cycling session.
Advanced Group Riding Techniques
Tips that are a little difficult than the fundamental cycling tips, can make you aware of aspects such as time trails, road racing and breakaways. Through and Off are the most common advanced techniques that you must opt while riding on a single pace line.
You can speed up and ride on flat surfaces and terrains using these riding techniques. Riders often use the techniques alternatively depending according to the type of road and the number of the cyclists.
The Through and Off Technique
Both the through and off techniques are good if six or more riders are cycling in a group. When you are allowed to ride two abreast, these techniques can let you and the other riders continue a high speed while cycling.
During breakaways in races, both the techniques get used by the riders. Because the techniques let the riders take sharp and short turns. The riders can rotate consistently like maintaining a double pace line.
To use Through and Off techniques, you must practice well before joining a group ride or race. You must also learn the cycling hand signals well to ensure the safety of yourself and the fellow riders.
The Single Pace Line
When it comes to a cycling peloton of riders lesser than six in total, a single pace line is always good. All the riders follow the rider in front of each of them until they peel off. Maintaining a smooth and moderate pace is mandatory in this technique.
Once you are tired of cycling in a group in a leading position, you can slowly go behind and let others take your position. Make others aware that you are lowering pace to go behind. It will avoid the risk of an accident. This technique is called peeling off.
When you are behind of the leading rider and he is peeling off, it is your duty to take the leading position by pushing up the speed. This technique is known as pulling through.
Apart from applying group cycling hand signals, you can shout to alert other. you can shout ‘hole’, ‘car-up’, ‘slowing’ and much more to make others aware of the upcoming hazards and your own moves.
Cycling is popular not only as a physical activity but as a recreational activity also. This is the reason; group cycling is highly appreciated by many. There are a lot of groups in many countries that organize group cycling tours in regular intervals. If you are willing to join any cycling group or if you have already cycled in a group, feel free to share your experience with us. Your experiences are valuable to us.