Group rides are a favorite for most cyclists. However, often times they can be intimidating, scary, and frustrating.
We came up with ten tips to make your group rides a better experience for everyone.
1. Eliminate half-wheeling. (This is people pushing the pace on the front by trying to get their front wheel in front of the other rider.
2. Have the riders on the front of the group SLOW down on the climbs. Yes, just go slower on the climbs and faster on the flats where there is a good draft.
3. When there is crosswind you SLOW down pulling on the front. This helps avoid crashes as well as keeps the group safely off to the side of the road.
4. Over-exaggerate your reaction to potentially dangerous obstacles well before you come up to them. This could slowing down before you normally would for an upcoming corner, or going way around a pothole before you get to it.
5. Encourage the riders to use their front brake like a clutch. Instead of stopping pedaling when the rider in front slows, lightly apply the front break and pedal into it. This reduces the surges in the group.
6. The leaders ride SLOW on the downhills. Yes, on the front it’s easy, but behind it’s madness. So just go extra slow and allow the riders behind to enjoy a less stressful decent.
7. Call out the areas that you will ride hard on. This makes the competitive sections of the ride harder and the social parts more relaxed and more talkative. Always regroup after them as well.
8. Attack instead of pulling hard. Yes, stop doing super-pulls. Super-pulls are not good cycling and they make the group rides more dangerous and frustrating. By attacking instead you practice real competitive cycling while drawing a clear line in the sand where the competitive cycling is. People can chose to follow you or ride their own pace. Super-pulls encourage riders to go over their limit as they are afraid to let the wheel go.
9. Compliment each other! Yes, tell others the good things they do, rather than calling them out on their mistakes.
10. Stop shouting! Yelling at each other, even if good willed is scary and confusing. Just ride up next to one other to speak or wait for the stops.