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Group Riding Guide

INTRODUCTION 

OneSixSix Velo Cycling Club is a friendly and diverse South East London cycling club offering cycle activity for everyone. Our regular Sunday rides are fun, and we have a nodrop (nobody-gets-left-behind) policy. The guide below provides some practical advice on how to ride safely and efficiently in a group and how to communicate when doing so. It is, for the most part, aimed at those who are new to cycling in a group, however, but it will also be of interest to more experienced cyclists.

Naturally, if you have any questions on any of these issues, please ask.

THE BASICS

  • Always follow the Highway Code, this is true even more so when representing the OSSVCC and wearing club kit

  • Respect other road users

  • Be on time

  • Maintain your bike in good working order

  • Carry sufficient water, food, and spares

  • Wear a helmet at all times

  • Use lights when riding in low light conditions

  • Fit mudguards when wet

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTES

Half Wheeling: 

  • Don’t allow your front wheel to overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. If you do and the rider in front swerves and hits your front wheel you are likely to crash.

Overtaking: 

  • When overtaking other road users (whether it is parked cars, other cyclists, walkers, horses, etc.) there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Minimum passing distance: Give other road users enough space, as you would expect cars to give you when overtaking.

  • “Staying Out”: When at the front of a group and you have completed your overtake, you should “stay out” until the whole group has passed before pulling in. It   helps to think of the whole group as a single organism or vehicle, rather than as individuals.

Consistency: 

  • When cycling in a group there is no such thing as a pleasant surprise.

  • Hold your line: Do not suddenly veer left or right.

  • Hold the pace: When riding at the front of a group, try to keep a steady pace. Accelerating at the beginning, or decelerating at the end of your turn at the front (or “pull”) both serve to ruin group dynamics.

Stay Smooth:

  • Pedal smoothly and evenly and don’t surge. When possible, soft pedal rather than freewheeling unless braking. Remember, smooth is fast. On a downhill, riders at the front should continue pedalling so those behind don’t need to brake.

  • Don’t grab your brakes: Doing so is likely to cause the rider behind to collide with you.

  • Don’t throw your wheel: Take care when you get out of the saddle as it can cause your bike to move backwards and affect those behind you. To avoid this, move your body forward and keep pressure on the downstroke to keep your bike moving forward.

  • Don’t overcompensate: If a rider ahead makes an unexpected movement, such as moving sideways or braking, many riders instinctively repeat the original movement “with interest”, by moving or braking in a more pronounced manner. If the original, and possibly small action is transmitted and magnified down the group in this way, the result can often be dramatic by the time it reaches the back of the group.

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