Just like swimming with a group, there are some spoken and unspoken rules to riding with a group of people.
- Helmets: ALWAYS wear one. In most clubs you will not be allowed to ride without a helmet.
- Handsignals: learn the handsignals (i.e. slowing down, stopping, turning, beware of debri/potholes/glass/gravel, get in single file, etc) before you begin your ride. It is our responsibility to warn bikers behind us what is quickly approaching so that we can be as safe as possible while group riding.
- Drafting: while drafting can be a beneficial training tool, if you aren't familiar with drafting then don't do it! Leave enough space between yourself and the biker in front of you in case they need to break quickly (we don't want biker collisions out there). If you are comfortable with drafting, constantly be watching in front of the bikes who are in front of you. Try not to use aero bars and always be ready to break quickly and/or swerve.
- Abide by the law: you are considered a vehicle. I've seen people get ticketed for not touching their foot down/pausing long enough at stop signs. You're supposed to ride on the right side of the road. Signal your turns. Be careful at intersections!
- Side by side VS single file: plain and simple, if there are cars then ride single file. If you're on a wide, open road with no traffic, you can ride 2 abreast (no more than 2 though!). Always be aware of cars approacing from the rear.
- Car warnings: always yell "car back" to the biker in front of you when a car is coming from behind you. Point/shout out cars that others may not see. For example, if a car is backing out of a driveway or getting ready to turn.
- Be visible: just like running, get into the mindset that CARS DO NOT SEE YOU! You are small, you blend in with the surroundings. Always be cautious. Wear bright colors. Let cars go first. Take your time and don't rush intersections.
- Headphones: Although illegal in races, no one regulates your training. If you opt in for wearing headphones either keep the sound down or only wear it in one ear. While riding in groups we communicate with eachother so make sure you can hear us.
- Know who's behind you: the larger the group, the harder it is to keep track of everyone. Get to know everyone's name so that you know who is riding behind you. Should someone get a flat tire or crash, you can report to the group leader who it was and approx how far behind you they were.
- Necessities to carry: ALWAYS carry your A) cell phone B) money (cash & credit card ideally) and C) tire changing tools.
- Communication: if you're going to ride with the group, please extend them the courtesy of informing them what your abilities are and what your training plan is for that day. Get the phone number of the bike leader so you can call/text them should anything happen. If you decide to turn around early, take a different route, or you are getting picked up also let them know.
We try our hardest to choose safe routes, keep track of all riders, and ensure everyone's safety. Riding in a group is extremely beneficial, but it also takes effort on the bikers' part to make sure the day goes as smoothly as possible. If you have any other tips or questions please let us know so we can add to this list!