Nothing beats that feeling of spinning along in the sun with a good group. When ridden correctly, a group ride can be both a sociable and fun experience as well as a great way of meeting new people and racking up the miles. Below are our top tips for riding in a group.
It may look easy when you watch a group racing through the countryside at the Tour or a club run cruising out on a Sunday but riding in a group does come with some rules and etiquette.
Group riding put simply is riding as one cohesive unit, sharing the workload and ultimately covering more ground than you would if you were riding alone.
Sit on the Wheel
Sit on the wheel. Not literally of course, but riding closely behind the rider in front can save around 20% of your energy as you are sheltered from the wind. Sitting any further back than a metre from the wheel in front makes life a lot harder as you get less of a draft and also means the size of the group is larger, making it more difficult for motorists to overtake.
Your visibility is obscured when you are sitting behind someone, so it is important to point out hazards to warn the riders behind you. This could be potholes, drain covers or to tell you to move out past a parked vehicle. For some helpful tips, read our guide to hand signals.
Take Your turn
There is nothing worse than a wheelsucker. Share out the workload by taking a pull on the front. This allows your fellow riders to take a breather and ensures the group’s speed is maintained. Should you feel like you are struggling, take a shorter turn on the front. Wheelsucking for four hours and then sprinting past your companions on the final hill is a big no no.
Ride Two Abrest
Riding next to someone significantly improves speed, as you are protected from crosswinds. This is also a safer way of riding as your group’s footprint on the road will be a lot smaller than if you were riding in a single file, so cars will have a shorter distance to have to overtake.
Don't Half Wheel
When taking your turn on the front make sure your handlebars are level with your fellow rider. Sitting half a wheel or even a bike length in front only disrupts the pace and will make you no friends.
Look after one another
If the roads are wet think of the well being of others and put a set of mudguards and a mudflap on your bike. There’re no prizes for coming back from the club run caked in mud.
Mechanicals and Issues
Should one of the group puncture or have a mechanical, stop and help them. No one likes being stranded alone at the side of the road. Read our guide to replacing an inner tube by the roadside.
Whether it’s dodging a pothole or riding up a hill, try to keep erratic moves to a minimum and ride steadily to keep the group together.
Turn up on Time
When the group plans to meet at 9am. Make sure you’re there, ready to roll in time. When it’s blowing a gale and it’s freezing cold, keeping your mates waiting for you in a layby just isn’t cool.
Encourage your Fellow Riders
There’s nothing worse than struggling up a hill only to find your companions have sprinted off up the road ahead of you. Encourage your fellow riders, whether that’s vocally or by giving them a gel to spur them on.
With these handy tips, put them into practice and find out about joining us for one of our group rides.