A Guide To Group Riding

By: Art Penz


The more the merrier. While some sports are more solitary in nature, it is common to see cyclists riding in a pack. For safety, companionship, and encouragement purposes, cyclists enjoy the company of their peers.

Cycling with others sounds simple, but there are some rules to follow in order to establish a sense of safety and awareness to the other cyclists and others on the road. The following article's purpose is to relay some rules in relation to group riding.

Group riding tips

When riding in a line or a close pack, the riders in the front and back of you are going to assume you will keep at a certain pace and position. To do otherwise warrants a warning. For group turns, it is common for the "leader" to alert the others of upcoming turns, giving them enough time to properly position themselves.

- Be verbal when it is possible and know the hand signals:

* Left arm straight out= left turn
* Left arm at a right angle facing down with palm facing out= slowing down or stopping
* Right arm straight out= right turn

- In the event of removing yourself from the road, make sure to move far away as not to risk your safety or to obstruct the flow of traffic.

- Vision is limited when riding in a group, so it is good etiquette to announce and point to hazards on the road such as bumps, debris, holes, etc.

- Some roadways are narrower than others. Use prudent judgment in alerting riders in front of you of approaching cars from the rear. This is especially needed before approaching turns.

- Every rider needs to know to act independently amidst heavily crowded areas such as intersections. It is not safe to adopt a "follow-the-leader"mentality in heavy traffic. The safest approach is to consider others warnings in conjunction with looking around you.

- When riding in a long line, leave gaps every four cycles. This will give automobiles the opportunity to maneuver around the road if needed.

- It is best to leave about a bike-length gap between riders in your front and rear. This increases the likelihood of avoiding a mass collision if a rider is met with an impediment.

- The use of aero bars, clip on or otherwise is strictly forbidden. Though safe to use individually, the delay in breaking and the reduced steering performance puts the entire group at risk when riding with others. Do not use aero bars or clip on bars while group riding. Save them for solo use.

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