Basic Group Ride Etiquette

Recently, I have had the opportunity to begin to go on group rides a little more, although my pace is unfortunately slow at the moment. I feel like I am finally when in a group getting the hang of drafting and riding with people, where previously I rode a lot on my own and people made me nervous. When you ride alone, you don’t have to worry about drafting or someone behind you, but in a group there are a lot of other potential issues.

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  1. Know your pace. Right now, I am with our C group, which is 14 mph and up, but when I am in better shape, I am a B group rider, which averages 17 mph normally. Typically you will be faster in a group than on your own, but pick the group that is your speed and stick with it. Normally you will all progress similarly, so you still have a good group to ride with. If you are on a group ride that is a little faster than your usual pace, but you can hang on, sit on the back and let other riders know you are staying on the back.

  2. No aero bars. You can ride your Tri bike with some groups, but no getting in aero bars when in a group on a road or Tri bike. This is for the safety of you and the other riders. I don’t care how good your bike handling is. If have to brake for a sudden red light and you’re behind me in your aero bars, there is a good chance of us both crashing.

  3. Know your pace lines. Most groups employ either a single or a double pace line and will have their set ways of pulling off to the back. In a single pace line, the rider in front will typically signal they are moving to the left and going to fall to the back. In a double pace line the riders will sometimes split to the left and right, or they will both move left, so I suggest starting in back or asking if you are unsure of how the group tends to ride. My biggest pet peeve is in a double pace line when the person next to me will ride between two people instead of on their wheel.

  4. Know your signals. The two most basic are your turn signals for left and right. Beyond that, we also want to point to either side and announce things like glass, potholes, and gravel. I also suggest knowing signals for slowing/stopping, and announcing this as well.

  5. Announce cars. If you hear a car and you are in the back, call out that there is a car back, so everyone is aware and if you need to move to a double pace line you can.

  6. Maintain a steady pace when pulling. This can be a fast pace, slow pace, or a moderate pace depending on the ride, but the goal is to maintain the pace the ride is intended to be. If you are about to pull, look on your computer to see your current pace and try to maintain that when on the front to avoid going too hard, which is easy to do.

I Want to Ride my Bike Because

There are so many reasons I want to ride my bike, and sometimes I don’t have the time to actually ride it when I want to. It can be a bad day, a need to train, or just an overwhelming need to go ride a bike. These are a few of my favorites I’ve run into in my life lately.

Trek Domane SL 6

I cried over a sandwich - but to be honest it was a really bad sandwich and not what I ordered. I don’t know why exactly I cried over the sandwich, but I was having a rough morning, and the sandwich topped it off. I got home from work at 8:30 that night and got the trainer set-up and rode my bike, because I really needed to ride my bike.

I haven’t ridden my bike - and I just want to ride bikes all the time. I love my bikes, and I just want to ride them all the time. Unfortunately, school, work, and family can all get in the way of my opportunity to ride my bikes.

I haven’t ridden this exact bike - a personal problem. Not everyone has multiple bikes to choose from like me, but I know one person who has more than me, and he will ride one bike, go home, and then ride another bike, so all of the bikes get ridden. I wish I lived somewhere I could do this easily.

Trek Madone with Bontrager Ion 800 Headlight

It’s 70 degrees out - in December. I remember one Christmas, the weather was so nice, I rode my bike from my parents’ house to my aunt’s house for Christmas dinner. People thought I was a little crazy, but I just thought it was nice to get out in the clear weather.

I built a new bike - yes another one. I love building bikes. It may be a little bit of an obsession I have, because I like having the newest things, but it is also fun for me. I love a project bike.

Cycling Accessory Essentials

Depending on where you ride and what type of bike you have, you will have certain accessories you need. 

Things Everyone Needs

Helmet - You only have one brain, so you should protect it.  All helmets sold in the Us should meet certain standards of safety, but I always recommend one with MIPS in it, which protects your brain in a rotational impact by absorbing extra energy.

Lights - You need to be seen.  At a minimum you need a tail light that has multiple flashing and steady modes.  I recommend rechargeable lights, because they can be brighter than battery powered.

Road ID - Even if you ride with other people all the time, they don’t know your allergies, emergency contact, or any other relevant conditions in case of an emergency.

Flat Kit - You don’t want to be that friend who always needs a tube or a tool.  A well prepared rider will always have a flat kit with a tube, tire levers, CO2, and a multi tool.

Floor Pump - I have had to change flats and then sell someone a pump, because they didn’t know to air up their tires every time they rode.  Proper tire pressure is extremely important to your ride and not getting flats.

Things Roadies Need

Trek Madone 9 Series

Shorts or Bibs - I will admit I didn’t give in to this for a while, and I wish I had earlier.  Proper riding shorts makes a huge impact in your ride quality, especially on a road bike.

Jerseys with pockets - I say pockets, because they’re extremely convenient.  I always put my phone in a plastic bag and put it in my jersey pocket in case of an emergency.

Bottle Cages - I put this under road, because on a mountain bike people often use a hydration pack.  You need to be drinking a lot so you do not end of dehydrated when riding.

Short Finger Gloves - Not for everyone, but a lot of people like short finger padded gloves to relieve extra pressure.

Things Commuters Need

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Fenders - If you are commuting you may run into rough weather more than others.  Fenders can help to keep excess water off you and your clothes.

Rack - A rack can be useful for adding a bag or panniers to carry work and keep it off your back.

Bags - As mentioned above, bags carry things so you don’t have to.  They also have waterproof bags to protect electronics and chargers.

Soap - Anything you need to be clean and smell good to your coworkers.

Things MTB Riders Need

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Hydration Pack - As mentioned with roadies, hydration packs can be useful for mountain bike riders, where some full suspension bikes don’t even have bottle cage mounts.  This is so you have adequate hydration and control.

Knee/Elbow Pads - Protection.  Not necessary for everyone, but useful the more aggressive you ride.

Shorts - Just like the road bike, shorts can be important on the mountain bike.  Some people prefer baggy shorts for extra protection with a liner short for cushion and to prevent chafing.

Jerseys - On a mountain bike, your jersey and whether it has pockets or possibly longer sleeves is your choice.  Longer sleeves and a looser fit can be protection and comfort with the movement of mountain biking. 

Long Finger Gloves - Again the theme of protection, because long finger gloves can protect in falls and from passing branches and other items.