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The Basics of Group Riding

Tired of riding alone?  Want to push yourself and meet some new friends while in the saddle?  How about a local group ride?

Alameda Runners previously published a few tips about group riding, but we’re back with another edition of basic group riding tips for you to survive your time on the road.

BikeRadar published a good video featuring Jamie Sparling, Team Raleigh-GAC super domestique rider, and he shares a few tips about safely riding in a group.

His tips:

  •  Do not do anything abrasive – Riders are around you, so make sure no frantic movements are made.
  •  Be attentive – Look out for potholes and road obstructions, which keeps you and your fellow riders safe. Either point out road dangers, or be vocal and call out to everyone else.
  •  Keep the group tight – This one takes some skill and practice, as newbie group riders can be really jumpy. You should have some space, but still be able to ride as a cohesive unit.

I’m a complete maniac when I’m peddling by myself, but behavior drastically changes with other riders around me. The first few times riding in a group were intimidating, but as you gain more experience, it becomes a fun time.

Make sure you ride with a group close to your skill level, as you don’t want to participate in a group ride where you’ll be promptly dropped and forgotten about. Team Alameda has weekly organized rides for cyclists of all skill levels, and clearly post the scheduled speed and distance of the rides.

If you’re riding with a local cycling team, don’t be bashful by telling them you’re still new to riding in a group. Remember, a group ride isn’t a race against the clock, and your goal isn’t to try and explode out of the group while simultaneously splintering your riding partners. Also, don’t be afraid to hang out towards the back of the group, avoiding the wind and pace making duties – less experienced riders and slower riders – often end up chit chatting and hanging out.

For some additional tips, this story has some good tips for you. also posted a, “How to Master the Group Ride” article, and it has some good pointers. Finally, visit the League of American Bicyclist website to see a series about advanced cycling, including a few helpful group riding tips.

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