This morning, I kept with my Sunday tradition and headed out for a long ride. I normally ride solo or with my friend who also rides, but this morning we decided to join a few guys from the local bike club who were riding 50 miles.
Solo rides are a great part of the cycling experience because absolutely nothing beats cruising along and looking at the scenery, or attacking a climb at your own pace and intensity.
On the other hand, riding with a small group of friendly riders can be even more fun. You cover ground faster, meet people, and experience the thrill of a shared effort.
This morning was actually my first real “group ride!”
It was a blast, but it didn’t take me long to figure out there there are certain rules that you need to follow when riding with a group. I was the newbie, but I definitely picked up on them pretty quickly!
1. Do NOT overlap wheels!
When wheels overlap and “bump”, it’s usually the rider in the back that goes down. We had this happen twice and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Luckily it didn’t happen to me!
2. Communicate with other riders
• Point out objects in the road
• “Elbow wave” to pull off front
• Use hand signals for:
– Slowing for traffic signals
– “Expressing yourself” (I am talking about showing your feelings to an asshole driver).
3. Look ahead
- This is pretty self explanatory.
I also learned that we were doing something called a paceline.
We did a single formation.
According to Bicycling Magazine:
When carried out properly, a paceline is an effective tool for a group ride: It enables cyclists to share the work of pushing through the wind. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. "Most people are never taught the proper way to ride a paceline," says Ray Ignosh, a USA Cycling expert coach based in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. "So they make the same common mistakes that eventually become habits." Whether you’re riding in a single or double formation, try these tips for taking your pulls and pedaling in line.
It definitely made the ride A TON easier during a few of the windy segments. I started to feel tired around mile 40, but having the other guys around me for encouragement really helped me dig deep the last 10 or so miles.
All in all, it really was a great ride and I met a few great people.
I liked it so much that I am riding with them again next Sunday
Have you ever done a group ride? Did you like it? Or do you prefer to go solo?