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Basics of Riding with a Road Group

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Family Fun Group Ride

You’ve been riding for a while and are getting bored or anxious to get out riding with some people.  Riding with a group or with a couple friends is a very unique feeling and once you get the hang of it can make you a stronger rider.  Below I have put together some key things to remember when group riding and then some helpful hints.  I can’t harp enough to remember safety and to ask a lot of questions.

  • Make sure your first group ride is up to your speed and is a no drop ride.  No drop means they will stop often and regroup.  There often is a “sweeper” which is a designated individual to hang behind everyone. Like a mother hen.
  • Get familiar with all hand signals and use them as much as possible.
  • The term “On Your Left” is spoken when you are going to pass a rider at a slower pace.  Always pass on the left.  If someone behind you calls “On Your Left” move carefully to the right to allow them to pass.
  • Drafting is something that needs to be practiced.  Being that close to someone’s rear wheel is dangerous, but does provide a relief from wind.  Consult someone on your ride to aid you in your practicing.
  • Ride single file on busy roads, riding two abreast only when adequate space or on quiet roads.
  • Be prepared with tools, tubes, and a bike pump in case you or one of your new friends get a flat.
  • Try to stay towards the middle/front of the group.  It’s easier to “pop” off the back of the group and fall behind then being sucked along with the group in the middle.

Now go out and find yourself a group ride.  Local bicycle shops and bicycle advocacy groups are a wonderful source for group rides.  Make sure to introduce yourself and enjoy your time.

Original hand signal photos found at
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  1. 27 Jul ’09 at 11:28 pm — Reply

    I tried to organize a riding group here. I got a whopping zero responses. :(

    I’m not in the right place for that; too tiny a town. This fall, if I’m faring better (I have lupus and my health right now is rather at odds), I’m going to try again, except I’ll try it in Canada. I’m right on the border of Washington and British Columbia. Perhaps I’ll have better luck in Abbotsford, BC. I’d love to have friends to ride with.

  2. 28 Jul ’09 at 5:49 am — Reply

    Keep at it! When I was trying to start a group ride in DC it often was my friend and I going every single week. Finally it caught on and we went from us two, to many!

  3. 28 Jul ’09 at 8:35 am — Reply

    Great post and tips. Thanks! But what about us SUPER slow people? Any rides in the area for slow poke ladies? It’s too intimidating to ride with the big boys who average 20mph.

  4. […] a month ago I talked about basics of riding with a road group.  Several people emailed questions in so here is our follow up to answer some of those […]

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