Group cycling creates excellent bonds, but if you are doing some annoying things, you may want to apply the brakes on them and convert into the ultimate cycling-gentleman or lady. Maintain these unspoken rules and ride on!
1. Always Stop on the Side
When cycling with a string of cycles behind you one must stop on the side, not in the middle. Let the riders behind continue at their speed! This is especially a problem on a trail where you are not visible from afar and may suddenly appear in one’s way, forcing one to brake suddenly.
The idea is of group cycling is- Never Block Anyone.
Ganesh Devkar adds “When leading a peloton, never reduce the speed suddenly, always signal if you are going to slow down, or get out of the way of the peloton.”
2. Wait Before The Turn, Not After
If there is a turn and your fellow cyclists are way behind, stop before the curve, not after it. Else your companions will only see you at the last minute and say “Oh, I was supposed to turn, was I?”
3. Use Hand Signals
“Use Hand Signals!” stresses Anuj Singhal. If you want to go left or right, indicate it clearly for the cyclists following you, and also for traffic behind.
4. Call Out
“While chain ganging, call out if you are passing a rider, so that he can promptly get behind you,” says Ganesh Devkar. On a trail where cyclists are picking various lines and paths you should call out – “On Your Right!” or “On Your Left!” and then pass.
5. Give Side
Egoistic assholes are happy to keep another cyclist firmly behind them on their tail, mile after mile. Don’t be one. Give way. Let cyclists overtaking you dash forward! Conversely, don’t get ahead of someone and stay right in front of his nose. Overtake and create a decent distance.
6. Be Puncture Ready
The cycle is a delicate mechanism and you never know when it may go phissss. This is manageable in city areas where you can disassemble your bike, put it in an autorickshaw and head home. You should know how to take off the tires with quick-release levers.
But if you are in a remote area you can really get stuck! You must carry a spare tube, mini pump and levers to replace the tube. Remember, at that point, your problem is everyone’s problem and it is best to be self-sufficient.
7. Pull Your Weight
When riding in a peloton, the main work is done by the cyclist leading it. And everyone takes turns. Do your bit! But if you are new, there is no need to take charge. Fall information at the back, observe the peloton dynamics and step up the next time. It is both a responsibility and a privilege.
8. Carry Water
For everyone, the water they are carrying is precious! They may have added electrolytes to it. Carry your own H2O. Be ready, and self-reliant.
9. Set Expectations Right
Some cyclists like supportive rides. Praveen Joshi suggests “motivate the slower or younger rider”. Deepak Bohidar says “Start as a group, end as a group.” Other cyclists will want to scream – “Don’t kill my speed. Let me unleash me!”
It is best to discuss beforehand whether it will be an All-At-Your-Own-Pace ride or a tight group ride. You can also have a mixed format.
10. Don’t Call Anyone Uncle
This golden advice for group cycling has been shared by Deepender Sehajpal. It really hurts he says! Please take note.
At the end of the day, have fun! Vinit Kothari says “Those who put too much rules in group, end up closing the group. A group should be liberal and open for ideas and discussions and fun. Group handlers need to be accommodative so that riders are encouraged.”