One of the many beauties of cycling is the way it can be enjoyed solo or in a group – you don’t have to be a competitive cyclist to have some fun riding in a group. At the same time, if someone in the group is less experienced or struggles with certain basic techniques, it could cause issues for the group as a whole.
At Madsen Cycles, when we’re not providing your family with bucket bike and numerous other family bicycle options, we’re helping with basic expertise areas like this. Whether you’re riding in tandem with the family or as part of a bigger group, here are some basic areas you should keep in mind.
Holding a Line
If you’re riding in a group on public roadways, chances are there will be periods where everyone in the group needs to ride single-file right along the edge of the road. Every rider needs to be able to hold their line, or ride parallel to the edge of the road within about a foot or two. You need to be able to do this without swerving significantly, for safety purposes above all else.
Keep in mind that if you’re directly behind other riders, within a few inches or feet of their rear wheel, you’re in their slipstream – and area of low air resistance. Riders in this position can save over a quarter of their energy, so if someone in your group is tired, this is a great spot to put them for a bit. Know that being the lead rider can be a bit more difficult, especially in a headwind.
Eyes and Ears Open
The first person in the group is responsible for pointing out major hazards, but everyone in the group needs to keep their senses up. Listen for cars approaching, and pay attention to your peripheral vision as well as your primary vision.
When you join a group that takes turns leading, keep the pace steady once it becomes your turn. This isn’t a time to show off.
If you’re riding in any adverse conditions, anticipate possible hazards. These may include wind, terrain, moisture, or various individual road hazards that may come up. If you know a given area better than most in your group, offer to take the lead more often in difficult areas.
For more on riding with a group, or to learn about any of our family bike options, speak to the pros at Madsen Cycles today.