Always wanted to join a group ride but felt a little intimidated? Follow these techniques to become a more confident, safe, and skilled cyclist.
CYCLING ETIQUETTE Your lead actions affect all riders in your group, so be predictable. Make your intentions known early using clear and direct verbal and/or hand signals. The rear rider is responsible for signaling intentions to following traffic.
MOUNTING AND DISMOUNTING Practice mounting and dismounting from your bike without losing balance and then practice in between cones set three feet apart in a 60-foot corridor. Also practice bringing the bike to a complete stop in the final 10 feet.
RIDING STRAIGHT Start on the indoor trainer, practice taking sips from your water bottle or looking over your shoulder while maintaining speed, balance, and cadence. Next, practice riding through a staged course with cones eight inches apart. Finally, practice on a quiet road with a partner to provide feedback.
SPEED CHECK Changes of speed occur often, especially on hills when lead riders slow as back of the pack is still riding swiftly, creating an accordion affect. Descending triggers an opposite affect.
CONTACT MANAGEMENT Physical contact occurs when riding close together, but maintaining composure is important. Become more confident by bumping and leaning on fellow cyclists, beginning ideally on a closed grassy course with someone of similar size.
Vic Brown, MS, CSCS, ATC is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach for Boston Performance Coaching, a triathlon and endurance athlete coaching service located in Kenmore Square.
Cort Cramer, MS is a USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach.