Nothing beats riding in a group – that’s why mass rides appeals to so many. But there’s some important peloton etiquette that is often forgotten.
Hi, I’m Stephen Cunningham – and I’m the ambassador for Bike SA’s Boileau Velo Coast to Coast ride. Nothing beats riding in a group – that’s why group rides appeals to so many. Not only is it fun, but you ride further and faster with up to 30% less energy being expended by sharing the work and wind resistance at the front.
All that said, bunch riding can also be a bit of a pain if people don’t do what’s expected. There’s a bit to know about bunch riding, so here’s some important etiquette which even the more experienced forget from time to time.
Some Important Peleton Etiquette
If you find yourself in a peleton, the most important thing to consider is BEING PREDICTABLE. Avoid sudden movements, changes of direction and maintain a steady straight line.
Pay attention to those behind as well as those in front.
It’s the riders behind you that you need to be paying attention to just as much as those in front. Brake carefully and while the bunch is in motion, try to stay off the brakes. If someone slows in front of you, instead to grabbing a fist full of brakes, look to move to the outside of your line to avoid hitting the wheel.
Don’t ride directly behind another person’s wheel.
NEVER ride directly behind another persons wheel, it’s far better to be slightly to the right or left of a wheel in the event of any sudden stops – you then have a quick escape route!
Be considerate when getting out of the saddle to climb
Finally, if you find you need to get out of the saddle on a climb, be sure to remember the riders behind you. Many riders, even the experienced ones, freewheel momentarily when they first get out of the saddle and the bike is forced backwards. (Refer to my second point if you happen to be the one behind!). If you are thinking about getting out of the saddle, think about accelerating slightly just before you hop up, so to create a little buffer between you and the rider behind. Another technique is to maintain the pressure on your pedals so to avoid the kick back!
I could go into riding on the front of the bunch, but for something like Boileau Velo Coast to Coast, it’s more about enjoying the ride together in a safe environment – those who want to work hard at the front, go for it!
As well as being the Boileau Velo Coast to Coast ambassador, Stephen Cunningham operates 1 on 1 and small group technique sessions through the summer months in Adelaide. Sign up for his free training tips here as well as a chance to take part in a free group ride.