Things to Know - Riding in a Group
Riding in a group is exhilarating when done well. However, it can be scary, stressful, and downright dangerous when done poorly. It requires everyone to be aware of their surroundings, work together for the group vs. for themselves, and be in the moment. Riding in a group is as much mental exercise as it is physical. And as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. The more you actively and intently ride in a group, the better you will get.
As with any learned skill, you will go through the following stages skill development:
We've gathered some good sources of information to help you progress through the stages.
But, the first thing we'll mention here is to follow the instructions of your Ride Leader. They will help you become a better/safer cyclist.
We asked our ride leaders what the most difficult thing about being a ride leader was at a recent Ride Leader Meeting. It was unanimous... All agreed their hardest task is to give a rider negative feedback on a detrimental behavior.
If that rider happens to be you, please understand they are providing this feedback constructively to improve your skills and increase the safety of the group. No one likes being criticized, but please listen and ask questions to ensure you fully grasp their feedback.
14 Group Ride Etiquette Tips: How to Avoid Being “That Rider” - Carmichael Training Systems
Essential guide to group riding - Cycling Weekly
Riding in a group - an introduction - Global Cycling Network
Cycling Group Rides: A Guide to Etiquette, Pacelines, Drafting, and Safety - Trainer Road
Beginner Road Biking Tips to Help You Ride With Confidence - Bicycling Magazine (you may need a subscription)