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You have the bike, and done the miles. You’re dressed in the right gear, understand the culture, and look like a cyclist. With all the cycling clubs, benefit and charity rides out there, there’s no reason to avoid group riding. Here are a few tips on group ride etiquette to boost your confidence to get out there and ride with a group:
Not knowing what to expect can be intimidating, but cyclists are just like you. Homemakers, laborers, bookkeepers, students, old, young and in-between. Some fit, some — not so fit. There’s no need to be intimidated, it’s not a competition. Everyone’s out there for fun. Group riding is camaraderie, adventure, laughter, feeling fit, and being surrounded by people with like minds. Understanding what’s expected makes you feel welcome, and a part of the group.
On country roads, or highways with little traffic, casual group rides might consists of two lines, with riders two abreast (this is called a paceline). Your handlebars should be parallel with each other, bar to bar, with no more than about a 12-to-18 inch gap between your bars, but closer is better. If you’re comfortable with a few inches it’s best. Maintain the gap, even when cornering. It’s your responsibility to stay even with the rider beside you, even if they slow down. Never disrupt the flow, don’t surge ahead or attack, strive for consistency. If you’re on the dirt side, stay as close to the side of the road as you are comfortable with.
If you find yourself without a partner, and you’re riding two-abreast, center yourself behind the two riders in front of you, with your front wheel between the two rear wheels in front of you. If you’re on a busy highway with a marked shoulder, single-file is a must. Cars should pass on your left, with no less than 36 inches between you and the car. It’s the law in some States, and up to the driver of the vehicle to maintain the clearance.
Never swerve, brake or accelerate suddenly. The key to safe group riding is to do things gradually and steadily, keeping together.
If you see obstacles, someone ahead of you drops a water bottle, there’s a pothole or disruption ahead of you use hand signals. Drop your hand to the side, pointing at the obstacle, warning the riders behind you which direction to swerve if needed. Don’t point out insignificant things like cracks, or things that you can ride through, unnecessary swerving to avoid things can be risky.
Never shout or yell in a group ride. It causes other cyclists to swerve. Cyclists recognize only two common vocal warnings. “Car back” means a vehicle is approaching from the rear. If you hear it, get over to the side if you’re not already there. If you detect a car coming up behind you, shout “car back” if riders ahead of you need to get over.
It’s never a good idea to pass cyclist on the right side. If you find yourself in a position to pass, always pass on the left, warning the rider in front of you vocally with,”on your left” as you pass if needed.
If you’re moving faster than about 15-16 mph, chances are you’ll get into a paceline, which is a series of riders single file. The lead rider absorbs the wind, creating a type of vacuum that pulls riders behind. When the lead rider begins to tire he peels off and goes to the back, allowing the next rider to take the lead. Its the most efficient form of cycling, and increases your speed while lowering effort.
If someone tells you to “get on board,” it means you’re welcome in the paceline. Feel free to take the position behind the last rider in the paceline. If you find yourself mid-pack or a paceline that forms around you — sweet! Hang on for the ride of your life. It’s like being part of a giant, human centipede. It’s a feeling you’ll never forget. Hold your spot and begin drafting.
You probably heard of drafting, it’s the most efficient form of cycling. Position your front wheel within 3/4 of a wheel length or closer, to the wheel in front of you. But never get close enough to buzz the wheel in front of you. Focus on keeping the gap consistent, but don’t get mesmerized by it. Continue glancing two or three riders ahead to avoid possible sudden moves in the paceline.
If you find yourself leading the paceline, try to maintain an even speed for as long as you can. When you begin to get tired — it’s more work leading the pack — gradually peel off to the left, and let the pack pass on your right. Take the position at the back and it all starts over again.
Article via ilovebicycling.com
We all know that the right nutrition is vital for any sporting activity. After all, eating the wrong foods could lead to you failing to get the energy that you need for those big pushes and can even negate the fitness gains that you make from the exercise if taken to extremes.
While everybody has their own ideas about what makes a great eating regimen for a cyclist, those who enjoy rides that cover long distances will know that it is vital to have a few snacks handy to keep yourself fueled at all times. Here we take a look at ten snacks for cyclists that will keep you covered throughout the journey.
Making sure that you stay properly hydrated is extremely important when you are cycling. Dehydration can catch up to you quickly if you let it, and can cause all sorts of health issues that you should aim to avoid. An Isotonic sports drink not only replenishes your water supplies, but also allows you to retain moisture more effectively.
There is a good reason why so many people recommend a banana when you are exercising. It is one of the best snacks for cyclists because it is high in carbohydrates and potassium, allowing your muscles the ability to use fuel more efficiently. This will increase your pedal power in addition to filling the gap. Many proclaim that it is the way to avoid and cure cramping as well.
A cereal bar is perfect for if you just want to fill a gap while you are riding. They require no preparation, are fairly healthy and usually taste great as well. Pick a favorite brand and make sure you have a couple handy for long distance cycling.
If your ride is going to be long enough that you anticipate stopping along the way for a decent break, there are few better snacks to bring along with you than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The bread makes for a good source of carbohydrates and the peanut butter provides protein and fats, giving you plenty of energy to burn when you get back on the bike.
Energy gels have become particularly popular in recent years because they can help to refuel you when you are tired without leaving you feeling bloated. Pick a brand that tastes good to you to get the absolute most out of them.
While it may be a little messier than some of the other snacks on this list, trail mix offers dried fruits and nuts that combine to give you a solid shot of carbohydrates and potassium. Just be aware of any allergy issues before you pack it.
Much like cereal bars, energy bars make for a quick and efficient snack that you can gobble down while you are riding. However, they usually offer a more concentrated boost in energy, so they are good to eat when you feel your muscles flagging and need that extra little boost to keep going.
Jellied sweets are great to take along on the ride as the sugars will keep your energized, plus they make for a good little snack for cyclists if you only want nibble at something. Keep a pack in your pocket and dip in when you feel the urge or a bonk coming on.
If you’re getting a little sick of eating sweeter foods, a good bit of beef jerky offers some fat and protein, so you can have a little more energy to burn when you are riding. Just be aware of the fairly high sodium content before chowing down. These can also be a little more difficult to digest so make sure you don’t eat too much!
Dried fruits taste good but they are important for also keeping your body’s sugar levels topped up during the ride. Couple that with the vitamins and minerals that fruits have and you have the perfect snack for cyclists.
Article via ilovebicycling.com