Cycling is fun and an active sport but all this can come to an end if you don’t follow some simple rules. Most especially if you are riding as a group you might end up causing the whole group to crash and cause major fractures to everyone. All this can be avoided by simply agreeing with the safety rules put in place. Always keep in mind that when cycling safety is the key. Make sure you have a helmet on to protect your skull in case of a crush, wear reflective clothing so that the motorists can see you from a distance. There is this myth that the road is to be shared by all people whether a motorist or a cyclist. But this is not true as a cyclist always sticks to the bike lane to be safe and avoid unnecessary accidents. Most importantly learn the basic hand signals to show the riders behind you your action. Learn the rules to show when you are turning or when you see an obstacle or pothole. These simple rules will keep you safe on the road.
Bar to bar
When riding as a group this is perhaps one of the major rules to follow. You should always be riding side by side living only a few centimeters between you and the person next to you. This will ensure that you have enough space to maneuver and not cause an accident. Always stay in line and do not at any moment sprint ahead and disrupt the flow of the group as this can cause the group to stumble and this can cause a massive stampede. Even when you are coming towards a corner stay side by side your partner and turn the corner systematically like a perfectly oiled machine. If you are cycling with an odd number it is safe to ride in between the riders ahead of you. With your front wheel in between their rear wheels and keep a safe distance. This is to avoid leaving a space between you that can fit a bus or car and ensure that the whole group is safe. Don’t worry about your safety when you are in this position as you are perfectly safe and the riders behind you will be able to keep the bar to bar level intact.
Most of the bike accidents are caused by the riders at the front peeling off unexpectedly causing the rest of the group to come to a steady halt. If you are feeling tired and want to go back to the back and catch a breath. It is advisable to talk to your partner about it and the both of you should peel out of the group simultaneously. Once the both of you have decided that you want to go at the back you should make sure that there is no one overlapping your back wheel. Gradually the both of you should move away from the group and allow the riders behind you to move to the front. Then wait for the group to pass and fix yourselves at the back of the group. Do not try fixing yourself in the middle of the group as this will cause disruption and disturb the flow of the group.
There are some people who prefer being at the back of the group or in the middle of the group. But once the pair on the front peel off it is your duty as the second rider to fill in the gap and lead the group. Do this in a systematic manner when you see that the front rider has peeled off just slid in the front by squeezing yourself in the middle space at the front. A point to note is to not speed up and disrupt the bar to bar formation but to move in a steady and gradual speed. This will allow the other riders at the back to take up the same pace and maintain the group at the same speed.
Too tired to take the lead
If you are feeling too tired to lead the group then you don’t want to take the lead and slow down the whole group. It is not fair to the other riders if you work your way to the group leader and then slow them down because you are not feeling up to it or you are not strong enough to take the lead. If you find yourself in this position just go in front of the group and take a token pull. A token pull is where you go at the front of the group for a few seconds and then agree with the rider beside you to peel off. This will maintain the bar to bar formation and allow the group to keep their pace. If you are at the back of the group and not yet ready to take up speed and pace then you should allow the pair peeling off to fix themselves in front of you. Simply keep a slower pace and leave enough space for the riders to fit in perfectly.
Yelling and shouting
This is a big no-no in the cycling field. You don’t see professionals shouting at each other or the motor vehicles and the traffic lights at any moment. Most of the drivers complain that the cyclists are very arrogant and they shout at you and yell for no reason. I thought it was all jibber jabber until I came up to one of the rude cyclists ever. The guy just practically dashed beside me and yelled at me startling me I almost bumped to the car in front of me. Not to mention that yelling and cursing might disrupt other members of the group not knowing what has caused you to give that shrieking loud yell. Some might start looking for the obstacle that has caused you to give that big yell while others may suddenly stop and this can cause a crash.
With all the fun that comes with cycling as a group ranging from social interaction to friendship. Then you should always aim at keeping your group members safe. The number one rule of safety is to always ensure that you are safe and out of harm way and that you don’t cause your group any danger.
Have fun and be safe!