Thursday, May 14, 2009

Race Etiquette & Bunch Riding Tips

Those of you who are on the Rocky Cycling Club email list would have received this email from Peter Reaburn, but I thought the tips would be useful for all the M1 riders to keep our bunch as safe and enjoyable as possible.

1. Be predictable with all actions. Maintain a steady straight line and avoid braking or changing direction suddenly, especially if contesting a sprint. Remember that there are riders following closely behind. To slow down gradually move out into the wind and slot back into position in the bunch.

2. Point and call out any road hazards ahead. These include pot-holes, drain grates, stray animals, opening car doors, parked cars, etc.

3. Don't overlap wheels. A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause a touch of wheels.

4. Pedal down hill when at the front of a bunch. Cyclists dislike having to ride constantly under brakes.

5. Stay to the left when in front to allow room for others to pass safely on the right, particularly in traffic. Pass other riders on their right hand side whenever possible.

6. Be smooth with turns at the front of a group. Avoid surges unless trying to break from the bunch. A group will travel quicker when turns are completed smoothly.

7. Avoid leaving gaps when following wheels. Cyclists save about 30% of their energy at high speed by following a wheel. Each time a gap is left, riding is so much more difficult. Also, riders behind you will become annoyed and ride around you, especially if the bunch is working together to break away or catch a break-away group.

8. When climbing hills avoid following a wheel to closely. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the seat in a hill which can cause a sudden deceleration. This can often catch a rider who is following too closely, resulting in a fall from a wheel touching

9. Don't panic if contact is made with other riders. Try to stay relaxed in the upper body to absorb any bumps. Contact is a part of cycle racing in close bunches and is quite safe provided riders do not panic, brake or change direction suddenly.