What do I need to know to ride safely in a group?

Keep your head up: It is easy to get in the habit of looking directly at the back wheel of the person in front of you, but you need to look further forward so you can anticipate turns or slowing riders. This is especially important toward the end of a long ride, as you’ll tend to drop your gaze or lock in on the wheel in front of you as you get more tired. Look before you move left or right: Just like in a car, it’s important to look left or right before you “change lanes.” A quick glance over your shoulder or even down under your arm will let you know if you have room to move, and a flick of the arm is a good idea to communicate your intention to riders behind you. Use both brakes at the same time: Using both brakes at the same time spreads the force of braking across both wheels, which reduces the chances that either one will lock up and skid. It also means you have more power to stop more quickly. And if you have to stop abruptly, shift your weight back as you hit the brakes to put more weight over the rear wheel. Communicate: Speak up when you’re overtaking riders. You don’t have to yell at them; a simple “How’s it going?” or “On your left.” will let them know you’re coming by. And try not to startle the person you’re passing, or they’re likely to swerve and may move into your path. If you’re the one being passed, stay on your line and ride predictably. Don’t overlap wheels: Riding behind another cyclist is a great way to reduce wind resistance and save energy, but be careful to leave enough space so your front wheel doesn’t overlap the rear wheel of the person in front of you. If the rider ahead of you moves left or right, you don’t want them to rub your front wheel. Keep your hands near the brakes on downhills: Never mind the super-aerodynamic tucks you see Tour de France riders use on downhills. With a lot of riders on the roads with you, it’s important to keep your hands near your brakes when you’re going faster down a hill. Keep your eyes looking forward, too, because it takes more time to slow down from higher speeds if you have to hit the brakes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.