New to group rides

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New to group rides

Postby purplegolden » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:35 pm

Hi

just did my first group ride on the weekend and was happy I didn't get dropped. However, riding in a group is very different to riding alone. My biggest problem appears to be braking when I get too close to the rider in front of me, so of course I moved to the back of the pack where you are more likely to get dropped and have to work harder as well!

Any suggestions/advice to offer about how not to apply brakes? And what does feathering your brakes mean?
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by BNA » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:56 pm

BNA
 

Postby gururug » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:56 pm

Ideally, you should aim not to use your brakes at all (except cornering and traffic). As you develop a better "bunch sense" you will learn to slow pedaling on upcoming corners and obstacles thus preventing most need for using the brakes.

If you need to adjust your speed in a bunch you should feather or "tap" the levers a couple of times (minimal) to achieve the decrease in speed.


Practice riding close to someone then tapping the brakes ever so lightly to move back about 50cm-1m. Do this until you feel comfortable with tapping your brakes.

The key to your question however is developing better "bunch sense".
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Postby tuco » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:04 am

Something I was taught was if you were getting too close to the wheel in front then move to the left or right then slow down (the loss of draft will help here) but still try and keep the wheel over lap to an absolute minimum amount of time. I've seen the result of wheel over lap and it was the two riders in front of me! This technique can avoid having someone run into the back of you.

In group riding you ALWAYS have to remember there is someone behind you and if you brake then they have to and so it continues down the pack. If you brake too hard then they may not brake hard enough and you'll have a lot of sore and angry cyclists piled on top of you.

There are a few more subtle methods of slowing. One is to stop pedalling and use the rolling resistance to slow you. Another is to sit up a little higher and use air resistance as braking.

Keep up practising, it's quite exciting in racing going at 40km/h only 2cm from the back wheel of another racer. I've had to use the 'move to the left and brake' described above in just that situation.
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Postby sogood » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:49 am

A number of points I learnt of bunch riding,

- Always stagger your wheel to the right or left of the bike in front and never ever overlap. Touching wheels is bad news for the sucker at the back.
- Don't focus on the rear wheel of the rider in front. Similar to driving, watch what's coming up a few riders ahead and even ahead of the bunch leader.
- Develop a sense of distance by the backside of the rider rider in front rather than specifically watching the rear wheel... Yep, watch that round ass!
- Give yourself generous separation in the beginning to both protect yourself and the rest of the bunch. Slowly close that distance at your own rate and as comfort allows.
- Ride by an experienced bunch rider and match his/her pace.
- Getting dropped is normal.
- Learn to be as smooth as possible and minimise the use of brakes, only gentle touches. Also pass on calls from the front and follow the leader's call unless extreme circumstances. Or you'll hear profanity coming behind you.
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Postby tuco » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:27 am

sogood wrote:- Develop a sense of distance by the backside of the rider rider in front rather than specifically watching the rear wheel... Yep, watch that round ass!


Careful on this one. A nice view (female view in my case) can allow your thoughts to drift off the job. :shock:

The 'sense' you develop is like the one you develop with driving a car. After awhile you drive in the middle of the lane and (hopefully) the right distance behind the car in front and you are aware of cars around and behind you.

One thing I found odd when I first started group rides in the early morning when still dark was when riding past street lights the shadows of the riders behind would move ahead of me as if the rider was coming up quickly to pass me but there weren't. I'm used to it now but still have a little look just to be sure.

Something which hasn't been mentioned and which we cop a lot of early in the morning is water on the road from the council wasting water on median strips. If I see water on the road up ahead I move from directly behind the rider in front so I don't get a face full of spray. I also wear either sun glasses if the sun is up and those yellow lenses on the pre dawn rides to enhance the light and protect from stones and spray.
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Postby sogood » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:53 am

tuco wrote:Careful on this one. A nice view (female view in my case) can allow your thoughts to drift off the job. :shock:

Well, just have to pick the right ass to follow. Fortunately or unfortunately as the angle varies, our club is severely deficient of female riders.

You are quite right about wet roads. But our councils have given up on watering these days. On a similar theme of crap from the rider in front. I have coped a spit from a rider in front during one of our club rides. You bet I wasn't too pleased. If one wants to do those, then it's either at the tail of the bunch or move further aside and get the technique perfect. :evil:
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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:04 pm

sogood wrote:
tuco wrote:Careful on this one. A nice view (female view in my case) can allow your thoughts to drift off the job. :shock:

Well, just have to pick the right ass to follow. Fortunately or unfortunately as the angle varies, our club is severely deficient of female riders.

You are quite right about wet roads. But our councils have given up on watering these days. On a similar theme of crap from the rider in front. I have coped a spit from a rider in front during one of our club rides. You bet I wasn't too pleased. If one wants to do those, then it's either at the tail of the bunch or move further aside and get the technique perfect. :evil:


And if someone moves out, you don't follow them

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Postby sogood » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:39 pm

mikesbytes wrote:And if someone moves out, you don't follow them

I won't name names but the guy spat right in the middle of the bunch.
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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:02 pm

sogood wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:And if someone moves out, you don't follow them

I won't name names but the guy spat right in the middle of the bunch.


Yuck

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Eyes on the rider's ass?

Postby purplegolden » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:03 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. Not sure if I can ride by just looking at the ass of the person in front of me - alluring as it may be - I am still fixated on the tyres.

Next group ride tomorrow!
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