Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Group Ride Etiquette

How you want to ride is your business, but there are a few common things you might be doing that will annoy the people riding with you. I'm not being a jerk or judgmental. I've done 99% of this stuff before...most of it over and over again.

1. If you are on a group ride with me, wear a helmet. I don't want to be the one wrapping your head up with my jersey to keep you alive until the ambulance arrives. If you don't want to wear a helmet, that is your choice, but don't try to ride with me.

2. Try to ride 2 abreast when you can. The tempo will inevitably get fast enough that it goes single file. That is fine. When it slows down, form two lines again.

3. If you are up front, don't attack every climb and coast down the backside. If you aren't pedaling, you aren't training. If you are in the back and the guy up front is coasting down the hill, you'll have to ride your brakes all the way to the bottom.

4. Bring your own flat repair stuff. I've been guilty of this before :(

5. If you are too tired to pull, you don't have to pull. When you get up to 2nd wheel, pull out and head to the back sometime before the guy in the front tries to pull off. This will keep the flow of the group from being interrupted.

6. Know where the wind is coming from. If the wind is coming from your left, don't hug the curb and gutter your friends (unless you are trying to drop them). If the wind is coming from your right, don't hug the yellow line.

7. Be aware of where your snot/spit goes.

8. If the group stops to pee or regroup, do what you need to do and then get ready to go again so that they are not waiting on you.

9. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed if you get gapped or dropped. We've all had bad days and we've all had good days. Next time try to ride more conservatively and hang in longer.

10. Don't gripe about people on TT bikes. You sound like an elitist. If they are riding sketchy, let them know, but that goes for anybody regardless of what type of bike the are on. If they are in their aerobars at the front of the pack, that is fine. If they are in the middle, nicely tell them it is dangerous.

Edit: Some people are interpreting #10 as me saying it is okay to ride in the aero position in the middle of the pack. That is not what I'm saying. Being in your aerobars in a group is dangerous. The time it takes to get your hands back to the brake levers is too long, and if somebody slows down quickly in front of you, you can hurt a lot of people. If you see somebody riding IN the aerobars, ask them to sit up and explain to them why it is dangerous.

What I am saying is just because they are on a TT bike doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to ride in a group, as long as they stay up on their pursuit bars. I've heard from multiple triathletes who are great cyclists that roadies started talking smack as soon as they rolled in on their TT bike. I don't see a reason for that. We're all cyclists and we can ride together as long we're safe about it. Getting mad, yelling at the person, or not letting them ride with you at all isn't the answer. Educate them on why it is dangerous and I bet they won't do it anymore, and they won't even think you're an elitist.


  1. Great post! I think think the problems stem from roadies that haven't ridden with a rider with group experience and a properly setup TT bike. Here in Florida there seems to generally be a much different attitude towards TT bikes from the roadies, possibly because of the increased number of experienced pro triahtletes.

    Also, just wanted to add that when my wrists need a break, I like to ride 3 bike lengths or more off the back in aero, so I can still draft, but at a safe distance.

  2. I think one of the best group rides we've (Tom's in Tulsa) had recently included two people (out of twenty or so) on TT bikes. I do agree with you there. Well said. Us roadies should not immediately discount someone's group riding ability just because they show up on a TT bike.

    All of the other 'rules' or perfect.