Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

Teaching how to ride behind somebody

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

Teaching how to ride behind somebody

Old 06-10-17, 02:51 PM
  #1  
practical
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Middelbury, Vermont
Posts: 1,105

Bikes: Giant Escape 1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Teaching how to ride behind somebody

Today I attended a group ride sponsored by the local biking club for new riders who want to go on group rides and need to know how to ride in a group. I organize a lot of group rides and thought it might be a good idea to see what this club promotes. The advice was very superficial.

The leader spoke about hand signals while riding. Nothing wrong that and it's always good to be courteous t the riders behind you. The problem with this advice is that 1. hand signalling is not always possible or safe; and 2. it misdirects the responsiblity for safety away from the person riding behind the other person. When you are riding behind someone, you have to expect the unexpected and be able to safely adjust.

I would have preferred that the advice be focused on how to safely ride behind other people. 1. Pay attention. Notice what the person ahead of you, as well as other users of the road, are doing. 2. Anticipate. Expect people to slow down and stop as they come to an intersection. If you need them to signal or tell you this, you're a bad cyclist. 3. Give yourself some place to go. This means you shouldn't bike directly behind someone - ride a little to their left or give them more room. 4. Announce yourself when passing. "On your left" is pretty universal. Never pass on the right. Announce "car back".

I think I should organize a workshop that teaches the "riding behind" skills (as well as others). Any other safety tips you would offer?
practical is offline  
Old 06-10-17, 03:13 PM
  #2  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,463
Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1001 Post(s)
Liked 196 Times in 147 Posts
I think you misunderstood the concept of group riding.
That wasn't a course for casual group riding - for which your comments would have made sense, it was a course for competitive, "performance" group riding.
In that regard, the contents sound fairly normal.


A big thing in competitive group or peloton riding is drafting, using the guy ahead as shield from air drag. That works better the closer you're packed together. If you want to be spaced out far enough to be able to see dangers yourself, you lose a lot of drafting advantage.
If you're in anything resembling a race, being the only group using a "sensible" rider spacing might save your skin, but kill your hopes of a competitive result.
So to ride efficiently, you have to trust the riders ahead of you.
dabac is online now  
Old 06-10-17, 05:25 PM
  #3  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,403

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4004 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,156 Posts
There are family friendly group rides in my area for this sort of thing. They emphasize a careful pace, safety, and use the multi-use path only for these rides.

As an experienced rider who's comfortable in casual groups I haven't attended those rides. I do participate in several casual paced group rides a year, including at night.

I haven't participated in fast pace lines or crits in decades and have no interest in those activities again, and the dynamics are completely different.

Ideally a safe casual group will have a leader -- with clear instructions that no one in the group is to pass the leader, other than designated corkers or safety monitors (in our area those are occasionally uniformed bicycle police patrol officers). There should also be a designated tailgunner, sweep, caboose, whatever you want to call it -- someone to monitor the back of the pack and relay instructions and radio ahead if there's an accident or mechanical problem.

Eventually these casual group rides *should* include public streets. This helps reinforce safe practices including staying clear of the door zone, taking the lane where appropriate, avoiding road hazards (potholes, ruts that can trap wheels, etc.) safely without swerving into fellow riders, etc. Most areas will have a neighborhood where it's reasonably safe for inexperienced group riders.

If the ride includes public streets there should also be two corkers or traffic monitors to keep the group together through intersections. (And I'm not interested in any arguments about whether this is polite, acceptable, etc. We do it. For large group rides it's often handled by local uniformed bicycle police patrol officers. Do what you like in your city. This is how we do it here and it works just fine.)

If your group is small enough you won't need corkers. A group of half a dozen or so riders should be able to stay together through intersections. And that's probably a good size for teaching rookies the basics of casual group rides.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-10-17, 06:02 PM
  #4  
practical
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Middelbury, Vermont
Posts: 1,105

Bikes: Giant Escape 1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
I think you misunderstood the concept of group riding.
That wasn't a course for casual group riding - for which your comments would have made sense, it was a course for competitive, "performance" group riding.
In that regard, the contents sound fairly normal.
No, this was instructions for new riders riding in groups on the road. But thanks.
practical is offline  
Old 06-10-17, 07:59 PM
  #5  
1nterceptor
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,782

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 30 Posts
Hand signals are pretty common on group rides; sometimes people will call out "Hole, right"
if they're uncomfortable taking their hand off the bars to point. Some might even do both; point
and shout.

If there are thousands of riders in front of you; getting a heads up on potential issues (grates,
holes, waterbottle, etc.); is always welcome.

1nterceptor is offline  
Old 06-10-17, 08:07 PM
  #6  
ypsetihw
Senior Member
 
ypsetihw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 1,109

Bikes: s-1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 221 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I hate when people yell. I did a charity century a couple weeks ago and every fred was SCREAMING out every crack, hold, cover, and bit of gravel, and most of the time they did this while on flat straight road, but never in corners. oh and we were going about 17mph. idiots.

your general advice was ok, but I like what you had to add. and you should also talk, in detail, about drafting. most important to following, is following a good wheel, and that means teaching people how to be a good wheel. teach them how to pick a good line, and then they can be trusted to be followed. I dunno, I don't trust anyone that I don't know, and when you're experienced, you can tell if they know what they are doing within the first half mile.

it's hard to quantify, but if I were to say what makes a good pack rider, I'd say they should know "everything" and YMMV on what that means
ypsetihw is offline  
Old 06-11-17, 01:01 AM
  #7  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,403

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4004 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,156 Posts
Calling out road hazards can be helpful at night, but mostly I just point. That's good enough for most minor hazards.

Too many oral cues in a large group can be confusing, especially among riders who aren't familiar with each other. Usually I'll call out a hazard only when it's unsafe to take my hands off the bars to point -- on turns, braking, etc.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-11-17, 01:53 PM
  #8  
CB HI
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,643
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1314 Post(s)
Liked 90 Times in 57 Posts
If you cannot use simple hand signals to point out a hazard in a group ride, 'then your the bad cyclist'.
__________________
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
CB HI is offline  
Old 06-11-17, 10:12 PM
  #9  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 7,278

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1484 Post(s)
Liked 819 Times in 436 Posts
Originally Posted by practical View Post
I would have preferred that the advice be focused on how to safely ride behind other people. 1. Pay attention. Notice what the person ahead of you, as well as other users of the road, are doing. 2. Anticipate. Expect people to slow down and stop as they come to an intersection. If you need them to signal or tell you this, you're a bad cyclist. 3. Give yourself some place to go. This means you shouldn't bike directly behind someone - ride a little to their left or give them more room. 4. Announce yourself when passing. "On your left" is pretty universal. Never pass on the right. Announce "car back".

I think I should organize a workshop that teaches the "riding behind" skills (as well as others). Any other safety tips you would offer?
I think you got it, practical. Proper gap and attention is all that is needed to remain safe. If any rider can not see and adjust for road conditions on their own they are doing it wrong. I would never rely on others for my safety.

Originally Posted by dabac View Post
A big thing in competitive group or peloton riding is drafting, using the guy ahead as shield from air drag. That works better the closer you're packed together. If you want to be spaced out far enough to be able to see dangers yourself, you lose a lot of drafting advantage.
If you're in anything resembling a race, being the only group using a "sensible" rider spacing might save your skin, but kill your hopes of a competitive result.
So to ride efficiently, you have to trust the riders ahead of you.
Yep, and accept the risks that go along with riding in tight, high speed packs. No thanks.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
TimothyH
Road Cycling
135
09-17-18 07:44 PM
freedomrider1
Fifty Plus (50+)
50
11-10-13 12:44 PM
Manweiser
Road Cycling
29
08-10-13 05:21 PM
kinofaucet
Southern California
3
08-08-11 09:53 AM
IronMac
General Cycling Discussion
21
01-26-10 07:23 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.