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How To Ride Bikes in a Group

Updated On: May 2, 2023

Chances are, you've seen a large column of bikers speeding down the road in matching jerseys at some point. It may seem like this is a specialized skill, but cycling in a group has many advantages over going solo. 

Why Do Bikers Ride in Groups?

From the Tour de France to your local bike club, group bike rides are common place all across the world. Here are the top reasons cyclists ride in a group:

  1. Riding in a group makes it easier for cars to see you. A distracted driver may miss one cyclist in their blind spot, but a large group riding abreast (next to each other on the road) is impossible not to see. 
  2. Group bike rides foster friendships and build memories. A scenic bike trip allows you to appreciate the ride with others, and shared experiences are a great way to build a bond. 
  3. Headwinds are easier to manage. When riding a bike alone into a headwind, you're fighting against all of the force alone. Riding in formations allows bikers to trade off that responsibility for longer, more comfortable journeys. 

Is It Safer To Cycle in a Group?

Yes, there are many safety advantages to riding in a group. As mentioned before, you're less likely to face problems from inattentive drivers. Drivers will also give more room when overtaking multiple cyclists, rather than cutting it close. In a group ride, you'll have people looking out for you in the case of a crash or medical emergency. 

How Should You Ride While Cycling With a Group?

Cycling in a group is a skill that takes time to master. Different groups will have different preferences for how you ride. If your group is "no-drop," feel free to take it easy and catch up to the pack at a break. In a "drop" group, keep pace. 

How Do You Ride a Paceline?

The paceline how cyclists in a group organize themselves and distribute the headwind. One rider in front will do the majority of the work while other riders fit behind in a column, staying within the lead rider's slipstream. Every few minutes, the rider in front will fall back and the next in line will take the lead. 

Relax and flow with the group to master the paceline. Stay steady on the handlebars and move up at the group's pace. After you've done your turn at the front, shift slightly to the side and reduce your speed gradually until you reach the back. Then, slot yourself in behind the last rider. 

Group Ride Etiquette Tips

Here are some common sense tips to make a group trip more pleasant. 

  1. Avoid sudden movements. Ride in a predictable way and don't take other cyclists off-guard with turns or dramatic changes in speed. 
  2. Don't tailgate. Keep a bit of distance between your bike and the rider ahead of you. Never overlap tires. 
  3. Stay aware of others in the group. Keep your attention open on all sides, and don't "zone out" like you might on a solo ride. 

Safety Tips To Consider When Cycling in a Group

Cycling in a group is generally more safe, but a crash can have larger consequences. Make sure your bike is completely up to snuff before a group ride. Choose roads and lanes wide enough to safely accommodate everyone. If you're a beginner, double-check that you're capable of the route before agreeing to join. 

Organizing a Group Bike Ride

To organize a group ride, reach out to your local cycling community either in person or online. Test your route before proposing it to the group, and form a group chat to solidify dates and times. 

If you've never cycled in a group, it's worth trying. Group rides are a fun way to connect with others, stay safe and go on longer rides than you'd be able to tackle alone. 


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