For most cyclists, group rides are an inevitable part of both competitive and recreational riding. Whether it’s a social family outing group ride to the ice cream shop or a 25-mile training sprint with a group of competitive cyclists, there are certain rules of the road that must be followed. Group rides, especially in Florida, get a lot of backlash. Drivers who do not understand the rules of the road look at group rides as dangerous, inconvenient obstacles to overcome as they drive from one place to another. Riding etiquette is an important aspect of group rides for both the cyclists in the group and the drivers on the roads that they ride. Florida cyclists who ride in groups are given a huge responsibility: uphold the image of the Sunshine State’s cycling community.
Cycling etiquette is critical to the safety of every group ride. It the duty of the more experienced riders to make sure that every member of the club or group is well-versed so that all participants are safe. The following are some of the most important group ride safety tips:
- Always ride bar-to-bar with the cyclist next to you – riders should be riding side by side in a two by two formation
- Never peel off without warning, make sure that the riders behind you know that you are going to steadily peel off to the back
- Once the riders in front of you peel off, it is your responsibility to pull through and keep the group riding along at a solid pace
- Group rides are not races, be sure to stay with the group pace
- Fill gaps as much as possible
- Use hand signals to notify riders behind about slowing speeds, holes on the road, etc.
- Avoid yelling to the riders behind you, they can rarely hear what is being said
- Maintain your bicycle just slightly to the side of the cyclist in front of you to avoid a crash when slowing occurs
- Always be predictable when in traffic
- Avoid any overlap from your front wheel and the rear wheel of the cyclist in front
- While controversial, it is best not to ride in aero bars when you are following another rider closely
- Be aware of the grade of your group – do not attempt to ride with a group above your pay grade
Riding in groups is an excellent way to engage in the local cycling community, push your personal bests, and improve overall. In Florida, understanding and applying group ride safety rules is absolutely imperative for the well-being of all involved. Never be afraid to speak up if your group is not following the rules.