Riding in a group (or as a group) requires some additional skills and knowledge compared to solo riding – and this applies to both riding on the road and mountain biking.
Two essential principles of group riding are being predictable and communicating. However, riding etiquette includes several additional safety measures, group riding techniques, as well as basic calls and signals.
If you’re planning on riding in a group any time soon, it is essential to get to know them to ensure safe and enjoyable riding experiences with your fellow bike enthusiasts. Below, you will find key information and safety guidelines for managing group rides successfully – make sure to check them out to keep yourself and the participants around you safe.
Before the Group Ride: Make Sure to Prepare Your Bicycle
The first thing you should do before the group ride is to prepare your bicycle, as well as yourself physically. For example, make sure your bike is in good working order, the tires are properly inflated, and the brakes are not too worn out.
You should also check that the chain is lubricated and the chainrings, derailleur, and other parts are in working order. It doesn’t matter if you have a second-hand old bike, or the best MTB under 2000 – it won’t make any difference if you’re unprepared.
That being said, remember to check out your helmet and other safety gear, too. In particular, your helmet should be a sturdy, protective one that fits you correctly and has not been damaged by accidents or falls.
Communication & Predictability: Two Key Principles of Group Riding
Communication and predictability are two major principles of group riding, so make sure you keep them in mind at all times. When communicating with other riders, use hand signals and calls to warn them about upcoming maneuvers or hazards – a wave of the hand or a thumbs-up signal usually does the trick. Also, make sure you never shout at other riders because it might distract them and cause an accident.
When it comes to predictability, always follow the instructions of the leader and try not to deviate from the chosen route or any agreed-upon stops. As a rule of thumb, if you deviate from the group, you should let everyone around you know by calling out that you’re doing so (e.g., “slowing down” or “stopping”). This way, nobody will be surprised by your sudden maneuvering.
Safe Passing Distance: Maintain Proper Distance
One of the most important things while riding on the road (or on MTB trails) is to maintain a safe distance from other people and vehicles – both when passing them or being passed. This means you should always leave a safe passing distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you and don’t get too close to other riders.
Avoid weaving through traffic or riding right next to another person – this puts you at a higher risk of getting hit by other vehicles. Instead, stay far enough behind or ahead of other vehicles to be able to react in case something goes wrong. Remember that even if you’re on a mountain bike trail, you’re still sharing space with other users and vehicles – so be sure to be aware of what’s going on around you at all times!
Always Stay Alert: Watch out for Hazards & Road Conditions
During group riding, it is essential to always stay alert and watch for potential hazards or road conditions. If there is a pothole or a curb insight, point it out to other riders in your group and be ready to take evasive actions if necessary. It is also essential to watch out for water puddles or slippery surface areas that could cause accidents like slipping or sliding.
Keep in mind that you need to pay attention to what’s going on around you at all times!
Be Prepared & Enjoy the Ride!
Finally, if you’re planning on riding in a group, make sure you know what group riding etiquette is all about and follow these guidelines at all times:
- Never overtake recklessly or pass other riders just to show off.
- Make sure to communicate with others in the group by calling out where you’re stopping or slowing down.
- Always maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and riders.
- Never ride next to another rider – instead, stay a few feet behind or ahead of them.
- Be prepared by knowing how to handle an emergency situation, like a flat tire.
- Always wear a bright vest or rear blinking light so you can be seen by everyone around you.
- Make sure your helmet is sturdy and in good condition and that it fits properly.
- Remember to take regular breaks throughout the ride – especially if you’re riding in hot weather!
Group biking is a great way to enjoy the open road with your friends and family members. In particular, it’s a great way to explore new places, meet new people and have some fun – that said, it is essential to know how to ride in a group safely and effectively. For example, make sure you keep an eye out for hazards when on the road, as well as look out for other riders and drivers.
Also, remember that communication is essential – whether it’s by announcing your intentions or by keeping everyone in the group informed. Finally, always make sure your bike is in good working order and that you’re properly prepared before the group ride.