SmarterCycling in groups
Faster, more convenient, more enjoyable, safer
SmarterCycling offers many practical tips for cycling in groups
Anticipating any changes. “Zipping” (i.e. going from double to single file). Room to move. Echelon riding. Cornering techniques. Dealing with any power differences. Signaling. Climbing and descending. Dealing with other road users. Route planning. And many other topics.
All texts are animated by explanatory images.
Cycling in a group can be great. Compared to riding alone, riding in a pack has the advantage of greatly increased speed using the same effort. Riders at the front having to pedal harder than those sheltering from the wind at the back. The reward may simply lie in increased efficiency, but the reduced effort could eventually yield a victory at the village sign. Paradoxically, in cycling cooperation and competition do not exclude each other. Most of the time there is some form of collaboration, alliances made and unmade as the rider goes along, which makes cycling often playful and fun.
Whenever cycling in a group, keep in mind that your safety is not always in your own hands. Because of the proximity of other riders, you depend on them for your safety, but also on other road users. Indeed when you are riding in a pack you need to be very aware of other road users, more so on busy roads during beautiful weather and at weekends. Nonetheless, riding in a Smarter Cycling group can often be safer than riding alone.
Groups vary greatly. Some groups operate organically, smoothly, hardly needing any correction or shouted instructions. But the problem is how to reach this level of organization and maintain it? This site aims to provide some useful tips and some tricks of the trade.
For many, mastering the intricacies of group riding does not come naturally, it is an acquired skill. Do check: psychology of cycling/learning And please note, even skilled cyclists are not always consistent in their attitudes; people may act differently than how they intend. See: psychology of cycling/mindset and group dynamics
Please ensure that your bike is always in good working order. Needless to say, when riding in a group, always wear a helmet!
Even though this site is allied to a Dutch site, cyclists from other countries who ride in groups may benefit as well. Of course Holland and Flanders are relatively flat and exposed to the wind, so echelon riding is a very useful skill to cyclists from these countries. Yet Dutch and Flemish riders love riding up and down hills as much as anyone and because of this a large section on climbing and descending is included.
Do remember to transpose “right hand” for “left hand” whenever appropriate, for example at ‘blind corners.’
Do make yourself aware of regulations and local custom wherever you go. Most (mutual) irritations, annoyances, and dangerous situations can be avoided with proper awareness and training.
The site in some ways resembles Wikipedia. New sections are regularly posted and existing sections expanded and images added.
Work in progress. Would you like to contribute? Comment? Please do!
The SmarterCycling site will continually be added to and improved. For those who would like to get involved: we welcome any comments. Please create (or find) pictures, videos, drawings or animations. In addition, we’d also like to receive suggestions for improvements and/or clarifications to the articles.
Please send your comments and suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun and cycle smarter!