GROUP RIDING ETIQUETTE
This is not my advice. I took it from a really good book on cycling; Training for Cycling. The Ultimate Guide to Improved Performance by Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. If youre just starting riding seriously this is really good read. There are stories about both the authors and their racing careers and some really good training advice. Quite a good read, really. Anyway, this is taken directly from the book (and reproduced without permission)
GROUP RIDING ETIQUETTE
One of your obligations when you ride in a pack is to point out or call out road hazards. Dont just look out for yourself; be courteous of those behind you. If you spot a rock or rough road surface and it is easy to point out do so. If it endangers you to point, call out loudly. But dont be like the boy that cried wolf you cant call out every speck of gravel. Your obligation is to call out threatening obstacles. Its your decision, but if you keep telling out nonhazards no one is going to listen to you when something important comes along.
Another obligation is to prevent gaps from opening between you and the rider in front of you. Of course, there will be times when you cannot sustain the pace but if this occurs on a regular basis and you are riding like a yo-yo, you might better spend your time at the back of the pack learning to ride comfortably behind the wheel in front of you. That way you wont have to worry about the riders behind you, since there wont be any.
When it is your turn to pull through (take the position at the front of the paceline), maintain the same speed as when you were drafting. The normal temptation is to speed up. Nothing destroys a paceline faster than an ever-escalating pace. If you have a handlebar computer, monitor the pace until your sense of pace is well established. You wont prove anything with an overzealous pull at the front during a training ride.
You should always pull through, even in a race, because it helps to keep the pace going. That does not mean you are obligated to pull along; if you are struggling, you can go to the front and pull off quickly. If you truly cannot maintain the pace, you are better off sitting on the back of the group. This practise of sitting in, or wheelsucking as it is called, will make you pretty unpopular in a race especially if you are in a breakaway or a motivated chase group. Your riding partners want you to work, not rest. However, it is a better tactic to sit on the back than to die and get dropped because you pulled at the front. Just be prepared for some venomous words from your riding partners.
Dont half-wheel the rider next to you. When you ride a two-by-two, your goal is to ride even with your partner, hub to hub, handlebar to handlebar. Many riders have the annoying habit of always riding a half wheel ahead of their riding partner. Most people dont even realize they are half-wheeling. This is aggravating. You partner might continually, try to ride next to you, but you keep inching forward, escalating the pace and driving your riding partner nuts. This is an easy habit to break one its recognized.
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