BUNCH RIDING ETIQUETTE
There are many benefits of bunch riding:
The social aspect makes long rides more enjoyable,
The sharing of the workload on the front of the bunch,
The development of group riding skills that are essential for racing and endurance rides,
The visibility and safety in numbers.
Riding safely in bunches depends on all members of the group adhering to the road rules and correct cycling etiquette The main challenge with large bunch rides on the roads is the pressure for riders to stay with the bunch. This pressure builds and riders may break traffic rules, run red lights and generally behave in a way that puts themselves, other riders and other road users at risk. The consequences of not obeying road rules and bunch etiquette can be serious and cause accidents.
Here are some tips the bunch rides at Cam’s Cycle Coaching adhere to so they can enjoy their rides safely:
Be aware and courteous of all riders in the bunch.
Communicate – always point and call out obstacles and directions loud and clear, both forward and back through the bunch.
Relax – trust other riders, use your brakes minimally and don’t tense at your hands/arms/elbows/shoulders. Legally we can ride two abreast, however at times there needs to be common sense used, sometimes single file may be more appropriate. When riding give yourself a little bit of space, do not hug the gutter. By allowing a little space from the gutter you have room to move left or right to avoid any obstacles, enabling cars to drive around you rather than squeezing through.
No half wheeling. Ride beside the person next to you, not in front or behind them. Ride handle bar to handle bar, side by side with about a metre between you.
Ensure you always hold the wheel. You should ride about half a metre behind the wheel in front looking through the helmet so you can see what is happening in the bunch, don’t look at the wheel in front.
Always pedal when you are riding on the front of the bunch, especially downhill, to minimise the amount of slowing and/or braking in the bunch.
If the bunch is two abreast and there is no rider beside you signal for someone to move forward to fill the gap, enabling the bunch to remain orderly and safe.
Keep the pace smooth and steady at all times. This makes the bunch more predictable, for the riders and passing traffic.
Obey all road rules. Bikes are vehicles and as a vehicle on the road, the same road rules apply.
If the bunch does split up, (eg. some riders don’t make it through a change of lights) slow down, or in some cases stop at the first opportunity, safely off the road to allow the bunch to regroup.
Avoid sudden braking or changes in direction.
Follow the direction of the coach as the safety of the bunch is their priority.
Everyone can have a turn at the front even if for only a short time, while on the front you are the eyes and ears of the bunch.
The change over procedure is easy. The rider on the front right moves to the front left by slightly accelerating and moving over to the left while the rider on the right moves forward to the front. The right side of the bunch moves forward while the left side of the bunch moves back. At the back of the bunch on the left you move to the right and start moving forward again as the rider in front of you moves forward, the bunch always remains two abreast. If the pace is too fast for you to take a turn at the front then ask to stay at the back. The coach may encourage you to have a turn even if only to learn techniques for changing positions in the bunch.
Be aware of the roll back, when the rider in front gets out of the saddle to ride up an incline, and the back wheel momentarily comes back. If the rider following is a little too close they may need to take evasive action.
Passing a rider or another bunch on the left is inappropriate. The left of a bunch is to be considered an escape route.
When traffic stops in front of the bunch, the bunch should remain two abreast behind the queued traffic, unless the coach indicates otherwise for safety reasons.
Whilst riding in a bunch it is etiquette for no cyclist to be down on their aero bars, using ear phones or a mobile phone.
Keep your bike regularly serviced, clean and with good tyres as the safety of the bunch relies on each rider being responsible.