Safety Tips for Group Ride Success

Now that we’re well into the racing season, many of you will likely be heading out on the roads on some group rides. Group rides can be lots of fun and safe by following these simple tips:
-Have a Plan: You should always have a clear plan for what your ride is going to entail before you set off. Whether it’s a casual endurance paced ride, or a hold on for dear life suffer fest, making sure everyone is on the same page before the ride starts will avoid confusion out on the road.
-Don’t Overlap Wheels: While riding in a pace line, it’s important to avoid overlapping wheels with the rider in front of you. If the rider ahead shifts to avoid a road hazard, or swerves grabbing their water bottle, their back wheel could come in contact with your front wheel, causing you to lose control. Always remain behind the rider in front of you, at a distance that you’re comfortable with.
-No Aerobars in the Pace-line!: I might catch some flack for this one, but simple fact of the matter is that the use of aerobars is unsafe in a group ride situation. When you’re in your aerobars, you have less control of the bike, it’s much harder to point out hazards in the road, and your brakes levers aren’t readily accessible for emergency stops. We live in an area with long, flat roads, but it only takes a second of inattention to cause an accident. A fun way to do a group ride while still riding tri-bikes is to do a series of intervals, and treat each one as if you’re in a race. By this, I mean keeping a legal drafting distance between you and the rider ahead, and passing when necessary. After each interval, you then regroup for the recovery. This not only keeps things safe, but works on race specific skills at the same time.