View Full Version : new to road

06-22-2003, 08:59 AM
I could use some advice on road riding. I decided to start riding on the road a few times a week for fun and to add to my mt. bike fitness, but it really scared me. What are some of the road rules and tips that you have found useful. What should I watch out for. I am starting easy on the country road with a huge shoulder. What else do I need to know?

06-22-2003, 10:34 AM
Hey, that's terrific! When I ride by myself I try to make eye contact with drivers. I smile a lot and occasionally wave. It seems to make for good Karma as I have yet to have any nasty incidents. Wear bright colors too. I tend to ride where I know the roads pretty well - either from driving them or biking them. Knowing the road seems to help with anticpating any problems - blind corners, driveways, incoming roads etc. Although I did go out exploring one day and that was lot of fun too.

I have started riding with a local club either by myself or Thom and I join them on the tandem. That's really been great. They push me (us) to ride a little faster than normal in a good way. :) They are also really cool about looking out for the group. It's introduced me to some roads that I now feel comfortable on by myself.

It's funny I've been thinking about getting back into mountain biking. I didn't really care for it when we started riding 12 years ago. I think I wasn't strong enough, I know I lacked confidence. I was so happy when we put slicks on the mountain bikes and never put the knobbies back on. Now I look at all the trails around here and think, "Wow, what a great way to get out into nature."


06-22-2003, 11:04 AM

06-22-2003, 11:32 AM
my bike club sent out this article after a bunch of gals were seriously injured in a pile up

How to Ride in a Paceline

By Fred Matheny of www.RoadBikeRider.com

Solo rides are a great part of the cycling experience. Nothing beats
cruising along and looking at the scenery, or attacking a climb at your own
pace and intensity.

But riding with a small group can be even more fun. You cover ground faster,
meet people, and experience the thrill of shared effort.

Paceline riding isn't difficult to learn. Here are the basic skills:

1. Riding a Straight Line
Start by learning to ride like you're on a rail. Practice by holding your
line during solo rides. Put your wheel on the road's white edge line and
keep it there. Relax your upper body, keep a light grip on the handlebar,
and fix your peripheral vision on the line. Keep your actual focus 20 or 30
feet in front of the bike. Remember, the bike will go where your eyes go.

2. Following a Wheel
Drafting another rider saves you at least 15 percent in energy output. It's
foolish to be bucking the wind all the time when you're with other riders.
Share the work by drafting them and letting them draft you.

Position your front wheel 1 to 3 feet behind the rear wheel you're
following. The closer the better, in terms of the draft, but closer also
requires a lot more attention. When necessary, turn the cranks without
putting pressure on the pedals ("soft pedal") to maintain correct spacing.

Use the brakes sparingly. Jerky braking creates chain reaction problems for
riders behind you. If you need to brake, feather the levers lightly instead
of clutching at them.

If a gap opens, don't make things worse by accelerating too hard,
overrunning the wheel in front, then grabbing the brakes. Instead, ease back
up to the rider in front. If you don't become proficient at following a
wheel, you can waste more energy than you save by constant yo-yoing.

Look past the rider directly in front. Don't stare down at his rear wheel or
you won't see things that may cause him to brake or swerve.

3. Paceline Pointers
First rule: Be predictable. Close riding demands that everyone be on the
same wavelength. There must be a basic understanding of what is and is not
expected behavior in a given circumstance. Experience helps.

Don't accelerate when it's your turn at the front. Note your cyclecomputer's
mph and maintain the group's speed when the lead rider pulls off.

After your own bout against the wind, pull off to the side agreed upon and
stay close to the others as you soft pedal and slide back to the rear of the
paceline. This enhances the drafting effect for the whole group. It also
keeps everyone as far out of the traffic flow as possible, making paceline
riding possible even on busier roads.

As you come abreast of the last rider in the line, pick up speed and then
slide over behind his wheel as he comes past. When done correctly you won't
need an energy-wasting acceleration in order to latch back on. Once in the
caboose position you can take a drink or stand to stretch without disrupting
the paceline's smoothness.

Protect your front wheel. If your rear wheel is struck a fall is unlikely
because it has nothing to do with steering the bike. However, if your front
wheel is contacted it will often be twisted off line faster than you can
react. You'll almost certainly go down. Help prevent this by never
overlapping someone's rear wheel.

06-22-2003, 05:36 PM

If you can ride on low-traffic roads, so much the better. But even then, always be listening for traffic. I highly recommend a rear-view mirror of some sort. I have one that clips onto my sunglasses. Don't remember the brand name, but it is a square mirror, not one of the round ones. Tried those, hated them. This one is great. It is secure on the glasses, I can see the entire road behind me with barely a head twitch to the side. I feel much safer knowing what's coming up behind me.

I second the idea of finding a group to ride with that knows roads in the area that are good to bike on. Once you get comfortable, you can start to branch out on new roads. Have fun!

06-23-2003, 06:20 AM
Lots of great advice in this thread! Only thing I can add .... I try to make my movements very obvious to drivers. And good advice on the eye contact. The bike club advice is great .... better to be in a group. Biggest thing I do .... I never ride alone on the road. I guess I'm lucky .... my husband loves to bike as much as I do and we always ride together or with friends.

06-23-2003, 02:02 PM
my advice is a little more superficial. keep your eyes peeled for velo hotties. they make the fear subside a little. love those shaved legs.

06-26-2003, 04:09 AM
Ah yes - good advice Goddess 1222. Always important to keep an eye out for tottie.

My tip for road riding, don't ride too near the edge of the road. This might not apply where you guys are but here in England a lot of the roads, even main roads, are quite narrow, many of them don't have hard shoulders, and some drives like to force their way past you.

While you don't want to ride in the middle of the road, I try not to get too close to the edge either. Not only is the edge usually covered in all kind of road debris just waiting to give you a puncture, but if a car does go by a bit close I've got space to move away.

Oh yes - and watch those speed limits.:D Can they book you for speeding on a road bike??:p

06-26-2003, 06:13 AM
Oh yes - and watch those speed limits. Can they book you for speeding on a road bike??


One of the little towns we went through in South Carolina promised to do just that! I'm was too slow anyway, but the ride organizers did warn everybody ahead of time!!

06-26-2003, 06:38 AM
my sister was booked for running a stop sign on her bike, in Palo Alto, CA a very "bike savvy" town.


06-26-2003, 07:49 AM
I always say that in tight , high traffic spaces that you shouldn't be afraid to "take the lane". If i'm worried about traffic trying to squeeze by me when there isn't much of a shoulder (if any) for me to ride on I always scoot myself into a very visible spot--in the center if not even slightly to the left of the center of the lane to make myself visible. Even if traffic needs to get stacked up behind me for a little while it's better than us trying to share the road in a place that is not big enough for both of us...because if push comes to shove--the car will win!

06-27-2003, 12:46 AM
In England a good proportion of drivers seem to think cyclist have no rights to be on the road, so while I never go out of my way to be purposely obstructive, I always remind myself I have as much right as them.

A few weeks ago I was out riding in the countryside near my parents, and the roads are quite narrow and windy with high hedges.

It was mid afternoon and I was trying to stay out in the road a bit, because the hedges were so over grown cars can't see you on the corners. I was aware a lorry had been behind me for a little while and as he hadn't just tried to barge past me I thought I'd pull in and let him go round.

Good job I did - there was an almighty queue of cars and trucks behind him, but I gave the lorry driver a thumbs up for not trying to force his way past me. The evil streak in me also felt quite smug that just little me, on my good old bike, had managed to cause such a massive queue.:D