View Full Version : Tips: Teaching new riders group ride behavior

05-17-2006, 10:13 AM
DH and I are going to help a local group of kids train for a ride event later this summer. This will probably be the first group ride for all, so we wanted to have some bike safety talks before heading out. I've found a few good websites that I'm consolidating ideas from, but don't want to miss anything!

What would you want a new rider to know before they ride with you?

I'll start
-Hold your line
-Point out hazzards

05-17-2006, 10:31 AM
ride single file
notify when there is a "car up"

05-17-2006, 10:33 AM
This is a pretty good compilation:


05-17-2006, 10:37 AM
"point out hazards".... only if you feel comfortable doing so. If you know you'll swerve even just a bit when lifting one hand from the handlebar, don't do it, because you'd be creating a bigger hazard.

Otherwise call them out.

Potholes do not necessarily need to be called out, unless the pack is going at a very very high speed.... Glass, metal objects, sand, etc. should be.

Signal stopping or call "STOPPING". In a big group, it is useful to signal by raising your arm vertically with an open palm instead of keeping it low, in your back, so people far behind will get the signal too.

When there are a few cars parked on the right-hand side of the road, DO NOT change your line to get closer to the curb/sidewalk when there are no cars. Just hold your line, as if you always had cars parked to the side, until you get to an area with no cars at all. (Cars coming from behind won't see you if you keep swerving between parked cars.)

Do not look at the person's wheel, but through her hips. Staring at the wheel will make you micro-correct your trajectory and in the end swerving all over the place.

Stay focused but enjoyed the ride. :)

05-17-2006, 02:23 PM
NEVER half wheel

05-17-2006, 05:07 PM
Please teach them never to call "clear" as they cross a road or make a turn to the cyclists behind them. Cars/trucks move quickly and what may have been clear for them may not be clear for the cyclist who is riding behind them.

Teach them to call out when the pass another cyclist and to use proper hand signals. Finally, tell them to have fun!

05-17-2006, 07:15 PM
I talk about the actual route we'll be riding on and the kinds of things they may have to call out/ deal with along that way - like "when you're out among the cornfields you can go two abreast and chat, but don't turn into a giant amoeba clump, **and** pay lots of attention so that you single up for a car to go by [depends on the road] becuase sometimes we tend to act like we're in a *car* chatting to a passenger when we're riding two abreast, and there are a few fundamental differences involving major structural metalworks not being between us and the other cars and pavement."
Oh, and "announce if you're slowing, stopping, turning, or blowing your nose."
And... when you stop, get ***all the way*** off the road. We tend to think we're in a parking lot sometimes...

05-18-2006, 04:52 AM
What's half wheeling????

I have an idea but am not sure.

The tips are useful for me too as i think one reason i'm not eager to ride in a bunch is i'm unfamiliar with the signals etc...However do you think it goes down to TRUST....?


05-18-2006, 09:36 AM
I lead newbie road rides monthly. Alot of good points have already been mentioned but one I speak about is although I realize people join a club to socialize on our newbie rides I request let's keep the chatting down to a minimum until we reach the coffee stop. Paying attention to the road and road conditions is very important and if chatting, you can't hear the front riders call out hazards. Also, I remind the newbies to repeat a hazard call. In other words if the person in front say "glass right!" you say "Glass right!" as well all the way down the line. Nothing worse then the front riders calling out and no one behind says a thing. The last riders will never know what hit them until its too late. Also this way the newbies are watching arm signals etc.

As to the chatting in a group thing, just recently one of my club riders experienced a bad fall. Riding in a group of about 15, she was second to last. The front riders call out a "channel cut" in the road, but the warning was not repeated. She was chatting and not watching, hit the channel cut and went down, hard. She fracturered her hip. Having had a bad fall myself I'm not one that likes to chat on rides. I want to ride and concentrate on
the road. Newbies need to know there is a time and place for everything. Riding is serious business.

I also ask that newbies (and I 'm assuming we mean newly expereienced riders not someone new to club riding) not pace-line or wheel suck. Pacelining is an art and not for the inexperienced. Riding side by side is OK if the road or bike lane can accomodate, otherwise single file.

05-18-2006, 09:48 AM
I always assumed half-wheeling meant overlapping the bike in front of you by just enough so that you were likelyto knock yourself down (as in "half a wheel") - and if the group is clumpy it's easy to happen. I've also heard, though, that this also refers, in a paceline, to being just a tad out in *front* of the rider next to you (and I assumed that meant at the front of the line, but now I'm not sure) - sort of saying "well, none of you are really going fast enough for me, nyah nyah."

05-18-2006, 11:59 AM
bcipam "Also, I remind the newbies to repeat a hazard call. In other words if the person in front say "glass right!" you say "Glass right!" as well all the way down the line."

Exactly. The information goes up and down the line. Last riders call "car back" and the info moves forward, first riders call hazzards and it moves back, if you see a hand signal in front of you, you do it too, hear it from behind, call out.

For kids it might be fun for them to know that they are learning skills pro riders use in the peloton, obviously Pro riders don't need to call out "stopping" "rolling" I guess but it's based on the way information is shared or at least I think so.

Also could be fun for kids to do part of the ride silently. I noticed on our small ride of silence last night, whoah doggies did people use hand signals and eye contact with each other, small hand signals well.

Depends on how far and how many regroups, on our last TE Bay Area gathering I appreciated how Jobob gave a brief intro to the next portion, pointing out we were likely to see. Even when you've done the route before there's stuff we foget and things change....and you can't keep that all in mind from the start.

05-18-2006, 11:47 PM
What's half wheeling????

I have an idea but am not sure.


Pretty much what Geonz says.

Half wheeling is riding so that that half of your front wheel is beside the back half of the wheel of the rider in front.

It is extremely bad form to do this in a group or a paceline. The danger is that the rider behind taps the wheel of the rider in front. Usually the rider in front is ok, but often the half-wheeler (the one whos front wheel has "tapped" ) will lose control.

If there are only two of you, this is not too serious, but in a pack situation, someone who half-wheels can cause a major pile up.

Acceptable protocol when riding with others is to ride beside (as in parallel) or directly behind.

Hope that helps

05-19-2006, 02:33 PM
Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you!!