It can be difficult to achieve balance during your group cycle ride when you have more experienced riders flying past the newcomers.
However, there are several ways that you can benefit from either helping to lead the slower riders or working towards keeping up with the faster riders of the group.
Read on for our top tips for enjoying a successful group cycle ride.
Don’t be a hero
At one point everyone was a beginner, so don’t be afraid to work less than you normally do when you’re part of a group.
If you’re a newcomer, no-one will make you feel guilty if you decide that you do not want to take a turn at the front first.
If you do decide to lead your group during a turn, only lead for a maximum of 50 or 60 pedal strokes. You can tell your group that is all you can manage at the moment.
Choose your position wisely
Try and pick a position that will place you in the front part of your group.
Think of your group as riding in the shape of the letter ‘V’ when it is inverted. By placing your position strategically behind the riders in the front, you will have the most advantage.
When you are further behind the effort the group will have to pull you along will be reduced. Learning to ride in a group is like learning how to play roulette – once you’ve mastered it, you’ll never forget.
If riding near the front isn’t for you, a back position can give you more space to manoeuvre and you will be able to think more clearly.
Don’t forget the fuel
When you are focused on keeping up with your group, making sure your body is fuelled is usually an afterthought.
This can be can affect your performance during your group ride.
You will find yourself at the back of the group with nothing else to do but eat and drink.
Make sure that you pack quick and easy snacks that can be accessed quickly. Place one or two gel packs into the legs of your shorts. This provides a smooth transition from your hand to your mouth, and you can continue to keep up with your group.
It doesn’t matter if you are the weakest link
If you are no longer able to hold onto the front position, it is unfair to make other riders stay behind you – simply say ‘gap’ and move your position over.
The person behind you can take the lead, and you can work to get yourself back with the group ride.
Remember never take any loss of the group personally. It is not productive or healthy to call yourself lazy or a slacker.
Every cyclist has had to deal with being dropped at one time. Find out why it did not work out, and figure out what you can do to prevent it from occurring next time.