We can’t control the vehicles on the road, but we can control our bikes. A safe ride is the responsibility of everyone in the group. Here are some ways to keep yourself as well as your group safe while riding:
1. Look up and pay attention. Avoid zoning out. Look who is around you. Scan ahead for upcoming changes in the road.
2. Hold your line. It means riding behind the person in front of you, parallel to the road. Don’t zig-zag or cut in and out of the paceline.
3. Use signals, especially SLOWING and STANDING. Both affect your speed and are critical information for the riders behind you.
4. Point out hazards. It is not only good etiquette but for safety. An unexpected bump, hole, or other hazards may cause a cyclist to lose control and affect other riders.
5. Going off the road. Don’t panic and try to get back on immediately. Make sure the surfaces are even. If there is a rut, you’ll make a bad situation worse.
6. Don’t half-wheel. It means that your front wheel is next to someone’s rear wheel. You’re either behind someone or next to someone. Don’t hang out in between.
7. Touching tires. Don’t turn away if you hit the wheel of the rider in front of you. It may seem counterintuitive, but steer into their wheel and slow your speed to let them ride away.
8. Ride defensively. Leave yourself an escape route. It may be beside the rider in front of you or even off the road.
9. Don’t slam on your brakes unless necessary. Learn to feather them and avoid sudden changes in speeds.
10. Ride out a flat. Don’t slam on your brakes. Communicate the flat to the rest of the group. Shift your weight onto the wheel with air, move out of the group, and off to the side.
11. Drafting an unpredictable rider. They might be squirrely, visibly uncomfortable signaling, unable to hold their line, etc. Give those riders plenty of room.
12. Avoid surging. If there’s just one inconsistent rider on the front, give them a heads up. However, if they continue to surge, you might need to tell them to get lost.
There are many more techniques, and I welcome additional comments. The above dozen items were not just something I looked up. I’ve seen every one of them occur THIS YEAR!
Here are a couple of articles that explain many of the above items in more detail: