5 tips for a better bunch ride
There’s no question that cycling provides a great social experience, whether it be a small ride with a few friends or with a larger group that’s more organised. So what is the best way to approach the bunch ride? Bicycle Network ambassadors, Drapac Professional Cycling’s Jordan Kerby and Darren Lapthorne are here to help.
1. Stay relaxed
“It can be quite normal to make contact with another rider or touch wheels just by the natural flow of the bunch,” says Lapthorne. “The bunch constantly moves in all directions so the calmer each rider is if there happens to be contact with another wheel or shoulder, the less chance of having an accident.”
2. Remember you’re sharing the road
“If a motorist is courteous to you and gives you plenty of room, make sure you give them a wave,” says Kerby. “It shows you appreciate them not trying to run you off the road. Also, if the bunch needs to change lanes, make sure everyone changes lanes quickly and at the same time. A pet hate of mine is when you have half of the bunch committing to turn and the other half not—it’s a very bad image to spread out all across the road.”
3. Help your mates
“Always signal road traffic and objects such as rocks and potholes nice and early this makes crashes much more avoidable,” says Kerby.
Lapthorne expands: “The riders at the front of the bunch have an obligation to point out any hazards that may be approaching. Just a simple hand signal to make people aware of a pot hole or parked car is appropriate. Riders following can then pass on the signal further down the bunch. “When riding further down a bunch, it’s important to focus on what’s happening well ahead rather than looking directly at the wheel in front,” he continues. “This way you will be able to read the flow of the bunch and have more time to prepare for cornering, braking, potholes.
4. Give yourself the best chance
“If you’re going for an early bunch ride where there could be low visibility, make sure you always have your lights with you,” says Kerby.
5. Remember, learning to ride in the bunch takes time
“If you’re not comfortable riding in a large group then stay towards the back and allow extra space,” says Lapthorne. “If it’s your first time riding in a larger group, then start small and find a smaller bunch to give yourself that extra space around you. The larger the bunch, the more chance of accidents occurring. I find training in a bunch of 6-8 riders ideal as it’s still big enough to share the workload and much smoother as there are less riders for a mishap to occur.”
Ride with members of Drapac Professional Cycling on this year’s Bupa Around the Bay – Ride for a Child in Need. More info and entries at www.aroundthebay.com.au.
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