Tips for cycling in groups

Group of cyclists riding on open road

When cycling in a group, it's important to follow proper bicycle etiquette and basic rules to help stay safe and have a smooth and fun ride.

Use clear signals and verbal warnings

It's always essential to pay attention to your surroundings while cycling, but in a group it's important to communicate any hazards to other cyclists. Not all cyclists will have a clear view of the road. Announce road hazards and point down to them. These hazards may include holes, bumps, gravel, rocks, and debris. When riding in the front of a group, use verbal warnings and hand signals for turning, slowing, and stopping. Be sure to give notice as early as you can to avoid accidents. When riding in the back, announce approaching traffic.

Leave room between bicycles

Keep at least one bicycle wheel length between you and the rider in front of you. You can even ride slightly to one side of another rider's wheel. Avoid overlapping wheels to steer clear of accidentally bumping.

Keep your pace consistent

For safety, cyclists need to ride straight, steadily, and smoothly. Before riding in a group, it will benefit you to practice your pacing, so you remain at a constant speed. When riding in a group, you'll want to match the pack's pace and avoid sudden changes in your speed without warning.

Hold your line

Holding your line is riding in a straight line parallel to the edge of the road. This also means to look ahead and not at the wheel of the person in front of you. This allows all the cyclists in our group to follow one consistent path.

Change properly from double file to single file

You can ride in a single or double paceline in a group, depending on the road and traffic. When riding in a double paceline, your handlebars should be in line with your neighbor's. It's courtesy to fall back to a single paceline when cars are trying to pass. Make sure all cyclists in your group know how to change formations before heading out.

Rotate leaders

Since the lead cyclist has the responsibility of communicating to the pack, fatigue can set in. To give your leaders a break, rotate frequently. It is important that everyone in your group train for the proper way to rotate before hitting the road.

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Group of cyclists riding on open road
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
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