VCC Update – April 16, 2021

Group Riding Intro/Refresher Clinic

The weather will be cooperating this Saturday!

We will meet at the Strathcona Olympiette Centre/Fultonvale School at 11am on Saturday, April 17.

First, you MUST pre-register for this clinic. Use this sign-up form, which includes your answers to the COVID-19 Health Screening Checklist.

>>> April 17 Sign Up Form <<<

Registration will close at 8:30am on Saturday, April 17. No drop-ins will be allowed. You must pre-register.

The clinic will include a review of our group riding etiquette and best/safe practices. All drills will maintain 2m physical distancing, with solo, small group and larger group activities.

The majority of the drills will take place on the short loop of Ceretzke Rd, TWP 520 and RR224.

If time permits, we will go for a short group ride.

Even if you are an experienced group rider, please come to refresh your skills and help teach your newer club mates. After spending most of this last year riding solo or on your indoor trainer, a controlled return to simple pace line riding is needed even for the most skilled rider.

Safe riding in a group requires thinking about others in the group not just yourself. Things you do have direct and immediate impact on others.

To minimize impact on others your movements in the group should be smooth and predictable. Imagine you are riding a bike on ice without studded tires, you will not stay upright with violent maneuvers.

Some of our best practices are:

  • All riders in the group have a responsibility to point out road surface irregularities for the benefit of riders behind them.
  • Do not just fixate on the wheel immediately in front of you, but also watch up ahead. You will be less surprised when something happens in the group ahead of you.
  • When riding at the front on a downhill you must continue to pedal. If you just freewheel, the riders behind will have to brake to avoid running into you. Not all roads are safe enough for others to simply overtake you.
  • When riding at the front be aware of the wind. For example, if the wind is from the right, move towards the right side of the shoulder. This makes more room for the riders behind you to seek shelter without being in the traffic lane. Safer for all concerned. Same applies for a cross wind from the left. Move towards the left without moving too far into the traffic lane. It gives riders more room to follow without riding in the gutter.
  • If you must spit or drink it is best to do so when you are at the back of the group. This is mandatory during COVID times.
  • 1/2 wheeling is not necessarily dangerous, but it is poor cycling etiquette. A sign of experience is an ability to ride the pace of weaker riders in the group, not just full throttle. If you are feeling strong take a longer pull on the front rather than a faster pull.
  • Group crossing of major roadways and highways has the potential for catastrophe. As you approach a major intersection drop a couple of gears so that when the time comes you will be able to quickly accelerate to cross the road. Do not get bogged down in your big ring. Pay attention, no time for chatting. It is most important that the group acts as one, so communication is important. Someone at the front of the group must verbally take charge and tell the group when to wait and when to go and how far to go, i.e. halfway, all the way.
  • When you overlap wheels in a group you are at greater risk. Do you trust the rider whose wheel you have overlapped? If your front wheel gets bumped, you will crash most of the time.
  • As the name implies a double line echelon has two lines of riders. The faster line where the riders move forward in the group and the slower line where the riders drop back. Regardless which line you are in, it is important to always be on a wheel. As well the only time you accelerate is when you are at the back of the group and moving across to join the line of riders moving forward. When you reach the front of the forward moving line of riders it is important that you do not accelerate. If each rider accelerates before moving over to join the drop back line of riders, the whole group will continue to speed up until the echelon blows apart … not what we want!

You never do anything well if you’re uptight.

Joe Maddon