If you are new to cycling, bunch riding is an excellent way to get started, learn riding skills and meet other people on bikes. Generally, the route chosen will take account of the weather and road conditions. Ask at the local bike shop, as they will usually know of regular rides, or contact one of the cycling clubs and groups.
When the fun ride season gets underway, we often see a rise in bunch riding cycling crashes. Common causes include sudden braking, wheels touching and cyclists not being seen by drivers.
Here are some tips to make it through to your bunch ride injury-free.
If you've had a break from riding over winter, do a couple of rides by yourself or with just one mate before joining a bunch.
Communication is critical - when riding with others, signal hazards such as potholes and approaching cars.
Limit your bunch size to a maximum of 12 riders. Big bunches are more likely to have pile-ups and impede traffic
Never let your front wheel overlap another rider's rear wheel. Stay in one or two lines and rotate smoothly. Use your brakes gently to avoid a pile up.
Stop at red lights - you will gain the respect of motorists. When at the front of a bunch, don't lead the group through an orange light.
Be predictable and always signal your intentions to other riders as well as vehicles.
Change from riding two-abreast to single file if you are holding up, or passing other vehicles (including parked cars)
Save race-pace and your best form for the day of the event (when there will be a safety plan in action)
Check your bike regularly - about 5% of cycling crashes are due to mechanical faults, like tyre blowouts, brake failure and cracked parts. Make sure your pump and water bottle are securely attached to the bike. For training, consider using wider tyres (e.g. 28mm on a road racing bike) which are more stable on rough sections of road, less likely to puncture, and more durable.
Generate goodwill by showing appreciation for courteous driving
Source: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Thanks to Kennett Bros for the photo.