New to group riding? Not sure what to expect? The HotChillee Ride Captains have put together some advice, top tips and an insight into what to expect riding in the different speed groups on a HotChillee event.
Obviously G1 and G2 are at the sharper end of things in terms of pace so you should have a good level of fitness and some experience of group riding.
Group speed depends on various factors including terrain and wind speed. Don’t assume that if you can ride at 28 kph on the flat in a tailwind that you can average 28 kph on a hilly route with a strong headwind!
Generally G1 pace on an undulating training ride will be somewhere between 30-32 kph and G2 will be in the region of 28-30 kph. To be honest speed on the flat will be similar but G1 will definitely ‘press on’ on the climbs.
But it’s not just about speed. Group riding etiquette is as important:
- Be prepared to roll through and do your turn. Although it’s a skill to ride in the wheels and save energy don’t expect a free ride! Contribute to the pace by doing your time on the front – Ride Captains will control this and don’t be afraid to just do a short ‘pull’ if you are not feeling strong. Don’t get on the front and increase your speed….Just maintain the pace, it will be harder as you are pushing through the wind but the riders behind will be getting a draft.
- Stay two abreast (where it is safe to do so) and keep tight to the rider on your left. Handlebars should be level, especially on the front so no half wheeling!
- Manage the gaps – don’t let gaps open and then accelerate to close them or you will split the group. Keep super smooth.
- Look ahead and anticipate changes of pace to avoid sharp braking, especially in the wet.
- Point out hazards and communicate with each other but don’t just continually shout ‘hole!’ Save that for the big stuff that is going to cause punctures and delay the group.
- Oh….and if you do puncture make sure you are equipped to fix it!
Most importantly chat to the other riders and ask questions of the Ride Captains. There is a lot of experience in the group and if you watch some of this will rub off on you. Group riding should be smooth safe and efficient…..oh,and fun too.
Ian Holmes, HotChillee Ride Captain.