As a London-Paris rider you have the privilege of riding in a large peloton under some rare and elite conditions with motorcycle outriders, mechanical support, Skoda lead vehicles and even the iconic Mavic Neutral Service. The Ride Captains cycle within the groups to help in the smooth running of the event and rider experience by respecting and adhering to the event rules, the prevailing local road rules or highway code and to communicate instructions to the peloton. The Ride Captains are the conduit between the race support network of race commissar, motorbikes, doctors and mechanical support and you, the rider.
What do they do?
Most obviously the Ride Captains cycle in the peloton keeping an eye on the pace and the form of the group. The event has been granted the privilege to ride in the peloton formation with the restriction that it is indeed a peloton (i.e. that we stay together). For this reason the Ride Captains may, at times, slow the front of the group to tighten up the rear. They are watching the peloton to ensure no riders go missing (off the back or the front) and that you do not stray into danger (i.e. primarily this means “the wrong side of the road”) and where sensibility dictates they will arbitrate rider changes between groups. Riders are reminded to adhere to peloton riding etiqutte and not to endanger or their fellow riders and indeed to always be vigilant of their own safety.
How do they do this?
The Ride Captains will brief their groups before setting off for each stage. This means in the morning, just after the lunch stop and at any other time a significant stop has been made. They have radios and are in contact with the support vehicles and each other. They will case the peloton (ride up and back and up and back and up and back and ….. you get the picture) to make sure everyone has a smile on their face and is in good spirits. If you have any questions particularly about group riding etiquette or other soft “rules”, then just ask and they will be more than happy to help out.
What else can I expect from the Ride Captains?
The Ride Captains have lots of HotChillee event experience, cycle sportive experience and proper race experience. Many of the Ride Captains are currently competing in cycle sportive, criterium and “open” road racing, cyclocross, Ironman and other triathlons, mountain bike races and even track / velodrome. With this wealth of “cycling” knowledge the Ride Captains are a great source of knowledge and if you have any questions ranging form training, event preparation, nutrition, cycling etiquette or just how to look good riding a bike just ask.
Ride Captaining is thirsty work so if you see one propping up the bar, then just apply beer.