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During all rides please wear your helmet.
Be Predictable With Your Actions
Avoid sudden braking and changes of direction. Generally try to maintain a steady, straight line, remembering there are riders following closely behind. To slow down, gradually move out into the wind and slot back into position in the bunch when you have less speed. By putting your hands on the hoods and on your brakes you can “sit up” and this will allow your body to slow you down by utilizing the wind resistance.
When descending always remain in the correct lane. Do not swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic even if you are fairly certain there is nothing coming your way. A car may be overtaking from the rear and not expect you to swing out. If you are overtaking another rider be sure they are aware of your presence as they may swerve to avoid an obstacle (perhaps one that is not visible to you) and not be aware that you are approaching from the rear. Alert them with a simple call ‘on your right’.
If you need to ride alongside the bunch to pass information along, remain in the correct lane at all times. If there is insufficient lane space for you to carry out the action, wait until there is.
When starting at a set of traffic lights, do not weave into the neighboring lane whilst clipping in. Ensure you remain in the correct lane at all times!
Most importantly – eyes ahead at all times. If chatting to the person alongside you please ensure your attention is on the road ahead. It takes a split second for an upcoming obstacle to cause havoc if the message is not conveyed all the way to the back of the group.
Ride safely and try to stay off the brakes unless necessary. When the pace eases, don’t brake suddenly, instead ride slightly to the side of the wheel in front (without moving into the next lane) and ease the pedaling off, then ease back into position again on the wheel.
Rolling Through – Swapping Off – Taking a Turn
The most common way to take a turn on the front of the group is for each pair to stay together until they get to the front. After taking a turn on the front (approximately 10km) the pair separates and moves to each side (left and right respectively) allowing the riders behind to come through to the front. To get to the back of the peloton soft pedal in order to slow down, keep an eye out for the back of the bunch and slot back into line. It is safer for everyone if you get to the back as quickly as possible.
Be smooth with turns at the front of the group.
Avoid rushing forward (surging). Surging cause gaps further back in the bunch. If you find yourself creeping towards the front of the bunch and are dreading “pulling a turn” roll to the front, take it easy for 500m or so, then pull off. It is widely accepted cycling etiquette that one does not roll to the back whilst in second or third wheel.
Both you and your partner need to do some planning when you get on the front so that when you roll through you come off at a place where the road is wide enough for the group to be four-wide for a short time.
When you make it to the front, try not to ‘half wheel’. This means keeping half a wheel in front of your partner.
Continue to pedal downhill when at the front of the bunch unless of course you are safely guiding the group to a complete stop.
Point Out Obstacles
Point out obstacles such as parked cars, loose gravel, broken glass, holes, rocks or debris on the road. Calling out “hole” etc as well as pointing is helpful in case someone is not looking in your direction when you point. It is important the message is passed along to the back of the bunch. Also if there is a vehicle looking to pass from behind, be sure to call “car back” to alert the bunch. It is important the message is passed to the front of the bunch.
Hold Your Wheel
Maximize your energy savings by staying close to the rider in front of you. An appropriate gap between your front wheel and the person in front is around 50cm or so. Keep your hands close to the brakes in case of sudden slowing.
Watching “through” the wheel in front of you to one or two riders ahead will help you hold a smooth, straight line. Do not panic if you brush shoulders, hands or bars with another rider.
Try to stay relaxed through your upper body as this helps absorb any bumps. Brushing shoulders, hands or bars with another rider often happens in bunches and is quite safe provided riders do not panic.
Riding Up Hill
Many riders, even the experienced ones, can freewheel momentarily when they first get out of the saddle to go over a rise or a hill. When doing this, their bike is naturally forced backwards. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle on a hill causing this sudden deceleration. To prevent an accident, don’t hold the wheel too closely when climbing.
Do not become obsessed with the rear wheel directly in front of you. Try to focus up the line so that any change in pace will not suddenly affect you. Scan the road ahead for potential problems and be ready.
Obey the Road Rules
Please obey traffic lights and road signs at intersections and all instructions given.
Lead In Front
Try to monitor potential problems and give plenty of warning of impending stops or changes in pace.
Hands on the Bars
If you need to take one hand from the handlebars, please ensure you keep the other hand on the top (flat section) of the handlebars and not on the hoods or drops.
Likewise, if you need to reach for your water bottle to take a drink keep one hand on top of your handlebars while using the other to retrieve your bottle (keeping your eyes on the road ahead). As an overall rule, please do not take both hands off the handlebars when riding in the bunch.
Whilst we all enjoy a good cracking pace when riding a ‘stage tour’ – pacing is always a good approach so that you are in good shape to back up again the following day – and the following days.....
It is in no way our intention to reduce the pace to a sluggish one, rather encourage an even momentum that is sustainable throughout each day. Whilst the group remains together away from the mountain, during the climbs each person rides at a pace comfortable for them. If you are aiming for a personal best on the mountain – go for it! Though remember to look up from your handlebars every once in a while – it’s beautiful....
If you arrive at the summit first. You may if you wish, descend back down the way you came for a kilometer or two and ride the remaining distance with other members of the group. Not only for the extra mileage but also to prevent getting cold.
Passing Other Cyclists on the Road
Remember to say Buongiorno! Ciao! or just plain hello!
Nutrition on the Ride and After
This is one of the most important factors when riding a ‘stage tour’. You’ll need the appropriate dose of carbohydrates before the ride, easily absorbed foods during the ride and a mix of carbohydrates and protein after the ride. Keep some food in your back pocket and an additional supply in your ride bag. Ninety minutes into the ride, start eating. A small amount every fifteen minutes is a good guide. Don’t wait until you are hungry to eat.
Thirst is a poor indicator of dehydration. Within the first fifteen minutes of your ride, start taking frequent drinks from your bottle.