Cycling with friends can be a lot of fun, sharing your stories at coffee or lunch as well as in the evening over a beer. It can make a holiday interesting and you can see the surroundings through their eyes as well, which makes it twice as nice.
If you decide to go on a cycling holiday with friends you might want to practice cycling in a group before you go. When you cycle with your partner and you have done this for a while, you get used to them and can gauge what they are going to do in certain circumstances. However when you are new to cycling with others then you need to think about how to ride in a group in order to avoid collisions.
The best thing to do is to have a chat about it before you set off. It’s good to set some rules, before you start on the 1st day so you get used to each other. Decide from the start if you are going ride together, in smaller groups or individually. Speed will play a part too, too fast and some of you might struggle to keep up, too slow and people might get bored or not take as much care on their bike which could also cause a collision or accident.
As you will have the route plan from Freewheel, you can decide where to meet for coffee, lunch etc. This means that if someone gets left behind or you have someone who wants to go at speed then you don’t need to worry about missing them or losing them.
- You can use technology such as Find my Friend on an iPhone, to keep track of where everyone is, just in case someone does take the wrong route then doesn’t know where they are in comparison with where you are going. This is always a useful backup for the comfort of the group.
- Have a WhatsApp group so you can text each other, it can help find lost cyclists or photo stops or coffee stops if you decide you are not all going to stay together all day. It is also useful before your holiday with tips and packing ideas. During your holiday you can share your photos on WhatsApp and after the holiday to share your memories to keep them going much longer than just the week!
- When you are riding in a group, always ensure there is enough room between you, in the event of sudden stops, you need to be able to avoid the person in front of you. Be careful to not cycle too close in case you touch someone else’s tyre as that could bring both of you down.
- When you come to a junction, it’s best to stop and ensure everyone is going in the same direction, just in case one person turns the opposite way and it ends up in tears.
- If you like to look around you all the time, then it’s best to be either at the front or the back so that you don’t stray into the path of others in the group.
- Learn some hand signals to help keep the group safe, remember when you are on a bike and facing forwards, you can’t always be heard. So shouting to the others in the group won’t help. Hand signals such as ’slow down,' pointing out a danger in the road such as a pothole, road furniture or another cyclist coming the other way are all useful.
- A bell on a bike is not just to let people know you are coming along the path. It can also be used to attract the attention of others in your group. Once you have their attention then you can use your signals to let them know what it is you are trying to tell them.
- It’s always good to have someone at the back as the ’sweeper’, this way you all know that everyone has caught up.
- Helping and encouraging others in the group that are not as confident or as strong, is a good way to make your cycling holiday even more fun.
Whichever way you choose to cycle in a group, remember it must be fun and enjoyable for everyone. What you enjoy could differ from someone else. So, to avoid friction amongst the group, talk about what you all want to get out of your cycling holiday.