Most of us are specialists at riding at steady intensities in a straight line for a long period of time. Want to mix it up in a group ride? Here are some tips if you decide to join the roadies!
1. Research group rules ahead of time. If you have a road bike, use it. Depending on the normal practices of the group you join, you could stick out like a sore thumb or a red flag showing up with the TT bike. If you’re unsure of the group rules, ask around ahead of time about their acceptance or special rules for tri bikes.
2. Don’t play into the triathlete stereotype. Try to avoid common triathlete sins that roadies complain about: Don’t wear headphones, don’t squirrel all over the road and especially don’t draft in the aerobars.
3. Blend into the paceline. Stay alert and watch the rider’s legs in front of you. Don’t stand unless you’re going up a hill. When you stand your bike stops moving forward for an instant and that’s enough for the wheel behind to hit yours and cause a cascade effect. And now’s not the time to show off and do anything dangerous.
4. Find your place. You may be tempted to stay toward the back of the group, but remember that the farther back you are the harder you will have to work. This especially comes into play during turns, as more space will open up and you will have to work very hard to come back into contact.
5. Use the road ride to practice handling skills. The counterpoint to this is that showing up with zero skills will endanger everyone else. At a minimum you should be able to reach for things, look backward and point out hazards without swerving.