Although I’m partial to the title of this article, another, possibly more descriptive, option could be, “how to ride with anyone with the grace, knowhow and skill of a pro.” I won’t be the first to write about riding etiquette, nor will I be the last, but these are practices that often need repeating and there is no better than the begging of a new year to talk about them.
These are observations that I’ve recently made as well as ones that I’ve compiled throughout my many years riding a bicycle. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many great teachers beat these rules into me and some infractions occur too often to ignore. This shouldn’t be read as rules to be enforced by a cycling dictator, think of this as a series of hints and tips to make you a classier and more respected cyclist.
The first observation I would like to make, and one often left out of similar articles, is that people need to be aware of how hard they are pedaling. This may seem obvious, but the vast majority of people ride much too hard up hill while not nearly hard enough down. If your ride is based around intervals dictated by the road you can ignore this rule, but for nearly every ride, small group or large, this is important.
First, this is important because it helps you maximize your training time and particularly for winter riding. When you’re aiming for a steady ride it helps ensure you are doing the riding that you are supposed to. Steady doesn’t mean a steady speed, it means a steady effort, steady heart rate, or steady power, all of which gauge how hard you are working. This is one instance in which I wish everyone had access to a power meter because a power meter will tell you exactly how imbalanced your riding is. For instance, a 200 watt effort up a climb feels like child’s play and will regularly get you dropped out of a group, but 200 watts down a hill will often have you streaking away from said group.