Group Riding

If you have been thinking of joining with Dungarvan Cycling club for the Sunday morning Group 4 spin, be assured that we will take good care of you, provide plenty good advice, and stretch your fitness level to allow you to meet your cycling potential, all while having lots of fun and chat along the way. So, think no longer, but act on the thought, and arrive at the Square every Sunday for a 9.30am start. Whether you are able for 15k, 30k or 50k, the Square is the place to begin. Ten consecutive weeks will bring a huge improvement to your fitness level, and after that the options are many and varied. Advice and cycling tips will be posted on the club website. Helmet compulsory, water advisable.

Advice for cyclists new to group riding:

  •  Buy a clock
  • Always bring water
  • Be sure the bike has been measured / adjusted to fit you
  • There are two rings on your bike at the front, maybe three. Do not cycle on the big ring until much later. Why? Smaller ring is easier on legs, and develops lungs. (aerobic fitness)
  • Big ring later on develops strength. Strength before a good foundation is waste of time
  • Buy a bike pump and carry 2 tubes for possible punctures
  • You will be shown how to fix a puncture
  • Always always wear a helmet. You’ve only got one head
  • Try to get two spins per week, Sunday group spin plus a shorter midweek spin
  • If you are struggling with the pace of the group, stay at the back. Less energy used there
  • When cycling on the outside, aim to be no further out than the middle of the lane
  • When on the inside cycle about a foot from the verge. Closer than this increase the chances of a puncture
  • Cycling behind another cyclist can save up to 30% energy. Do not keep your wheel directly behind, rather a few inches inside or outside the wheel in front

Group Rotation System:

  •  We cycle two-abreast most of the time.
  • When the group leader calls “Change”, the cyclist on the outside at the front moves ahead, and moves to the inside
  • As you do so, glance over shoulder to make sure you are clear of the front wheel of the other bike.
  • Then SLOW DOWN slightly until the next cyclist appears beside you. It takes a while cycling in a group to get this right.
  • If you slow down too much, you disrupt the rhythm behind you.

For those not at the front:

  • If you are on the outside, follow the bike in front of you as he / she moves forward.
  • Beginners are advised to stay to the back until they understand this system

When cycling on a narrow back-road:

  • When a car appears behind and cannot safely pass the group, go single-file
  • If you are at the back, shout clearly “Car UP” (meaning car coming up behind you) so that others in the group are aware of it
  • Go single-file if necessary as follows: cyclist on the inside slows down slightly and as soon as there is a bike-length gap, the cyclist on the outside speeds up and goes into the gap

Cycling Etiquette in a group:

  • When at the front, the front wheel of both bikes should be EXACTLY beside one another. One person going ahead puts pressure on the other to keep up, and this is reflected all the way back through the group, and results in too fast a pace
  • Experienced cyclists will call clearly any obstructions on the road, and also point to the obstruction, eg Hole. This is for the benefit of those behind who may not see it. Call a hole as follows: “Hole left”, “Hole right” or “Hole Centre”
  • Beginner cyclists should call clearly, but we advise not pointing
  • When traffic is approaching from in front, those at the front of the group shout clearly “Car Down”. This is for the benefit of those behind who may not see it
  • “Car left” means there is a car parked on the left obstructing the group
  • “Going left” together with left land outstretched means the group is turning left
  • Cyclists are bound to obey the rules of the road at all times, PARTICULARLY at traffic lights
  • It certainly is part of Group Etiquette that you be insured against damage / injury if you knock a fellow cyclist off. Becoming a member of Dungarvan Cycling Club ensures that this insurance is in place for you.

Safety Tips:

  • If you use clip pedals, make sure that the foot you generally take out first has the clip-spring as LOOSE as possible. As you become more adept at clipping out, you might consider tightening it a bit more. The spring can be loosened with an allen-key. Learn how to do this
  • Make sure your bike is the right fit for you. A general rule of thumb is as follows: When your arms are on the handlebar, your elbows should NOT be locked straight. When your foot is on the pedal at its lowest point, your knee should not be locked straight
  • When turning left, shout clearly “Going Left”, and use left arm outstretched
  • When turning right, look over your shoulder in good time before the turn. If safe to do so, put out right arm, shout clearly “Going Right” and proceed to centre of road. Yield to oncoming traffic and turn.
  • Use lights front and back in poor light. If cycling in afternoon, bear in mind that it may be dusk / dark when you return, especially if you puncture
  • Remember your brakes will not work as well in the rain. Take extreme care in particular when going down hill.
  • Choose a bicycle that suits your height and requirements. Besides regularly checking its tyres, gears, nuts and bolts and lubricating its chains and cables; make a point to get it professionally serviced at least once a year. Adjust the saddle in proportion to your leg length and set the handlebars about 5 centimeters lower than your saddle height.

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