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Group Riding Skills

Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills

League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) conducts Group Riding Skills Courses. The LAB is a national organization dedicated to cycling, cycling advocacy, and cycling education, and is the National MS Society's cycling education partner.

Official BP MS 150 Calendar – Includes Group Riding Skills Courses, Recommended Rides, and more!

Read the Basics of Riding in a Group

Course Requirements

  • Course Fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Students must be 18 years of age or be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian age 21 or older.
  • Course consists of 2 hours of classroom instruction and 1 hour of hands-on parking lot drills.
  • Students must attend the entire class to receive course completion certification.
  • Students must bring their own bike and helmet to participate in the course.
  • Students should dress appropriately for cycling and bring their water bottles.

Course Description

Bicycling in a group is one of life's more enjoyable activities when done right. Cyclists have several options for obtaining the knowledge and skills that will make their cycling safe, courteous, efficient, and enjoyable. By far, the best option is to take the Group Riding Skills course offered by the League of American Bicyclists and a League Cycling Instructor. To ride safely in a group, you should first be familiar with the techniques for riding predictably on public roadways as an individual – skills such as as proper lane positioning and emergency bike handling. However, cycling in a group places added responsibilities on each cyclist, so all must understand and practice the principles of group riding. This course is designed to teach you the principles of group riding so you can safely enjoy riding in the BP MS 150 and other group rides.

For questions and further information, please contact the BP MS 150 team: By email at bpms150safetycommittee@nmss.org or by phone at 713-394-2900.

2017 Course Schedule

Houston Area

Saturday, March 11, 2017
9:00am to 12:00pm
(Registration closes at noon on Friday, March 10)
$30 non-refundable, non-transferable fee
Texas Children's Hospital, West Campust (18200 Katy Fwy., Houston, TX 77094)
9:00am to 12:00pm course – Sign me up!

Saturday, March 25, 2017
9:00am to 12:00pm or 2:00pm to 5:00pm
(Registration closes at noon on Friday, March 24)
$30 non-refundable, non-transferable fee
Wood Group, Stallion Bldg., Events Room SC1 (17325 Park Row, Houston, TX 77084)
9:00am to 12:00pm course – Sign me up!
2:00pm to 5:00pm course – Sign me up!

Austin Area

These Group Riding Skills Courses are conducted by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) offered through Bike Austin. For questions, please contact education@bikeaustin.org

Saturday, April 1, 2017
8:30am to 10:30am
(Registration closes at 11:59pm on Friday, March 31)
Tony Burger Stadium (3200 Jones Rd., Austin, TX 78745)
Fees: $35 Bike Austin Member and $40 for Non-Member
8:30am to 10:30am course – Register

The Basics of Riding in a Group

Group riding takes practice. Riding with other cyclists all around you may cause you to feel trapped. It is important to relax and remember to create your own safety zone. Your safety zone may vary depending on the speed and ability level of the people with whom you are riding, so be flexible.

Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills

Your responsibilities in a group include:

  • Being aware of others around you
  • Communicating well in advance, using hand gestures in combination with verbal commands
  • Riding with your head up; look down the road and not at the person in front of you
  • Maintaining control and speed of your bike, even when going downhill
  • Knowing your limits; accidents can occur when inexperienced riders do not have the bike-handling skills to make quick decisions in a group
  • Safety starts with you; a group mentality is not always the safest
  • Expect to stop at all red lights and stop signs—it is the law! Each cyclist is responsible for verifying that the intersection is clear for them to proceed
  • Adjusting your safety zone to fit the conditions of the road, weather, and traffic; and always plan an escape route
  • Never overlaping your wheels with another cyclist
  • Not using aero bars while riding in a group
  • Being aware of how weather will affect your bike; riding in wet conditions requires slower speeds and greater breaking distances
  • Being respectful of other riders and help others when needed
Signaling
Image courtesy of League of American Bicyclists

Know the Lingo

Group cycling has a unique form of communication. The presence of road hazards, directions, and need-to-know information is relayed through the group of riders by hand gestures and words. Remember to pass all communication on to the cyclist behind you in the group. Always speak loudly and clearly. The following are the most common terms you may hear in group rides:

  • "On Your Left" – This means a rider is approaching your left side. Move to the right side of road (as able) to allow room for the other rider to pass.
  • "Car Back" – This means a car is approaching from the rear. All riders make an effort to move to the right in single-file to allow the car to pass. (In most states, the law requires cyclists to ride no more than two abreast, ensuring easier and safer passing of cyclists by automobile traffic.)
  • "Gravel"/"Pothole"/"Sand"/"Tracks" – Each of these messages is intended to alert the riders behind you of hazardous road conditions. Relay these message not only by words, but also by hand gesture, pointing to the hazard well in advance.
  • "Flat" – This indicates that a rider has a flat tire and needs room enough to slow down and move to the right side of the road for repair. Offer assistance as needed.
  • "Slowing" – The cyclist in front of you is slowing down; use caution and prepare to stop. (The common hand signal for "slowing" is to display the palm of your hand toward riders behind to indicate slowing and stopping.)
  • "Stopping" – This indicates that a rider ahead is stopping. When at a stop, do not forget to unclip from your pedals.

Group communication between teams and between individual riders is vitally important to ensuring the safety of all riders. Remember: Headphones, cell phones, radios, or similar devices are NOT permitted while riding.

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