Group Riding FAQs
The short answer is that you don’t block intersections for your group. Not only is it illegal without the express permission of every law enforcement agency along the route, the practice carries a great deal of risk and liability with it.A better alternative is to plan the route so that busy intersections are avoided removing the temptation to block them. When required to go through those intersections where the group might get split up, some groups plan regrouping locations shortly after the intersection and communicate this to everyone at the pre-ride meeting.
Another approach that some groups have taken is to have many smaller groups head out on the ride. These smaller groups will more easily be able to negotiate the busy corners without having to block traffic.<back>
Many ride leaders are concerned about keeping the group together during a ride, but this is less important than the safety of the group. There are multiple methods that can be used to get everyone from the starting point to the destination without worrying too much about keeping them together in a group.
You could distribute maps or route sheets at the pre-ride meeting so that everyone knows where they are going. If something causes the group to get split up, it is not an issue because everyone knows the route. Some clubs make everyone responsible for the next rider. Each rider ensures the following rider is making the turn before moving on to the next direction change in the route.
Still other groups use road guides at each turn to direct the riders. They might even send the club out on the ride in small groups over a half hour period knowing that they will be met by a road guide wherever they need to turn. The sweep rider signals all riders have passed and picks up the road guides.<back>
The rider leader can do a lot to reduce the rubber band effect during the ride. By keeping it in mind throughout the ride, the leader can control the pace after intersections and speed limit changes until everyone is caught up. Having a pre-determined regroup point immediately after a difficult intersection can also reduce the need to keep up so as not to get lost. For example, the ride leader may tell everyone at the pre-ride meeting that the group may get split up crossing Highway 57 it will regroup at the school parking lot on the right a half-mile past the intersection
Another approach is to have each rider assume responsibility for the next rider in the group. If a rider cannot see the following rider as they make a turn, the rider will wait for the next rider to get there. That rider will do the same for the next rider. If the group remains fairly close together, no rider will have to stop and wait for anyone else. The comfort of knowing there is someone waiting ahead eliminates the need race to catch up and then brake when rejoining the group.<back>
We talk a lot about the need for cars to share the road with us. This works both ways. Cars don't normally want to ride in our group any more than we want them to, but sometimes it may be necessary. At 30 mph, we are traveling 44 feet per second. If there are five bikes in our group, we extend well over 175 feet, almost the length three tractor-trailer rigs. On a multi-lane road, other vehicles may need to turn right or left and the length of our group can block their way. They may need to move through our group to get to where they are going, so share the road and let them through.<back>