Group Riding Safety Update


By now I am sure that most of you have heard about our Tuesday night crash a few weeks ago which unfortunately resulted in some of the riders sustaining injuries.

WHAT HAPPENED – Our group was doing a spirited echelon on Hwy 2 east of Newcastle and the word went out, “Keep it around 40kph”. When riders checked their speed wheels touched and the result was a number of riders going down.

WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THIS? – The key to riding in a group whether it be a social pace line, pace line or echelon is to maintain a steady constant effort, speed has absolutely nothing to do with it. That effort will increase when climbing and it is up to the strongest riders to keep the group together and not go charging ahead. On gradual descents the leaders should not quit pedalling, those behind are already on their brakes, so keep pedaling with light effort. AND, because you are not looking at speed you can place your full attention to the bikes in front of you.

SPEED on your GPS/ Bike Computer – When I ask riders who are buying computers what they want it for nearly everyone has the same answer, “I want to see how fast I am going”, I have never had anyone say “I want to see how slow I am going” yet that’s when they should be looking at their computer, not when they are going fast. If I ask what’s the benefit of knowing your speed most have no answer, some have a pre-conceived number as to what their maximum speed should be and brake when they reach that number. That number too means nothing, there are some bikes that are unstable at 35kph and others comfortable at twice that speed. The key is to descend at a speed that you feel comfortable with on your bike and forget whatever number that corresponds to, DON’T LOOK AT THE SPEED.

MY GPS DISPLAY – Of the 3 pages on my GPS none display speed, front and centre at the top of the page is Heart Rate, ideally it would be Power but power meters are expensive, heart rate is the next best thing. The other items on my main page are Cadence, Distance, Time and % Grade. Yes, when I am struggling up that hill with my heart rate way up I want to how steep it is, and I don’t really want to know how slow I am going, all I know is that it’s slow enough for me to look at my computer. When I stop or download my GPS at the end of the ride it displays Maximum Speed, Average Speed etc. and all the details I don’t need to know when I’m on the bike.

IN SHORT – At the DCC kick off I mentioned that speed was Irrelevant. I’d like to add to that, “Checking your speed is not only Irrelevant it’s a Detriment, forget about it, ENJOY YOUR RIDE”.