9 tips for cycling in a pack

9 tips for cycling in a pack


Outsider Magazine



bikes, cycling, "how to cycle in a group", "how to cycle in a pack", "how to get fit for cycling", peloton, "peloton cycling", "tour de burren"

With thousands of people set to take part in the Sport Ireland Tour de Burren in June, we thought there’s no better time to share some top tips to ensure you have as smooth a ride as possible.

The Sport Ireland Tour de Burren on 16/17 June 2017 is a great cycling event for all levels as it offers shorter distances for those looking to get a little bit of experience, and a beastly 160km for those who want to really test their mettle. Thankfully, the breath-taking views across the Burren and of the beautiful Atlantic should provide ample distraction from the task in hand. 


Another great way of easing the effort on the big day is to cycle in a pack. Drafting off each other will help to conserve your energy levels and makes the ride a whole lot more social too! However, sitting on a rider’s wheel, with your front tyre just inches from their back tyre takes a little bit of practice and can often be a bit daunting at first. But fear not, with the help of our great tips and some training, you’ll be riding confidently in a group in no time. 


Here are some top tips for riding in a pack that will definitely heighten your chances of survival (just kidding, you’ll be grand!): 


1. Be predictable 

It is absolutely crucial that you have no sudden movements in any direction. Ride smoothly and at a steady pace at all times. It is also important that you keep your line – don’t weave across the road, keep an eye on the edge of the road and stick to that position, even when you are cornering. 


2. Maintain a constant speed 

For drafting to work, the group needs to stay together. If you get to the front of the pack and start to hammer away, it may not work as the other riders could struggle to keep up. If you are not that fit, spend less time at the front as this will give you more recovery time. The most crucial thing is not to lose contact with the group at any point and stay just behind the wheel of the rider in front of you. 

3. Sudden braking is a sin 

All it takes is for one member of the pack to slam on the brakes to cause a pile up! All movements should be gradual, controlled and well signalled. 


4. Give the rest of the pack a heads up 

If you see a hazard that might affect the safety of your fellow cyclists, make sure you give them a heads up. These could range from an animal in the road to a massive pothole. If you accidentally drop your bottle, don’t stop, just let the rest of the riders know what’s happened. You can drop out of the pack in a safe way by signalling your intention to pull out, and then go back and get it. 


5. Know your hand signals and use them 

If you are a little bit rusty on your old hand signals we suggest a quick refresh before heading out. You should know the signals for turning, stopping, potholes, glass and train tracks. These signals are passed from rider to rider until they reach the end of the pack. Sometimes people announce their plan to shift position, as well as using hand signals. There are also warnings for cars approaching. Usually ‘car back’ if a car is approaching from behind you, or ‘car front’ if a vehicle is coming towards you.


6. Don’t overlap your wheels 

One sure fire way to cause an accident is to overlap your wheel with the rider in front of you. If the overlapped rider decides to pull out, a collision is sure to occur! Be sure to keep an eye on the position of your front wheel, and stay just off the back of the person in front of you. 


7. Don’t look back 

It’s natural to spin your head around when you hear something abnormal behind you. However, resist the urge. A swift turn of the head can cause a rider to change their line and speed, resulting in chaos. If you hear a crash behind you, keep your eyes ahead as the pack will naturally slow and stop to deal with the situation. 


8. Keep your cool if you get a puncture

Don’t go into panic mode if you get a puncture. Instead, raise your hand so that the guys behind you can see what has happened and that you’re slowing down and they need to ride around you. Be very careful if you get a front puncture and you are simultaneously going downhill as raising your hand can result in catastrophe. Instead you should use your back brake, and keep going until the rest of the bunch has passed you, at which time you can pull over to the side of the road. 


9. Communication is key

Riding in a pack isn’t that scary once you get to grips with it. The most important thing is to be open with your fellow riders about how you are feeling. Communication is the key to a smooth ride. And the best part? Just enjoy it!


The Sport Ireland Tour de Burren is a great event for those looking for a scenic sportive this summer. The event which is part of the Sport Ireland Cycle Series offers a number of distances to choose from. The craic also promises to be mighty!

So what are you waiting for?! Sign up now!



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9 tips for cycling in a pack

With thousands of people set to take part in the Sport Ireland Tour de Burren in June, we thought there’s no better time to share some top tips to ensure you have as smooth a ride as possible.