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Pack riding tips

ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
edited January 2010 in Road beginners
What's the best way of getting used to riding in a pack, then? Join a club? Wheel-suck on a sportive? Tailgate the number 53 bus down the Old Kent Road?

I'd like to get some group riding skills under my belt before tackling this year's Marmotte, so would be grateful for a few tips and pointers, please. Am based in New Cross Gate, south east London, so if anyone can recommend a good, friendly local club, that would be ace.

Ta.

Posts

  • Chip \'oylerChip \'oyler Posts: 2,323
    Find a local chaingang - sit at the back for the first ride and observe. Notice what they do etc. Then the next chaingang join in
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  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    Weekly club runs
  • nolfnolf Posts: 1,287
    Chaingangs are quite physically demanding to say the least (you cruise around at 25mph+ in a decent one). Start off by riding with other people, find some mates or a club you can ride with. Go for rides that you find easyish physically so you can focus on staying on wheels and riding in straight predictable lines.
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  • floosyfloosy Posts: 270
    Infamous wrote:
    Weekly club runs

    +1
  • i agree with the weekly club run, just get in a nice steady riding group, you will learn quick enough
  • The best bit of advice is be predictable, and also don't collide with anyone! Keep a straight line.http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/images/ ... iggrin.gif

    Here's three of links from our club site, that may help you. The first one is a bit over the top - but there's still some usefull tips in there.

    The other two links will be useful for you, if you get into a fast group that is working together in either a single line or two lines:-

    http://www.gregarios.co.uk/cycling-club ... nique.html
    http://www.gregarios.co.uk/cycling-club ... d-off.html
    http://www.gregarios.co.uk/cycling-club ... ining.html
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Don't think chaingang is a good idea to start with as you don't seem to be that experoenced yet and even some guys who race struggle with a chain gang as they cannot do through and off properly :D
    Better to do as others suggest, go along on some club runs, but even then it may only be paired up riding and not bunched riding like races and foreign sportives.
    Not sure if they do any winter training on Herne hill, they do at Welwyn track which can also help as winter riding is on road bikes.
    They also do this at Hillingdon but I cannot remember which nights but some one on here should know.
    It's probably wise to do a sportive or two also.
    The dragon is pretty good, not just for a couple of longer climbs than the usuak sportives, but also because it does mass starts with up to 200 at a time starting of if memory serves me correctly and with such high overall entrants you should be able to find quite a few suitably paced bunches you can ride in throughout the ride.
  • gbsgbs Posts: 450
    The best bit of advice is be predictable, and also don't collide with anyone! Keep a straight line.http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/images/ ... iggrin.gif

    Here's three of links from our club site, that may help you. The first one is a bit over the top - but there's still some usefull tips in there.

    Agreed, useful stuff to which I would add the suggestion that in a chaingang, the two line formulation, the last man in the inside file, should call "last man" when moving over to the outside file.
    vintage newbie, spinning away
  • ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
    All good advice, thanks.

    Can anyone recommend a club in south east London that I might be able to tag along with?
  • dulldavedulldave Posts: 949
    gbs wrote:

    Agreed, useful stuff to which I would add the suggestion that in a chaingang, the two line formulation, the last man in the inside file, should call "last man" when moving over to the outside file.

    It's surprising how many experienced riders don't do this. It makes things so much easier.
    Scottish and British...and a bit French
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    markos1963 wrote:
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.

    Tow three newbies for 20 miles? He could not be that good as he should be able to ride away from them 8)
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    markos1963 wrote:
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.

    Tow three newbies for 20 miles? He could not be that good as he should be able to ride away from them 8)

    Yea I forgot about NapD and his quad power thighs!
  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 989
    markos1963 wrote:
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.

    How do things normally work with the slower group at VCN Markos, is it proper group formation, or a series of twos and threes? I would like to try a club run one day, but the thought of shoulder to shoulder riding and me bringing someone down with some dodgy braking is a bit daunting.
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  • dombo6dombo6 Posts: 582
    ketsbaia wrote:
    All good advice, thanks.

    Can anyone recommend a club in south east London that I might be able to tag along with?

    Addiscombe CC.
    Club runs for all abilities every Saturday starting from Coulsdon South Station at around 0900. Easy ride out to cafe in Charlwood and back, approx 40 miles total. Groups of about 12 riders or so at different speeds, 15, 17, 18, 19 mph then A & B training rides. Join the group at your favoured speed and progress from there.
    Very friendly club and one of the best ways to get into road cycling. Others to consider which may be more local to you are Norwood Paragon and Dulwich Paragon.
    See our website:

    www.addiscombe.org

    Hope to see you one day!
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Carl_P wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.

    How do things normally work with the slower group at VCN Markos, is it proper group formation, or a series of twos and threes? I would like to try a club run one day, but the thought of shoulder to shoulder riding and me bringing someone down with some dodgy braking is a bit daunting.

    Club runs are ok, and chaingangs, but both usually involve riding paired up so is not really "bunch" riding where you can be 3,4,5 or more abreast, being passed on both sides, especially in some of the foreign sportives at the start where they can be mad :D
    Track riding is good for bunch training. A lot of people for some reason panic about going o the track, but at least theres no brakes on the bikes so you all end up pedalling the same speed so easy to ride in a pack. On club runs it can often be that someone infront brakes unexpectedly for no reason and if your too close, can touch wheels, this can also happpen on climbs if rider in front gets out of the saddle becuse when they do, they slow down immediately so on climbs leave a little gap between wheels i.e over 6" :D
    On a track, when going race pace, it is common to ride between a couple of inches and at most a foot from wheels in front so good practice :D
    Most track sessions do at least training for through and off and close proximity riding.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Carl_P wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    Club runs definatly. Wheelsucking on a sportive is a no no unless you like a face full of snot from the guy in front whose had to tow three other newbies for the last twenty miles! Also on a sportive you don't know the capabilities of the other riders and the last thing you want is to be brought down by someone else who is just learning, in a club you should be looked after by more experienced riders.

    How do things normally work with the slower group at VCN Markos, is it proper group formation, or a series of twos and threes? I would like to try a club run one day, but the thought of shoulder to shoulder riding and me bringing someone down with some dodgy braking is a bit daunting.

    Not too daunting at VCN Carl. Its definatly not a chaingang in either group but I would suggest to a beginner to group riding not matter how fast they are that they go with the slower group to start with. Usual formation is two abreast(single file on very narrow or busy roads) and its up to you how close you are prepared to ride to the guy in front but a couple of feet should be ok to start with. Rotation is done by the outer guy riding through and pulling across the inside front man and then the outside line move up. This is done at a rate depending on the strength of a rider so a newbie wouldn't be expected to stay on the front for long, a minute or two would be ok and then pull across. Plenty of signals are given to warn of potholes and turns/slowing down so you will have time to adjust your postion.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    oldwelshman, I'm sure we'd all love to train in the velodrome, but considering there are only 3 indoor tracks in the entire country it's often not possible for most people.

    Saying that, it's probably the best form of training when the weather is like this :(
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Infamous wrote:
    oldwelshman, I'm sure we'd all love to train in the velodrome, but considering there are only 3 indoor tracks in the entire country it's often not possible for most people.

    Saying that, it's probably the best form of training when the weather is like this :(
    Why is that? I am 180 miles away and drive to train there when possible :D
    Don't forget that most outdoor tracks to training on road bikes this time of year.
    Also hillingdon.
    Not sure if Hogg Hill does.
  • On club runs it can often be that someone infront brakes unexpectedly for no reason and if your too close, can touch wheels, this can also happpen on climbs if rider in front gets out of the saddle becuse when they do, they slow down immediately so on climbs leave a little gap between wheels i.e over 6"

    If people are doing that on club runs I'd suggest they don't know how to ride in a group themselves!
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

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  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Thats the trouble with "club" runs :D Also on sportives.
    Different on training rides and chain gangs as the riders are usually more experienced.
  • ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
    Dombo6 wrote:
    ketsbaia wrote:
    All good advice, thanks.

    Can anyone recommend a club in south east London that I might be able to tag along with?

    Addiscombe CC.
    Club runs for all abilities every Saturday starting from Coulsdon South Station at around 0900. Easy ride out to cafe in Charlwood and back, approx 40 miles total. Groups of about 12 riders or so at different speeds, 15, 17, 18, 19 mph then A & B training rides. Join the group at your favoured speed and progress from there.
    Very friendly club and one of the best ways to get into road cycling. Others to consider which may be more local to you are Norwood Paragon and Dulwich Paragon.
    See our website:

    www.addiscombe.org

    Hope to see you one day!

    Sounds great but Coulsdon South is a fair old schlep away from New Cross Gate. Might give Dulwich Paragon a go, since they're just down the road.

    Anyone here a member there? Or any experience of them?
  • nolfnolf Posts: 1,287
    markos1963 wrote:

    Yea I forgot about NapD and his quad power thighs!

    I think you mean QuadPower™.
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • Thats the trouble with "club" runs :D Also on sportives.
    Different on training rides and chain gangs as the riders are usually more experienced.

    Ah I see what you meant!

    I've been fortunate in that most of the older guys in the team have been former track cyclists (a couple of champs too!). Their group/pack riding skills are fantastic. Used to scare me a bit when their bars were hovering about an inch from mine, but you soon learn to trust the riders around you I guess.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
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