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Safety Tips for newbie/inexperienced Racers

ToksToks Posts: 1,143
edited July 2011 in Amateur race
Please don't post advice on race tactics here? We can do that in another thread.

Not always easy (especially if your not 'fit' or confident) but try to stay in the front 3rd of the pack. It's safer; you'll be in the right place if things split up and your less likely to get held up in a crash. (I will concede however that some circuits can be ridden quite comfortably from the rear of the pack)

Be wary of overlapping wheels in front especially when things are bunched up and you're on a twisty/turny road or circuit.

The pack will generally follow the 'racing line' (shortest or fastest way around the circuit, typically shaving off corners to maintain speed). Anticipate and position yourself accordingly. Make your moves predictable - yes you may well be able to cut up the pack to make up 10 places - but can you do that without serously affecting the pack dynamic?. Such a selfish clumsy maneovre may be just enough to cause a crash behind you.

When seated on a climb and switching to climbing out of the saddle it often causes you to slow down fractionally and that's often enough to cause someone following close behind to hit your back wheel and go down. I therefore always make an effort to pull/push the bike forward as I rise out of the saddle to counter that lull in speed.

When moving off someone's wheel (person in front) glance over your shoulder first. For experienced riders, its much more subtle action - you develop that extra sense of who is around and switch from side to side without even realising that you're doing it

Posts

  • Short form version ' Don't be a Drongo'
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    if everyone sits in the front third of the pack, what happens to the other two thirds..??
  • kieranbkieranb Posts: 1,674
    Try and ride the course at least once prior to the race start, noting anything that might be a hazzard: loose gravel, pot holes, road furniture, sharp bends etc.

    Coming to the end of the race, if you aren't realistically competing for a placed position, don't sprint, but don't sit-up, continue riding at the pace you were doing, and hold your line even if someone behind you shouts for you to move over. It is their job to move around you.

    Don't try out new equipment for the first time in a race if possible.

    Don't try riding no hands to take off your jacket like the pros do.

    If you have a mechanical try to drop out by slowing down gradually and letting the bunch flow around you.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    You're naturally gonna be nervous but do try to relax. Focus not only on the wheel infront but look ahead - that way you'll be aware of people attacking or slowing down and avoid desperate uncontrolled efforts to stay in touch

    Try not to touch the brakes unless really essential.

    Before racing, practice taking your bottle out of its cage and returning it whilst riding in a straight line

    Remember left pedal up right pedal down for left hand hairpin bends and left pedal down right pedal up for and right hand hairpin bends (you can pedal through some hairpins but its not for the inexperienced)

    No squirrely manoeuvres when sprinting! (in fact no squirrely manoeuvres period!)

    Back off the person in front by a few feet when descending long fast hills

    If you puncture stay calm, keep riding and put up your hand so others can come around you

    In a RR's keep to left side of the road particularly on blind bends and short sharp rises in the road.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    When cornering, simply follow the wheel of the rider in front.

    Be realistic about your climbing abilities - if you know you're going to be slow/steady on the hills, stay on the inside to allow faster riders room to get by.

    Don't try and make up places by belting down the outside of the bunch as they brake into a bend and chopping your way in half-way around - the riders you've just chopped have to brake hard to avoid hitting you.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • if you feel the need to spit then spit down to the ground and within your arms, ie, not over your shoulder or away from your body. You'll catch someone else in the group who won't be happy about being covered in your goss
    Don't make sudden braking manouvres - you'll cause a concertina effect where everyone behind you has to brake harder. Another reason to stay nearer the front. I fyou have to slow down then move out to the side of the guy in front and allow the wind/lack of shelter to naturally slow you down.
    Be aware of those around you - jumping about without thought for your fellow competitors is not great.
    Go on a few club runs and chaingangs before your first race to understand group dynamics at various speeds. A race is not the place to learn these lessons
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    +1 for that, gob into your jersey shoulder, that way you can stil where u r going.
  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    Don't throw litter. It's not Euro-pro.
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    Don't be that desperate combination of needing to move up but not wanting to do any work once you get there. Moving up the side of the bunch that's strung out in a headwind (Goodwood comes to mind) and then motioning madly for someone to let you in because you don't want to sit on the front will not make you friends. Get to the front, do your part for a few minutes, and wait for someone else to come through. Cutting in 4th or 5th wheel is not cool, and neither is getting to the front and immediately soft-pedalling to limit your effort.

    Basically think of the bunch like driving on the M25 when it's busy: be predictable and sensible, don't cut people off or brake suddenly, stay in your lane going around corners, and realise that it might take you a bit of time to get into a different lane if that's where you want to be. Plan accordingly.
  • something i have noticed over here is people who started in mountain biking are much safer and more confident riding in a bunch than someone who started straight into road as it teaches you how to handle a bike properly, so try do a bit of mtb if you can, like has been said no sudden movements and when drinking make sure you stay the same speed
  • something i have noticed over here is people who started in mountain biking are much safer and more confident riding in a bunch than someone who started straight into road as it teaches you how to handle a bike properly, so try do a bit of mtb if you can, like has been said no sudden movements and when drinking make sure you stay the same speed
  • hold your line on a corner. I'm no expert but the number of times people have cut across the corner and wobbled about causes real headaches for those next to and behind them.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    something i have noticed over here is people who started in mountain biking are much safer and more confident riding in a bunch than someone who started straight into road as it teaches you how to handle a bike properly, so try do a bit of mtb if you can, like has been said no sudden movements and when drinking make sure you stay the same speed

    Good handling skills are a definate plus, they help during fast cornering and descents. Would like to add club riders are also in general good in groups as well.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    softlad wrote:
    if everyone sits in the front third of the pack, what happens to the other two thirds..??

    Simple - it gets faster and faster until the weakest two thirds are shelled.
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Don't think that higher pressure = faster. Ensure that your tyres are holding the correct pressure for your weight. Too high and you risk sliding out on corners. Too low and you may experience dodgy handling and risk a pinch flat.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    Relax your arms, especially on corners. If your arms are locked then your bike handling will suffer - you will twitch too much at any change in direction in the pack, and each corner will be 'sixpensed'.

    Be chilled, be smooth.
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