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10 Great Tips on Group Cycling Etiquette

Some love it and some avoid it like the plague, but whatever your thoughts, if you are considering joining a cycling club or are already group cycling, there are number of ‘rules’ that need to be adhered to in order to make the experience pleasurable and safe for you, other riders and everyone else you come into contact with.

Where to start? Probably with safety, as it is imperative you get back from that ride wanting to get out again as soon as possible.

The greatest threats to cyclists are the increasing numbers of road vehicles, the shocking state of some of our roads and other road users, pedestrians and issues with your bike. Always ask if you’re unsure, as there is almost certainly someone knowledgeable in the group to assist with any issues.

And now to some tips on etiquette for riding in a group:

  1. Appoint a ride leader: If you’re riding with a club or an organised group there should be a ride leader who will have already detailed the route and rules of the group and the speed the group expect to average.
  2. Keep everyone on board: If the club are active in encouraging new riders to continue with them, they will need to ensure they do not leave anyone behind – a person to act as ‘tail end Charlie’ is essential in ensuring no one drops out of the group.
  3. Remain courteous to other road users (even when they’re not): Observing the rules of the road when riding in a group will ensure that other road users interact with the group in a courteous and friendly manner. Just remember that not everyone is courteous and polite, but if we stay calm and act in a correct manner we make those who may not be acting appropriately look foolish and not us!
  4. Only double up if it’s safe: Keep single file where the road is narrower, and only double up where it’s safe to do so. Most drivers don’t realise that it takes longer to pass a single file of cyclists than those ‘doubled up’ – but remember only double up when it’s safe to do so.
  5. Work as a team: Keep in the group and don’t fly off the front, searching for that next Strava segment. If you do want to try your luck, ask and make sure the ride leader approves. Think of what impression this may give to others in the group, especially those younger riders – set a good example!
  6. Keep communicating: Shout or point out obstacles, potholes, approaching vehicles or other road users. Every rider does not need to continue the shout, but every few riders will ensure all in the group are aware and keep safe. Likewise the ‘tail end Charlie’ needs to shout up the group if there are any mechanicals, so the group can wait whilst any problem can be addressed.
  7. Keep your distance: Keep a safe distance within the group and remember the closer you are the easier the ride due to the drag effect of the group. However, until you’re used to riding in a group it will be best to keep the distances comfortable, thus ensuring a safe ride for all.
  8. Know your limits: Make sure you don’t exceed your own physical limits and ride with the group thats speed is comfortable for you. Your fitness will get better the more rides you participate in, but too much too soon will probably dampen your enthusiasm and mean some painful rides back to the group meeting point.
  9. Beware of the ‘Bonk’: The worst feeling in cycling is the ‘Bonk’ – when your energy levels drop to such a level, through lack of sustenance, that it can be like cycling through treacle until you get the food your body craves. As suggested below – make sure you have enough food to sustain the effort you are going to put in on the bike.
  10. Be Prepared: It’s common sense to carry spare tubes, chain links, tyre patches and to know how to fix the most frequent problems. But also make sure you have food and a rain jacket to counter the ever-changeable British weather!

All the above pointers will ensure you ride safe and keep coming back to the club or group you choose and keep the steady stream of cyclists coming into the sport.

More importantly get out there, be safe and enjoy your cycling!

Group Cycling

Cheshire Maverick Cycling Club

Good or Bad Customer Service?

I had the pleasure of excellent customer service this week, to the point that it actually made me smile, it also brought a smile to another but more of that later.

Firstly what makes good or bad customer service?

Good customer service can easily be quantified – being open, honest, friendly, willing to listen and more importantly accepting that we are not always correct and we do not know everything – life is a constant learning circle and I believe we all learn something new everyday.

Today I learned to ride on rollers!

Bad customer service leaves a bad taste, being discourteous, arrogant and not listening to what others have to say – it doesn’t make for good business, a customer is far less likely to return to a business if they haven’t had a good experience.

I would pride myself on always being willing to listen and being very approachable, but enough of me and back to the excellent experience.

I ordered a Planet X track frame for a bespoke build. The order and delivery were what you would expect from a company like Planet X.

Once the frame was mounted in the stand a visual check revealed that the upper head bearing shell had snapped away from the frame and the shell was quite badly damaged.

A phone call to Planet X and an email with pictures resulted with a reply within an hour with an offer for the frame to be collected by a courier.

The frame was duly collected virtually to the minute of the time slot provided by the courier, I had asked if a replacement could be sent out before the weekend so I could build the bike for training at the Velodrome on Saturday and Monday track league at the same venue.

Planet X Track Bike

Planet X Track Bike

I was amazed that the replacement arrived less than 48 hours after the original being collected! That is GOOD customer service!

The bike build has been completed and I can’t wait until it is speeding around the boards of the Velodrome!

SMART Front Light Set Review

I have based this review of the 500 and 700 lumen SMART Front Light sets upon the feedback I have received from Velo-Tech customers that have been using them for some time and relates specifically to the front light units.

The 500 lumen light is based on a regular road rider who needed a replacement for the night rides he completes as part of his training schedule, the 700 lumen on a commuter who wanted a bright and powerful light to ensure he was as visible as possible after unfortunately being knocked off his bike by a motorist.

Both lights fall into the mid-price bracket of £37.00 for the 500 light set and £40.00 for the 700 unit which I believe provide excellent value for money.

SMART Front Light

SMART Front Light

Firstly, there is not much difference in the size of these two lights, the 700 being slightly larger than the 500. Both attach to the bars via an easy to use bracket, with inserts to allow fitting to differing bar sizes.

Charging is via USB and stated burn time is very good given that both customers concerned have stated that they never use the full beam as the lower is more than adequate.

Both lights have similar running times:

  • Four light modes (low beam steady, medium beam steady, high beam steady and flashing)
  • Up to 10.5 hours run time in low beam steady mode
  • Up to 6.5 hours run time in medium beam steady mode
  • Up to 2.5 hours run time in high beam steady mode
  • Up to 25 hours run time in flashing mode

One excellent feature that has been highlighted is the power button which is very easy to use in gloved fingers when changing modes – a real bonus in the colder weather. The power button is also lit and the colour of the button changes depending upon which mode is selected giving a visual indication as to the mode instead of trying to work out how bright the light is away from flashing mode.

It has been pointed out that once the battery power drops, the power button turns red, but that after being run to such a point that the light starts to shut down, it takes approximately 20-30 minutes after turning red. This can give some assurance if your ride takes longer than planned.

Overall, for the price – an excellent piece of kit.

If you’d like one for yourself, just give me a call – 07929 892429 or email: martin@velotechcheshire.co.uk

Price: SMART 500 –  £37 /  SMART 700 – £40

 

Call Martin on: 07929 892429

As well as helping to keep your bike in top condition, I’m also keen to help you get the most out of your cycling.

If you’re truly passionate about your bike, why not consider having a bespoke bike built to your exact specifications. See some bikes I’ve build recently on our Bike Builds page, there’s even some stunning retro bike builds amongst them.