Saturday, November 24, 2012

group riding "rules"

The club spin probably happens all year in clubs the length and breath of the country the below is rules for their group spins over the winter. During the winter the group swells when the racing members of the club return and commence their winter training. This can lead to a wide variety of abilitys in the group so a few rules are no harm especially with clubs booming and new members coming to the sport. Wexford are lucky as they run up to 3 spins on a Sunday morning so they can cater for all abilities.

The below are applied to their fastest group but they apply to all groups of cyclists training on the roads. The Wexford area would have had a reputation for over training during the winter with club spins turning into racing so its great to see the club progressing, this will lead to the riders training better during the winter and better results being achieved next season.

The club appointed a ride captain who is this case is Simon Lambert who would be the best rider in the club, Simon starts the spins by telling the group where they are heading and reminds the riders of the rules, this only happens for the first few spins as the "rules" will quickly become second nature and habit.

Its important for every group spin to have a leader he/she does not have to be the best rider in the club but has to be well respected and comfortable taking charge. Some people may not be happy being told how to ride on their weekend but the group as a whole will benefit. There is a world of differnce in a well organised spin as opposed to a disjointed one where the pace is up and down and there is no plan for what happens when their is a puncture etc. If you are at a different fitness level to the majority of the group (i.e. a lot worse) dont expect the spin to wait for you if you get dropped crossing a railway bridge its not fair on the rest of the group. In a club like Wexford Wheelers you are lucky that you have 3 groups to choose from so choose your group wisely as aim to increase your strength so that you can progress up to the fastest group.

All I would add to the below is to make sure to call pot holes but also point them out, if you are in the 4th row and you hear "hole" being shouted you dont know where that is so if your on the first row call "hole" but also drop your hand to your right or left to indicate where the hole is. If everyone in the group adopts this approach there will be a lot less punctures and stress in the group.

1. Team

Cycling is a team sport . We are all one club so therefore we are all one team no matter what grade.

2. Endurance Spin

The Autumn /winter Saturday Sunday spins are for endurance,  therefore long and steady .

If anybody wants to do intervals they can do during the week separate to these days .

3.  No half Wheeling

Stay nice and tight to the person beside you . No half wheeling !!!.   Particularly  on the front.  Half wheeling on the front, increases the pressure on the Behind rider, the pace balance at the front is lost , and the group pace is disrupted.
Not to mention your partner will not be impressed with having to work harder.

4. Steady on the hills .

No changing ( up and over)  at the front until cresting the top of hill. This will ensure a steady pace while climbing hills .

5.Speed it up on descents.

Who ever is at the front going down the hill has to push on and be in the big ring so as the rest of the group is not free wheeling behind .

6.Toilet Break

There will be a designated toilet break somewhere on the spin about half way through. Everybody must stop at this time !!! Then everybody must start again together !!!

I dont know if they have a rule about ice cream stops!!


If some one punctures,  the person beside them stops to help them mend it . The people on the front have to be told what is happening . (messenger travels up the outside of the group, delivers the message ,  then returns to their position).
 The group does not stop but continues on for ten minutes then turns around to go back for the outer riders . This way the group stays warm .

8.One Unit

If something is happening within the group the people on the front have to be told e.g.
                                Someone having a mechanical problem
                                 Someone getting dropped
We have to behave as one Unit.


Who ever is on the front has to ride a little bit harder but still steady so as everybody within the group stays warm.

10 .Side by Side

Everybody is to ride side by side two abreast Never three abreast !!!.single out quickly when called for cars .

11.Tired Person

If someone is tired they can stay at the back until they recover if they can . But they have to let the person coming back know as not to disrupt the flow of the group and the people moving forward .
If you are able to move forward you should continue to do so, in order  to keep the group moving , no missing turns .

12. Food & Tubes & Money & Mobile

Make sure you have enough food and drink for the spin. Everybody must have two tubes one set of leavers and a pump essential . Money and mobiles recommended.

13.Start & Finish

We start together so therefore we finish together .
These points should make for a enjoyable spin together happy cycling !!.