Mountain Biking can be an incredibly social sport, allowing you to meet all kinds of different riders and people - improving and enjoying your mountain biking more and more in the process. Many mountain bikers have a group of friends that they can ride with, whilst others join local mountain biking clubs to enjoy the company of like minded people, whilst also learning new ways and areas to ride. Riding in a group however does come with some informal guidelines - and with the below tips we have put together, you can get the most enjoyment and learning out of riding with a group.
Discuss Routes for the Day
Although there’s usually a couple of people in a mountain bike group who decide on a plan of attack, it’s well worth discussing the route for the day - ensuring that the route is right for all riding capabilities as well as ensuring that everybody is OK to ride for the amount of time the route requires. There’s nothing worse than being dragged out on a bike ride which is either too difficult, or prevents you getting on with other plans!
Take it Easy (ish!)
A group ride is not usually the time to be setting personal bests, leaving your fellow riders bemused about your sudden burst of performance. Remember a massive part of riding in a group is the social aspect, it’s an opportunity to discuss and learn things about mountain biking, whilst also seeing old friends, as well as making new ones. If you are not pleased with how you rode a section, chin up and move on - do not insist on holding the group up by re-riding that section.
Reduce the Testosterone
Don’t worry too much about the order of who is riding, there will always be riders who earn their place at their front, or feel like they should at the front of the pack. Find your natural place in the pack and don’t worry too much, alternatively - don’t be scared to go in front of riders who are hesitating, or who have offered a place in front of them. ‘Ride ahead of me’ is loosely translated to ‘I don’t want you to ride behind me’ if everybody follows this attitude, the order of the pack will be about right.
Always leave space
Nothing quite ruins the dynamic of a group mountain bike ride, the same way that a pile up does. To ensure that you are not responsible for said pile up, leave a gap between you and other riders. Try and leave at least six bike lengths between you and other riders, and continue to monitor this as the ride progresses.
If you are one of the senior bodies on the ride, or the route leader - give plenty of instructions as to the routes that you are taking, but do not over complicate these instructions. Keep an eye on newbie bikers who may not know exactly where they need to go and when.
Be on Time
This one is not too difficult, but if you are heading out on a group ride - make sure you get to the meeting point a little bit early to ensure the ride can go ahead on time. Accept the fact that some people will be badly organised, and there will be a fair bit of messing about at the beginning and end of the ride.
Think about Mudguards
Although mudguards may not make a massive impact on how you enjoy your ride, the riders behind you will certainly appreciate your bike being fitted with a mudguard.
Most importantly, get and out and enjoy the ride.