Safe Group Riding Skills: Overlapping Wheels

If you want to ride faster you need to ride with a group. Group riding pushes your limits and exposes you to riders better than you. The casual observer may think group riding looks easy. Just remember that every skilled athlete makes their craft “look easy”. The skills required to ride in a group are subtle and take at least a year or more to fully understand.

The golden rule of group riding is “DO NOT OVERLAP WHEELS”, keeping in mind that it is every riders responsibility to “GUARD YOUR FRONT WHEEL”.  Think of it like driving a car and rear ending someone, it’s (almost) always you’re fault. So if someone pulls out in front of you in a group ride, takes out your front wheel causing you to crash… well, you weren’t guarding your front wheel so shame on you! Of course this begs the question of why your group has not educated sprint happy unpredictable and otherwise sketchy riders, but regardless the reason it is still in your best interest to always GUARD YOUR FRONT WHEEL.

So what constitutes an ‘overlapping wheel’? See below.

 

Lead riders rear wheel clears your front wheel. This is good form.

Image 1: Lead riders rear wheel clears your front wheel. This is good form.

 

Your front wheel overlaps the lead riders rear wheel. This is bad form.

Image 2: Your front wheel overlaps the lead riders rear wheel. This is bad form.

 

Image 3: Overlapping wheels is only ok when you have plenty of room to respond to unpredictable actions.

Image 3: Overlapping wheels is only ok when you have plenty of room to respond to unpredictable actions.

 

Image 4: This scenario will not cause you to immediately crash and is acceptable.

Image 4: This scenario will not cause you to immediately crash and is acceptable.

 

So if you want to garner the respect of your current group or gain entry into a new one, show them you understand what it means to “guard your front wheel” and don’t ever, ever, (EVER!) overlap wheels as seen in image 1. Do this, and you might as well show up with a basket and horn on your rig. Have something to add to the story or an experience to share? That’s why we provide a comments section! 🙂

Until next ride,

Will Conkwright

Oriental, NC

March 2, 2016