Group Rides: What To Know and What To Bring

There are a few things that you should carry with you when you’re doing a group ride to keep you happy, safe and comfortable.

- A helmet is absolutely mandatory.
- Front and rear lights: for days when you might start or finish in the dark or dusk.
- Water bottle (2 for longer rides): electrolyte replacement fluid like Hydrolyte will keep you going if you’re doing long or especially hard rides.- Snacks: we recommend something with 4 parts carbohydrates and 1 part protein – like a banana.
- Cash: for the well-earned post-ride coffee and/or breakfast.
- A spare tube.
- A pump and/or CO2 cannisters.
- Tyre levers.
- A multi-tool is recommended for small adjustments.
- There is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choice! On wet days, a light jacket or wind-vest will do. On cold days, arm and leg warmers are invaluable (it’s especially important to keep your knees warm).
- Carry ID and a Myki/Opal/Go card in case of trouble!

Other things you should know:

- Basic hand signals are used on organised group rides: it’d be good to have an idea of some of these, especially ‘right’, ‘left’, ‘stopping’ and ‘moving out’. Ask your group leader before setting off.
- Some faster rides will have a ‘rolling paceline’. There is lots and lots of highly technical and confusing info on the internet about this but don’t worry too much about it. Basically, ride smoothly and predictably, listen out and watch the wheel of the rider in front of you. You can’t go too far wrong with that.
- Have an idea of what is meant by ‘drafting’. It’s awesome.
- RideOn magazine’s article, “Group Mentality” describes all of this in a great , easy-to-read reference. We highly recommend you check it out: http://rideons.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/group-mentality/

Most importantly, bring a good attitude and a willingness to learn and you’ll be fine. Cyclists are a friendly bunch and you’ll always find someone willing to help you out.

If you’re in Melbourne check out the Tenax Group ride which runs every Saturday. This group is sponsored by Reid but is completely independent and provides the perfect environment in which to build up your confidence, speed, distance, hill-climbing and bunch-riding skills from beginner to expert.

A recent Tenax Group Ride through the stunning Dandenongs, Victoria.[/caption]

If you’re in Brisbane, we run a weekly Friday morning shop ride starting 6am from the Southbank side of the Goodwill Bridge. Contact the store for more details.

-  Alexander Hender from Tenax Ride