The keys to riding the pilot safely
As we have already seen, the first rule that must be respected in most cases (roads open to traffic) is to roll in a row of two. In this case if we have to advance or give relays, it will be done on the left, never on the right or forming columns of more than two cyclists.
To make energy savings possible, the distance between the runners must be very small. Professionals almost constantly touch the front wheel with the rear of another rider, but this is too dangerous to make it the norm. Generallya distance of between 15 and 30 cm is sufficient. It is also not advisable to leave an excessive distance, since the benefits of being grouped together are lost we run the risk of lateral wind coming in and causing the famous fans or whiplash and leaving us cut off and forcing us to overwork to regain position.
That’s why it’s essential roll in a steady mannertrying to maintain a uniform speed and with progressive and controlled acceleration or braking. You have to be very careful if you want to stand up or if the cyclist in front stands up, as it generally involves a decrease in speed (even if it is momentary) and can cause a crash.
When we get to the head of the pilot we must not give reins or increase the pace excessively, since we will end up breaking the unit and we can be left alone (or leave alone a companion who goes with the fairest forces). The key is to try to maintain a constant pace (the odometer doesn’t lie) or if we have to put one more point, that it should always be sustained and progressive.
We must also not make sudden movements, as we could scare or unbalance the cyclists around us and cause an accident. You must always try to keep a line as straight as possible. Of course, if we encounter obstacles or we have to change our trajectory, it is advisable to let us know, especially if we find potholes or objects on the road and we have to dodge them.
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Forecasting and anticipation, fundamental to safe driving
In this sense it is fundamental think as a whole and not as an individual cyclist. Even if we have to constantly watch the wheel of the bicycle that precedes us, we must also be attentive to our surroundings and what is a few tens of meters in front of us. We must anticipate possible actions and anticipate if we see curves, roundabouts, obstacles, etc. coming.
If for any reason we join an already formed group, the right thing to do is, in addition to asking permission, sit in the back to learn the dynamics of this pilot and the time has come to enter the rotation of the relays, but always with the consent of its components. If the group travels in a row of two and we are left alone, it is best stay at the back and circle on the right waiting for a colleague to join us that maintains the structure.
This advice is valid as well if we run out of strengthnot to slow down the march of the group, or beginners who don’t feel confident enough. When driving in the back we will save energy, we will not cut the pace by lowering the pilot’s speed, we will learn little by little the dynamics of the group, the signals that are made, the speed… and little by little we will gain confidence.
When we are in this circumstance it is always necessary to warn of our intention to remain in the back and to be polite if it is a group we do not know. No cyclist likes to have someone on their wheel all the time without giving him relief, unless there is a justified reason.
Hands always on the handlebars and close to the handles
It’s common for a rider, especially in racing, for the handlebars to be very close together, even if we’re slightly bumping into the rider next to us and leaning shoulder-to-shoulder. To avoid larger imbalances, both hands must always rest on the handlebars, and although the brakes must be touched as little as possible, they must be close to the levers just in case.
For that do not eat in a group very compact or putting on or taking off clothes (vests, sleeves, etc.). Both hands should never be removed from the handlebars (much less to take the mobile phone and start taking photos or videos), so if we are going to do any of these operations we have to get out of the way. If we drink, we must do the whole process with one hand and the other firmly on the handlebars.
Ups and downs on the pilot
On the short but explosive climbs, we must do our best to maintain the position. Also, we have to get into it quickly, avoiding a sudden drop in speed that ends up causing a pile-up at the back of the group.
On descents, the distance to the wheel of the cyclist in front must be slightly increased to allow room for maneuver under any circumstances, although whenever possible it is not necessary to stop pedaling to maintain the rider’s speed. In cases where the speed is very high, it is better to break the column discipline of two and go one at a time, as we will have a little more space to negotiate the curves. In these cases, moreover, if we are going slower we will always have to let ourselves fall on the right or if we have to overtake another or other cyclists, we will do it on the left and give prior notice of our intentions.
Finally, if we went out in a group, we have to come back in a group. Cycling is an experience to be lived and enjoyed. If we are not in a race there is no need to leave behind a partner who has failed in his strength or is not in his best moment of form. If necessary, the speed of the pilot is reduced so that all its components arrive together at the destination.