Leading rides on busy roads.

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Oceanic
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Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Oceanic » 17 May 2019, 8:27pm

I lead rides for a non CTC affiliated club. When I did my British Cycling Ride Leader course we were taught that in almost all situations we should organise the group two abreast.

We try to avoid fast roads where cars are travelling at 60mph, but sometimes we have to use such a road to link two sections of more pleasant road.

On these 'fast' roads the club has (since before I joined) always transitioned into single file. I havn't asked why they / we do this but my guess is that...

-It allows cars to choose to leave a larger gap between themselves and the club cyclists (the cars in our area are pretty courteous and generally do this).
- The highway code says cyclists should ride in single file on busy roads.[/list]

The problem with the above is that 8 cyclists take up a lot of room length wise, and I have seen at least one near miss caused by a car getting halfway through an overtake and then pulling in next to the club group.

Solutions I have used so far include splitting the group into two smaller groups with 25m in between them, and positioning myself next to the back marker (two abreast) to discourage cars from overtaking if I do not think it is safe for cars to pass us.

What do other people do when forced to lead a club group along busy roads where the cars travel at 60mph?

Please remember that I'm sincerely asking for advice and be nice!

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 17 May 2019, 8:37pm

I thought the HC said to ride in single file on roads that are busy AND narrow (my emphasis)
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Oceanic
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Oceanic » 17 May 2019, 8:42pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:I thought the HC said to ride in single file on roads that are busy AND narrow (my emphasis)


http://www.highwaycode.info/rule/66

'ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends'

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 17 May 2019, 9:28pm

Never ride exactly two abreast. When one goes, both end up kissing tarmac. Watch any peloton pile up to see why that's a bad idea.

The outer rider should be half a bikes length behind - if the inner rider goes, the outer rider has the opportunity to spot the visual cues. If the outer rider goes, the inner is likely unaffected anyway. It also makes it easier and quicker to revert to file if required, with less chance of gathering up the inner rider while doing so.

It's little wonder that BC road skills training has such a poor rep with trainers of professional systems, and that's putting it politely :?
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mjr
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby mjr » 17 May 2019, 9:56pm

We don't do led rides but on our relaxed group rides, people are encouraged to stay two abreast in order to shorten the group, as explained in Chris Boardman's YouTube video "side by side", but to break into sixes and keep some car lengths apart on the road.

Not everyone is stubborn enough to ride on the right column in front of some of the aggressive idiots motoring, though. I've even had some cyclists telling me we should ride on the shoulder, which I won't because it's full of the P fairy's minions.

We do ride nearly side by side, though not so close together that the rider beside falling would hit you. I think staggering matters more in tighter formation groups.
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mattheus
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby mattheus » 18 May 2019, 1:20pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Never ride exactly two abreast. When one goes, both end up kissing tarmac. Watch any peloton pile up to see why that's a bad idea.


This is the exact opposite of reality.

(BC may have their faults, but their cycling methods are derived from decades of best practice evolved by riding in training groups and race groups, and tested throughout the land.)

pedals2slowly
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby pedals2slowly » 18 May 2019, 10:16pm

Never single file unless 4 or less riders.
Maintain a cohesive two abreast group acting like a slow moving vehicle.
If you look organised and tidy you will get treated well.
if you have some two abreast and some singling out it gets messy and dangerous.
If I'm on the back of a group I will always ride the 'widest' so vehicles passing me will pass everyone else wider.
Our club has had at least 18 people who have done CTC ride leader training, this is how we ride.

The Highway code, Rule 66 is 'should'.
Anyone who challenges riding two abreast gets an explanation (ref C.Boardman video) of how it is safer than single file.
On narrow roads single out when a car approaches from in front, single out or pull over to let a car pass from behind when YOU decide it is safe to do so, two abreast prevents dangerous overtakes on narrow roads,

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 21 May 2019, 8:30am

mattheus wrote:
Lance Dopestrong wrote:Never ride exactly two abreast. When one goes, both end up kissing tarmac. Watch any peloton pile up to see why that's a bad idea.


This is the exact opposite of reality.

(BC may have their faults, but their cycling methods are derived from decades of best practice evolved by riding in training groups and race groups, and tested throughout the land.)


You misunderstand entirely. You have clearly got 3 words in to my original post and hit the keyboard in indignation before fully understanding that which I was saying. Let me make it very simple;

I am not suggesting that we must ride single file everywhere.

I am suggesting there are circumstances where riding in 2 files is indeed appropriate.

I am suggesting that when riding in 2 files we should not ride exactly parallel with each other
.

I can't make it any simpler than that for you. No where did I state, suggest or even hint that we should not ride in 2 files, so your post and pedals2slowlys posts are based on a complete failure to properly read my own words.

As for the provenance of BC's training methods :lol: It clearly hasn't been tested by race groups or they wouldn't have mass pile ups when one rider comes off. That's like pointing to a car in a ditch and proudly proclaiming they were trained by the IAM. Proper road positioning, as I described, makes that domino effect almost impossible. Now that positioning system has been physically tested, at great pain with minor bloodshed, across several years by several different trained groups with brave volunteers who deliberately fell from their bikes to conduct these experiments. It might not surprise you to know that it was teams of American law enforcement riders that conducted these experiments, perhaps the only people daft enough to deliberately crash bikes in the name of safety research.

But you say tested throughout the land, eh? By whom? Other BC amateurs? It clearly wasn't tested very well or they wouldn't keep making these mistakes. It's extremely basic, low level, amateur stuff that hasn't changed greatly in decades, and fails to be relevant to modern road conditions.

I have international accreditation, thank you very much. I have 8 police forces (9 from next month), 5 SAR teams across 2 x governing bodies, dozens of private customers, and even the Ministry of Defence among my clientele.

It's quite telling how not a single police force turns to BC to train their officers (one did, but they binned them very, very, quickly and went to IPMBA instead), how the MoD don't turn to BC to train their personnel for various cycling projects and expeditions, and none of the SAR governing bodies choose BC, not even for basic road skills - why should that be? Answers on a stretcher to...
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Self employed MIAS L5.B Instructor.
Warwickshire Lowland Rescue Bike lead.
IPMBA certified member.
Cyctech C2 hammer and crowbar bodger.
Lapsed CTC Ride Leader, amateur hour stuff from the fun old days.

mattheus
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby mattheus » 21 May 2019, 10:42am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Never ride exactly two abreast. When one goes, both end up kissing tarmac. Watch any peloton pile up to see why that's a bad idea.

...
You misunderstand entirely.
...


I am not suggesting that we must ride single file everywhere.

I am suggesting there are circumstances where riding in 2 files is indeed appropriate.

I am suggesting that when riding in 2 files we should not ride exactly parallel with each other
.

Well, misunderstandings do happen. And as I appear to have struck a nerve here, I shall avoid most of your last post and just stick to my views about 2-abreast riding:

Very happy to agree with your points 1&2. But this "exactly parallel" business is a bit vague so, here are the 3 main situations I would comment on:

Riding shoulder-to-shoulder (but with a few feet space, generally!)
This is pretty much de rigeur in your "old skool" road club (not during races). It is very hard to knock your neighbour off in this setup. (I have once accidentally tested this.) Cons? Probably not ideal for those with poor balance or low control, as you need to maintain a fairly constant line.

Overlapping riders
IMO this is about the worst arrangement. If the rider ahead deviates, there isn't much time to react, and if the 2nd rider has their front wheel clipped that is the hardest incident to deal with => probable collision with the ground.
The only group "crash" I've been involved with was due to a following rider overlapping wheels into a corner - when I turned, tyres rubbed just slightly, but the rear rider had no way to stay upright [plenty of witnesses confirmed what happened!]. Result: broken carbon frame, months of physio.
(You also take up more road room than Method 1.)

Staggered riding (a sort of wide single file!)
Fine for a more casual ride on empty roads. You're taking up the most space possible, but it's an easy way to ride without thinking much.


(There are of course infinite variations on these themes. :) )

pedals2slowly
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby pedals2slowly » 21 May 2019, 4:42pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote: so your post and pedals2slowlys posts are based on a complete failure to properly read my own words.


Well you have done exactly the same as you accuse us of which just goes to show is how useless social media is to debate such an issue.

There are plenty of knowledgeable cyclists without my cycle training and experience who's views I respect, and who I have learned from, equally there are too many people with lots of 'qualifications' and in positions of authority who haven't got a clue about their subject matter, or are less able. It's worrying if you say the IPMBA training contradicts the Cycling UK training.

The idea that not riding exactly parallel when doubled up is safer is illogical.
Mistake by one rider shoulder to shoulder we bump shoulders and move out again.
Mistake when overlapping riders we wipe out two riders when we hit their front and rear wheels.
Obviously we ride to be sociable and chatting shoulder to shoulder will always be the preferred method.
Pointless contrasting race scenario which is a totally different dynamic.

Can you refer us to any documents that demonstrate the increased safety of riding overlapping? Obviously we need to be knowledgeable and equally need to prevent the spread of incorrect advice.
Thanks.

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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby PH » 21 May 2019, 10:26pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Watch any peloton pile up to see why that's a bad idea.

I don't think I've ever seen a peleton ride in two files, but with a close group of those sizes it's inevitable that if one rider goes down others are going to follow, it's most likely to be following riders. That's the shared risk, as a Scottish judge described it.
Two things for sure if you don't ride shoulder to shoulder;
You'll win the half wheeling trophy which many clubs have.
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 22 May 2019, 8:21am

The best option ( as per the risk assessment you have to undertake for guided rides ) is to avoid the busy roads wherever possible. Careful route planning and risk minimisation is sometimes the trickiest part of being a ride leader. In the event that you have to use a relatively busy road, riding 2 abreast and splitting a group of more than 8 into smaller groups, and maintaining a safe separation, is the way to do it. Widening the ‘bus’ shortens the ‘bus’ and reduces the group’s time exposed to danger, it also helps to make the motorists minds up, if there’s any doubt as to whether they can ‘just squeeze through’ or not. You do have to be assertive some times, as experience has taught me that sometimes motorists really do need help with their hazard perception and spatial awareness. The other thing to ensure is that the most confident / experienced / able riders in the group are the ones closest to any passing vehicles.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby Tigerbiten » 1 Sep 2019, 1:45am

In the argument about parallel vs staggered I think the difference come down to the staggered group to naturally ride with a narrower gap between columns.
When riding parallel the minimum width must be two half body's width plus a little bit between bikes.
When riding staggered I can sit with my wheels just outside the outer edge of the bike in front, this only give a gap of half a body width plus a little it between bikes.
So if you keep the wide separation when staggered then it's probably safer but with the more normal narrower separation then it's not.

YMMV ........ :D

mattsccm
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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby mattsccm » 10 Nov 2019, 8:22pm

Ride half a bike behind me and get a bollocking. Just like the rest of the club .The front rider can't see the follower. The 2nd can't see the 3rd etc. Any decent club ride will insist on riders staying level.
Should there be a need to single out the outer rider drops back into the space created by the inner rider in row 2 who has dropped back. A decent group knows and does this. It was banged into club newbies from day one. Of course now we have people who learn to ride on the www and by watching racing on telly. Not a clue.

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Re: Leading rides on busy roads.

Postby mjr » 10 Nov 2019, 9:40pm

mattsccm wrote: Should there be a need to single out the outer rider drops back into the space created by the inner rider in row 2 who has dropped back. A decent group knows and does this. It was banged into club newbies from day one. Of course now we have people who learn to ride on the www and by watching racing on telly. Not a clue.

One thing the www has revealed is where clubs differ and whether the right rider overtakes or drops back when singling out is another thing like which way is "car up" - even long-established decent clubs disagree!
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