Upcoming events

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2024 6:15 PM
    Albertsons @ 36th & State, Boise
  • Friday, June 21, 2024 9:00 AM
    Meridian Cycle @ 1203 N. Main St., Meridian
  • Saturday, June 22, 2024 9:00 AM
    Meridian Cycles @1203 N. Main St., Meridian

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Event Ride Tips

Stay out of large packs of people.  At the start line, let the “frisky” riders clear out.  If you find you are in a large pack, particularly at the start, maintain a safety bubble between you and the riders in front of you.  Most large crashes of riders (not in a paceline) occur within a few miles of the start line when someone swerves to miss an obstacle or drops a water bottle and other riders around them overreact.

Stay away from inexperienced riders.  Avoid people who swerve or are not riding in a steady, consistent direction.  Avoid people who “pedal, pedal, coast”.  Their speed and path will be erratic and these habits frequently represent inexperienced riders who will likely do other unpredictable things.

Pass with care!! Give people plenty of space when passing and announce that you are going by.  Pass only on the left of a rider.  Look behind you before passing someone in front of you!  Don’t pull out to pass if there is a car or another cyclist overtaking you from behind.  They may not anticipate what you are about to do.

Stay focused on the road in front of you.  If you need to check your directions, stop and pull over to study the map.  Monitor riders in front of you for unexpected behavior.  Riders may suddenly stop without pulling over, signaling or announcing their intention.

Single file is safest.  Try to avoid the temptation to ride side by side.  It is easier to accommodate the cars and other cyclists if you are not taking up half the lane (or worse).  Other riders who want to pass people riding two abreast will almost have to go to the centerline to do so.

Top 3 Reasons that Event Riding is different than your Training Ride

    • Directionally Challengedtraining rides tend to be on routine routes.  Turns are very predictable because you have been on this course many times.  By contrast, events feature unfamiliar roads.  Riders zip along and suddenly see a turn ahead.  Radical maneuvers ensue as riders attempt to navigate the corner.  Worse yet, the outside rider sees the turn, but the inside rider doesn’t.  Chaos follows. 
    • Draft Line Challengedtraining rides feature a group of like-minded individuals who have gotten used to each other and their every move.  You probably have common expectations about signaling and group riding etiquette.  You have confidence riding in a draft line and rotating to the front.  At the event, you find you are riding with people you don’t know.  There doesn’t seem to be a rhythm.  No one seems to know how to rotate leadership at the front of the line.  No one seems to be signaling.  You see overlapping wheels.  You see the line yo-yo.  Undisciplined draft lines are a significant source of accidents at events. 
    • Distraction Challengedtraining rides are a fairly focused affair.  You are working to stay with the pack as it heads down the road.  Everyone is working pretty hard.  That level of exertion leaves less time for chatting, less time for looking around at the scenery, less chance to get completely distracted.  By contrast, the event features more scenery, more new people to “check out”, more chances to get completely distracted.  You are also more inclined to ride at a pace that keeps your group together as opposed to pushing your heart rate.  This means you have even more time for chatting, more time riding two abreast.  All this level of distraction means more chances for losing your focus and bumping into another rider.  At 16-18 MPH, this is not a good thing.

Top 5 Ways to Exercise Caution during Events

    • The Start – Too many riders are sharing too little space.  One silly rider who stops suddenly because their water bottle fell out causes a big problem at the start.  Keep a bubble of space around you during the starting mile.  Consider that most riders in the group start don’t actually ride in groups when they are training.  That means they have no idea of group riding etiquette.  They stop in the middle of the road to make minor adjustments.  They do not signal.
    • The Rest Areas – Riders arriving at the rest stop can crash into riders who are attempting to leave the rest stop.   If you are stopping for the rest stop, consider stopping on the side of the road at least 10 yards away from the nearest person you encounter.  Then walk your bike into the rest stop area.  When you leave, walk your bike to the far end of the rest stop before mounting up to go.  If you are one of those riders who skips rest stops, remember that many riders starting up from the rest stop believe all approaching riders are stopping for the rest stop.  If you plan to bypass a rest stop, consider moving well to the left (after you make sure the car traffic is clear) as you pass the cyclists who are standing around or getting ready to start.  Riders who are just starting up at rest stops tend to be very wobbly and in the wrong gear for starting up.  They are to be avoided!
    • Intersections – Sand and gravel are commonplace in rural Idaho intersections.  Events don’t have the resources to hire sweepers to clean the corners for you.  Too often, riders are surprised by an oncoming turn (unfamiliar route) and are carrying too much speed into the corner.  That combined with a little sand and gravel and you are heading for road rash city.  While this type of accident does not tend to break bones, it might be the end of your day.
    • Dogs – Events try to put the route on quiet back roads.  If you notice that you haven’t seen many cars, then chances are the dogs that live on that road don’t see many either – and they will bravely defend their territory.  Stay vigilant as you ride down the road for dogs that charge out of yards onto the roadway.  If they intercept your front tire, you are likely going to flip over the handlebars and the most common injury is going to be a concussion.   You don’t want that.  If you are riding in a group, be sure to communicate when you see a dog charging by calling out “Dog Right” or “Dog Left”.   A squirt from your water bottle can be a good deterrent for aggressive dogs. 
    • Group mentality – Make your own decision about crossing the road.  Cyclists in front of you may go through an intersection without stopping.  They may even say “Clear!”  That doesn’t mean it’s safe and clear for you.  Did they really evaluate how far back YOU were when they made that “Clear” statement?  Did they really evaluate how fast YOU were traveling when they made that statement?  Perhaps they were saying that to their riding buddy who was right behind them.  Don’t just follow the rider pack in front of you.  In some situations, event volunteers may be “stopping” vehicle cross traffic at an intersection but make your own decision about whether it is safe to proceed.  Such volunteers are sometimes poorly trained in the principles of traffic control and have not established a secure intersection.

Cooperative Biking & Recreation is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization in Boise, ID.

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