Descending in a group is one of the most vulnerable situations we face on SRCC rides. Our members say it best:
Laurie Buettner recalls her crash on an SRCC ride on Valley Ford Franklin School Road—
"I simply did not see nor expect a herd of cows to dash from the hillside into the roadway right in front of me. I suppose it could have been a deer, squirrel, dog or anything. I braked too fast, but I also did not want to run head on into a cow… Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly, and mine is getting older and has saved me countless times."
As bicycle riders on roadways we know there are no guarantees, but we can increase our safety and the safety of those around us when descending in groups by practicing some helpful techniques.
- Reduce speed
- Single up
- Increase vigilance
- Avoid positioning in other rider's blind spots
- Do not cross center line
- Position hands on handle bar drops
- Avoid passing on right
- Pass only when necessary
- Announce yourself before passing
- Increase space between riders
- Scan far ahead
- Cross cow grates at 90 degrees, maintain straight line, no braking
Try sharing your preferences with the group such as: "I am slow on the downhills so I will go last" or "Please let me know if you want to pass me."
Kurt West is a League Certified Instructor (#4250). He teaches Street Skills classes, Safe Routes to Schools and Family Bike Workshops