Tips on How to Survive in a Bunch
with all your actions. Maintain a steady, straight line
and avoid braking or changing
direction suddenly, especially if contesting a sprint.
Remember that there are riders following close behind.
is the lead riders responsibility to point out and
call out any road hazards ahead. These include potholes,
sticks, stones or loose gravel, road narrowing,
kangaroos (very unpredictable) etc. Relay these calls
Call out cars or pedestrians, especially
on narrow or winding roads. Use “CAR UP”, “CAR
Call out "SLOWING" if you are coming
to a stop or slowing down for any reason.
smooth when you take your turns at the front of the
group. Check your speed and maintain
speed. Avoid surges unless trying to break from
the bunch. Surging tires the whole group, and
allow following riders to rest before taking
their next turn.
A group will travel quicker when turns are completed
racing, and you have finished your turn at the front,
indicate to the following
elbow is used, or sometimes a verbal queue. Then
move aside and SLOW DOWN, so that the next rider
have to accelerate to ride over you. This keeps
the bunch moving at a steady speed without surging.
racing in a bunch with a side wind, the lead
rider always peels off the front on the
is because following riders will be sheltering
on their leeward side, and most likely will have
some wheel overlap.
If you suddenly veer off to the leeward side,
you could cause the following rider to hit your
possibly bring down the whole bunch.
down hill when you are at the front of the bunch. The
following riders dislike having
ride under brakes.
To slow down, instead of
using the brakes, you can often gradually move a
out from behind
the rider in front, to catch more wind, until
you have slowed, then slot back into your
position in the bunch.
Avoid leaving gaps when following
wheels. Cyclists save about 30% of their energy at
a wheel. Each time you leave a gap you
are forcing yourself to ride alone to bridge
it. Also, riders
behind you will
become annoyed and ride around you, especially
if the bunch is working together to break
away or catch a break
in a race. This type of behaviour also
causes surging, which is disruptive to the whole
When climbing hills, avoid following
a wheel too closely. Many riders often lose
momentum when rising out
of the saddle on a hill which can cause
a sudden deceleration, resulting in their
suddenly coming back at
you. This can often catch a rider who
is following too closely, off guard, resulting
in a fall
from a wheel
touch. This also applies along a flat,
a closely knit bunch. Save your stretch
until you are at the back
of the bunch.
Do not panic if you brush
shoulders, hands or bars with another rider. Try
relaxed in your
to absorb any bumps. This is a part
of cycle racing in close bunches and is
panic, brake or change direction.
club handicap races, do your share of the work if
you are going to contest
up at the end. Don’t sit on
the back to save energy and let others
do all the work then sprint past
finish. Also don't sit on someone's
wheel for 5km or more in a breakaway
the time claiming that you are about
to blow-up and then try to out-sprint
him or her at the
finish. If you do … expect
no sympathy from other racers and
sooner or later, angry
words or worse will come your way.
This is a BIG no no! Your
reputation will never recover.
you are tired and do not want to
take a turn, learn how to sit
on the back of the bunch. When
the lead rider comes back after doing
his/her turn, TELL him or her to cut in, dropping back
yourself to allow room. Be sure to
tell them while they still have
an overlap on the rider in front
of you, so they can cut
and smoothly without having dropped
back too far, then having to put
in a burst to get back on.