Have you decided to add cycling to your outdoor workout routine, or maybe you're training for a road race or a triathlon? If you're new to cycling, you may not be aware of the common and essential rules of good cycling etiquette. These rules are designed to keep everyone in a group ride safe. It's important to commit them to memory before you hit the road.
- Point out debris or hazards in the road. Just because you notice and identify a pothole or a tree limb in the road doesn't mean that all of the riders behind you will have the same vantage point and the same interpretation. When you see a hazard, good etiquette demands that you point to it to alert the other riders.
- Don't stop on a dime to pick something up. If you drop your cell phone, power bar or bungee cord, don't immediately put on your brakes and stop if there are riders behind you. Instead, wait for them all to pass and then stop and retrieve whatever you may have dropped.
- Master the art and etiquette of drafting. Riding behind another rider is easier. You're not breaking the wind; the other guy is. All of the best riders use this technique to conserve their energy during a race. However, good cycling etiquette says that all riders should take turns riding in the lead and that you should never just creep up behind another rider without announcing yourself and asking his or her permission to ride along.
- Ride safely in a group. In a group ride, good etiquette also dictates that you not ride any more than two riders abreast and allow at least six inches between your front wheel and that of the rider beside you.
- Be courteous to the other drivers on the road. A good, polite cyclist respects the other drivers on the road. That means not speeding past inches from their window when a car driver is stopped at a red light or swarming the car with cyclists as you all wait for the light to change.
Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, enjoy the outdoors and hone your competitive spirit. Make sure however, that you show respect to your fellow riders and others on the road by making sure to point out any potential hazards as you ride, practicing good drafting etiquette and riding safely in a group. And if you want to show others your love of biking, why not buy a bike T-shirt?