Mo’s Quick Tips: # 4 Leading or Pulling a Group Ride

Regardless of if you are a ride leader or not, there will be a time that you have to be in the front “pulling”. It is called pulling, since the person(s) in the front is doing most of the work and practically pulling the rest of the group.

Other than the added physical demand of being in that position, there are also other responsibilities in effective and safe pulling. The person must be aware of the surroundings and make quick decisions based on conditions.

Most of the communications (see tip #1) are originated from the leader, so he/she must be aware of the route and conditions and announce them promptly.

When leading one must also consider that their rhythm and speed is what the group is following, so they must be aware of the pace of the ride and maintain a consistent speed. The leader must start slow at stops to ensure that the group stays together and reduce the accordion effect. Same is true when going around turns and corners, the leaders have to consider that the people in the back are slowing down a lot more and thus have to work harder to regain their momentum to join the group. The opposite effect is apparent when going uphill or downhill. The leaders must always pedal going downhill, so the remainder of the group can coast and not have to ride their brakes in order to avoid the person in front of them. The same is true for going uphill, although the burden falls more on the people following than the leader.

Finally, when riding at night the leader has to have a strong headlight , so don’t take turn pulling in the dark if you don’t have a good light.

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