Sunday, 8 November 2009

Group test

Group Skills 1

The club promoted it's first group skills workshop on Sunday. Four riders participated, Tobias, Kerstin, Angus and Matt Muir, who rode up from Edinburgh. The hour long session was designed to boost riders' confidence and technique when riding in groups, sportives and road races.

The riders followed simple drills to help them get used to riding closely and get a better understanding of the dynamics of a group.

As a way of loosening up, we began with a 'follow the leader' and rode around Linlithgow Bridge's Mill Road Industrial Estate in close formation. During the next stage the riders cycled more closely next to each other in pairs and rested a hand on their partners shoulders, followed by touching elbows and leaning in on each other while on the move. These routines are a great way to show that close contact can be managed and in some instances elbows can be used to protect your 'space' and prevent anything catastrophic happening.

Next up, we passed a bidon up and down the line which got us more comfortable riding closely together and showed that by riding consistently a group can move along in close formation. Following on we practised singling out and front changeovers before finishing off with our most demanding challenge: touching the wheel of the rider in front.

This drill sums up the purpose of the workshop: to enable us to overcome nervousness and deal with potentially hazardous situations. We paired up and road around a car park forcing ourselves to touch the wheel in front, to find out what it felt like and how to deal with it.

Ultimately all the drills were devised to show that in a group, riders have to be consistent, communicate and look after themselves and others.

Matt Muir. said "The session went well and I think all agreed that it had been useful and would be very good for other club members if they are at all nervous about group riding. Even as an experienced rider I feel a bit more practice at riding extremely close (i.e. touching elbows) to other riders was still useful."

If there is enough interest the club will run the workshop again in a month.

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