(copy fm sircycling group - Bo Kratz)
Riding Hard and Safe
The Hong Kong roads are not suitable for big groups or some could argue not suitable for groups at all. I don’t agree with that, but there is some truth to the fact that groups attract attention, which can be good and bad. Good obviously in the dark where a handful of flashing LEDs are more visible than one, but also bad as drivers in a hurry to pass might make stupid decisions if being held back too long.
It’s also true that awareness decreases the further back in the bunch you are riding. When passing a dangerous section, the first rider is (usually) very observant, but rider 4 or 5 onwards tend to only follow the wheel in front. Hence the responsibility of the rider in the front, taking the peleton across that section, is very big.
Finally, since an increasing number of us are now riding the SIR Cycling kit, we are even more exposed. A friend of mine in Singapore was pulled over by an angry driver (accompanied by a police car) and accused for reckless riding. The culprit was in fact another rider wearing identical outfit.
Cycling on open roads has always been and will always be risky, but I would propose a few very simple guidelines with the aim of making our group rides as safe as possible.
1) Always wear a helmet (a crash in a group is far more dangerous than falling off on you own). Having said that crashing on you own can nearly kill you (a member of the group who we all know can fill you in on the details).
2) Never ride in a way that is exposing you or the group to unnecessary danger with particular attention to:
a) Road construction sites - Wait for green light! Again, riders in the back will just follow. Also, consider letting traffic pass first when light switches to green. This will ensure you some empty road ahead.
b) Descents - No prizes for racing downhill. You get bruised and scraped if you crash going uphill; you can get killed if you get it wrong at 60 kph
c) Blind corners – Slow down, stick to you lane and avoid overtaking
d) Narrow sections – Ride in a single line
e) Potholes and Obstacles – Call out to riders behind
f) Wet roads – Slow down
g) Pace Line – Always peel off to the left and consequently always overtake on the right. (I know that in a TTT you will choose direction depending on the wind, but lets keep it simple)
h) Finally and this one is important. YOU ARE IN ASIA!!! Even if you think that you have the same right to be on the road as that fat asshole in his Mercedes Benz, you are in a minority (in thinking so) and it will be of very little comfort to your family if you end up permanently disabled or worse, dead. Save your adrenalin to the next climb, there are enough opportunities (read hills) to make a difference.