Basic Guide To Cycling Etiquette
Like any activity, bike riding comes with its own social do’s and don’ts. Our Guide To Cycling Etiquette is here to help you be the most well-mannered rider out there.
When you pass another person on a bike, give them a wave. For newer riders, don’t be intimidated. It’s always ok—and encouraged-- to acknowledge someone else on a bike. And for you more experienced riders out there…no matter how fast you are or how pro you think you look, you’re not fast enough or pro enough not to wave. End of story. It’s just good manners. And if someone waves to you, don’t just stare straight ahead—give them a wave back.
Plus, as an added bonus, your wave can kind of become a signature that other riders learn to recognize. Which is cool.
2. Don’t Leapfrog
If you see someone up in front of you, most people have the natural urge to chase after that person. Don’t do it though, for the following reasons:
- You’ll probably use a lot of energy to chase up to that rider, and you may not be able to match their speed when you do get to them. You could also ruin the rest of your ride if you use too much energy doing it.
- Nothing is more irritating to another rider than to have someone pass them, then pull in front and slow down. This is doubly annoying if the stronger rider pulls back around to try and get back up to speed, only to get leapfrogged again.
- Many riders are usually out riding with specific training goals in mind, or just out to enjoy the ride. Playing leapfrog may disrupt their rhythm, interfere with their workout, or just interrupt their moment of Zen.
More Experienced Riders:
- You’re not going to impress anyone. Chasing down that guy out for a Sunday cruise and blowing by him just isn’t going to make him go “wow, I wish I could be just like that guy, he was so pro.”
- You should know better. If you happen to pass him because you’re riding tempo or doing intervals, great. Otherwise, don’t worry about what the other rider is doing and stick to your plan.
- Be confident in your own abilities. If you’re fast, then have the confidence to know you have nothing to prove.
3. Be Friendly and Do Your Share
If, in the natural course of your ride, you do happen to catch another rider or find someone going your pace, don’t be afraid to be friendly.
- If you have the confidence in your bike handling skills, it’s ok to ride side by side with them and talk. Introduce yourself, ask about their ride, and compliment their bike, whatever. Who knows, you might make a new friend. Just be mindful of passing traffic.
- If you end up riding behind someone, don’t be a wheelsucker and let them do all the work. Do your time out front in wind and let them draft off you too. And when you do go in the front, don’t suddenly surge ahead and take off, even if you feel strong. Give them a chance to get behind you before pushing the pace.
4. Don’t Litter
Finished with your gel or energy chew? That wrapper had better be going back in your pocket. Part of the beauty of riding a bike is getting out to enjoy nature, and nobody wants to see a bunch of trash on the side of the road. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.
5. Lend a Helping Hand
Do you know how to change a flat or fix a misaligned derailleur?
If the answer is “No”, then check out our articles here.
If the answer is “Yes”, then you could be someone’s savior on your next ride.
Whenever you see another rider on the side of the road, slow down and ask if they’re ok. If they’re having trouble with their bike, have crashed, or had another problem, offer to help them fix it or to stay with them until help arrives. Not only does it feel good to do something nice for someone else, but the situation could be reversed next time. In addition to your spare tube, carry a small patch kit with you. It’s great if you get a double puncture, and it could help someone else get back on the road too.
6. Sharing Is Caring
See someone on the road that looks like they’re bonking or really struggling? Why not help them out? Sometimes when you get into those deep, dark places on a bad ride, it can be great to have someone lend you a hand.
- If they’re really struggling, offer them a gel or some water. You should always have one more gel on you then you think you’ll need anyway, so you can spare one.
- Offer them a wheel to draft off of. This can make all the difference, especially on a windy day, and allow them to take a small rest and get their legs back.
- Talk with them. Sometimes on long rides, especially centuries, the rider can become their own worst enemy. Having someone to talk to for a bit and offer some encouragement can be incredibly uplifting and important in those moments.