Triathletes are lone wolves. Not only in the race do they drive on their own. They also often complete their training kilometers on their own. They are usually not used to riding in a group. A not entirely harmless factor when it comes to taking to the streets in a throng. We have the most important rules of conduct for you.
The row of two
The line of two is the standard formation as a group of cyclists. With the amendment to the StVO in 2020, driving side by side is now generally permitted! The following applies here: as long as other traffic is not obstructed, two people can generally ride next to each other on the bike - regardless of the number of cyclists. The group should not unnecessarily lengthen, but appear in traffic as a closed association. There shouldn't be any big gaps between the rows. The distance to the vehicle in front and to the neighbor on the side is therefore relatively small, which requires driving skills and driving discipline from all participants in the group. In order to ensure the safety and smooth rolling of the group, there are therefore fixed rules:
In a larger group, those behind do not see obstacles, or only very late. For this reason, the drivers in the front row use hand signals to indicate changes of direction, obstacles or danger spots at an early stage. These signs are passed on backwards row by row, so that even the last person can still avoid the hole in the asphalt.
The pace and the leadership changes
A steady pace should be observed in a group. After all, all members of the training group want to arrive home together. In order for every driver to be able to benefit from the large slipstream of the group, there should be a change of leadership at regular intervals. The drivers in the first row give a previously agreed signal to change. After thorough assurance that there is no traffic coming from either the front or the rear, the leaders swerve to the left and right at a clearly visible point in the course of the road and slow down their journey. The rest of the group then drives between the two without changing the tempo. Then the two former leaders in the last position can line up again.
The distance between drivers
Especially when riding in a group is unfamiliar, it is difficult to estimate the right distance to the person in front. Too large a distance is unfavorable for riding together in a group. If the distance is too small, there is a risk of a rear-end collision. Basically, the group should be driven with great concentration. This is exhausting and should first be practiced on shorter trips.
The best way to estimate the distance to the vehicle in front is to look at your back. If you look at your rear wheel, your eyes have to process the constant movement. This is exhausting and quickly leads to fatigue. With a view of the back of the person in front, you also have everything important in your peripheral field of vision - from the road surroundings to the brakes of the person in front - and can react quickly in an emergency.
In a group formation, your hands are always on the brakes. Riding in an aero position or on the top link is absolutely taboo! If you want to grab a bar on the way, it's best to line up at the back. There he can strengthen himself in peace and does not endanger the passengers.
It is good manners and actually a matter of course that all participants of the bike ride wear a helmet, always observe the traffic regulations and treat other road users with consideration.
Riding in a group requires some practice and routine. With a well-established team, however, cycling training is twice as much fun.