TAKE THE LEAD

Wheels Asia - - Tiesj benoot // q&a -

Clar­ity and tim­ing are key to us­ing hand sig­nals when lead­ing group rides, says coach Rob Wake­field

Dan­ger Ahead

Cy­clists per­form to their best and safest with both hands on the han­dle­bar or drops, so mas­ter­ing good hand-sig­nal habits means us­ing them ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently. I took a lo­cal cy­cling club out re­cently and they were all point­ing out ev­ery lump and bump – need­lessly, and in a way that de­tracts from per­for­mance. It’s the rider at the front of the bunch who has the clear­est view up the road – it’s their job to point out ob­struc­tions in the road that could be dan­ger­ous to the group.

Stay In Lane

It is also the front rider’s job to take a safe line and every­one else needs to have faith in that and fol­low it. Group lead­ers should guide the group, ini­tially point­ing out haz­ards then steer­ing every­one past them – point­ing down at the pot­hole or haz­ard. Hav­ing 15 peo­ple all tak­ing their hands off the bars to point at a tiny hole that will cause no one any ac­tual harm in­tro­duces dan­ger that wasn’t there.

Keep Clear

As pack leader you should aim to use clear, pre­cise sig­nals to alert every­one to your in­ten­tions and there’s no shame in us­ing your voice too. Sim­ple, uni­ver­sally un­der­stood haz­ard sig­nals in­clude ‘Slow Down’ (hold out your hand at waist level and ‘pat an in­vis­i­ble dog’) and ‘Stop’ (hold your hand up with your palm fac­ing for­ward and shout “stop”). Ide­ally, try to give plenty of ad­vance no­tice to all rid­ers.

Give Way

Use your po­si­tion to sig­nal to the rest of the group the need to move out into the cen­tre as you ap­proach a haz­ard – take the arm on the side of the haz­ard and bend it be­hind you to point across your back in the direc­tion that the cy­clists be­hind you will need to move. If you need to make other road users aware of your in­ten­tion to turn you should use a fully ex­tended arm point­ing in the direc­tion you want to move, and when you want a fel­low rider to come through flick your el­bow out on the side you want them to come through.

There are more im­por­tant hand sig­nals than the two-fin­gered salute

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