There are times when you’ll find yourself in unfamiliar company, either on a group ride, a charity ride, a fondo or a race. You’ll be surrounded by people you don’t know, you’re not familiar with their handling skills and you’re not even sure if they are comfortable riding in a group. In situations like these, you’ll need to be on high alert and ready to defend your space and yourself. Let’s face it: if you’re stable, sure afoot (awheel?) and not afraid of contact while you’re riding, you’re actually pretty hard to knock over and crash out. If you’re nervous, twitchy and afraid of contact (I.E. you panic and steer away from the guy bumping you) then you’re going down sometime sooner rather than later.
Protect Yourself By Protecting Your Bars
Defending yourself includes the space immediately around you and especially around your handlebars. Your bars are your lifeline to your bike: if someone knocks them or takes them out, you lose complete control of your machine and are significantly more prone to crashing. If you’re always defending your handlebars, you’ll be a lot safer, you’ll be a lot more stable and steady, a lot more confident and you’ll be a lot less prone to going down.
In order to defend your space and your handlebars, follow these simple tips (and practice them regularly with your regular group ride buddies and teammates):