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VecchioJo offers advice on how to survive a sportive.

…I Cant See You.

We want cyclists to stay safe when cycling near other vehicles, especially larger ones, like sportive riders. The safety advice is simple, “Stay safe, stay away”.

The “Stay safe, stay away” advice applies to cyclists when cycling near to moving Sportive riders or approaching any stationary Sportivists on the road, at junctions, traffic lights, on climbs or at feed stations. It's important to stay out of the risk zone and get into a position where the sportive rider can see you over their Garmin.

Follow our tips below to find out how to protect yourself.

 

Safety tips

Cycle sensibly and assertively to help yourself. Stay safe, especially at traffic lights, junctions, corners, straight roads, climbs, descents, and anywhere that might be a Strava segment. 

* Recognise that sportive riders may not be able to see you, and are often oblivious to your presence.

*Never cycle up the left side of a sportivist riding in the middle of the road.

*Look out for sportive riders wandering left or right for no reason in front of you.

*If a rider comes up behind you, move forward enough merely to ensure you are in the sportivist’s field of vision and in no way to try and drop them. 

*In front of a Sportive rider is often the safest place to be. When you need to overtake a large sportivist, do so on the right-hand side at speed, so that the rider can’t keep up with you.

 

Be Aware

The risk zone area can be the full length and width of the road, with the sportivist unable to see anyone cycling beside them on the left, or the right. 


*Both new and experienced cyclists have been hurt in collisions with sportivists. This often happens when a sportive rider veers left to stop on a climb, to look at the view, to take off his gilet, to put on his arm-warmers or turn into a feed zone, hitting innocent cyclists on the nearside.

*Don't assume any large gap between sportivists is safe. When veering across the road for no reason large riders often wobble over to the right before they swing sharply across to the left to stop. 


*Don't risk your life by trying to pass sportive riders when they are stopped at junctions, they may simply be confused by the arrows and could suddenly turn either left or right. Wait until they have moved on, and turn the other way.

 

“Stay safe, stay away” is dedicated to reducing sportivists danger to cyclists through the use of awareness and reliability trials.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

47 comments

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
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If only we were all as good a rider as you Jo  3

(useful advice though)

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Owen Rogers [24 posts] 2 years ago
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Funny, but sadly true judging by my recent experience.

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Leviathan [1932 posts] 2 years ago
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When descending listen for the reassuringly expensive sound of ticking from a freewheel coming up behind you.

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Never cycle up the left side of a sportivist riding in the middle of the road.

Jokes aside, don't ever ride up the inside of another cyclist without announcing yourself.

If someone is riding the primary position its usually for a reason and the last thing you want is someone coming up on the inside taking up the free space you've just given yourself.

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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LOL Why I've (virtually) given up doing sportives.

I think a lot of the confusion comes from when sportive riders receive their numbers in the post it says tear down the dotted line on the back of the envelope and they think this is the instructions for the ride.

Me and my clubmates are trying to work out where sportive riders actually train.

Our conclusion was either on a turdo trainer or a (very) large and disused airfield.

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ShutUpHead [7 posts] 2 years ago
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How very patronising ...  37

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russyparkin [570 posts] 2 years ago
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sportives, a unique opportunity to pay to use roads that are free every other day of the year.

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Jasonahewitt [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Another example of the 'No more new riders thanks, we're full' attitude that I've experienced a fair bit of in my first year on a road bike. I'm a little surprised road.cc chose to endorse it.

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 2 years ago
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The use of Team Sky kit in the pic made me laugh.

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MartyMcCann [230 posts] 2 years ago
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ShutUpHead wrote:

How very patronising ...  37

I agree- funnily enough I thought road.cc was about encouraging as many people as possible to get out on bikes- obviously I was wrong since this seems to suggest that organised rides that provide a goal for new riders and a social outlet for others are instead fuel for ridicule.

I look forward to the responding article where it tells club riders that sportives are not scratch races, and rather than wait until everyone else leaves to then charge past them in a chain gang to try and provide some self-validation by proving that you can go faster than some leisure cyclists, why not head off first and avoid spreading panic among new riders?

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
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@jasonhewitt

At road.cc we want to see as many new people on bikes as possible - sportivists? Bring 'em on we say the more the better.

But this is Vecchiojo's blog,and much as we love him there's no getting away from the fact he's an unapologetic and thorough-going bike snob just cos it's on roadcc doesn't mean it carries our editorial endorsement. On his blog though, he can say what he likes.

Personally I'm slightly baffled as to why, if all these 'sportivists' make doing a sportive such a chore so many 'proper riders' continue to do them? Could it be that to every rider on these events the rider in front is a 'sportivist'?

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 Otis (that's one of the reasons I don't do sportives - the other is that like russyparkin I struggle to get beyond paying £25 to ride on a road I could ride for free any other time)

One of the things roadcc is supposed to be is an informal club for those people who don't or won't belong to a cycling club.

I should also point out that the 'road' in road.cc doesn't mean we're roadie.cc we set the site up to cater for everyone who rides on the road, no matter what or where they ride.

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MartinH [19 posts] 2 years ago
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@badback

I assume the Strava data widget in your signature is there to indicate that you're being ironic?  3

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ShutUpHead [7 posts] 2 years ago
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@Otis Bragg

Exactly - I have been road cycling for many years and have attended numerous sportives. Generally speaking I prefer to go out on my own or with a few friends of equivalent ability but the occasional sportive provides a fun social occasion. Admittedly I can be a bit of a snob about certain things and I am as much a fan of the Velominati school of cycling as the next impressionable idiot but what I do accept is that on a sportive there are going to be people of mixed abilities present, just as there are out on the road at any time. It is rather tiresome, therefore, to hear club cyclists and other self-styled kings of the road complain about this fact. If you want to go on a club run, go on a club run. Otherwise, deal with it.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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I thought it was pretty much tongue in cheek. Brightened up my day  36 looking forward to the winter months and empty roads and a time to not dodge the sportive spring trainers  19 though they'll all be on their turbos no doubt  19

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Squiggle [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Ace! What's the point of doing a sport if we can't mock those below us  24

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podgethepuffer [19 posts] 2 years ago
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I just wish I could pen such words. Brilliant, yet all so true. For the most extreme, why not try the London to Brighton Bike Ride: just take it as a day out and just watch the inexperienced as they reach a climb, stop, look, without seeing, and just get off where they've stopped. Meanwhile mayhem ensues behind. But, it's a day out [on your bike] and great fun.

Whatever the event, so long as it gets people out on bikes, then that's so much the better, isn't it.

Why not read my blog entry 'kidnapped by the Frenchies' - Just another day in saddle by an old Codger.  35http://podgethepuffer.com/2013/07/16/day-3-kidnapped-by-the-frenchies/

Must keep pedalling; Must keep pedalling.

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Jasonahewitt [16 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know Vecchiojo's blog. Of course he can write what he wants on his blog, and I can choose not to read it. I read it on road .cc. Publishing doesn't equal endorsement but doing so without further comment does seem to undermine your stated aim of wanting 'to see as many new people on bikes as possible'
Not a big deal. I was just surprised.

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Squiggle [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Squiggle wrote:

Ace! What's the point of doing a sport if we can't mock those below us  24

Before the Fun Bureau start that was tongue in cheek  29

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kairey1964 [16 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree, I know Wiggins was putting weight on for the track but he looks quite lardy in that picture!  7

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ilovemytinbred [161 posts] 2 years ago
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It is funny though.

You should hear the things we say about triathletes  16

Or the things those mean road racers say about time trial guys like me.  20

Do not get too upset about a bit of gentle piss taking, all the guys I know are really supportive of helping new folk into the sport.

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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MartinH wrote:

@badback

I assume the Strava data widget in your signature is there to indicate that you're being ironic?  3

Too right.  3

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Topcat [33 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm sure I've done some silly things when new to road riding and events. I'd rather someone took the piss then got upset about it!

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oilymoyle [17 posts] 2 years ago
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Well that was a waste of time reading this.

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broomwagonblog [14 posts] 2 years ago
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oilymoyle wrote:

Well that was a waste of time reading this.

Brilliant.

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Al__S [1018 posts] 2 years ago
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worth pointing out that this sort of thing is common to very many sports- you should see the inter-class banter that infects sailing (and we have the best part of 300 active classes in the UK alone); lighthearted snobbery is not harmful

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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Squiggle wrote:

Ace! What's the point of doing a sport if we can't mock those below us  24

There will be lots above you in talent and fitness; and hopefully a lot less patronising.

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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ilovemytinbred wrote:

It is funny though.

You should hear the things we say about triathletes  16

Or the things those mean road racers say about time trial guys like me.  20

Do not get too upset about a bit of gentle piss taking, all the guys I know are really supportive of helping new folk into the sport.

What about the old brigade of X- rr & tt cyclists, those that can no-longer keep the pace they once had. Would you consider a we bit of ridicule of them?

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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Consider all; and appreciate everyone riding a bicycle. Or maybe your the : I'm the greatest kind of Pratt? a Selfindugent numpty.

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stealth [254 posts] 2 years ago
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Just come back from a charity ride around part of Europe. Very mixed abilities, some had never ridden in groups before. Some of them I would not like to ride behind as erratic could be described as generous! However, those who do know the rules for group riding tried to encourage safety by teaching some hand signals(!) and basic instructions (do not brake in a 'pace' line, do not move erratically, etc. It was quite nice to ride in the convoy at the end to see that many had taken it on board. Some people just need a nudge, some need telling & some need to be shouted at. Talking to them is best though, they are often completely unaware that they are doing anything wrong.

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