If You Can’t See My Handlebars…

VecchioJo offers advice on how to survive a sportive.

by VecchioJo   September 6, 2013  

Sportivist Blind Spots (graphic by www.loisdesigns.co.uk)

…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.

47 user comments

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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.

posted by Jasonahewitt [14 posts]
6th September 2013 - 16:58

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Squiggle wrote:
Ace! What's the point of doing a sport if we can't mock those below us Rolling On The Floor

Before the Fun Bureau start that was tongue in cheek Rolling Eyes

Sq

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posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
6th September 2013 - 16:59

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I agree, I know Wiggins was putting weight on for the track but he looks quite lardy in that picture! Confused

KEVIN

posted by kairey1964 [11 posts]
6th September 2013 - 16:59

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It is funny though.

You should hear the things we say about triathletes Cool

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

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.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
6th September 2013 - 17:32

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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? Wink

Too right. Wink

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
6th September 2013 - 19:06

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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!

posted by Topcat [19 posts]
6th September 2013 - 19:11

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Well that was a waste of time reading this.

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posted by oilymoyle [16 posts]
6th September 2013 - 20:23

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oilymoyle wrote:
Well that was a waste of time reading this.

Brilliant.

posted by broomwagonblog [16 posts]
6th September 2013 - 20:38

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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

posted by Al__S [480 posts]
6th September 2013 - 21:08

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Squiggle wrote:
Ace! What's the point of doing a sport if we can't mock those below us Rolling On The Floor

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

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
6th September 2013 - 21:22

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ilovemytinbred wrote:
It is funny though.

You should hear the things we say about triathletes Cool

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

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?

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
6th September 2013 - 21:27

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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.

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
6th September 2013 - 21:32

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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.

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [169 posts]
6th September 2013 - 22:04

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This is hilarious. I say this as someone who rode 2 sportives several years ago, as a new "sportivist". Wasn't much good riding in a group. Crashed in a sharp left-hand turn the first time (although not in a close group).

I think most of us have been there at some point, and it's entirely reasonable to poke fun at some of the more "erratic" riding, which I'm sure we've all been guilty of.

And if it gets more people out riding in groups, working on their skills, at their universities, workplaces, or just "proper" club runs, what's not to like?

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posted by PJ McNally [579 posts]
6th September 2013 - 22:54

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Nobody mentioned rule #5 yet.... or is that not appropriate here. And by the way wear a helmet. Oh and if you see me pass you on the road (or as is more likely, you pass me) its not Sylvain Chavanel you have bumped into, I'm just wearing his shirt, and I don't care if I didn't win the right to wear it. I'm not not actually French you see, nor do I have any hair and if I did, I wouldn't have highlights.

posted by Ronstermonster [7 posts]
6th September 2013 - 23:11

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Before you start nodding in smug self-satisfaction, consider all the motorists who think they're amazing drivers and point out how shit everyone else is.

posted by Spatulala [36 posts]
7th September 2013 - 9:44

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What a piece of self-obsessive crap. If this is the opinion of road.cc, then I'm off, and I would think most self-respecting bike enthusiast would be too.

Who really do you think regularly reads this website? Sir Wiggo - nope, Froomy - nope, Cav? You get the idea. It's the 99%+ social riders who just like being on a bike and actively engage in social 'sportives' - almost certainly.

These are the very same people who spend hard-earned money on the expensive bikes, gear and Garmin computers. They are the same enthusiasts who may at some point purchase various SKY paraphernalia to show support of our proud national achievements. These are the very same people who, by way of their huge group buying power allow teams, technology and riders to develop and flourish - via sponsorship and revenue. These are the people who actually buy things from road.cc via sponsored inks and adverts that 'may' pay your fees (although I really do hope you don't get paid to write this crap).

I could easily write an article which stereotyped the 'club rider' or 'bike snob' which would include bizarre facial hair, reynolds tubing, working in a bike shop, hanging out with my 'mates' in a cafe. Having no disposable income or wearing no helmet because 'I'm such a fantastic rider'. The 'I could have been a pro', however I made a conscious decision to imply my superiority in a blog instead. However I won't, as this would provide no positive contribution for the bike community apart from frustrate some by its opinionated inaccuracies.

Instead, I'm off for a ride on my overly expensive bike, Garmin 810 and brand spanking new Vector pedals, whilst wrapped in the finest reassuringly expensive Rapha from head to toe. You see, I do my bit for the cycling economy and this in-turn affords them to sponsor the SKY Team. You see how it works?

Thought for the day... Why do you think SKY and Jaguar sponsor the SKY Team? To appeal to the niche 'club rider, 'bike snob'? Or maybe their target market is the average joe sportive rider? Hopefully, you should have come to the sensible conclusion. Now, consider what the effect of all that sponsorship on competitive cycling for the UK over the last decade?

Finally, ask yourself who is REALLY making the difference for cycling in the UK?
CLUE: It's not your blog.

PS. tony_farrelly, I understand what you are trying to achieve, which is challenging. Although there is nothing wrong with this specific article, It's important that you understand that road.cc IS legally responsible for ALL content on this website. Endorsed, edited or not. Your line at the bottom of the page 'All content © Farrelly Atkinson Ltd ' will affirm this in a court of law and implies unreserved ownership.

PPS. Even though I have shared my frustration on this specific article, I enjoy road.cc and the frequent email updates and snippets. So, please keep up the good work.

Soap Box moment over, off for a ride.

posted by zam [11 posts]
7th September 2013 - 14:51

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Zam, thanks for the splenetic invective for your first post. I hope you will contribute your forthright opinion on other subjects. However having reread the post I have to admit it is all a bit tongue in cheek, there is no need to get so worked up. It is pointing out that the 'Sportivist' is a big beast with bizarre habits. It might come from a kernel of true, there are a plenty of people with a 'stay out of my way' attitude but it is trying to be at least amusing.

Meanwhile I do wonder what people are going on about when they say a sportive is not a race. It is, there is a set course, timing, even marshalls. Yer there is no real peloton, it is more like a mass timetrial because there are such mixed abilities, but a race it definitely is. People are trying to get from A to B as quickly as they can. If you don't choose to push as hard as you can that's your bag, don't expect others not to. Having said that I do prefer closed road events as open roads events do mix it with traffic. And I don't agree with snobs who say 'if you want to race, do a cat X race.' Err no, you do that; some people don't have every other Sunday morning to go off racing, they might be too busy or just not good enough to stay with a pack of amateur wannabes. So a sportive is ideal for all comers, so all kinds of riders enter.

So a sportive is a race, or not. A sportive is a sportive, get used to it.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1161 posts]
7th September 2013 - 16:22

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Wow. How do some of the commenters on here manage to sit and pedal with stumps up their arse?
We can take the piss out of each other whichever riding clique we belong too...surely? Who GAF? Really??

posted by ficklewhippet [36 posts]
7th September 2013 - 19:43

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russyparkin wrote:
sportives, a unique opportunity to pay to use roads that are free every other day of the year.

+1

posted by torquerulesok [9 posts]
8th September 2013 - 16:11

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If all you can see is your handlebars get off the road plenty of club riders thinking they are Gilbert and thus fast enoughto own the road

posted by kylemalco [31 posts]
8th September 2013 - 20:47

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kylemalco wrote:
If all you can see is your handlebars get off the road plenty of club riders thinking they are Gilbert and thus fast enoughto own the road

Smile Yup one or two seem to be on a mission and have issues with social etiquette. (and I'm a club rider - one who climbs slower than a stannah stairlift so has no chance of imitating a pro).

I think that cycling is a broad church and every 'chapter' has its characters who are the exception rather than the rule. I feel/think the original piece was just picking up on this.

I occasionally get the mick taken out of me because I still ride a steel bike, but I can take it on the cheek and give as good as I get (I usually reply by saying that at least my bike has scrap value). It's called banter and happens in life.

Just get on your bike and enjoy the ride.

Paul.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
8th September 2013 - 21:53

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Gosh if he had included a comment on bike helmets and earphones the responders would have gone up in flames.

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [555 posts]
9th September 2013 - 7:01

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Hillarious comments on a light-hearted and humerous article.

I still can't get my head round what sportives are for. They seem to give riders little more than a finishing time which doesn't mean anything in such a mixed ability field. Do the same with a stopwatch and repeat the route a few times and, bobs your uncle, you have something meaningful and hopefully have made some progress.

Outside the cycling community sportives are not well regarded and feelings within cycling are very mixed. Personally I just don't see the point of them. They seem to cater for riders who would like to race but aren't quick enough and I think British Cycling have a call to answer on this front. There should be more entry level competition to cater for such riders rather than this idea of 'its not a race' sportives. If you want to race you should be able to, whatever your ability.

Finally, Zam's comments promoting excessive consumerism don't sit well with me. Of course, the cycle industry support top riders and this is only possible becuause they sell us stuff but the buying habits of many are simply wasteful. I don't completly understand the compulsion to feel like your supporting top riders anyway, worry about your own ride and just have fun with it dude.

posted by Matt eaton [260 posts]
10th September 2013 - 11:15

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really great tips! hope someone could give the sportive car owners a few to abide with...

Mrs. Pranita Aghamkar is a very sporty and passionate person. She loves cycling and her hobbies are to ride bicycle on challenging routes and frequently post blogs and keep updating readers.

posted by Mrs. Pranita Ag... [5 posts]
14th September 2013 - 9:24

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Matt eaton wrote:
Hillarious comments on a light-hearted and humerous article.

I still can't get my head round what sportives are for. They seem to give riders little more than a finishing time which doesn't mean anything in such a mixed ability field. Do the same with a stopwatch and repeat the route a few times and, bobs your uncle, you have something meaningful and hopefully have made some progress.

Outside the cycling community sportives are not well regarded and feelings within cycling are very mixed. Personally I just don't see the point of them. They seem to cater for riders who would like to race but aren't quick enough and I think British Cycling have a call to answer on this front. There should be more entry level competition to cater for such riders rather than this idea of 'its not a race' sportives. If you want to race you should be able to, whatever your ability.

Finally, Zam's comments promoting excessive consumerism don't sit well with me. Of course, the cycle industry support top riders and this is only possible becuause they sell us stuff but the buying habits of many are simply wasteful. I don't completly understand the compulsion to feel like your supporting top riders anyway, worry about your own ride and just have fun with it dude.

+1 - Not sure which planet Zam's on. This seems to be about plain riding etiquette - it does have the consequence of being a bit condescending to some riders, and in the main is probably not necessary. Give any rider you don't know a wide berth unless you want to face plant on tarmac.

As someone has never ridden for a club, but I've done enough group riding with friends that I know what I'm about, but I recognise the 'quality' of a lot of sportive riders and treat them accordingly.

When I rode the RAB some Idiots seemed to get their knickers twisted as I've passed them (wide on the right) shouting at me to announce my passing them. Personally I think they should be looking over their shoulder, and regardless I'll look out for them. Mostly I think they were just piqued that I've overtaken them when they thought they were going quickly and hadn't expected to be passed. I'm not sure announcing yourself is the best way, I certainly don't like being unexpectedly shouted at by random strangers who pass me.

But I have to say the people I love most at Sportives, apart from the ones dressed as Bradley and Froomedog (nothing says 'I've just got into cycling' more than that, except a large waistline), are those riding commuter bikes with bar end extensions for time trialling. It's the most confused piece of cycling engineering ever....Light touch paper and boom - In for a penny, in for a pound.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1059 posts]
16th September 2013 - 11:54

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I like VechhiJo's stuff but IMO this misses the mark. It's patronising and just sounds like he needs to get over himself. This isn't what comes across in his other stuff, so maybe it's just my sense of humour needs recalibrating today.

posted by Chuck [351 posts]
17th September 2013 - 13:18

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Feck me there's a real sense of humour failure going on in here, brighten up ffs Smile

posted by mybrainthinksim... [24 posts]
17th September 2013 - 20:23

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/132243146796683/?fref=ts

sometimes the money is for charity...but yeah, why pay to ride on a road that is free every other day of the year...maybe it's for the (sometimes...well stocked) food stops and marshalling provided by some well run sportives.

We don't all ride in/for clubs - and dress as we please...so overall I'd say (tongue in check or not) a rather condescending attempt at lording it over leisure cyclists in general...

#annoyedsportivist

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [375 posts]
21st September 2013 - 18:20

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mybrainthinksimfitterthanireallyam wrote:
Feck me there's a real sense of humour failure going on in here, brighten up ffs Smile

Pretty much what I was thinking!

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
26th September 2013 - 21:02

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