Essential tips for riding quickly and safely in a group

A video in the Racesmart series from British Cycling shows you how to ride through and off – an essential skill for racing and also useful for riding sportives, in a club or with a group of friends.

Riding through and off, also referred to as riding in a chaingang, involves a group of cyclists working together to keep the pace high and consistent. Each rider takes a turn at the front before sheltering out of the wind so that the whole group can go much faster than any of them could on their own.

Of course, riding close to other riders could be hazardous, so you need to know what you’re doing, and that’s where this video comes in.

The video advises you to ride steady when it’s your turn at the front rather than to increase the pace to show how strong you are, and to keep the two lines of riders close to one another in order to be as efficient as possible. It also tells you not to overlap wheels because that’s asking for trouble.

The video advises on the direction that the group should rotate. If the wind is coming from your right you should rotate clockwise; anticlockwise if it’s coming from the left.

You shouldn’t go too hard on the hills if you’re one of the stronger riders in the group. If other riders struggle to match your speed they’ll be less able to contribute when you’re back on flat roads.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.