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4855 E. Warner Road #10
Phoenix, Arizona 85044

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* We are only closed on Tuesday during June, July and August.

Bumping and Touching:
It does not have to lead to crashing!

In the off season numerous group rides are organized to provide training opportunities to build a stronger base.  One of the major concerns with group rides is coming into contact with fellow riders.  Anyone who has ridden with a group long enough will have either witnessed or been a part of a crash caused by two riders coming in contact with each other.  One of the most common situations is wheel overlap, whereby the following rider puts his front wheel in contact with the forward rider’s rear wheel. There is a fairly simple solution to this situation.  STOP riding so close.  The common belief is that the best draft occurs at 6 to 12 inches behind the rider in front.  This would only be true and prudent if you were a professional rider on a track with team mates doing a pursuit race.  Chances are none of those circumstances describe you or me.  So the correct approach is to follow a minimum of a wheel (27inches) or slightly less than 3 feet.  Studies have shown that riders are more relaxed (efficient) and have essential distance necessary to manage reaction time to unexpected behavior.

The other situation occurs when riding side by side as in a double pace line or circular pace line.  Contact can occur in a number of combinations where one rider can make contact with helmet, hand, elbow or shoulder on the other riders, hip, thigh, torso, shoulder, elbow, hand or helmet.  Every one of these combinations causes a different effect on stability for each rider.    

The options to survive bumping and touching:

  1. avoid group rides altogether,
  2. wait for it to happen and hope for the best,
  3. practice the sensations of bumping and touching to educate your body how to respond correctly. 

The third option is ultimately the best choice.  In cycling it is not about if it will happen but when and how bad.   Be prepared by practicing on rollers.

The primary element of this skill is the same for riding efficiently.  It is the ability to ride a straight line.  Balance comes from the hips (the body’s center of mass).  It is the hips that change direction and it is the hands that hold or control that change.  Balance is maintained when the center of mass remains directly over the base of support (tires contacting ground).  Mastering the control of the direction of the bike not only helps prevent you from making contact but it gives you the capacity to handle someone making contact with you.  Go to the video on bumping and touching at to view detailed instruction on how to be proficient at controlling yourself in a group.

Having skills solves a number of life’s problems and cycling is no different.
To learn more about becoming a skillful rider, contact Jeff Lockwood at