A little consideration on the road will get you far
By Anton Macasieb | Photos by Andrew Gook and Brandon Wong/Unsplash
After a few tries at living the single-track life, you’ve become a veritable cycling aficionado. Take a moment to pick up a few good manners and bits of etiquette for when you’re out riding by yourself, with your group, or racing. Not only does it make you look like a real stand-up guy on two wheels, it also improves your chances of finishing your rides in one piece.
Give Me a Sign
Old habits die hard, and the oldest habit you should have is to always share your intention with everyone else on the road. Whether you’re riding on busy streets or with your team, give clear hand signals to tell others where you’re going and call out what you see that they might not. They’ll be able to anticipate your next moves better, which can probably save you from an accident or two.
Wait Your Turn
Coming underneath (or attempting to overtake a rider ahead of you by cutting on the inside of the turn) only has two outcomes: you’re either late to the lead and your front wheel hits a rider or you turn wide and possibly win the race along with the ire of the whole pack. Overtaking on the outside of a turn is safer and less menacing for all parties involved.
Ask Before You Sit
Sitting in, or staying in the draft zone of another cyclist, is a mutual agreement between two cyclists. The one in front will stay conscious that someone is behind them, while the one behind stays well behaved and focuses on keeping their distance. Unless you’re great friends, be sure to ask if it’s okay to sit in. This is especially important in descents, climbs, and other precarious scenarios; you won’t know how your counterpart is going to act in a split-second situation.
Follow Race Rules
It’s bad enough for an athlete not to read the rules of a race and it’s worse to knowingly flout them, but it makes no difference to your fellow racers; you’ll look like a jerk. Lucky for you, the rules are quite clear for most races: obey the marshal’s calls, don’t draft if it’s a non-drafting race, and don’t get on the bike behind the mount line. Take five minutes to browse through the race rules for any special advice.
Share the Road
Asserting yourself on the road is a requirement on the busier streets of Metro Manila, but that does not mean you and your pals can take the whole lane. Staying on the right side of the lane allows vehicles and faster cyclists to overtake you safely. When riding with a group, keep it neat with two riders shoulder-to-shoulder (or in one line for tighter roads), staying conscious of cars behind you.
Cycling is fortunately growing and becoming more and more popular in Manila, giving our fair metropolis’ motorists more and more opportunities to get acquainted with our kind. Remember that when you’re out there, you represent cyclists in general, and you won’t be making any friends or good impressions by being rude or shouting expletives. Remember that many of those you see on the road may not know how to share a road with cyclists on them. Remember that rudeness is only an expression of fear, and the most dreadful person only needs to be loved.
Cycling is a sport with many unwritten rules that change depending on context. Turns get more aggressive in short races, and riding skills are more critical in pelotons and technical sections. These bits of etiquette and showing respect to your fellow rider and those around you, however, are universal.
Have other tips for your fellow riders out there? Share them with us and we would love to add to our article.