Riding in a Group – tips from WE Bike NYC!

Part of the fun of riding with a group is the camaraderie you feel with the people you are riding with. But in order to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves and has a safe ride, there are some rules to abide by when riding with a group.

Tips From Our Ride Leaders

  • If you make it through a light and others don’t, keep up with the group ahead.
  • Similarly, if you don’t make it through the light, look ahead and make note of the route of where the group is headed. There should be a float (another ride leader/volunteer) who knows the route and who can continue to lead until you meet up with the group ahead.
  • Everyone takes hills and bridges differently. The group will either stop at the top or at the bottom of the hill/bridge in order to mass up, depending on what the ride leader states.
  • It’s okay to pass someone who is consistently slower than you are. Just remember to let them know you’re passing with a vocal notice (“On your left/right!”)
  • There is a difference between riding in the city and riding in areas that allow for more space for bikes. In the city, you should mostly ride single file in the bike lane (if there is one). If you are riding in an area with more space, you can ride double file but be mindful of any cars coming up behind you.
  • Stay aware and keep up with the group. Straggling behind not only makes it harder for you to catch up, but it can affect the dynamic of the group ride.
  • When you pull up to a red light, stay in your position in line. If you pull up ahead of other riders, that is called shoaling and is considered rude. If you want to pass a person, do so while moving.

Hand Signals/Vocal Signs

These are VERY important on group rides. Because you are riding behind someone, you won’t be able to anticipate everything that’s going on, until it may be too late. These signals start from the very front of the group (with the ride leader) and get passed back to the sweep so that everyone knows what they can expect. Don’t forget to use them and pass them back!

  • Turning Right or Left: Hand/warm pointed in the direction of the turn.
  • Slowing: Hand behind back/on the side with a patting down motion. Use this when you are approaching a red light or a stop sign, so people can anticipate the upcoming stop.
  • Stopping: Full fist behind your back/on the side. Use this when coming to a full stop.
  • Glass/Potholes/Debris: Point to the debris on the sign. For glass and debris, wiggle your fingers.
  • Something on the shoulder: Extend your arm out towards the obstacle, then put your hand behind your back. Use this to let the rest of the group know to watch out for something that could be hazardous (i.e. Pedestrian, dog, parked car with a driver) on the shoulder.
  • “Car back/up/left/right” (vocal sign only): use this to call out any upcoming cars that the riders behind you might encounter. Back for behind, up for coming from the front, left or right depending on what direction the car is approaching.
  • “Clear (vocal sign only): use this at stop signs to let the riders behind you know that there are no cars coming up which they might encounter.

How to pace line

Most WE Bike NYC rides do not require you to know how to pace line, but it is a very good skill to learn and have if you want to do longer rides in groups. Here is an article and a YouTube video that provides some great insight on how to do it.

If you have any tips to share, join us in the conversation at the Female Bike Forum on Facebook!

Event Spotlight: KiDS Bike Forum

Hi Moms on Wheels,

WE wanted to make sure you all knew about a special event happening this weekend:

Kids Bike Forum
Sunday, April 10
10:00am – 1:00pm – 185 Ellery Street, Charlie’s Place, Brooklyn, NY 11206
RSVP on Facebook or EventBrite!

Biking with your kids in NYC is amazing, and WE Bike NYC’s Mom’s on Wheels along with KidicalMass NYC wants to help make it happen! Are you an avid cyclist, but your kids not so much? Are your kids ready to bike on the street? Are your kids ready to go longer distances? How do you get started biking in the city with your kids? Where did you get THAT bike? Come discuss these important issues and more at Kids’ Bike Forum 2016!

The event is free, but you will need to bring a kids bike helmet (and a kid!) for the Kids Bike Skills Class. Pre-registration for the class is available here.

WE’ll be there tabling and talking riding bikes with kids, and would love to see you there!

All the best,
Evonne and Casey

P.S. Can’t come, but want to know what’s going on with Moms on Wheels? Join the conversation online with our Moms on Wheels Facebook Group!

Happy New Year from WE Bike NYC!!

By Meg Ausen

Bike Goals in 2016 – What do you want to do this year??

WE have rung in the New Year and cannot help thinking about what we want to accomplish over the next year. WE asked what are some bike goals you all have on our Female Bike Forum and here’s what WE found out. Thanks for your comments and ideas! If you have additional goals you would like to reach and are looking for ideas on how to reach them, let us know here!

Get a Feel for riding around New York City

Are you new to riding in New York City? You have found the right place for finding a community of women who bike and who will support you as you become more comfortable on the roads!! If you haven’t had the opportunity to ride with WE Bike NYC, now is the time! Seize the day! You can learn more about why women, female identifying and gender non-conforming people ride with WE Bike NYC here!

Ride Longer Distances

We heard from many seasoned city riders that a lot of you want to ride longer distances. Whether this is on an organized ride like a 100 mile century or a bike tour, many people have expressed the desire to take on more miles in 2016. Don’t know where exactly to start? WE have a lot of programming each year to help facilitate longer rides. Whether you are hoping to become more comfortable on highway 9w in New Jersey, looking to organize a group of friends to ride with at the NYC Century, or hoping to set out with a tent strapped on the back of your bicycle to take a multi-day bicycle tour, be sure to read our newsletter and check out our Facebook page for programming, tips and news related to riding long distances!

Climbing Hills

Biking around New York City’s five boroughs, WE have discovered that this city boasts its share of hills. WE all have ways of conquering these hills but it’s unclear whether many of us find this process enjoyable. Looking for ways to increase your power on your bike to help you up all of those hills (and bridges)?? Becoming better at climbing hills is unique to each of us, but physical and mental preparation are the two keys to success. Practice! Getting into the habit of climbing will automatically help you improve – WE aren’t saying you need to climb mountains for practice, just start small and build up your endurance. Practice either on our off your bike. Does your bike have gears? Having more gears allows our bodies to keep the cadence we maintain in low gears in higher gears. Try not to get discouraged and remember: if you keep pedaling you will eventually get there.

Go Clipless!

Many of you expressed the desire of going clipless on your bikes, or in other words, locking in to your pedals. This can seem daunting to do in New York City traffic. Clipless pedals are designed for cyclists to become more efficient by providing a better foot-to-pedal connection and safety by offering almost instant foot entry and release. Some top tips to help you get started: start with looser tension on the pedals allowing easier release for your feet (keep in mind that looser tension also means your shoes more easily unclip at all times) and try practicing clipping in and out of the pedals on soft surfaces in case you fall, like an empty filed at a park. Learn more about clips and other forms of foot retention here!

Happy 2015 from WE Bike NYC!!

WE Bike NYC had a GREAT year, and can’t wait for another! With your help, WE know we can make 2015 our best year yet!

2014 was an exciting year for us at WE Bike NYC. WE biked to DC; we said goodbye to our founder; we led our longest NYC ride yet; we threw the best party ever; we taught a webinar for Women Bike; our Mujeres en Movimiento and Moms on Wheels programs thrived; WE starred in our own story; and we hosted TONS of amazing rides, workshops, and events.

In total, WE led 25 rides with nearly 200 participants, and held 46 total events in 2014. WE are proud of the work we’ve done this year, the development of our leadership, and of all our participants for coming out!


Mujeres en Movimiento Session 2

5 Boro Bike Tour Team 2014

Rapha Women’s 100 Ride

Rockaways Beach Party Ride

New Year’s isn’t just for reflecting on the year we’ve had; it’s also for looking on to the year ahead. WE want 2015 to be even better, and to do that WE need your help! WE cannot wait for what the year holds and WE look forward to riding together!

WE Bike NYC’s Guide to Rockaway Beach Rides!

WE are so excited that summer is finally here, and WE can finally plan some easy breezy rides to the beach! Seasoned WE Biker Kristina Sepulvida is our local expert on finding the best spots to chill in the beach lands of NYC. After leading a super successful Taco-themed ride to Rockaway Beach in April, she wanted to share some of the great places WE found along the way so that others can plan rides of their own to this summery destination!

  1. William Fitts Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field: While technically not on the Rockaway peninsula, the Floyd Bennett Visitor Center is located right before you cross over the Gil Hodges Memorial bridge and has some of the cleanest public bathrooms this city has ever seen. If headed in from Flatbush, it is an essential pit stop for water, rest, and random historical factoids from their cheery staff of Urban Park Rangers.
  2. Pico NY: The destination for WE Bike NYC’s April Beach Ride, Pico NY is where the locals spend their Sunday afternoons. The tables are huge, food delicious, and there always seems to be a special happening. I recommend the chunky guacamole and camarones asada tacos.
  3. Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge: Straddling Jamaica Bay and taking you from the sleepy beach town paradise into the other sleepy beach town of Broad Channel before the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Cross Bay has a long slight incline but you’ll be distracted by the views of the water and planes taking off from JFK. Note: this is a “walking,” not “riding,” bridge.
  4. The fish sandwich at Rippers: Yes, the line is long. Yes, the deck is crowded. And yes, it’s next to one of the weirdest public bathrooms in all of beach history. HOWEVER, this sandwich has launched a thousand ships. Multitask and keep an eye on the line from your spot on the sand When there’s a break in the action, RUN. If there is no break in the line, suffer through it. You have time. You’re at the beach, so no stress, and you definitely need to refuel before heading back through the tight rope strung through a wind tunnel that is the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
  5. Connolly’s: Bike racks, sub-zero air conditioning, electrical outlets so you can charge your phone before heading back, and pina coladas. Enough said.

WE Bike NYC is planning more beach rides in the upcoming months! We just wrapped up a ride to Orchard Beach on June 22nd and WE will check out Cedar Grove Beach on Staten Island on August 10!