Cycling in a group is one of the wonderful things about our pastime; like minded people socializing while exercising.
There are few sports where you can do this as well.
The picture on the left is a group doing just that; highly visible to other road users and riding two abreast as is legal in most places.
The picture on the right is not a group ride in my opinion; it is a group of cyclists all riding as individuals on the same section of the highway.
A few strong riders are going “Balls out” at the front, tearing what could have been a group apart. There is no socializing going on.
If there is one complaint I hear all the time from the non-cycling public, it is that groups of cyclists ride three and four abreast blocking traffic. I am sorry to say this but in many cases it is true, I have witnessed it.
Here is a group of professional cyclists on a training ride. The important thing about this group is that they are taking less than half the lane and a car wishing to pass can easily see around them to determine whether it is safe to do so.
In this next picture, these riders are technically riding two abreast, but why are they taking the whole lane? What is with all that unnecessary wasted space in the middle?
Here is another large group of about twenty experienced riders; these guys have the luxury of a nice wide shoulder on this stretch of road, but even if the shoulder was not there they would only be taking half the lane and it would be easy for a passing driver to see around them.
Then there is this group. You could argue that this stretch of highway is three lanes wide on either side, so why shouldn’t a group of cyclists use the whole lane. Just because you can, does that make it right?
It is not that difficult to ride two by two in a pace line, it just takes a few like minded individuals to democratically decide that is what they want to do.
If you ride in a single pace line, the line is twice the length for a car to pass, and there is usually a rider dropping back from the front, so the line is still two abreast at some point.
A group like the one shown on the left can cover a lot of miles at a fairly good pace, and training wise is more beneficial to everyone.
I may leave myself open to criticism in saying this, but it seems to me that many want to look like professionals with the equipment and clothing but have no interest in trying to ride like a professional.
That is to take the time to learn to follow a wheel, and to ride in close proximity to others.
And socialize, even the pros do it in the middle of the peloton during the Tour de France.