The joys of group riding on open roads and gnarly trails
After a year of restricted numbers and solo cycling, group riding is back. Let’s take a look at some of your options now we can ride together again and the Specialized bikes you might want to take out on these adventures.
Open roads with friends
When it comes to riding in groups, we didn't quite realise what we had until our rides were restricted. The glory of group riding on the road especially is that it is a shared experience and one that can motivate you to get up and out on a particularly rough morning. Riding in a group is a skill in itself and learning to ride close to another in a pack, interpreting hand signals and sharing a workload whilst snaking through country roads is one of the great joys of this sport. Workload sharing is key and allows you to ride further than you otherwise would on your own.
There is no doubt that regular training with ride partners or in a club improves your ability on the bike. And there is strength in numbers too. Riding together as a small pack makes you more obvious to fellow road users and can make you feel more confident and protected compared with riding solo. But perhaps the greatest glory of group road riding is the social aspect. Who could say no to having fun with your mates while doing a shared sport or dissecting the ride at the café stop?
Working for the weekend shred
Of course, it's not just on the roads where you can now get back with ride mates but on the trails too. One of the main benefits of mountain biking is that it cuts out having to deal with other road users. Ripping it up and down trails on your Stumpjumper Pro or Demo Expert is some of the best fun you can have on two wheels, so it's no coincidence that doing it with friends doubles the enjoyment you get out of mountain biking. Watching, sessioning and filming each other taking on a serious drop or seeing who can find the quickest line or get the most airtime is what makes group mountain bike rides so enjoyable. Then there is the inevitable bail when one of you overcooks it which – damage permitting – can bring great hilarity in itself. As well as the fun aspect, like road riding, it is also a chance to learn and develop as a rider. Not only advancing your technical skills but also learning tricks from your mates off the bike to do with bike maintenance and setup.
Now take the enjoyment you get from off-road group riding, bring in an e-MTB and you have an experience that is unlike anything else. Turbo-charged group riding is a newer way of doing things that relatively speaking puts everyone on the same level. Mountain biking with friends is fantastic if you have the fitness to get up and over the big climbs or can put up with the constant ferrying in uplifts. Our e-MTB's, like the quality Kenevo Expert, cut this out entirely. The past year may have resulted in your ride mates being at different fitness levels to one another so bikes like the Turbo Levo give you all a helping hand so that no one is left behind on the trail. These bikes still encapsulate all the fun of mountain biking just with a little added boost. If you haven't tried it already, 2021 should be the year you get out on e-bikes with your mates.
Group gravel grinding
Want to ride in a group but don't enjoy the hassle of riding on the roads? Going for gravel adventures with mates ticks all the boxes. Whether you are just going for a weekend cruise or a more elaborate well-planned adventure, gravel riding with mates encapsulates the very best of getting out into nature on your bike. There are plenty of gravel routes and bridleways scattered around the countryside, the key is finding and connecting them up to make the perfect ride. With some of the terrain being as gnarly as mountain bike trails and as steep, if not steeper, than some of the hardest road climbs, you can still get your fix of tough riding. What better way is there to end a ride than huddling around a fire with some beers or stove heated coffee? Our Diverge range of bikes are perfect for these types of ride but if you want an added boost, look no further than the Turbo Creo SL e-bike.
We’ve certainly missed group riding so it’s time to take advantage of the new regulations and try out as many different roads and trails with friends as possible. To see the bikes mentioned above, come down to one of our stores and speak to a friendly member of our staff.
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