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Chain Gang

Introduction

Throughout the summer months the club will be organising a fortnightly chain gang on Tuesday evenings, starting on 3rd May from Lord Butler car park. We will meet at 7pm and leave at 7:15pm sharp.  All dates have been put into the Club calendar.

There will be two groups if numbers permit, with the intention that one is for riders capable of riding with Group 1 (even if they don’t always!) and one for riders more comfortable with Group 2. You'll be put in the correct groups on the night because we want you to enjoy it and get the most out of it. 

The speeds will be higher than on a Sunday ride, although the effort required is different.  Expect 19-20mph for the slower group to give you an idea, but it could be higher or lower depending on how well the group works together. On that basis we would not recommend these rides for people who are not comfortable with Group 2 pace. However if you are not quite at that level yet but are happy to push yourself until you can’t hold on any longer then you will be more than welcome to join. You will get stronger each time you do it, although you will need to be comfortable finding your way home if you get dropped! 

We will not be waiting for people on these rides so the best thing to do if you are feeling tired is to sit at the back and let the rider in front know that you will not be coming through to take your turn.

The idea is to do 1 lap of the circuit but we can always go again if people are interested and light permits.

Route

The route will be the same each week to allow the group to concentrate on good Chain Gang practise (see below) as well as allowing late arrivals to pickup the group on route.

The route can be viewed here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/11367385


Chain Gang Riding

These rides are intended as training for people who are interested in racing or time trialling at any level, but can also serve as an excellent workout for riders seeking to get stronger and learn how to work effectively in a group. We will be practising through & off (which also has many other names, but let’s stick with this). It is great fun when it gets going and will make you a better rider.

For those new to this type of riding the intention is to ride in two lines, with one line being the fast (or ‘working’) line and one the slow (or ‘retreating’) line. The fast line passes the slow line with riders rotating to the slow line as they hit the front. No rider should be putting in a turn on the front and should be looking to move smoothly onto the slow line without changing pace. The best way to imagine the correct pacing is, as you start to take the wind it is time to move smoothly to the front of the slower line whilst checking your shoulder and waiting for a call of ‘clear’. Once the move is complete take a small amount of pace off, not enough to cause those in the slow line to need to adjust but enough to prevent the next rider hitting the front of the fast line from having to force the pace to clear your front wheel. Riders then gradually slip to the back of the slow line before jumping across onto the tail of the fast line having received a call of ‘last rider’ from the rider passing them who had been sitting behind them.

Chain Gang

This smooth transition onto the back of the fast line is the major effort in this type of ride, not piling on the pace at the front.

The skill then is to maintain the small gap to the rider in front of you in both lines, this reduces the amount of work required and enables the group to work effectively. If a gap appears, close it gradually so as not to create a gap behind you and break up the rhythm of the line you are in. Imagine there is a small, fragile piece of elastic between you and the riders in front and behind which you must be careful not to cause to stretch and break.




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