Tips For Riding In Big Packs of Riders (as in an event.)

Nov 1, 2013
Studio City, CA
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Hey all,

It's Gig. Today I participated in Ciclivia (a few thousand people on bikes) in North Hollywood and Studio City, CA. How could I not, it was at the end of my block? Anywho, I am starting this thread where we all can share tips for safety, riding in a small group, navigating crowds, which tools to bring, pre-ride checks, and so on. Thank you for participating.

Aug 13, 2013
Portland, TX
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if I was going to be around that many people....I'd have to take some type of a chill pill...

no way I could fathom being surrounded by that many people at once...

that just seems like such a foreign concept to me...
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Mar 15, 2014
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I travel for my job and get around the world quite a part of the process to get us to come to your location, we ask for several items such as hotel info, local restaurants and "Ground Transportation. Generically this means a Car....Not in China, my 1st time there (Xi'an Aircraft Company) they gave me a Bicycle for my basic transportation. My 1st day on the job my contact came to pick me up (on his bicycle) and we rode off into the 25,000 strong crowd of bicyclest going to work elbow to elbow in a sea of people...planning to merge or turn takes signiciant forsite...two weeks of this crazy bike traffic was about all I could take. Needless to say, they use more cars today, but Bikes are still the primary mode of tramnsportation

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Feb 22, 2010
DFW Area Texas
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On the rides where the have multiple starts, ie: racers first, 100 milers, next, 100K next, etc. we start with the 50 milers although we ride 25. All the kids are in the 25 mile and less group. You never know what a kid in a crowd will do right in front of you.
Jul 19, 2012
Northern Wisconsin
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When I first read this title. I thought it meant Riding on your bike with a Big Pack of Stuff. Like in Events.
You are at a Swap Meet riding your bike , You buy some parts. You have a Back Pack full of parts and you are riding thru the crowd with your big pack on. I was hoping for pictures.
My mistake. :rolleyes:
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In our group rides here, my biggest piece of advice is that every week there are new riders that have no experience riding in a group. They will suddenly swerve into you. They will not watch out for you. Therefore, you must be especially aware of your surroundings. Focusing on either side of you is the most important. If you know that there is a gap to the left, than you can swerve that way when someone to your right suddenly steers towards you obliviously.
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Nov 20, 2014
New Mexico
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I've ridden in quite a few places but here in vegas it's almost a safety precaution to ride in packs. In my bike club days we rode the strip a lot and that's a death wish. Tourist have no respect for locals and I can't even count how many times some drunk idiot nearly swerved into us screaming "vegas baby woohoo" now that I'm an independent rider and left the club world in the past I pretty much ride solo or with my kids in the safety of the suburbs. I don't think there's any real formula to riding in a pack it's pretty simple actually, pull your head out your butt and pay attention follow that rule and it should be pretty easy.
Apr 29, 2009
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I ride pretty regularly in the Baltimore Bike Party (look it up on facebook). We have thousands of people who have shown up for monthly themed rides through the city. Some takeaways that I have from the group are:

*Ride through parts of the city you may otherwise not see/dare to go. We regularly ride through some of the "worst neighborhoods" in Baltimore and receive nothing but love from people. Folks hang out of windows, bang on pots and pans and many join in on the ride and have become regulars. I always enjoy riding through the hood much more than the yuppie neighborhoods of Charm City. You'll find that people are less likely to stand on their horns while your massive group clogs the intersection and usually get out of the car dancing/videotaping on their phones as you pass by.

*Set up a good group of volunteers who know how to "cork" intersections if you're not planning on obeying all traffic signals. Your ride will be much faster/enjoyable if you cork, but I wouldn't advise doing so unless you have a good group of people and some experience safely blocking an intersection.

*If you have extra tubes/tools, volunteer to ride at the end of the pack. Invariably someone will ride into a storm drain and get a pinch flat and be left stranded. I've had to borrow tubes and given them away on several occasions

*Cleanup afterwards! We always make sure to clean up the parks from which we start, stop midway and end. The neighborhood cat lady is much less likely to complain to the powers that be if pick up all the natty boh cans people carelessly leave behind.

This is the mayor of Baltimore during the 80's themed ride

wheelies are kind of a thing in Baltimore

encourage lights and helmets!
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Sep 26, 2013
Chicago IL,
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When riding in a group of 20-plus I like to have at least two volunteers stopping traffic for the rest of the riders at traffic lights or stop signs. Makes the ride a lot safer. I also got a chance to ride with a local bike club and one thing they did to keep it organized was assign riding partners. It seemed like traffic paid more attention to the riders when they were organized...

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