Etape Loch Ness
Pictured: Bikes of Inverness’ Kenny Riddle is running a series of free weekly workshops to prepare riders for the Etape Loch Ness on April 29.
Communication is the key to success at Etape Loch Ness, says Commonwealth Games’ Kenny Riddle
A former Commonwealth Games athlete is sharing his extensive knowledge of road cycling ahead of Etape Loch Ness, which returns to the Scottish Highlands later this year.
Inverness’ Kenny Riddle, a highly decorated road cycling veteran who now runs cycle shop Bikes of Inverness, has organised a series of free weekly workshops for those taking part in the 66-mile sportive – hailed as one of the most scenic in the country – on April 29.
Each session will cover a different topic relevant to the event, from fitness and nutrition to maintenance and repairs, allowing participants the chance to find out all they need to know to have a successful ride.
One topic which will be covered over the coming weeks is group cycling etiquette.
For many first-time participants, the thought of riding alongside over 5,500 other cyclists may be daunting but, according to Kenny, there are some simple facts to keep in mind to stay safe and in control.
“Leaving in a group of riders of a similar speed and ability will help your ride go smoothly.
“Some participants put a faster predicted time on their entry sheets so that they enter the race further ahead of the sweep vehicle – however this can be dangerous.
“By leaving in a group of similar ability to yourself, it should lessen the need for larger groups to pass each other and help to avoid bottlenecks.
“Riders should also think about how to pass other road users with care – either in their training ahead of the sportive, or on April 29.
“If you think about a three-lane motorway, you stay in the inside left lane unless you plan to overtake a slower vehicle.
“The same goes in cycling.
“If you go to pass, ensure nothing is passing you on the right and – only if it’s clear – move out.
“Riding in a group is no different – pay attention to the movements of those around you and move as one.
“And listen for any calls from faster riders approaching from behind, so you can keep left and allow them to pass.”
Communication, explains Kenny, is the key to success in any sportive.
While riding in a group, it’s important to pay attention to those in front of you, as they will be the ones facing obstacles first.
“It’s common for riders in the middle of a group not to see obstacles in the road ahead. “Calling out obstacles like potholes, riders stopped with mechanical issues, or a change in direction and junctions will help prevent crashes and is good cycling etiquette,” he says.
“Confident riders will mark out holes by pointing them out, but some riders may prefer to call instead.
“Some simple calls which should be committed to memory are ‘inside’, to indicate an obstacle on the left; ‘outside’, to indicate an obstacle on the right; ‘easy’, to encourage the group to slow down for an obstacle ahead, like a vehicle or slower group with little room to pass; and ‘left’ and ‘right’, to change direction at a junction.”
Bikes of Inverness’ Etape Loch Ness training sessions run every Thursday from 5.30pm, lasting for around one and a half to two hours.
Each week, groups will have the chance to gain hands-on experience and have questions answered by top cycling experts.
Guest speakers, including Scottish road race champion Julie Eskine, will also visit from time to time to dispense pearls of wisdom.
Riders wishing to attend can sign up for free at www.bikesofinverness.co.uk – the next sessions will cover training and fitness (February 8), nutrition (February 15) and ladies night (February 22).
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