There is no more effective way to become a motivated cyclist than finding a good group ride. Riding with others has several other benefits including improved safety and efficiency from slipstreaming.
Slipstreaming (also know as drafting or pacing) is riding or sheltering behind fellow riders, to save energy. It allows the cyclist to keep up with far faster riders and travel at speeds they wouldn’t normally reach as an individual. Riders take turns at the front of the group, and after doing their stint, move to the rear to take advantage of the shelter being provided by the group.
It is estimated that this saves as much as a third of a following rider's energy, while the rider or pacemaker at the front also saves about 5 per cent of his effort by having someone behind him because of the way air closes in from behind.
How close to ride?
Simply put, the closer you draft, the better the slipstream. However, riders shouldn't try to draft closer than is safe for their skill level. The idea is to get as close as you can without the chance of touching wheels with another rider.
Group cycle riding tips:
• Do not overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front.
• Try to maintain a consistent pace if at the front.
• If increasing the pace, do it gradually with an eye to keeping the group together.
• Signal your intentions by hand or voice if you are about to change positions.
• Go hard on the more difficult sections but don't forget to regroup.
• Don’t take to the front only to slow down.
• If the group does get split, ride slow until the rear group has caught up.
• If riding into a headwind, make changes at the front more frequently to share the workload.
• If needing to stop, make the others in the group aware.
• Make sure the group wait for anyone suffering a puncture or any other difficulty.
Relevant to group cycling in Spain.