There are an estimated 1million overtaking manoeuvres made by cyclists during Vätternrundan.
The majority of these will take place on the West side of the lake culminating in a peak at around Karlsborg. There’s a lot of tired legs and tired minds. Moods will be ever-changing.
You need to keep your wits about you, stay sharp, stay focused. But after 200kms on the bike how easy is that?
Communication is everything when you’re doing between 20 – 75km/h in nothing more than flimsy clothes and a helmet. Show respect for the road and even more respect for your fellow cyclists. Nobody on the bike has the intention to hurt someone else or make life difficult for others.
Unfortunately … it can often look that way.
Show patience, show understanding, and always remember, the next time it could be you, that in a moment of fatigue makes the sort of manoeuvre that would have someone almost hitting the tarmac.
You may be one of those lucky riders that are cycling with a group of friends, a team, a club. Do the ride alone if you like, must, want the challenge, doing it with a team opens up a whole new world. Most riders however will be riding alone, or with one or two friends.
A lot of groups cycling around Vättern just evolve. Around every food station groups will disband and new ones built as cyclists enter and leave the depots. Adhoc groups of people who have never met before are suddenly cycling side by side.
So, in this blog I thought I’d take a little delve into the do’s and don’ts of overtaking when in a group.
Good communication is always vital and no less when overtaking but in order to have that you need to understand the correct way to overtake and also why we overtake this way. Just simply saying ”Because that’s how we do it!” isn’t enough. Once you get why, then you get with it.
Here are a series of 5 diagrams with some minor explanations on what’s needed to ensure a good but primarily SAFE overtaking procedure. The words in the diagrams are in Swedish. You may be coming here from another country, but most of the language on the road will be in Swedish. Good to know what they’re talking about. That said, most Swedes have a better than average understanding of the lingo from Brittania.
When a group is about to overtake another group warn the group infront in good time.
Remember; the wind will be rushing in everyone’s ears so you will need to shout.
Try to make it sound friendly.
The group about to be overtaken should acknowledge this. Last man give a thumbs up so they know you’ve heard them.
Lexicon: Omkörning – Pronounced ‘Omsher ning’ = Overtaking.
Now the two groups are forming 4 lines. Important here is that the group being overtaken keep to the right. If you see your group drifting out of position warn them ”Overtaking, Keep right!”
You may know someone in the other group. Say hi, comment on the nice bike, it doesn’t hurt to be friendly.
Lexicon: Håll höger gruppen – Pronounced ‘holl herguh gruppun‘ = Keep right group.
It is vital that the yellow group hold their line till the last man has passed.
If you’re being overtaken and the group start to drift infront too soon warn them ”Stay left please”
But why? In the diagram below the yellow group has started to go in too early. This will result in the red group getting caught in their draft and their speed will increase making it more difficult for the yellow group to overtake.
At best: You’re stuck side by side forming four rows:
At worse: One of the yellow cyclists will hit the front wheel of the red cyclist with their back wheel resulting in the whole group going down.
Lexikon: Håll ut till vänster tack – Pronounced ”Holl ut till venstuh takk” – Stay left please.
The diagram below shows the correct way to finish the overtaking procedure.
All the yellow cyclists have held their line till the last cyclist has passed.
The last cyclist informs his group that they are now clear of the group they overtook and they can proceed to move back toward the side of the road.
Compare it to a lorry overtaking another lorry. You wouldn’t pull infront just because the drivers cabin has passed, you need to get your trailor passed aswell.
As humans we have this marvelous ability to gather in thousands and not say a word to eachother.
Open up, we’re all in this together. Say hi, compliment, and smile.
Vr 2000. My 11th in Vätternrundans 35th history and now I’m on my way into the new millenium … Little did I know what was to await me there .., sometimes it’s better not knowing.