So you’re going on your first group ride. First of all, high five! That’s amazing. And, whether you’re nervous about it or afraid of doing the wrong thing, you’ve already gotten past the hardest part by deciding to show up.

But since all of us have gone on that first group ride—or a first ride with a new group—and been nervous ourselves, the editors at Bicycling decided to put our mistakes to use and make a list of the things you should steer clear of as you roll up to a group ride for the first time.

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Have the Wrong Bike or Gear
Make sure you have your bike helmet and shoes—the ones that match the pedals on the bike you’re riding—and above all, make sure you know which bike you should ride! A couple of our editors admitted to misreading a group ride email and showing up with mountain bikes for a road ride, and vice versa. One editor also sheepishly admitted forgetting shoes for one ride, and pedals for another, so always check for those before leaving from home if you’re driving to the start location.

Pick the Wrong Ride
If you’re new to cycling, avoid anything described as a Hammerfest or an A Ride. In fact, if you’re new to a group or club, the beginner or no-drop ride is a great place to start, no matter how fast you are. It gives you a chance to gauge the group, meet new people (you can chat when you’re not maxing out your heart rate), and you can get a better sense of what ‘beginner’ means to your fellow riders. A beginner ride, by the way, can be a lot faster than you expect!

Show Up Unprepared
If you're not sure what you’ll need for the ride (we have a pre-ride checklist for you, by the way), it's always a good idea to check that your shifters are working properly, your chain is lubed and not squeaking, your brakes aren’t rubbing, and your tires are pumped. And don’t forget spare tubes, a patch kit, a mini-pump, and a multi-tool. Sure, someone else probably has these, but you don’t want to be ‘that rider’ who borrows tubes the first ride.

preview for Fix a Flat Tire in Two Minutes

Make sure you have more food or water than you think you'll need. Group rides can be unpredictable: A lot of riders can get flats, prolonging your time outside, or the group might decide to add a few more miles to the route. You don’t want to start your relationship with this crew by rolling up to strangers asking for a sip from their bottles.

Make Assumptions
If it’s a no-drop ride, the group will wait for you. But unless the ride specifically states that it’s no-drop, make sure you have a way of finding your way home if you do start to fall behind. Putting the ride route into your cycling GPS, smartphone, or even writing it on a card and taping it to your stem can save the day—and make you look good if the group does get lost.

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Show Up Late
Especially on your first group ride, try to show up a little bit early—but whatever you do, don’t show up late and expect everyone to wait while you change clothes and shoes and pump your tires. And remember: Texting that you’re going to be late is just as bad!

Ride Underdressed
One of Bicycling’s editors recalls a 20-degree ride where one guy showed up with fingerless gloves. Another remembers her first group ride in the dead of winter wearing leggings and a sweatshirt, before someone told her about cycling clothing. You’re better off peeling away some layers if it warms up, but starting a ride feeling cool, not shivering (you'll warm up fast), is a smart move. Not sure what to wear? We have a cold-weather layering guide here. The same rule is applicable in hot weather, too—wear appropriate clothing, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Take Hero Pulls
Whether you have the strength or not, there are very few times when taking all-out 'hero pulls' at the front is a good move, especially with a group you don’t know very well. At best, you look like a show-off and you tire out everyone else. At worst, you blow yourself up, bonk, and need to be pushed back to the start. Either way, it’s not a good reputation to build. Just get out there and have fun getting to know your fellow riders.

         RELATED: Test Yourself: How Well Do You Know Your Group Riding Etiquette?

Half-Wheel or Attack the Group
If the ride is going slower than you expected (or wanted), suck it up. You can always find a faster group to ride with the following week, but that day, don’t be a jerk and start attacking or half-wheeling—pushing the pace so that you're always half a wheel ahead of anyone riding next to you. Think of it as active recovery: Take a deep breath, and make conversation instead of inwardly seething.

Be a Jerk
This is your first ride with this crew, so think about making a great first impression. Don’t be critical of others, or try to offer ‘helpful’ advice, even if you mean well. Instead, listen to what other riders have to say, joke around, be friendly, and be mindful that other riders may have different skill or ability levels—higher or lower—than yours. (Are you one of the 11 most annoying kinds of cyclists to have on a group ride?)

Have Aerobars in Place
Keep those for your solo ride. Just trust us on this one.