May 15, 2014
Every Thursday evening Bike Doctor Club Road rides are from the shop 6pm The rides are normally Split into a Fast group and Slow Group. We welcome New riders and experienced alike.
With this in mind we have decided to put together some helpful tips on Group Etiquette
So what is the purpose of a group ride?
That's the main question that rarely gets answered—out loud anyway. Everyone shows up with their idea of what they wish or expect the ride to be. We often try and predefine the multiple groups by pace, type of ride and what happens if you get dropped. Most rides will be lead by a more experienced club member take time to find out who before the ride leaves. Here is some guidance of the type of rides the club run.
Beginner Group - Easy Pace, Ride is aimed at learning to Ride with others in a group environment - No one gets dropped
Intermediate Group - Average pace Riders are encouraged to stay together throughout with a steady tempo.
Fast Group - Aimed at the more experienced Rider. Riding close to other riders at fast tempo. Through and off and Chain-ganging is often part of the ride.Shouts of #shutuplegs and #stinking are often heard
After years of riding many still are looking for the ingredients that makes a perfect group ride if indeed there is one! The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every traffic light or junction. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection and then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PB for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the white line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway or even end up taking a wrong turn!
Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 5 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today). Here is some of what you learned:
To take your pull without a surge
To hold your line especially in a corner
To know when to ride side by side and when to ride single file
To ride through the top of a climb
To stand up smoothly
To point out road furniture and potholes to the rider behind
To warn others of Traffic lights
To brake less when riding at pace in a line
To take your turn at the front
To follow the wheel in front and not overlap your wheels with fellow riders
To stay on the wheel and not let gaps open
Every Club or ride has its own workings but every group ride adheres to some basics that you should know. With these largely unwritten rules in hand, you may find you have less questions on your next group ride. and Please do ask. The more experienced riders are there to help you!
The Ride The first set of skills to master is the basics of Group Riding. Primarily, this is for safety and to demonstrate your competency as a cyclist. Mastering the skills of riding in a group is a long-term, ongoing effort, but the basics of riding a straight line, not overlapping wheels, pulling through smoothly, and not letting gaps open that others have to close are ones to start with. Find out who is the lead rider and listen to his instructions. Hes there to make sure everyone finishes the ride not just you.
Communication One of the things that most helps other riders stay safe on a group ride is pointing out or announcing road hazards such as holes and cracks, road debris, and cars to avoid. “Car up!” “Left turn!” and similar announcements are important to make sure that everyone in the group knows about major changes in direction and key hazards. Especially as the rides get longer and faster, announcing things is important because tired riders tend not to pay as much attention and more accidents happen at these times.
Nearly every group ride starts with a warm up. This can sometimes be pretty quick but is, never the less, seen as a neutral part of the ride. Attacks are frowned upon. The warm up often consists of the group riding a double paceline with two riders sitting on the front for a little before dropping back together. If you don’t know what part of the ride is the warm up, feel free to ask.
Last, remember that group rides are just training. While they can get competitive, it is not the time to be aggressive in taking risks to move up in the group, slide through a gap, take a corner at high speed, or otherwise endanger yourself and others. Keep it safe people!
General etiquette Aside from the dynamics and skills for riding in a group, Be nice to other road users A wave at a motorist who has been patiently waiting to overtake never goes a miss! And remember who your representing when in Club Colors. Be preperared, pump, Spare Tube, Puncture kit, tyre levers food and water should always be carried. Please don't rely on others in the group. and lastly, you don’t get bonus points for attacking during the warm up, on the way through the turns and stops of that small town, by running Junctions, or other means of trickery. Keep the attacks for the open roads.
The most important bit! say “Hi” to the new rider. You want him to come back next week.
Follow these rules and you will become a member of something spectacular. The Peloton.