"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Pack safety
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09-17-01, 01:32 PM
I train sundays with a fast group of racers and occasionally there are a few squirrels that show up--guys and gals who have little or no pack experience (I've found that even folks who are fit or appear that they should know better are riding dangerously). Here's a scenario: there's a pair of wheels ahead of me, side by side. I'm on the left guy, another rider is on my right. Rather than take the wheel of the rider ahead on the right, he decides to ride between the two guys ahead overlapping their wheels by 1/4 or 1/3 of a wheel. There is also a rider to the right of this interloper. Is what he's doing dangerous or am I being too picky? If it's dangerous, what would you say to him or let it go or maybe just reposition myself away from him?
09-17-01, 01:59 PM
Yes, this is especially dangerous. First ? Who organizes the ride? Is there one person that's in charge? If so, ask him to (or do it yourself) pull the rider aside and talk to them privately. Or, have the group leader give some "helpfull" tips before the next group ride.
Many new riders would love to be instructed on how to ride the proper way. Yes, there are some who think they're perfect, but when you're in a pack, you've got to follow the pack rules. If there aren't any, make some!!
We've got a similar ride down here. Lots of beginners and lots of people that ride like beginners. I'd say something, but the ride is sponsored by a LBS, not the one I work for, so I keep my mouth shut to avoid a conflict. No one is in charge and the fast riders hate the pack, so they blow off the front. Everyone else tries to keep up (and can't) and start riding above their ability. There is no paceline and it's just chaos.
There use to be a ride down here which you had to be invited to ride. Before the ride, the leader (or senior riders) would explain to the group what was expected and what the pace and distance would be. New riders we then pulled off to the side and given some hints and shown what to do privately so they wouldn't be embarrased. Usually whoever invited you, became your mentor. Beginners were also told if they couldn't pull through then just grab a wheel off the back and hang on. New riders were given a 5 ride grace period of no pulling through and a 30 day probation. If you couldn't follow the rules, you were asked to not return. There were very few accidents and the learning curve was fast, and the level of riders advanced tremendously.
Ask some of your senior riders to say something to the group or privately to the individual riders. If no one else will, do it yourself. It'll be safer for everyone.
09-17-01, 03:18 PM
This ride is comprised of several local racing teams and faster rec cyclists and has been around since the late 80s. No one is in charge per se but there is one fellow who appears to be the 'alpha' cyclist--kind of polices the pack (60-80 show up for this ride). He is fed up with these idiots and has a 'private' ride that turns off after warm up. That is the ride I follow as I was invited to join it. Lately, many others turn off with us mostly because they can't hang with the main group (we are considered the 'old man' ride). Now, we all drop back to let the unwelcomed, unsafe folks continue ahead on their own. This portion of the ride is very safe, it's the earlier portion where all the folks are together. I will now say something to anyone who is overlapping, etc. I had only been vocal to guys who suddenly shudder when reaching for a bottle or who ride in a shakey fashion.
09-19-01, 10:07 PM
A large, fast paced group should not be a stampede. It's a serious disaster waiting to happen. You aren't being too picky. If you don't feel safe riding in close proxemity to a particular rider, you probably aren't.
I would avoid even starting the ride with them, unless you let them get a good distance ahead quickly.
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