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  1. #1
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    ride report and a few group ride questions

    Well, yesterdays ride was scheduled to be 16.5 miles, easy pace, lots of stops, it didnt happen. I took over hosting the group ride for newbies and for some people who just wants to do a short ride, and it happens every other weekend. Well I show up to the meeting location not really wanting to ride, and there are 10 people there. Only a couple were triathletes on their ride, and the rest were there for my ride. Group was filled with experienced riders, so no easy pace, no stops, and no 16.5 miles. The ride started out, with alot of tension between a couple of riders, and I understand after this ride why. So we get going, and one rider who rode some earlier in the day turned around at around mile 5 in the ride, the rest kept going. Get to the rest spot 15 miles into the ride, refill water bottle, and take a quick break. 2 riders, decide to go back the way we just rode, and the 3 of us, decided to keep going. We were talking about the ways to get back to the meeting spot, and we were discussing mileages on the ways to get back. Well I had plans to meet my sister for lunch, so I need to be back into town by a certain time. Well one of a riders who I never met before, recommended that we take a road I have never rode before and said it was just a couple miles longer but was safer to ride because the state roads do not have shoulders and there is a lot of traffic on them. Well that was a load of bull crap. We ended up riding 16 extra miles, rode on a road that this guy said was dangerous and he wanted to avoid. His motivation on taking those road so he could get in some miles for himself and it was on his way home. If I would have known that I would have broke off and rode back by myself.
    The ride was nice, but I have no respect for people who mis lead people for their own gains.
    I averaged 13.4 mph and there was quite a few hills, they kept going and going and going.
    I think I would have enjoyed the ride more if I knew what I was getting into. I didnt bring anything to eat during the ride, and only had water with me. I learned that I need to start bringing food with me no matter what we have planned to ride, cause it can always change.


    Well since I am through ranting, I have a couple of questions as being the host of a couple group rides. I am the youngest of the riders, most are 50+ years and are veteran riders, and I do not feel as what I am saying has any effects on the group. A couple of problems we have are people stopping in the middle of the road and almost causing wrecks. Another is not letting people know when there are cars coming, not letting people know when they are about to pass you and one thing that gets me is riding right next to me real close. It wasnt real bad when there was only a few of us who rides regularly together. Now we are having 7-10 riders on the weeknight ride and that seems to be where the majority of the problems happens. I would like to have a pre ride meeting and discuss these issues before someone gets hurts during a ride. I do put in my emails, that I am not responsible for any rider than myself, is that enough to really cover me incase someone gets hurts? Should I get a waiver for everyone to sign? I like riding in the group, but it seems to starting to become a hassle with the riders. What have yall done or what would yall do in this situation?
    It is not about the destination. It is about the journey getting there.
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  2. #2
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    Interesting post... I haven't been a ride leader in 20 years... but i'm interesting in the input from other members...

  3. #3
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthayer View Post
    Well since I am through ranting, I have a couple of questions as being the host of a couple group rides. I am the youngest of the riders, most are 50+ years and are veteran riders, and I do not feel as what I am saying has any effects on the group. A couple of problems we have are people stopping in the middle of the road and almost causing wrecks. Another is not letting people know when there are cars coming, not letting people know when they are about to pass you and one thing that gets me is riding right next to me real close. It wasnt real bad when there was only a few of us who rides regularly together. Now we are having 7-10 riders on the weeknight ride and that seems to be where the majority of the problems happens. I would like to have a pre ride meeting and discuss these issues before someone gets hurts during a ride. I do put in my emails, that I am not responsible for any rider than myself, is that enough to really cover me incase someone gets hurts? Should I get a waiver for everyone to sign? I like riding in the group, but it seems to starting to become a hassle with the riders. What have yall done or what would yall do in this situation?
    (Brief paragraphs, please.)

    First: you're the ride host (leader?) and the ride was hijacked? Take note: when on a group ride, no one can force anybody else to ride someplace. You should have stuck to the planned route. Those that wanted to go with you would have. If they went longer and couldn't handle it, that would have been their problem. The moment you went a different route, you gave up any expectations to the scheduled route or leadership (especially since the others have more riding experience).

    Second: waivers. That's certainly a real issue. It's usually covered by clubs on their membership forms. If you have guest riders, casually ride by and let them know the etiquette rules they break.

    Third: if you don't cross the yellow lines, you'll have no problems with oncoming cars. Also, it's a group ride. People ride close and people pass others all the time in groups. They shouldn't have to alert you to things that happen normally. If you can't handle it, stay near the back. (Stopping in the middle of the road is a no-no, though. So you're right on that one.)

    Last: A pre-ride meeting? Except for the stopping in the road part, no.

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  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Whoever is organizing the ride needs to designate a route, distance, and speed and somewhat stick to it. That's so when new people show up for the "non-drop 20 mile leisurely ride", they don't get sucked into the 50 mile hammerfest. There's nothing wrong with either one, just let people know what to expect.

    I'd suggest to take a couple of minutes beforehand to discuss briefly some rules you'd like to follow. But I've not seen a good solution for this. Ultimately, you'll have a bunch of adults who are going to do what they want to do, and you either live with it or don't ride with the group. I've seen this on Critical Mass rides, on rando rides, on bike shop group rides, etc.

    My local ride is organized by a bike shop, and they don't use a waiver. You'd have to talk to a lawyer to get a better opinion. I've seen discussed before that a waiver may protect you from getting sued by the person signing it, but isn't any protection against getting sued by their heirs, etc., so it doesn't automatically protect you from liability. On the other hand, if you're pretty well broke, getting sued isn't usually a big issue. If you're well-heeled enough to be concerned about, time to visit the lawyer.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Whoever is organizing the ride needs to designate a route, distance, and speed and somewhat stick to it. That's so when new people show up for the "non-drop 20 mile leisurely ride", they don't get sucked into the 50 mile hammerfest. There's nothing wrong with either one, just let people know what to expect.
    +1 If you're the leader, stick to your guns. The guys who highjacked your ride really wanted something different than what you described.

    JB
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  6. #6
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    If you are the leader you set the rules. Set the ride route and pace, hand out a cue sheet. I would look into the waiver to avoid the hassle. I have signed waivers for the group ride with a club that I do and with the bike shop ride I do. There is usually a pre ride safety meeting. It is here that you point things out. For instance when stopping call out that you are stopping and pull off to the right. Call out car back/car passing, this starts at the back of the line and should be communicated forward. point out that holes should be audibly called out and pointed to when possible. Passing should be done to the left, slower riders keep right. If you are doing a paceline don't pass, allow riders coming off the front into the line if a car is coming up from behind. a simple 5 minute talk or less gets this all across.

  7. #7
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    I should have been a bit more clear on the rides. There is actually two different rides that I host. No clubs, organizations, just people riding together. The Saturday morning ride, is every other week, thats the ride that got hijacked. The other ride is Wednesday night, I started it and organize it.
    As far as the rides go, I normally have a route planned out and when everyone is at the meeting spot I propose the route. If anyone has a problem, or does not feel comfortable or would like to try something different, we review it as a group and then decide on it. I have no problems with changing the route at all but it needs to be done as a group.
    Some of the people have rode in group rides and some of the riders have not. I do not expect someone to let you know that they are about to pass every time, there are times when the roads are bad that it needs to be done. Some of the riders have not been on any other group rides, and are just not educated enough on group ride etiquette and thats what we really need to discuss.
    It is not about the destination. It is about the journey getting there.
    Competitors work until they get it right, but champions work until they can't get it wrong.

  8. #8
    invisible friend seenoweevil's Avatar
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    Some really good advice here and I'd just reiterate that as the ride leader, if you have posted the route, pace, etc. you should follow that itinerary. On our club rides, we often have 2 groups, even completely different rides leaving from the same location at or near the same time. Bring maps and cue sheets, and go over etiquette and safety concerns before the ride. Many of the maps handed out at our club rides show alternate routes and opportunities for extra mileage.
    If someone rode in an unsafe manner, jeopardizing the safety of others in one of my groups, I would just fall back(well, I'm already at the back, so that would be easy!) and let them go on by themselves or exclude them from future rides.
    Good Luck!
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  9. #9
    Retired dabbler hobkirk's Avatar
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    What you are doing is great - I commend you. It might help if you went on a well-organized club ride to see how they do it.

    I ride a lot of club rides. The group size ranges from 7 to a hundred. There are often two or three different length rides offered, each with it's own cue sheets, often going together up to some split point. The courses often have unique arrows painted on the road surface. Every ride starts with the leader getting releases signed, identifying what distance each rider plans, and then a speech:
    • A description of anything unique or problems with the course
    • "Follow the rules of the road"
    • "Don't ride abreast when there are cars behind you"
    • "Say 'Passing on the left" when you're passing"
    • "Warn other riders about approaching traffic with 'Car back,' 'Car up' "

    Most leaders ride at the front - some will not allow riders to pass them.
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