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Old 05-31-11, 04:56 PM   #1
borobike
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Going on my first group ride tomorrow!

As the title says, I am and I have a few questions for you guys that have been on one.

The description for the ride is a little vague...wondering what you guys think...

Says the ride is 17 miles long and the time allotted is from 5:30 to 7 pm...but pretty sure that is just allowing for extra time as that would only be a little over 5 mph average...

There seems to be three level assignments for this group, easy, moderate and fast with fast being 22 mph average "race pace" and are for serious riders only, the other grades have no speeds listed. This ride is listed as moderate. I was curious what you think moderate might be?

I also ride upon the evil-bringer of the bike world and that which spells doom for all, a GMC Denali. I wouldn't be considering taking it on a group ride if I didn't have some miles on it and confidence in it so please don't talk about it's quality! I wouldn't be much of a mechanic if I couldn't get it to last 17 miles. But I am curious to know how most group ride members respond to department store bikes in your experiences? I don't want to show up and be snobbed away. But if they welcome a new rider no matter what he's on (and can keep up, but that's up to me not the bike) I'd love to ride with them and start doing group rides more often.
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Old 05-31-11, 05:07 PM   #2
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Moderate could mean just about anything. If they're serious roadies, it'll be fast, like maybe 17-18. Even if it's described as a no-drop ride, there's a chance you'll be left behind. Don't be afraid to call any listed phone number and ask questions. I've been on rides where I felt I was clearly out of my league. I lived to find other rides. Just make sure you know how to get back without the group.

Snobbery is common, but not inescapable. Most people I've ridden with don't care what kind of bike you have. Some people who have thought about putting down another rider or his bike have learned their lesson by having the rider they put down leave them in the dust. Most of us are just glad to have more riders with us.
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Old 05-31-11, 05:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by borobike View Post
As the title says, I am and I have a few questions for you guys that have been on one.

The description for the ride is a little vague...wondering what you guys think...

Says the ride is 17 miles long and the time allotted is from 5:30 to 7 pm...but pretty sure that is just allowing for extra time as that would only be a little over 5 mph average...

There seems to be three level assignments for this group, easy, moderate and fast with fast being 22 mph average "race pace" and are for serious riders only, the other grades have no speeds listed. This ride is listed as moderate. I was curious what you think moderate might be?
My guess would be that the fast group will be 17 to 20+ mph; moderate is probably 14 to 17; easy 10 to 14. Purely a guess, though; every club sets their own guidelines. If you leave with the moderate group and can't keep up, then wait for the easy group to catch up.


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I also ride upon the evil-bringer of the bike world and that which spells doom for all, a GMC Denali. I wouldn't be considering taking it on a group ride if I didn't have some miles on it and confidence in it so please don't talk about it's quality! I wouldn't be much of a mechanic if I couldn't get it to last 17 miles. But I am curious to know how most group ride members respond to department store bikes in your experiences? I don't want to show up and be snobbed away. But if they welcome a new rider no matter what he's on (and can keep up, but that's up to me not the bike) I'd love to ride with them and start doing group rides more often.
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Again, that depends on the group. Personally, I wouldn't care, but I'd expect a little ribbing...the best way to shut them up is to keep up with the group.
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Old 05-31-11, 05:12 PM   #4
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Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking about 'moderate'. Pretty vague description. I usually manage about 14.5 mph average or so on my own now but I don't really have a target or goal in mind (like trying to keep up) so I could possibly average faster. No contact number either, description says "just show up." Guess I will.

Glad to hear about the hopeful lack of snobbery. Wish I had the physical capabilities to back up the leaving them in the dust bit, but I only started back into riding not that long ago. Either way I'll have absolutely no problems humbly backing out without being bothered if I do get left behind. The bike can do it, the engine I'm not so sure about yet. I think I can though.

EDIT: Thanks for your input zoste, looks like I was replying while you were.
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Old 05-31-11, 06:43 PM   #5
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Says the ride is 17 miles long and the time allotted is from 5:30 to 7 pm...but pretty sure that is just allowing for extra time as that would only be a little over 5 mph average...

I also ride upon the evil-bringer of the bike world and that which spells doom for all, a GMC Denali. I wouldn't be considering taking it on a group ride if I didn't have some miles on it and confidence in it so please don't talk about it's quality! I wouldn't be much of a mechanic if I couldn't get it to last 17 miles. But I am curious to know how most group ride members respond to department store bikes in your experiences? I don't want to show up and be snobbed away.
Ummm.... from 5:30 to 7pm is only 90-minutes. 5mph would be from 5:30-8:30pm. So a 90-min pace is calculating to about 13-14mph.

That said, this duration may or may not include any stopping. So the average could be anything. Only way to know is to just go. Call someone prior and get a map or route slip. Go on the "easy" ride. If you get dropped, no biggie, go back & do "easy" again. If you can handle it, go back next time & do the "moderate". This isn't hard stuff.

Also, roadies don't care what you ride as long as
a.) it's kept in good working order and is not dangerous
b.) you don't ride dangerously (i.e.: swerving all over),
c.) it's not a recognized dangerous activity (i.e.: using aerobars on a group ride), and
d.) they're not obligated to wait for you if/when it breaks down, 'cause they probably won't.
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Old 05-31-11, 06:55 PM   #6
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Ummm.... from 5:30 to 7pm is only 90-minutes. 5mph would be from 5:30-8:30pm. So a 90-min pace is calculating to about 13-14mph.

That said, this duration may or may not include any stopping. So the average could be anything. Only way to know is to just go. Call someone prior and get a map or route slip. Go on the "easy" ride. If you get dropped, no biggie, go back & do "easy" again. If you can handle it, go back next time & do the "moderate". This isn't hard stuff.

Also, roadies don't care what you ride as long as
a.) it's kept in good working order and is not dangerous
b.) you don't ride dangerously (i.e.: swerving all over),
c.) it's not a recognized dangerous activity (i.e.: using aerobars on a group ride), and
d.) they're not obligated to wait for you if/when it breaks down, 'cause they probably won't.
Ha, well I always knew math wasn't my strongest subject. Your average speed sounds more likely.

In any event, there isn't another easy ride scheduled for a while. This week there are only moderate and fast rides, so I'm going to try that and see what happens. This is the soonest moderate ride available.
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Old 06-01-11, 05:12 PM   #7
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Well, I made it back from my first group ride. Well, sort of...I had to turn around because I was falling back and I felt bad about holding back the guy who was riding along with me to keep me from getting dropped. Great friendly group of people, and not a one of them said anything about my bike. I'll ride with them again on Saturday and see if I can keep up.
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Old 06-01-11, 06:03 PM   #8
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Good Luck!!
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Old 06-01-11, 06:10 PM   #9
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Your bike club should have some kind of guidelines for speed, I would ask whoever is in charge. In my local bike group our mid week rides are labelled A, B and C. The C group guidelines are 15-16 mph avg, B's are 17-18 and A's 20+. I went on a 32 mile C ride last night and my avg ended up at 17.2 so these guidelines should be viewed as a minimum requirement. There are also bike shops in my area that offer beginner group rides which generally are 11-13 pace and conversational rides that run 12-14. I started riding the conversational rides and they were great for a few of reasons, the pace was doable and they allowed me to meet new people and converse and learn about group riding techniques and etiquette.

The main thing is you are getting out there and doing it!! Find the group that fits you best and enjoy!
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Old 06-01-11, 06:21 PM   #10
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How'd it go?
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Old 06-01-11, 06:41 PM   #11
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How'd it go?
See post no. 7.
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Old 06-01-11, 06:59 PM   #12
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Well, I made it back from my first group ride. Well, sort of...I had to turn around because I was falling back and I felt bad about holding back the guy who was riding along with me to keep me from getting dropped. Great friendly group of people, and not a one of them said anything about my bike. I'll ride with them again on Saturday and see if I can keep up.
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No shame. Has happened to me and (I imagine) a lot of us.

And regarding bike snobbery, I don't generally find that roadies make fun of what bike you ride, as was stated above; especially if it's a nondescript one. In my experience, they tend to make fun of the guys with the $5000 carbon bikes, Festina (or insert your favorite race team here) replica matching outfit, and 10MPH average speeds...
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Old 06-01-11, 09:14 PM   #13
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Thanks for the encouragement guys!

From what I understand, the Saturday ride is more leisurely paced even though it is the same length. One way or another, I am determined to make it the whole way.
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Old 06-02-11, 07:23 PM   #14
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See post no. 7.
Thanks, missed it.
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Old 06-02-11, 09:23 PM   #15
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First thing I did when i decided to ride a bike again, after getting my 1982 Trek out of the garage and tuned up, was rush to go on a group ride i saw listed on the website of a bike store. It was uphill with about 40 riders on a city street. I lasted about 5 minutes and at the first red light i turned to ride back to my car. (I couldnt turn back sooner because i was in the middle of the pack and didnt know how to exit to the right.)
In hindsight it was one of the stupidest things i have done to think i could just start out after not riding for many years and being generally unfit and thinking i could just keep up with these bikers in good shape. On the other hand, it got me started and gives me an incentive to go back. I felt it was a safety hazard riding in this pack on a city street when i was not at all comfortable with the pace or on the bike at all. In fact since then i have switched to a used hybrid bike that is a more comfortable upright ride, although i have gotten better at being able to ride my old road bike too. However i have decided until i have a lot more practice and confidence, and a higher fitness level i am not going to try to do group rides on city streets again. (There is a beginner group ride on a bike path i saw listed locally that i may try first, but first i want to try that bike path on my own once or twice.) So my experience with first group ride was like the person who started this thread-- quickly realized it was over our heads and turned back. I think going on group rides with fit riders as a beginner out of fit overweight rider is a big mistake,and if it is on city streets it could be dangerous.
I am starting to ride on my own, at my own pace, resting when i am tired, and just will try to keep doing that until i happen to feel fit enough to be able to keep up with the group riders.
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Old 06-02-11, 09:39 PM   #16
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Good on ya for taking the plunge mate! You are a better man than me!

I am scared s'less to go on a group ride even though my LBS owner (and all around *GREAT* human being) is bugging me to do so. I am only into it for about 6 weeks and am deathly afraid of getting ribbed over my 15 year old Cannondale mountain bike (Picture a Clydesdale on a HUMVV trying to keep up with a bunch of Quarter Horses on Porsche's! :LOL: ) or having some poor soul having to sacrifice their own ride to hold my hand!

If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to ride with someone who will for sure make you look good I would be happy to oblige! I ride the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo trails on weekends and have a destination/midride stop that serves some of the best hot beef Chinese noodles! And I don't mean Chinese noodles for American people I mean real Chinese noodles! Though they will tone down the spices for you if you ask.

Ditto for you Gary since I am guessing by the screen name you are in LA...
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Old 06-03-11, 09:23 PM   #17
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Good on ya for taking the plunge mate! You are a better man than me!

I am scared s'less to go on a group ride even though my LBS owner (and all around *GREAT* human being) is bugging me to do so. I am only into it for about 6 weeks and am deathly afraid of getting ribbed over my 15 year old Cannondale mountain bike (Picture a Clydesdale on a HUMVV trying to keep up with a bunch of Quarter Horses on Porsche's! :LOL: ) or having some poor soul having to sacrifice their own ride to hold my hand!

If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to ride with someone who will for sure make you look good I would be happy to oblige! I ride the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo trails on weekends and have a destination/midride stop that serves some of the best hot beef Chinese noodles! And I don't mean Chinese noodles for American people I mean real Chinese noodles! Though they will tone down the spices for you if you ask.

Ditto for you Gary since I am guessing by the screen name you are in LA...
I would definitely take you up on that except I live in Alabama lol! That's a pretty long ride/drive. Actually if I was capable of riding all the way out to California I should probably think about competing against Lance himself.

But I'm as ready as I'll ever be for the ride tomorrow. I took an extra long ride (and more than one) on Thursday and took the day off to rest today, but I did take a 1.5 mile test ride to try out my new friction shifters...something else that will help me. I got really tired of accelerating across an intersection and hearing POP before it went into another gear without any input from me. Only did it a couple of times but that's two times too many.

Ready to give it my all tomorrow! I'll post how it goes.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:41 PM   #18
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hi upinsidemyhead, i am in LA. I tried to private message you but this forum doesnt permit that unless you have 50 posts first. So email me at garyinla at aol dot com and we can chat.
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Old 06-03-11, 10:27 PM   #19
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I would definitely take you up on that except I live in Alabama lol! That's a pretty long ride/drive. Actually if I was capable of riding all the way out to California I should probably think about competing against Lance himself.
Cheers mate. Yeah if you could ride that far then I would be thinking about it! Pity though as you are missing out on a great bowl of noodles! Any time you are out this way let me know and I will make sure to hook you up. Good luck tomorrow!
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Old 06-04-11, 12:39 AM   #20
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Went by lbs to get an adjustment on drive train, and the owner and 1 of their veteran riders were in a bad spill, 1 broken collar bone and some pretty serious facial rash and bruises. They said that a rider hit the brakes in front of them for unexplained reason. I have been trying to work my way up to first group ride, this has been a concern of mine, either causing a wreck like this or being involved in one. They were by their description moving at a fast pace when this happened. I think I`ll spend a few more weeks working on riding skills and holding a good line, still have a tendancy to wobble a good bit when taking a drink or just stretching a little.
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Old 06-04-11, 07:12 AM   #21
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Went by lbs to get an adjustment on drive train, and the owner and 1 of their veteran riders were in a bad spill, 1 broken collar bone and some pretty serious facial rash and bruises. They said that a rider hit the brakes in front of them for unexplained reason. I have been trying to work my way up to first group ride, this has been a concern of mine, either causing a wreck like this or being involved in one. They were by their description moving at a fast pace when this happened. I think I`ll spend a few more weeks working on riding skills and holding a good line, still have a tendancy to wobble a good bit when taking a drink or just stretching a little.
Find a group that you can keep up with. There's all kinds of group rides out there.
And just ride as if there's always someone a foot behind you, don't brake suddenly or swerve.

Many of the slower paced group rides don't draft so closely. At fast speeds, it's hard to keep up if you don't draft, but it's not critical at slower speeds. Here's an example:

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Old 06-04-11, 08:34 AM   #22
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Cheers mate. Yeah if you could ride that far then I would be thinking about it! Pity though as you are missing out on a great bowl of noodles! Any time you are out this way let me know and I will make sure to hook you up. Good luck tomorrow!
Thanks, and will do.

scfishr, don't be too concerned. The group ride I went on today was very loose and grouped a lot like the picture above. There were several panic stops/swerves to miss stuff and we all maneuvered around each other just fine.

And I finished! Not only that, but I wasn't last in the pack either. Nor was I first obviously. But it was a 15 mile ride and I hung with the group just fine. I found out Wednesday's rides are a little faster paced than the others...no wonder I couldn't keep up! I'm glad I stuck with it. Turns out Monday, Thursday, and Saturday rides are a little more friendly to newcomers or those who just like to cruise around and average about 15 mph like me.

All in all a great experience, and I will definitely be doing it again.

EDIT: Hey, I got photographed! That's me in the middle taking a swig of Gatorade.



Original site: http://aobike.shutterfly.com/10205#10200

It was odd being the only guy on a Wal-Mart bike, but no one said anything. One guy asked me how it rode and I told him honestly, great once you get rid of the MTB shifters it came with. He said that it doesn't matter how expensive the bike is, only how well you ride it. Everybody's gotta start somewhere.
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Old 06-05-11, 06:34 AM   #23
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Cool, congrats on the successful ride, forgot to mention that I`m finally recovering from going over the handlebars and cracking ribs in 2 places. That mountain bike is now retired, I`m too old and don`t bounce so good these days. Went yesterday to let lbs check riding position and everything checked out good. Thinking about going Monday on 18 mile group ride, average speed to be around 15mph. Ordered some shimano 105 clipless pedals and shoes, I`m already clipped in but these have a better platform.Well getting ready to try and post a new time on my 20 mile loop, will post results, ride hard and have fun.
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