Am I evil? I am Man!!!
My First Group Ride
Okay so I have never ever done a group ride until today. I was invited by a LBS a few weeks ago, and finally took them up on the offer first thing this morning. Well I started out biking the 10 miles to get to the shop. I road around in the parking lot waiting for the ride to start, about 15 minutes. Well when it started the pace was kind of slow, or at least it felt that way to me. Then they decided to pick up the pace a little, and it went from 14 to 18. Well 14 felt like about 10, and 18 felt like 14. After a while I decided on my first group ride to take the lead, and it wasn't too bad. I did have 1 problem as I went away from the group to drop some gear off at my house. well the catching back up to the group was a real pain in the arse. It was like trying to catch a stock car with a hybrid.
All in all it was a blast, but I think I need to calm down a little too next time. When I was boxed in, with 2 riders to my left, and the curb to my right I felt like I had no room for any type of mistake. Also I'm learning the signals.
Congrats. Sounds like you had a little fun.
As you ride more with groups, you learn the other riders and begin trusting their skills. Riders you've never met before? You begin to recognize little signals, body language that allow you to trust them or not. It gets easier.
Originally Posted by Mr Sinister
Of course, the fun part about riding with a group is that you can't slack when you want to slack... odds are you will find yourself riding much faster than you thought you could and that's all good.
Sounds like you had a good time.
Heres my 2 cents (been doing group rides 1 year, dropped some weight.) If i am biking to a group ride meetup i plan to arrive EARLY to REST. I would not want to arrive at the time they plan to ride out since I am already handicapped by biking to the meetup so i want to rest. Also once i get there early the last thing i would want to do is ride around for 10-15 minutes before the group ride starts, because i want to REST. IF it is a place to eat/drink and if it is cold out, I would be indoors waiting and resting and maybe eating and drinking and refilling my water bottle. Also i would not make any detours from the group during the ride. First, because I think it is bad etiquette and second, because if i then had to race to catch up again I would be handicapping myself to keep up with the other riders.
My concern generally, having started 1 year ago from being very out of shape and pretty overweight has been my ability to keep up on group rides so the last thing i would want is something additional to handicap my ability to keep up, because most riders on group rides are fit, slim, experienced and also generally on lighter bikes than i am. When i started out i was so unfit i wasnt comfortable on a road bike so i was usually on a 1990's steel hybrid riding with group riders who were mostly on modern road bikes much lighter. Now, i am usually on 1980's or 1990's steel road bikes and I still am handicapped by weight to some extent because i can still drop another 20-25 before i get to what i think is my ideal weight, and also because the other riders are generally on aluminum/carbon or all carbon bikes and my bike being steel is a few pounds heavier, and also because now i generally take a messenger bag with me (mostly so i can have options with layers of clothing-- either to take off or put on a layer on my top portion of my body) and also a lock and most of the riders do not have this baggage because they want to keep their riding weight down.
I do ride from home to get to group rides but i am careful to pace myself and also to leave a lot of time including time to rest before the group ride takes off.
Am I evil? I am Man!!!
Most of what you say I agree with, and needed to learn, if not all. Next time I will leave earlier by at least 15 - 20 minutes to give me time to get there. I will not bring as much gear with me, so I don't have to worry about dropping it off, and catching up. I do agree that was bad etiquette of me, but again it was my first group ride. I need to learn, and will learn more in time.
Originally Posted by GaryinLA
I don't know what your group is like, but in mine there is a wide variety of skills. By definition, riding in a group means riding close. In the group I ride with, for example, we are often less than 12" apart, going up to 25 mph.
That means you have to develop safe riding skills for yourself, but also be acutely aware of the skills of the riders around you. Invariably, in every group there are one or two individuals who are ones you don't want to be close to -- they don't hold their line, they accelerate or decelerate very suddenly, etc. At the beginning of every ride, try to find out who those riders are, and stay clear of them. Often at the beginning of the ride, you're tempted to concentrate just on yourself and your ability to keep up. But keeping yourself safe is in the end the most important thing to do.
Group riding, including pace lines, are a blast, but they're not worth it if you end up with a broke collarbone because another rider caused you to have an accident, or if you did that to another ride because of your own carelessness.