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  1. #1
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    Why group rides scare me

    Last weekend was the local annual night ride through the city billed as a ride not a race I had never rode it so I went to it. I arrived and was prepping to go and leaned my bike next to a table away from those who where there already. I am sitting there enjoying the music and a local orhcard's peach when this 10-13 yr old girl hooks her pedals into my back wheel almost knocking my bike over - no I'm sorry no nothing. I checked my spokes and feel relieved that everything appears ok. Then this trio of terror was decorating there bikes with glow sticks and the guy keeps backing into my bike just about knocking it over 3 times. Mind you there were plenty of empty tables and abounds of space in the area but they have to come over and whap my bike around I finnally put on my stuff and walk my bike to a different area away from these people.
    The ride was so busy with people they were only releasing 40 or so at a time to ride so it took forever to get moving with people all around me getting on and off their bikes to move 5 feet Not near enough room for all this leg swinging. I finnally got out on the road and there are all kinds of crazy out there. Kids who wobble all over and adults who stop short without warning. I want more people to ride and rides like this encourage people to get out there but jeez I spend way too much time on rides like this on high alert. Ok tell me - am I alone with this and being a jerk or what?

  2. #2
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    I have no experience with this sort of thing, but...

    That you're here shows that you're likely more interested in cycling than 90% of those people. You probably take efforts to be safe and cognizant of the world around you.

    Most people while simply walking down a sidewalk do the exact same things you mention - having no clue there's other people other than them. I'm sure it's the exact same thing on a bicycle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call it a cycling group ride. More a party on wheels.

    We have CycLAvia events here in Los Angeles, much the same, just during the day. I won't go to them. There's also a group ride prior to the LA marathon, and many event rides (fundraisers). There's too many people who show up that don't know how to ride a bike in group settings. They're dangerous & I won't risk my health or my $3,000 bike.

    My sympathies to you.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  4. #4
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    I guess I would call what you're referring to as a group ride more of an organized event. These types of events can be chaotic, simply because of the number of people involved. I've done a few, but I always take care to literally keep my bike in my hands, on my rack or at a designated parking area. When you have a very large event, there will undoubtedly be chaos and sometimes these kinds of things will happen.

  5. #5
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    This is a good reason to have a beater bike that you can take to such events. Keep the $3,000 bike for organized group rides with experienced riders and take your Plan B beater to non-competitive public rides.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  6. #6
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    I'd say your experience is typical of group rides that attract the general public rather than more dedicated cyclists. These can be any kind of ride that is thought of as a "party on wheels" or as a ride that's easy enough that families with kids will participate. That's not to say these are bad rides. You just need to keep a heightened sense of awareness about you and deliberately steer clear of the brain-dead.
    Craig in Indy

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    I prefer to think of a "group ride" as something with other cyclists - ones who can ride a line and take care of their (and thus your) gear... Sounds like you were at an "event" ...

  8. #8
    Senior Member BionicChris's Avatar
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    That's not a group ride, that's organised chaos!

  9. #9
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I go on group rides/rolling parties/whatever you want to call them all the time and never had any problems.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  10. #10
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    In retrospect I should have ridden my old bike but I am still getting used to my new bike and wanted to feel more comfortable with the new one. Party on wheels is good description but I have been on other very large rides that were no problem and these were party atmosphere rides as well. Maybe I am getting older Hey kid GET OFF MY LAWN LOL

  11. #11
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    I have participated in a couple of major cycling events over the past year. Livestrong Philly last August and the Bicycling Open back in June. There are all types of cyclists at these events. I trust no one other then myself with my safety. Some people that ride in these events have no clue how to be safe. I have had people zoom by me within 6 inches at high rates of speed and had I not maintained a straight line they would have hit me. That really pisses me off, at least let me know that you are passing.. Some people just ride with reckless abandon as I have witnessed some major crashes where people were taken out in ambulances. I am also a MTBer and feel confident in my bike handling skills to avoid/go over obstacles in the road. Some clowns can only go in straight lines and panic at the first sign of an obstacle. Yes I have experienced this as I had someone swerve into my path or into me. That is why unless I know you, I will keep my distance. I know some people like to ride in a peleton style group to make things easier, but if you don't know the people in the group, things could get ugly.
    Don't worry, relax, ride and have fun.

  12. #12
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    Everybody wants to draft off me cos I'm a Clyde but nobody wants to go that slow

  13. #13
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    While it should go without saying, there seems to be a need to say it here: Not all group ride are the same.

  14. #14
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guinnessmike View Post
    In retrospect I should have ridden my old bike but I am still getting used to my new bike and wanted to feel more comfortable with the new one. Party on wheels is good description but I have been on other very large rides that were no problem and these were party atmosphere rides as well. Maybe I am getting older Hey kid GET OFF MY LAWN LOL
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  15. #15
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I've been in 100 rider mass start cyclocross races where the course narrows to 4 riders across in the first 200m, and there's less rider-to-rider and bike-to-bike contact.
    Like others have stated, this sounds more like an event with bicycles rather than an organized group ride. Look for a local club that has a no-drop ride, or a paced ride which falls within your speed and riding capabilities, I think you'll find quite a difference and a much more enjoyable experience.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I tend to avoid group rides, too, but I get the idea I'm about the only cyclist who doesn't have a burning need to ride with the other Freds. I prefer solo rides ... mostly because there's better scenery, but also because I get to set the pace, and go as long or as short as I feel like.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  17. #17
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I tend to avoid group rides, too, but I get the idea I'm about the only cyclist who doesn't have a burning need to ride with the other Freds. I prefer solo rides ... mostly because there's better scenery, but also because I get to set the pace, and go as long or as short as I feel like.
    You might want to check out the Seattle Randonneur's page and look at their Permanents routes, just for ideas. You can find rides by distance (100km being the shortest) and you might just find some areas you hadn't considered before.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  18. #18
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I tend to avoid group rides, too, but I get the idea I'm about the only cyclist who doesn't have a burning need to ride with the other Freds. I prefer solo rides ... mostly because there's better scenery, but also because I get to set the pace, and go as long or as short as I feel like.
    That's pretty much my thinking. If I'm with someone else and they are a stronger cyclist then I feel like I'm holding them up; if they are weaker I feel they are holding me up. It's good to be able to go at my own pace, push hard when I choose, back off when I choose, stop and rest or admire the view when I choose and so on.

    That said it is good to have some company. I just wish it was easier to find other riders of comparable strength so I'm not killing myself to keep up or getting bored keeping my speed right down.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  19. #19
    Senior Member jpr1379's Avatar
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    Just goes to show how self absorbed society is with their "everyone else should be carefull of me and my feelings" attitude.
    Stay alert! Stay alive!

  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    That's pretty much my thinking. If I'm with someone else and they are a stronger cyclist then I feel like I'm holding them up; if they are weaker I feel they are holding me up. It's good to be able to go at my own pace, push hard when I choose, back off when I choose, stop and rest or admire the view when I choose and so on.

    That said it is good to have some company. I just wish it was easier to find other riders of comparable strength so I'm not killing myself to keep up or getting bored keeping my speed right down.
    It's good to have company, and it's easier to push yourself (IMO) when you have a strong group you're keeping up with, not just a target HR/time/wattage you're aiming for. I wouldn't have finished my last 400k if it weren't for an awesome ride partner, and my PR 300k time was entirely due to the interaction of the dozen or so riders I was with.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    You might want to check out the Seattle Randonneur's page and look at their Permanents routes, just for ideas. You can find rides by distance (100km being the shortest) and you might just find some areas you hadn't considered before.
    Thanks!! Each of these has a map, and a GPS file I can use for directions. A few of them are in this book I got a month or so ago, "75 Classic Rides in WA" but most are completely new to me. And there are some really good ideas in here. What a great page!

    Thanks, Clifton!
    Don't believe everything you think.

  22. #22
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    It's good to have company, and it's easier to push yourself (IMO) when you have a strong group you're keeping up with, not just a target HR/time/wattage you're aiming for. I wouldn't have finished my last 400k if it weren't for an awesome ride partner, and my PR 300k time was entirely due to the interaction of the dozen or so riders I was with.
    Good point on pushing yourself. I found a 150k with a couple of others easier than 120k on my own. That said I'd still rather be in a small group than a large group.

    I recently did a 200k and by chance ended up riding with a guy who wasn't particularly fast, to the point I was starting to get agitated whether I'd complete the ride in time if I stayed with him. As it happened I needn't have worried, he had done multiple brevets of 1000k and more so was very good at keeping a consistent pace. Had I not been riding with him there's a fair chance I'd have started too fast and burned out before I got to the end.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  23. #23
    Senior Member Pistard's Avatar
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    "at night" that should have been your first warning...I did the NYC 5 boroughs once, key word "one time only..."

  24. #24
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    i just did a similiar group night ride in Belleville IL., and realized that this is not a group peloton/paceline ride, but a giant clusterphu(k. I went with 4 buddies and we had a guy spilt our group going down a hill because he didn't have any brakes. He almost took out all 5 of us about 3 miles into the ride.

  25. #25
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    I don't like group rides because everyone goes faster than me.
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