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Old 07-30-08, 06:51 AM   #1
cranky old dude
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I tried a group ride

Didn't really like it all that much.

I've stated in other threads that I prefer to ride alone but I've
read of so many group rides here that I thought I'ld give one
a try. It was a small cordial and freindly group who had obviously
logged hundreds if not thousands of miles together. All strangers to me
they welcomed and treated me as one of the group. However, I couldn't shake
the desire to stop and snoop around a little every so often. There were also
a couple of side trips I'ld have taken had I been alone. I had no
problem with the pace, though it was faster than I normally ride,
which is basicly a crawl.

The following day I struck out on my own and as usual I thoroughly
enjoyed myself. I have a work acquaintance that I promised to slow
down on a two person Road Ride this Fall but other than trying that, I believe
I'll stay a solo rider for the forseeable future.

At least I gave it a try and I believe I kept an open mind about it, I
tried to anyway.

As always...Happy Trails
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Old 07-30-08, 07:00 AM   #2
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Enjoy your solo rides. I like group rides as they can teach me different routes that I can go back and ride at a different pace solo if I want to. I guess a mix may be best for me.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:14 AM   #3
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At least you gave it a try before deciding it wasn't for you

I really enjoy group rides. I like the idea of someone being around if I get into trouble - flat, breakdown, questionable people, angry dogs, etc.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:19 AM   #4
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Group rides for me. I ride too slow when alone and therefore do not get the exercise I need. Also, I am trying to imporove my riding. The group rides tend to make me strive to learn better habits etc.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:34 AM   #5
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I rode with a group in Hampton, Va. years ago and I enjoyed it BUT

I have tried riding with people over here (Philippines) and I don't like it.

SO, I am just working to keep my heart rate up now days so I just ride my 10-20 miles at a 66 to 77 cadence and let the speed and sites do as they wish.

No way I can/will ride in all these cars.

In Red Mountain I rode/ride a 28 or 38 mile route by myself and enjoyed nature and the sites. To me it's a wonderful feeling to be free to just feel the wind, hear the sounds and enjoy the birds and other animals you see as you ride.

Yes, I think about what if I go down but, I have my cell phone and I can't live for ever.

Life is wonderful.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:47 AM   #6
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For those of us who do thrive on the social interaction of group riding, it can be difficult to understand that other people just don't get the same thing from it. I believe you did approach it with an open mind and found that it wasn't your cup of tea. I hope you keep that open-minded approach and leave the door open to possibly changing your mind someday. But for now, enjoy your solo rides.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:31 AM   #7
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I like both - I group ride about twice a month, it is a good way for me to push my limits - I pick a group which is challenging, sometimes I ride that last 5 miles alone (not because I was the fastest...). I also ride with two friends quite often on short training rides - always the same course. Then I ride alone, sometimes for training and sometimes just for fun. Moral of the story - group rides can serve a purpose for you - but don't expect the experience to be the same as riding alone.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:00 AM   #8
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I did a group ride yesterday, which I organized.

I say a "group" but there were only 5 of us.

We were all upper 60's or 70's.

Three of us had road bikes and were comfortable with road bike speeds, and riding on the road.

Two had mountain bikes, and were not comfortable on roads, and couldn't maintain the speed. We waited for them a lot.

One (mtn biker) thought he needed to prove himself as a man by not drinking anything at all on our ride (25 miles in hot temps). He did make it OK.

The pluses - I did push myself harder. I enjoyed the company of 3 of the 4 other folks.

I strongly resented the rider who wouldn't drink, even at our strong urging, as it put ALL of us at risk.

So, I will do some group and some solos, as long as the group is small and goes at a speed I can handle.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-30-08 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:02 AM   #9
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I like company. I dislike being endangered by folks who don't know how to ride in a group. And too often groups start to take over rather than share roads. Stopping in traffic lanes to chat etc. So I rarely go.

Normally I like someone to ride with. My usual companion is still not up to snuff, although she's getting on a bike more. Still some nerves from being hurt.

And I'll ride with my friend George from across the mountain. He's old and still a bit slow, but catching up. Good rider, used to race, knows what's what.

Otherwise, many of those folks scare me.

On my own I ride my commuter bike slow and my go-fast bike fast.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:00 PM   #10
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I like both. Actually any excuse to ride is a good excuse. I have been doing about 5 or 6 group rides a month. All have been with the local bike club. Normally the Sunday morning ride with the Wednesday evening ride about twice a month.

The Sunday rides have been very enjoyable. They are broken up into three classifications. Easy, medium and strong. Last week for example, was a flatish 60 mile ride. I started with the medium group but eventually caught and stayed with some of the strong group that fell off the front. One thing I have noticed is no matter what group you start with, we always seem to find the right pace in the conga line.

For me, the group rides have has been good because I tend to push myself more when I'm in a group. Which is good.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:54 PM   #11
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98% of my riding is solo, which I like just fine. I don't dislike group rides, but find the solitude of solo riding a respite from the stresses of daily work. I too like to take side bar adventures when so moved, and it is difficult to do that on a group ride. Never had much interest in following someone's arse from prolonged periods of time either, and you can only pull at the front so long. My wife and family will tell you there are very few people who can push me harder than I push myself. So, that's not much of a reason in terms of fitness. I think you gave group rides a fair shot, and it sounds like your love of cycling is aligned with the spirit of the solo adventurer.
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Old 07-30-08, 01:17 PM   #12
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I have tried group rides and I also tend to prefer solo riding, but maybe for a different reason. I haven’t moved to a road bike yet and most group rides in my area have more road bikes than any other kind. I do plan on going on another group ride but only after putting on a few more base miles and learning the area I live in a bit better. I have discovered several roads that aren’t very bike friendly, no shoulder and too much traffic.
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Old 07-30-08, 02:35 PM   #13
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I was driving this past weekend and passed a small group of riders on a rural country road. This road was absolutely flat and straight, running for about the next 6 miles through corn fields. No trees in sight, no shade, and it was about 87 degrees. I looked at them and thought, "That looks like a terrible ride."

However I suspect it was great for exercise and hitting good performance numbers.

Almost all of my rides are on tree-lined trails, along wetlands or rivers or under bluffs. There's one stretch of the local trail that is straight and through open terrain, it's about 9 miles south of me, and I hate riding on it. I try to zone out and just spin to get through it so I can enjoy my ride again on the other side.

This a bit off of group rides, as I see a lot of groups riding on our local hills and through wooded areas, but many of them do seem to have long stretches of open terrain (featureless terrain) and that's just not attractive to me.

I have toyed with the idea of taking a 10-20 mile group ride at some point, an entry-level or family ride, but haven't done it yet.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:25 PM   #14
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Make my rides solo...I'm not a very social creature, that is I'm not a talker. I go for the exercise and enjoy the time to reflect on the events in my life or just day dream without feeling like I have to be part of someone else's entertainment. I ride at my own pace, return early if I choose or go longer for the same reason. And I go when I want to, which for my schedule works best.


Geez, I sound like an old fart don't I?
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Old 07-30-08, 04:33 PM   #15
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That's one of the really neat things about bicycling. There are so many variations. Nobody likes to do them all. Pick and choose the ones you think are fun.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:41 PM   #16
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I Myself, can sometimes talk Me into not riding. To tired, been a long day, knee hurting, etc.....
But if I am scheduled for a group ride, it is planed, set in stone and I always go.
I find I need the club ride atmosphere a couple times a week to push myself and the rest of the week for less straineous rides and me time.

As George Thouroghood says.....when I ride alone, I prefer to be by myself.
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Old 07-30-08, 05:47 PM   #17
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I ride by myself almost all of the time. I went with a group riding in a pace line a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, but haven't been back. The people were very nice and I did ride harder than by myself, but I found myself wanting to look around but couldn't because we were riding too close to each other. I will still do it occasionally though as it is a different kind of fun. I was supposed to ride with a small group from work tonight but we got rained out.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:42 PM   #18
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Put me in the "likes all kind of riding". I ride with two other guys 2 -3 times a week. We hook up with a larger group (6 - 10) after about an hour. Even on those rides, there is some "alone time", since most of our rides are 40-60 miles. I will also ride solo 1-2 a week. Sometimes I really look forward to some iPod time.
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Old 07-31-08, 12:57 AM   #19
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I like the solo riding mostly -- the freedom to go at my own pace, take side trips (those are the best rides) etc. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have some company though, provided we are perfectly matched in tastes / speed etc.

I had some experience in a van-supported vacation where I mostly rode solo but we got together for meals, that was a nice compromise. I'm toying with planning a group motel tour for some time in the next couple years, and do it the same way -- everyone rides at their pace, and we meet for meals.
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Old 07-31-08, 04:13 AM   #20
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I mostly ride solo but am beginning to ride more group rides. I enjoy the challenge that riding with a group presents. I can't let myself get slack or I'll get dropped. If the group is too large, there'll be lots of speed up/slow down times which will drive me nuts. So I like it best when the group sorts itself out into smaller, similar speed units.
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Old 07-31-08, 06:25 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
I strongly resented the rider who wouldn't drink, even at our strong urging, as it put ALL of us at risk.
This highlights one of the main reasons I try to avoid most group activities of any kind. There's always pressure to conform with the rest of the group, to do what the group wants, and there's resentment (on both sides) if you don't want to go along. I understand why you felt the way you did, and I agree the guy who wouldn't drink anything was being foolish, but I'm not likely to be a part of anything (voluntarily, anyway) where I'm being strongly urged by others to do something I don't want to do, even if (or maybe especially if) it's "for my own good." I also wouldn't want to feel I was putting the rest of the group at risk.

When I was in college a group of students were going on a camping trip in the mountains a couple of states away. The school put one of the older students in charge and allowed him to take a large college-owned van for the trip. I wanted to go, but a bad experience a couple of years previously made me hesitant to go as part of a group. (A church youth group trip had been cut short by the leader unexpectedly and he refused to let any of us stay behind for another day, even after we'd arranged other transportation and gotten permission from our parents by phone.) So I and another student who felt the same way I did decided to take my car and go on our own. Some of the other students resented our decision because it meant there would be two fewer people to share travel expenses in the van. (Of course, it cost even more for myself and the other guy because there were only two of us to share all the expenses, but it was worth it to us to have more freedom on the trip.)

After we'd been camping on the side of a valley for a day or so, I decided to climb the ridge overlooking the valley and hike along the top of it. It would be a four or five hour trip, so I told a couple of people what I was doing so no one woulfd miss me and send out a search party. Sure enough, the "leader" heard about it and told me I couldn't go because it was "too dangerous." I told him this sort of thing was exactly why I had chosen to travel on my own and not be part of the group. He tried to claim that because I was camping with them it made me part of the group, so I said, "That's easy to fix" and promptly moved all my gear to a new campsite on the other side of the valley. So I went on my hike (without incident) and pretty much did as I pleased for the rest of the trip, and the guy who traveled with me did as he pleased, and we both enjoyed the trip more than if we had to stay with the group all the time.

I've never done a group ride, but probably will try one at some point. Right now, I don't have the endurance for it. (I can ride for miles on level ground, but even a small hill leaves me breathless and gasping at the top for several minutes, and there are a lot of big hills around my area.) Once I'm in good enough shape to be able to keep up with the others I'll probably want to see what it's like to ride in a group. But as a teen I loved riding solo for hours and hours at a time, and I expect that always will be my favorite sort of riding.
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Old 07-31-08, 06:50 AM   #22
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I ride solo 90% of the time. Ride with the wife 10% of the time, we have different paces and it is just best to do our own ride. Mostly I don't join all of the group rides near here because:
1. I want to start my ride whenever I get ready, not on someone else's schedule
2. Whenever I ride with the local groups, it ends up in a flat out race
3. The time spent drafting doesn't really count for conditioning does it
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Old 07-31-08, 07:25 AM   #23
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I ride solo 90% of the time. Ride with the wife 10% of the time, we have different paces and it is just best to do our own ride. Mostly I don't join all of the group rides near here because:
1. I want to start my ride whenever I get ready, not on someone else's schedule
2. Whenever I ride with the local groups, it ends up in a flat out race
3. The time spent drafting doesn't really count for conditioning does it
"The man who travels alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." -- Henry David Thoreau

I memorized that in high school, more than 35 years ago, and it's always stuck with me. It's one of my favorite Thoreau quotations, along with:

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
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Old 07-31-08, 07:48 AM   #24
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I ride alone lots of times. I ride in small groups sometimes. I ride in large organized rides sometimes. On those large rides I may ride in a paceline or I may ride along at my own pace.

I enjoy all of these options. There is no need to label yourself as a certain kind of rider. Just enjoy riding.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:16 AM   #25
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I ride alone lots of times. I ride in small groups sometimes. I ride in large organized rides sometimes. On those large rides I may ride in a paceline or I may ride along at my own pace.

I enjoy all of these options. There is no need to label yourself as a certain kind of rider. Just enjoy riding.
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