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  1. #1
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Solo vs. Group rides

    Several years ago (about 5-6 actually) I got back into cycling after an 8 yr. absence. Although I had ridden with friends in the past, it was usually three or four of us and sort of impromptu. Then I discovered a club near me with people I knew and liked. The club was relatively new and starting to build a base of riders. So, my gf and I rode with the club on Saturday mornings for a couple years. We were doing the B ride which meant about 40-50 mi. at 15-16 mph. Over the years the group morphed into variations of the B ride as in B-, B, B+, etc. This is a really good group. No one gets dropped and everyone is willing to help another rider anytime/anywhere. Good people. But.....the rides started to get longer and Saturdays became a day dedicated to riding. By mid-season rides are 60-70 mi. and it becomes an endurance ride IMO. With an 1/2 hr. drive to the meetup site, 5 hrs. riding and 1/2 hr.drive home it was 6 hrs. out of the day. Then there was the 1 hr. stop midway on the ride for donuts or ice cream or whatever. I hate getting back on the bike after a long stop so it kind of sucks for me. We began to phase out of club rides. Last year we rode twice. I still get my 100 mi. a week but now it's mostly solo with a ride a week with my gf. Just wondering if anyone else has had that happen.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lubers's Avatar
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    Happen here too, we had a great group of riders maybe 17 - 20 riders but it slowly started to change as new riders came in, we are an older group with average age around 60 some as old as 74. Slowing new people started joining our group.(younger and faster) We first started out riding thirty miles and having a social at someone house with everyone bringing something to pass. Then it increased to a forty mile ride which is no problem for most but some struggled. We also had a no drop rule until one day riding along the lake front the pace picked up and one rider was dropped. I dropped back and rode with him the last twenty miles and the group was no where in sight. We got back to the start and everyone was already eating and having a good time. I was pissed and and so was the older rider, haven't ridden with the group since. I now ride mostly by myself or with my wife on the weekends.
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  3. #3
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    The group I ride with splits before the ride. We break into groups, some as small as two, based on the speed and distance. I can usually find a group that suits what I want for the evening. The two extremes are 10-12 mph about 15 miles and about 18 mph for 50 miles. Then there's different groups in between
    Last edited by steve0257; 03-05-11 at 07:46 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Spiduhman's Avatar
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    -universal-



    In Chico there is well established practice series, which I miss greatly. The weekend group Corsa group rides split off into groups; the Velo rides regroup, and the leaders talk to everyone.

    Here in SLO there are many established group rides, no practice series. Typically I roll out when the weather, conditions, and my own schedule suit.

    I will join the groups from time to time, heh. What seems universal, show up on time, address all present, wishing "Good Morning/Afternoon," which is ...ignored. Someone who is also on the "out" may speak to me. Some folk's disdain is downright comical. From there, you may discover how the ride is run as it happens.

    The Tuesday night heats up at several points, which, if you are new, you'll find out where and when that happens. The several people dropped that I picked up did speak to me, but not when the rest were around - so weird.

    The Sunday morning Foothill is too slow, but o.k. for an post exhaustion recovery ride.

    In short, one has to keep showing up to become recognized as a human being and figure out what it's about, the routes, "rules," etc.

    There are rides out of Los Osos that are super friendly, the Poly Wheelmen have a very personable leader (some of the riders are sketchy, watch your front wheel!!).

    With others, I like to be challenged and have social fun/interaction.

    Keep looking!
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  5. #5
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Just reading about all this effort to find a satisfactory "group" to ride with leaves me exhausted without even bicycling! I prefer to put my effort into bicycling and doing the things I enjoy while bicycling, not what someone else dictates.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I hope I didn't give the impression that the club members are dolts because they absolutely aren't. It's just that I want to go out and do a 40-50 mi. ride at 15-16 mph with no stops. Unless of course someone has to stop. Right now I can find a 40 mi. group but it's at 12-13 mph or a 15 mph group but it's for 60 mi. This is all mid-season stuff. So, I've taken to a 35 mi. ride on Sat. with my gf at 15 mph and a couple 25-35 mi. rides during the week at whatever pace I'm into. And, one day a week I do my 15 mi. TT as hard as I can just to stress myself. The TT is actually my favorite ride. Just something about the "Race of (my) Truth" that I love.

  7. #7
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I also ride with groups and have mixed results. If the group is slower than me, I feel like I'm wasting my time. I would probably improve my fitness more efficiently by riding alone at a faster pace. If the group is faster than me, it's great training, but the struggle to stay with a group of twenty-somethings who are going 20 to 28 mph. It can be a little too much.

    I'm also concerned about the safety. If one rider falls, half the group can go with him.

    I enjoy riding with one other rider. No paceline needed. Two riders together are safer than riding alone. Company is nice, too.

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-05-11 at 11:23 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post

    I'm also concerned about the safety. If one rider falls, half the group can go with him.

    I enjoy riding with one other rider. No paceline needed. Two riders together are safer than riding alone. Company is nice, too.

    Michael
    My clubs B ride is pretty mellow but the fear of being in the middle of domino's falling on the A ride has kept me from even venturing into that group. I will probably just come up with a plan for a distance and a speed that I like for a Saturday ride and see if anyone else wants in.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    I am a solo rider. Ride when and where and how fast I want to go, no problem.
    I have ridden with my brother a few times and enjoyed those rides a lot.
    Maybe two/three other times have I ridden with someone else and they were okay but I just like riding solo.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I also ride with groups and have mixed results. If the group is slower than me, I feel like I'm wasting my time. I would probably improve my fitness more efficiently by riding alone at a faster pace. If the group is faster than me, it's great training, but the struggle to stay with a group of twenty-somethings who are going 20 to 28 mph. It can be a little to much.

    I'm also concerned about the safety. If one rider falls, half the group can go with him.

    I enjoy riding with one other rider. No paceline needed. Two riders together are safer than riding alone. Company is nice, too.

    Michael
    This has always been my experience as well.
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    With the exceptions of the Jan 1 Chilly Challenge (which I won't do if it's too nasty out), a group of manic MTB'ers who go urban every Thursday, and the Ride of Silence, my group rides are with my kids, 13 & 8. They love the quality time, we stay together, they learn the joys of the bike, I can teach them to handle riding as a lifestyle (I'm car-free), and there's no pretentious asses for me to have to deal with.

  12. #12
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    I prefer group rides because I like the group I ride with. I also like the safety in numbers aspect of it. Assistance or at least company when you break down makes the ride a bit less stressful. And a breakdown can be as simple as a flat. I don’t mind stopping during a 50 mile ride for coffee and conversation because most of the people I ride with have become my friends as much as anything else.

    I also find that I learn more from a group of people than I might on my own or at least I discover things faster. I guess I am just a pack animal and because of it I am more social. I have met many solo riders that are strictly solo riders. They are memorable to be only because of the brief interaction we may have shared after a long climb or a chance encounter on a long ride. Someone you meet in a group ride might be a person you call when the sky clears on a rainy weekend for a quick ride of cup of coffee and pie in the little café on the outskirts of town. With the right group it almost seems like being part of a tribe or a micro-society. It can have some of the same drawbacks as expressed by some of the solo riders in this thread. But it is also a chance to share in the sport/lifestyle so many of us say we love. Doesn’t mean I can’t ride solo if I feel like it just that there isn’t the same motivation.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Blanchje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kr32 View Post
    I am a solo rider. Ride when and where and how fast I want to go, no problem.
    I have ridden with my brother a few times and enjoyed those rides a lot.
    Maybe two/three other times have I ridden with someone else and they were okay but I just like riding solo.
    That's pretty much me as well. I like the peacefulness of being alone on my rides.

  14. #14
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    I've been riding solo for years. On the rare occasions I've ridden with a group, it's been with the Charles River Wheelmen. Pretty relaxed group, riding at a very leisurely pace. No one gets dropped, that is not the point of these rides.

    Riding solo, I ride where I like, taking whatever route I choose. I take as many ins and outs as I like, or move as directly as I like. I've never been one for talking a lot.

    There was a small group of riders that got together on Wednesday evenings, on the small green next to the Newton Police station. Mostly some guys from my LBS, with some other local riders tossed in.

    The routine was decide where to go, ride there at a pleasant pace, observe the world for a bit, and ride home. Mostly fixie riders with some other "outside the mainstream" types involved. This group disbanded though, for a variety of reasons.

    I may do a "Ride of silence" this year. Thinking about it, at least.
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  15. #15
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Robert Foster
    I also like the safety in numbers aspect of it.
    Some have remarked that they feel unsafe in a pace line or with large groups. Somehow, I don't feel "unsafe" at all when bicycling alone. I did have to call the wife the time I got goathead after goathead, and ran out of energy to change and fix tubes, and ran out of tubes to fix. But, I didn't feel unsafe, even then. Do you ride in an unsafe neighborhood, or what is unsafe in your area that you would not want to ride alone?

    Thanks
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  16. #16
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Just reading about all this effort to find a satisfactory "group" to ride with leaves me exhausted without even bicycling! I prefer to put my effort into bicycling and doing the things I enjoy while bicycling, not what someone else dictates.
    As many bike groups as exist in our area, its easy to find like minded cyclists.. By getting in a couple of solo rides per week, I find the camaraderie of like minded cyclists gives me incentive to go further.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Some have remarked that they feel unsafe in a pace line or with large groups. Somehow, I don't feel "unsafe" at all when bicycling alone. I did have to call the wife the time I got goathead after goathead, and ran out of energy to change and fix tubes, and ran out of tubes to fix. But, I didn't feel unsafe, even then. Do you ride in an unsafe neighborhood, or what is unsafe in your area that you would not want to ride alone?

    Thanks
    I live in a pretty safe area with relatively safe streets and drivers. Even so it seems when out exploring fairly obscure roads that happen to be great for cycling you also discover the car load of teen age students rushing home with energy drinks they must not have cared for because they just happen to toss them out about the time they pass a solo rider. Now I am sure the energy drink wasn’t intentionally aimed at a passing cyclist any more than they accidently hit mail boxes they drive by. Nor do I believe the pickup truck that just happens to need to dispose of the empty beer bottle realized they were tossing it at a solo cyclist but both things have happened to me in the last three years and both times it was when I was alone.

    But I tend to like people more than most solo riders seem to. Like I said I am a social person and I like the people I ride with. I never get a chance to meet or talk to many solo riders and I have to assume they like it that way.
    I do have to wonder about people that don’t do group rides because they get dropped so they ride solo. Isn’t riding solo like being dropped all the time? In a group ride I have been dropped before. People tend to come back and look for me if I get too far behind though. But even if I get dropped I know where the others are going and worst case scenario I get there after they have been given their coffee.

  18. #18
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I mostly ride by myself and get tired of that, so I enjoy riding with a group when I can.

    In general, it's just a problem to find a group going the same speed, the right distance, etc., that you want to go, and sometimes compromises have to be made if you want to do it.

    To the original poster: If that six hours out of a Saturday is too much, why not go do that ride every other week instead of every week, and that kind of averages it out?
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  19. #19
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Thank you. Your answer went far beyond the safety issue. I'm sorry folks throw things that tend to land where you are. That is certainly dangerous.

    As far as the rest about being "dropped," "social," and the like. I am a social person, and greatly enjoy meeting and talking with folks I meet - other bicyclists, pedestrians, folks at rest stops, etc. I do a lot of "utility riding" - not a "ride" in your sense, but a definite way to use the bicycle for needed transportation. I meet folks on these utility rides, also.

    As far as being "dropped" - the term is foreign to me. Dropped from what? Am I always in some sort of race, trying to prove myself or whatever? Gosh, I hope not!! I go as fast as I want and as slow as I want. I am never "dropped" because I am always where I want to be.

    Anyway thanks for the response.

    Bicycling safely and with safety - me!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I live in a pretty safe area with relatively safe streets and drivers. Even so it seems when out exploring fairly obscure roads that happen to be great for cycling you also discover the car load of teen age students rushing home with energy drinks they must not have cared for because they just happen to toss them out about the time they pass a solo rider. Now I am sure the energy drink wasn’t intentionally aimed at a passing cyclist any more than they accidently hit mail boxes they drive by. Nor do I believe the pickup truck that just happens to need to dispose of the empty beer bottle realized they were tossing it at a solo cyclist but both things have happened to me in the last three years and both times it was when I was alone.

    But I tend to like people more than most solo riders seem to. Like I said I am a social person and I like the people I ride with. I never get a chance to meet or talk to many solo riders and I have to assume they like it that way.
    I do have to wonder about people that don’t do group rides because they get dropped so they ride solo. Isn’t riding solo like being dropped all the time? In a group ride I have been dropped before. People tend to come back and look for me if I get too far behind though. But even if I get dropped I know where the others are going and worst case scenario I get there after they have been given their coffee.
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  20. #20
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    Several years ago (about 5-6 actually) I got back into cycling after an 8 yr. absence. Although I had ridden with friends in the past, it was usually three or four of us and sort of impromptu. Then I discovered a club near me with people I knew and liked. The club was relatively new and starting to build a base of riders. So, my gf and I rode with the club on Saturday mornings for a couple years. We were doing the B ride which meant about 40-50 mi. at 15-16 mph. Over the years the group morphed into variations of the B ride as in B-, B, B+, etc. This is a really good group. No one gets dropped and everyone is willing to help another rider anytime/anywhere. Good people. But.....the rides started to get longer and Saturdays became a day dedicated to riding. By mid-season rides are 60-70 mi. and it becomes an endurance ride IMO. With an 1/2 hr. drive to the meetup site, 5 hrs. riding and 1/2 hr.drive home it was 6 hrs. out of the day. Then there was the 1 hr. stop midway on the ride for donuts or ice cream or whatever. I hate getting back on the bike after a long stop so it kind of sucks for me. We began to phase out of club rides. Last year we rode twice. I still get my 100 mi. a week but now it's mostly solo with a ride a week with my gf. Just wondering if anyone else has had that happen.

    I like your avatar!!

    Group rides have to accomdate ALL. With that said, all can't be satisfied. Same with group motorcycle rides..you got egos going, different everything. Most of the time a group ride will be good with a SELECT group. That way, everybody is on the same time, much more preferable that the average group ride with different skill levels, different goals, and different mindsets...
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  21. #21
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    Today I did a charity ride with a group of about 20/25. I haven't done group riding. It was a great social time with good food and new friends. There was a leader and a sweeper. I couldn't pass the leader without seeming rude, so I rode my brakes and didn't pedal down this awesome long hill. If I didn't ride the brakes the bike started to shoot by everyone. I just wanted to rip down it for fun! Going uphill I again had to ride slowly. It was hard for me to do that. I wanted to just get up the darned things already. I am not that fast. It is the bike making it so easy for me to ride it. It was also difficult to keep my eye on all the different riders at the different levels so I didn't run into anyone. I am a beginner with clips, so didn't want to fall because someone got in my way.

    I might enjoy a group ride with others on road bikes, but this was a mixed group. It was nice to be in a largish group because we could get out in the street to turn corners as a pack. I felt safe. It was fun talking about bikes for several hours (these people enjoyed those conversations). I learned some great tips about areas around us to ride.

    I would mostly like to ride with just one or two people, more freedom to do what I want. I like riding with my husband. He is about the same speed as I am. I also have limited time (I have other hobbies, responsibilities and work).
    Last edited by outwest5; 03-05-11 at 10:54 PM.

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    I used to live in an area with lots of cyclists and great open roads. Since it was over twenty miles to the nearest hill, most people tended to form up in groups whether their ride started solo or not. It was great fun to go out for a little spin and have it turn into a sixty mile hammer fest with a group of familiar riders. Crashes were unheard of, in large part because of the skill level of the cyclists and their generous mentoring of those who needed a bit of help and partly because the roads just didn't have many surprises.

    Now I live in an area with lots of small hills and really crummy roads. I much prefer riding solo here for a several reasons. First of all, there are just too many roadway defects to make pack riding safe here. Also, I want to climb at my pace, not someone else's. Mostly I prefer to ride solo because the cyclists in this area just don't seem to have much in the way of bike handling skills, from what I have seen. I've gone this long without kissing the asphalt and I'd like to keep it that way. I miss the social aspects and will ride along with others for brief stretches from time to time, but I have just become too risk-averse to make a habit of it. I know it is my loss and maybe I'll get over it eventually.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Because of the way I'm built (think NFL Running Back) I sometimes find that although I can ride a route as fast as a guy with a climber's build our "styles" keep us from riding together. You can imagine I'm sure......flats I can ride away, downhills I fly down and on the hills the climber gets it all back. So, we end up "yo-yo-ing" the entire ride if we ride our fastest.

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    Last edited by bruce19; 03-06-11 at 07:50 AM.

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    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I prefer group rides because I like the group I ride with. I also like the safety in numbers aspect of it. Assistance or at least company when you break down makes the ride a bit less stressful. And a breakdown can be as simple as a flat. I don’t mind stopping during a 50 mile ride for coffee and conversation because most of the people I ride with have become my friends as much as anything else.

    I also find that I learn more from a group of people than I might on my own or at least I discover things faster. I guess I am just a pack animal and because of it I am more social. I have met many solo riders that are strictly solo riders. They are memorable to be only because of the brief interaction we may have shared after a long climb or a chance encounter on a long ride. Someone you meet in a group ride might be a person you call when the sky clears on a rainy weekend for a quick ride of cup of coffee and pie in the little café on the outskirts of town. With the right group it almost seems like being part of a tribe or a micro-society. It can have some of the same drawbacks as expressed by some of the solo riders in this thread. But it is also a chance to share in the sport/lifestyle so many of us say we love. Doesn’t mean I can’t ride solo if I feel like it just that there isn’t the same motivation.
    This. I can ride solo whenever I want, but I enjoy groups and riding in the right group, of the right size (say 3-7 people) is generally a lot safer than riding alone. The group has a bigger visual profile for motorists than a single rider and with other cyclists around, the rare idiot is far less likely to intentionally get too close with their vehicle.

  25. #25
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    Specialized SL2 Roubaix Comp
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    I'm of two minds when it comes to going on group rides again. It's been over 35 years or more since I've done a group ride and because of my work schedule I tend to ride solo. I've been asked about going on group rides on the weekend with a local club and I've been thinking about it.

    I'm also thinking about organizing local neighbour hood group rides during the week. There are an amazing number of 40-60 yr. olds in my neigbourhood that have bikes that have been sitting there because of the good old "I should get out there" syndrome... Here we are living with a really nice 780km waterfront trail right at our doorsteps with an interconnected park system and hardly anybody gets out there !
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
    Km this year: 172 km

    2011 Specialized SL2 Roubaix Comp
    2007 Trek 7100

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