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  1. #1
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    Ethics vs real life question - bad form or not?

    For a couple weeks now, I have had a metric century ride planned for next Saturday taking a well-travelled route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It's planned as my "final prep/training" ride for a 900-1,000 mile tour I hope to start the following week.

    It turns out that there is a formally organized ride using the exact same route (minus 5 miles) on the same day. To join their ride requires a $50 entrance fee and $50 in sponsored donations to support their cause.

    The only possible advantage to not changing my ride day to Sunday is that I might possibly get to take advantage of the sweep/SAG support if something goes wrong along the way. Otheriwse, I don't intend to even use their water stations, engage in their pre-/post-ride activities, etc. I hope to just be sharing the road with them.

    Is it bad form/ethically wrong for me to just go ahead with my ride anyway?

  2. #2
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    IF you end up using the sag support, make a donation to the charity. It's a public road anyone can ride on. Be prepared for some clueless riders on large charity rides. Leave early with the "A" group.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

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    Senior Member johnr783's Avatar
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    Use the road anyway. They dont have exclusive right to it.

    Personally I would not use the sag at all. If something goes wrong, try to fix it yourself, thats the excitement and frustration of touring. Think of it as part of your training. If you arent going to have sag support on the tour, try to abstain from sag support on the ride.
    *All that was included in this comment was meant to be read with a light-hearted demeanor. If at any point I offended anyone or presented an idea that is contradictory to what they hold to be true please consider this post to be a joke. For the sake of keeping the post free of unnecessary clutter, please reconsider any "correction" to this comment you may or may not feel compelled to post.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
    IF you end up using the sag support, make a donation to the charity.
    agree with this. don't take advantage of the services/amenities provided by the charity ride unless you are going to make a contribution.

    I might also leave earlier than the start of the ride just to get out ahead of the group.

  5. #5
    Aluminum Convert jbman100's Avatar
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    As long as your not using anything that has to do with the organized ride then go for it. They don't own the roads and you aren't taking anything from them support wise.
    If you would happen to have to use the sweep or sag then I would make a donation to the event. Myself I would not leave a rider stranded whether he/she had paid to be in the event or not.
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    Yeah, I figured I'd just go ahead and ride as planned. Thanks for the responses.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that's a question that only you can answer.

    If the story that you told us is totally correct, that's one thing. If you are BS-ing us, even a little bit, that's something else. You're the only person who knows for sure because you can't BS yourself.

    So why did you ask?

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Can you start your ride an hour before or an hour after their start time so that you are not on the road with the bulk of the cyclists? Can you take a parallel road for any part of the route, even every so often to get you off their route? Can you do your route in the opposite direction?

    If you don't pay it is bad form to use any of their services. But there is also the business of you getting in their way. What if there is an accident between you and one of them? What if you swerve and cause an accident? What are the legalities involved in something like that?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    So why did you ask?
    Obviously I asked just so grouches like yourself would have an opportunity to respond as pith-illy as you did. Wonderful input. Frame it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Can you ...snip ... What are the legalities involved in something like that?
    Let's see. A 4 lane divided highway with a 4-6 foot shoulder is 95% of "my" route - (their 5 additional miles are on and over 2 lane neighborhood roads prior to hitting that very highway) - 50plus miles of highway. The only remotely "parallel" route adds 30 miles to the 60 mile route. I'd planned on leaving from my house towing a single-wheel trailer (or possibly not, depends how I feel that morning) for a training ride. - on THIS route because it has the most accessible and identifiable "bailout"/pickup spots and reasonable distances between stores/public conveniences --- gee, something that they might have considered when choosing their route.

    If I "get in trouble" on the ride, I might not turn down offered assistance - SAG/first aid - just as I might not turn down such things from any stranger. The legalities are the road is public use, not closed course. The entire route, for me, is on THE major non-Interstate highway in the area and car/truck traffic is much more likely to affect/impede them than I am. Any "accidents" between an "event rider" and myself will likely be dealt with just as any accidents between two of "their" riders or one of their riders and anyone else I assume, and there are pedestrians and other local riders on the highway as it passes through towns.

    FWIW, there's a 5 foot shoulder over 90% of the route for me. I'd planned on leaving at the same time they decided was their start time - giving me a 5 mile headstart but I'm sure there will be "rabbits" who pass me fairly early in the day and more (slower) riders will likely pass me as the miles/day wear(s) on.

    But seriously, I'm only interested in the question I first posted - "Is it bad form/ethically wrong for me to just go ahead with my ride anyway?" The issues you, Machka, raise aren't of any concern to me. No insult intended, they just aren't.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 09-18-10 at 09:48 PM.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    If I "get in trouble" on the ride, I might not turn down offered assistance - SAG/first aid - just as I might not turn down such things from any stranger. The legalities are the road is public use, not closed course. The entire route, for me, is on THE major non-Interstate highway in the area and car/truck traffic is much more likely to affect/impede them than I am. Any "accidents" between an "event rider" and myself will likely be dealt with just as any accidents between two of "their" riders or one of their riders and anyone else I assume, and there are pedestrians and other local riders on the highway as it passes through towns.

    The issues you, Machka, raise aren't of any concern to me. No insult intended, they just aren't.
    They should be a concern to you. When you know that there will be a greatly increased number of cyclists on the road you are planning to use, it is a good idea to think of the consequences of that and how those consequences may affect you and the people around you.

    Accidents between event riders causing the event riders to take action against the organisers can be dealt with by the insurance the organisers have to deal with such situation. But that insurance only covers the riders who have signed up for the event and have signed the waiver. If you have not done that, an accident situation with you involved potentially adds an extra hassle for them. These are things you need to think about if you insist on getting in the way of an organised event.

    And it isn't too likely that the SAG support will have anything to do with you, even if you get into trouble. They will be told to watch for riders with the little pink ribbons or whatever the organisation is using to identify their riders. Also many organised events have started using a coupon/ticket system for food stops ... they give their riders a coupon or ticket or whatever which the riders have to present before they will be given food. So chances are you would not be able to mooch food even if it was tempting.

    Yes, it is a public highway, and you are free to use it, but personally ... knowing an event is taking place on that public in advance like you do would make me change my plans. I'd either ride elsewhere as much as possible ... or would plan my ride at a somewhat different time or day. Riding the same route as an event happens ... I've accidentally ended up in the middle of races and other events. When that happens, I usually just try to keep well out of the way of the other riders and not bother them. But if I knew in advance (and that has happened too), I'd make some changes to my plans. I would feel uncomfortable riding with an organised ride when I was not part of the organised ride.

    You are planning to leave so you have a 5 mile head start ... if it were me, I'd probably aim to leave half an hour or an hour earlier to ensure that you've got something more in the neighbourhood of a 20 mile head start. That would give the fast riders time to spread out a bit and you won't suddenly be caught up in a large wave of fast riders yelling at you to get out of the way. Actually, if it were me (because I like to sleep in), I'd plan to leave after I knew the group would be well underway, and then I wouldn't have to worry about getting in anyone's way.

    As for bad form ... be prepared for someone to question your presence on the ride. It may not happen, but someone might wonder why you're doing the ride when you didn't pay and didn't get the ribbon/number/ticket etc.

  12. #12
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    Also many organised events have started using a coupon/ticket system for food stops ... they give their riders a coupon or ticket or whatever which the riders have to present before they will be given food. So chances are you would not be able to mooch food even if it was tempting.
    Obviously you insist on reaing past what I wrote. I already said twice that I do not intend to use their "facilities", food/water stations, etc. except possibly in the case of emergency (a category in which I include SAG/first aid).
    Actually, if it were me (because I like to sleep in), I'd plan to leave after I knew the group would be well underway, and then I wouldn't have to worry about getting in anyone's way.
    Your comments are from a perspective focused on non-interference with the group, something that I assume is based on your massive experience as a participant in such events. That perspective is based on the premise of having things run smoothly for the group/event. My perspective is the opposite - they are interlopers in "my backyard" and are actually more of a hindrance/aggravation to me/locals than I to them. Their problems are their problems whether I ride this route that day or not - I'm certainly not going to change or even consider changing my plans based on something like lessening potential insurance hassles for them.

    While you raise interesting points, they simply are NOT anything that individually directly answers my question though taken together they barely make it onto my radar. Thanks for responding, no need to beat it to death further - we disagree about what is important/valid in response to my question.

  13. #13
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    I do not think it is unethical or bad form. You've already committed to not using "their" facilities. I can't see how one more rider can get in the way. I would do whatever I could, though, to stay away from the crowds unless you like that sort of thing.

    I've actually encountered someone like you on a charity ride. Guy was out doing his "solstice" ride at the same time as the charity event. He was actually one of the better (i.e. safer) riders that I met that day.

    I wonder, if you didn't know about the event and started riding, would you think about quitting just to get out of their way?

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    Your comments are from a perspective focused on non-interference with the group, something that I assume is based on your massive experience as a participant in such events. That perspective is based on the premise of having things run smoothly for the group/event. My perspective is the opposite - they are interlopers in "my backyard" and are actually more of a hindrance/aggravation to me/locals than I to them. Their problems are their problems whether I ride this route that day or not - I'm certainly not going to change or even consider changing my plans based on something like lessening potential insurance hassles for them.
    My perspective is from being a participant in some events ... and also from having an event run in "my backyard" as you say. I have seen it and experienced it from both sides.

    Just recently, for example, there was a large race in the area where I live which took up numerous roads I normally ride, and occurred over several days ... it was a multiple stage event. Rather than interfering with all those riders ... or perhaps having all those riders get in our way ... Rowan and I opted to cycle elsewhere. There is another large event coming up in November, and if the route comes through this immediate area, we will likely go away that weekend.

    I have also been in the situation where I was on the road during an event (a triathlon) minding my own business doing hill repeats, when I was pulled over by race officials and was told that if I was going to remain on that stretch of road, I was to keep out of the way of the racers. So you see ... I've been on both sides of the situation. That time, I didn't know there was a triathlon going on that weekend ... I didn't intentionally go on the same road as the racers. And once I knew what was going on, I politely kept out of their way.

    If you just want an answer about bad form ... there will probably be some riders on the event who think it is bad form for you to be there. They may not say anything ... or they might. Does that answer your question?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    ...I would do whatever I could, though, to stay away from the crowds unless you like that sort of thing...snip...I wonder, if you didn't know about the event and started riding, would you think about quitting just to get out of their way?
    This is very much on point. Thanks. Um, I expect zero crowds as the only place I have seen any notice of this event "advertised" is on the State Biking website. It's in support of EMT's, so I assume that there might be some notices at EMT stations, firehouses, etc. But, there's been no posters, flyers, etc., in any of the LBS's in this area. I'll be surprised if there are more than 200 riders total though I could be wrong here.

    Your other point, stopping and quitting if I came upon a non-race event while on a regular ride, is also very much on point. As I leave on bike from home 99% of the time, stopping means heading home - which equates to having wasted my time, something I am loathe to do. If I stumbled across an event on my planned route AND I was towing my trailer AND I wouldn't be interfering with it (in my mind at least), I'd probably just continue unless law enforcement (not event people) tried to prevent me from doing so.

    Anyway, good points.

    For Machka: Race events are a different animal due to speeds involved. Charity rides also have a "share the road" aspect that races don't, hence my different response and attitude towards interference and/or complying with directions/requests from event staff.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 09-19-10 at 07:59 AM.

  16. #16
    Pat
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    I generally try to avoid riding a route that is being used by an organized ride. There have been times when I have used the same route for part of my ride.

    Also, I never ever use any support on an organized ride unless I pay the fees. I feel that to go out with a multithousand dollar bike and essentially steal the support to save a few bucks is a zero class thing to do.

    By the way, we once had a duel online about an incident just like that between two local groups. A local club of recreational riders has a big annual century. It has a pretty modest fee and great support. Two riders from a prominant local race club rode the ride without paying and freely availed themselves of the food, stops and so on. Then one of them complained to the ride organizer at the ride end. The organizer got suspicous and determined that they had not paid (the complainer had a hand full of food that he was munching down at the time). It was amazing how the local race club members went to outlandish lengths to justify the behavior (which I think was unsupportable). Shoot both of these riders were riding top end racing bikes and fancy clothes. One would think that they could have afforded to pay. Also it wasn't as if the route was not published on line. If they wanted to do the ride, they could have done it the next week with maps and I bet the arrows would still have been on the roads (they use the fast wear off ones now).

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    Obviously I asked just so grouches like yourself would have an opportunity to respond as pith-illy as you did. Wonderful input. Frame it.
    If you'd like I could give you a lot longer and more detailed response but if you don't really care, I won't waste the time.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Go out and ride as you have planned, unless the organizers have a closed road.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  19. #19
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    In case anyone's interested.
    Well, just got back. Left @ 5:45am - in the dark... Made it to Baton Rouge in great shape, filled Camelback at a convenience store, considered if I wanted to stop and decided what the heck. I got back on the bike and rode back. Total distance door to door: 125.3 miles. Avg speed was 13.8 mph. No stops longer than 10 minutes. Am semi-wiped out but feeling great emotionally. I'm going to soak in the hot tub for a while I think.

    Laughed as I passed all the charity riders as they rode by on the other side of the divided highway. Used none of their junk, no rest facilities, water, nothing.

    Oh, for the person who mentioned a "multithousand dollar bike".. mine's a stock $599 Bikes Direct Windsor Tourist.
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  20. #20
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    glad you enjoyed the ride & didnt have any major hangups. That's a long day, I'm sure you'll sleep well tonight.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    Laughed as I passed all the charity riders as they rode by on the other side of the divided highway.
    What was funny?

  22. #22
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    Thanks CNYJ
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

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