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Old 06-02-11, 03:21 PM   #1
Vicelord
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Sometimes I *hate* shop rides!

Ugh.

Last night on the shop ride, we hit about 30 miles of technical singletrack. It's a great ride and we do it every Wednesday without incident 9 out of 10 times. Last night though was a mess. Tell me why when 11 riders show up in varying ability levels, why there wouldn't be an A and B group? There were four employees from the shop who race regularly, one of which is a pro, along with 3 medium skilled riders and four beginners. We waited and waited and waited for the slow riders constantly!

Through the ride, we had the following problems:

11 (yes 11) blown tubes. Who still uses tubes?! One guy had four flats himself! more than 50% of the time the people with the flats had no tubes or patch kits, nor did they even know how to remove the wheel from the bike.
1 broken chain - twice. This guy used my chain breaker to fix the chain, as he did not have one.
1 crash (a beginner on a *new* demo ellsworth 29'er)
between waiting, fixing, and kibitzing, we made a 30 mile ride take almost 3.5 hours.

I normally love these shop rides, but if no one is going to step up and make things work smoothly, I want to handle it myself. Usually there are only 4/5 of us on the ride, all of whom are good friends, and the group rides at about the same pace. This ride, there was just too much variation in skill level. Aside from splitting into groups and asking people several times if they have replacement tubes and their own trail tools, what can be done to alleviate headaches like this? Any ideas, as well as a gentle and friendly way to present it to the group would be appreciated.

Last edited by Vicelord; 06-02-11 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:57 PM   #2
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I've been on both sides of this, depending on who shows up for the ride. When I'm the person slowing people down, I generally just tell people to go. Usually one person will stay back with me, and I'll buy them a drink or something afterward. If I'm out the front, I just wait around. As long as it's a rare occurrence, I deal with it. In both cases, I figure out if that's par for the ride or an anomaly, and if that's the normal skill level, I ride by myself or find a different group ride.

30 miles of technical singletrack seems pretty significant. You really had people who didn't know how to change tires showing up for this ride? Also, only one crash in 30 miles of technical singletrack with 11 riders of varying skill levels seems pretty good to me.

I still use tubes. I usually tell people not to wait if I flat. Usually at least some people do out of courtesy, but no big deal if they don't.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:06 PM   #3
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Also, only one crash in 30 miles of technical singletrack with 11 riders of varying skill levels seems pretty good to me.
not when all four beginners were walking their bikes on the techy parts. This is part of the reason we did so much waiting. Also, the guy who crashed did so on a non techy part.

I understand being a beginner as we have all been there once, but c'mon, if you're going to show up for a ride you need to plan for the "what if" stuff. If they aren't planning, the guys who run the shop need to be explaining to these people how to be prepared, which they are not doing!

This is the 3rd time since the 1st of april that a similar story has taken place.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:16 PM   #4
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One guy having 4 flats was either just a crap day for him, or he needs to run higher pressure or learn to take better lines and not slam his wheels into rocks or something. Maybe I'm crazy, but I use tubes and have never gotten a flat on my MTB(granted I'm pretty new to it, but still, 4 flats in one ride?) But yeah, you guys should have just had the faster riders out front and go ahead for a bit. Maybe stop once in a while to let the newbies catch up if you want. And yeah, who doesn't take at Least one spare tube on a 30mi ride? That's almost like not bringing water. Anyway, I can see where that would have been a frustrating ride. Don't be a jerk about it. We were all newbies once. But also make sure that the newbies use common sense and realize they need a spare tube(or two preferably), a patch kit, a took kit(unless they decide in advance that they will use a community kit and figure out which newbie carries what) and I don't see any problem with the faster riders riding ahead for a bit and then taking a rest while the others catch up. That's how I'd go about it anyway.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:20 PM   #5
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The guys who run the shop need to be explaining to these people how to be prepared, which they are not doing!
This is 100%. Sorry to say it, and it should be common knowledge to bring a tube, but you guys aren't doing your jobs if these are newbies that you sold bikes to, got into the shop ride, and didn't let them know the simple aspects of MTBing.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:21 PM   #6
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and I don't see any problem with the faster riders riding ahead for a bit and then taking a rest while the others catch up. That's how I'd go about it anyway.
Neither do I, in theory. In reality, there should have been two separate groups that rendezvous at the post-ride beer spot. The fast group would beat me to the next stopping point by about 30 seconds to a minute, but the last rider was literally 5-7 minutes behind. Far enough that we couldn't even see his headlight in the distance which is over 1/2 mile behind I would say.

And read my second post, I've made it clear I'm not mad at the beginners. I'm frustrated with the organizers of the ride.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:25 PM   #7
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And read my second post, I've made it clear I'm not mad at the beginners. I'm frustrated with the organizers of the ride.
I did. I was still typing when you posted it though. I'm a slow poster.

Like I said, I can really understand why that was a frustrating ride, regardless of why. I think your best hope of preventing it from happening again is to get your own voice in next time and make sure things are more organized Before the ride. It's not your job, but it'll probably make you have a better time at least.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:48 PM   #8
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Not trying to piss in anyone's lemonade - but it is a "shop ride". I have the mind set that when I choose to ride on a group ride (about <20% of the time they are offered) I am willing to deal with all that happens. This is the reason I only attend <20% - because the the other >80% I am riding alone - and I don't have to deal with anyone else's speed or lack of preparedness.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:54 PM   #9
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So, you were never a NEWBIE?
Who thaught you your present skills?
Pass those skill on to the next newbie your ride with . . . or are you too good for that?
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Old 06-02-11, 04:59 PM   #10
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So, you were never a NEWBIE?
Who thaught you your present skills?
Pass those skill on to the next newbie your ride with . . . or are you too good for that?
Did you even read the thread?
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Old 06-02-11, 05:09 PM   #11
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Did you even read the thread?
Probably not.

There is a big difference between not knowing how to use a tool (especially not knowing how to use it well and quickly) and not having it or needed expendables (tubes).

I'm mainly a road rider, I'd expect off road riders to be better prepaired for problems, after all they may be miles from any help.

One little point, it seems the shop is not doing their job, new riders need to be told what tehy need to have, and a shop makes money selling it to them.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:13 PM   #12
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Keith, you're spot on. It seems they are more the idea of lets go ride, and then drink beer while inviting people to tag along. Since it's a shop ride, I'd like to see them teaching people to fix their stuff rather than just fixing it for them. People will never learn when they get a flat and since they don't have a tube or the know how to fix it, you just do it for them.

Between those four guys, who already bought the bikes, there is at least a couple hundred in accessories they could be collectively purchasing. $40 for a good trail tool (x4), $10 for a couple tubes (x4) and $3 for a tire lever (x4) as well as either pumps or co2 (preferred) and maybe some camelbaks. That's at least $212 right there just for the basics! I'm sure the owner of the shop would be proud, and the kids would be happy they have the tools to learn how to fix their problems.

Last edited by Vicelord; 06-02-11 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:31 PM   #13
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^ For sure. You should give the shop owner a heads up on this. Hey, maybe you're in for a new job/raise at the shop!
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Old 06-02-11, 05:35 PM   #14
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Seems like you originally stated having an A and B group for varying levels of skill would solve the problem. Ive been on a couple of larger group rides myself and this is always how they handle it and they usually seem to go off without a hitch. Given that this was a shop organized ride you would expect the LBS guys to lay out some of the givens and guidelines to the newbies.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:40 PM   #15
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I agree that group rides with that much disparity between experience levels, there needs to be some splitting off. The shop I ride for has weekly rides and they are all 'no-drop' rides; BUT - - most of the time the trail networks lend themselves to sending a fast bunch on a longer, more technical trail in such a way that we can bring the newer people along on easier stuff and meet up as a group at a couple intersections through the course of the ride. Maybe where you ride doesn't always lend itself to that but the shop should work a little harder at that kind of choreography so that as many people as possible have a positive experience.

More often than not, I just content myself to riding sweep and save the fast stuff for race day.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:41 PM   #16
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if you're riding sweep, you aren't getting any faster.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:52 PM   #17
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So, you were never a NEWBIE?
Who thaught you your present skills?
Pass those skill on to the next newbie your ride with . . . or are you too good for that?
Proof that post count doesn't mean sh*t.
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Old 06-02-11, 06:08 PM   #18
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if you're riding sweep, you aren't getting any faster.
I get my speed kicks other ways. I just figure there are days to train and days to help out on a shop ride.

We're pretty seasonal here, though, so we get the luxury of early- and late-season group rides being faster-paced because those are mostly made up of the harder-core riders.
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Old 06-02-11, 06:19 PM   #19
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I get my speed kicks other ways. I just figure there are days to train and days to help out on a shop ride.

We're pretty seasonal here, though, so we get the luxury of early- and late-season group rides being faster-paced because those are mostly made up of the harder-core riders.
I can appreciate that. A big part of riding, for me, is seeing incremental improvement with every ride I partake in. Even if it means riding like hell and then stopping to let the guys catch up, I'd rather that then just cruise along at a snails pace... might as well chill on the couch with a cold margarita.
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Old 06-02-11, 07:11 PM   #20
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Ugh.

Last night on the shop ride, we hit about 30 miles of technical singletrack. It's a great ride and we do it every Wednesday without incident 9 out of 10 times. Last night though was a mess. Tell me why when 11 riders show up in varying ability levels, why there wouldn't be an A and B group? There were four employees from the shop who race regularly, one of which is a pro, along with 3 medium skilled riders and four beginners. We waited and waited and waited for the slow riders constantly!

Through the ride, we had the following problems:

11 (yes 11) blown tubes. Who still uses tubes?! One guy had four flats himself! more than 50% of the time the people with the flats had no tubes or patch kits, nor did they even know how to remove the wheel from the bike.
1 broken chain - twice. This guy used my chain breaker to fix the chain, as he did not have one.
1 crash (a beginner on a *new* demo ellsworth 29'er)
between waiting, fixing, and kibitzing, we made a 30 mile ride take almost 3.5 hours.

I normally love these shop rides, but if no one is going to step up and make things work smoothly, I want to handle it myself. Usually there are only 4/5 of us on the ride, all of whom are good friends, and the group rides at about the same pace. This ride, there was just too much variation in skill level. Aside from splitting into groups and asking people several times if they have replacement tubes and their own trail tools, what can be done to alleviate headaches like this? Any ideas, as well as a gentle and friendly way to present it to the group would be appreciated.
I feel ya...but just be glad you have a shop ride. I have to drive at least 50 min to even get to a trail. Local shop is only roadies.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:58 PM   #21
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You only have one shop in Raleigh?
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Old 06-02-11, 11:41 PM   #22
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seems par for the course. i usually don't show up to a group ride anticipating everyone in attendance to be ready to shred. if fact, usually the opposite. it's a fun change to my usual fast-paced solo riding.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:29 AM   #23
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Not sure I buy the 30 miles long part. You had four beginners? And they still completed the ride in 3.5 hours? On technical trail? That's astounding, actually. Most adult beginners whom I know are not in that good of a shape.

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Usually there are only 4/5 of us on the ride, all of whom are good friends, and the group rides at about the same pace.
This sounds like the heart of the matter. Some customers came along this time, and you got "bent".

Shops put on shop rides to server customers, especially beginners who need the support and encouragement from other riders. If you go on a shop ride, I think you just have to take what comes with some grace.

Or, you could just say a word to the shop guys to let them know you're going to leave the group, and then quietly just get on with your ride. Nothing wrong with that, so long as you're tactful about it.
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Old 06-03-11, 06:18 AM   #24
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I feel ya...but just be glad you have a shop ride. I have to drive at least 50 min to even get to a trail. Local shop is only roadies.
Ha...good point. I don't actually live in Raleigh, it's just the nearest big city and where I do most of my riding. I actually live in Goldsboro.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:05 AM   #25
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You should just kill the beginners.Once you get them in the rural area- kill them.
While your at it kill the guy that is holding a gun to your head and making you participate.

Kill the people with tubes in their tires also.
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