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.