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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 02-09-05, 12:09 PM   #1
soda
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2-11-05 EDIT:
This first post has been edited to summarize the entire thread up to post #79. Rules added after post #79 are not listed. Please note that the entire thread is worth a read and I have therefore referenced post #s to indicate where that rule was given. If you have questions about a certain rule, you should go to that post for more thoughts. Posts without numbers were in my original list. Ive added comments from posts below to my original list where appropriate to give you a bit more thinking. Im also posting this list at the end of the thread (post #80). I hope this is useful.

1: When you're second in line to take a pull, look down at your speed and KEEP that speed when the guy in fronts pulls off. DO NOT blast away like a rocket when you get to the front. Keep the same speed and/or increase your speed slowly if that is your goal. When at the front and taking on a hill, you're suppose to continue the 'effort' not the speed you were doing. (post #33)

2: When in front, point out objects as far ahead as possible and move your train over slowly. Imagine that you're a semi and not only do you have to worry about your cab hitting the hole, but also the rear of your rig. Give the train behind you enough time to move over seamlessly. Always be vocal about big hazards, pointing does not always help. (post #44) If the road is extremly bad (full of potholes, etc) break the line. A paceline works when you are not snaking through mounds of potholes and crap. Restart the line when it is safe. I would rather lose a little time and not cause a crash when a riders falls after hitting a pothole at 30 MPH. (post #44) If the leader points at an obsticle, you should point it out too. The guys at the back cannot see all the way up front in a large group. (post #6)

3: Do NOT cross/overlap wheels with the guy in front of you. Oh, relating to rule #3. If you do overlap the wheel in front of you don't blame them when they crash you. (post #29)

4: Always make sure that your water bottle is FIRMLY in it's cage (if that's where you keep it) before you let go.

5: Carry enough gear so that you don't have to ask for help when you have problems. Carry anything that may be specialized to your specific bike (like long stem tubes, etc) and know how to fix them. (post #44) When someone flats or has mechanical trouble stop and offer assistance. It really sucks when you lose a group because of mechanical trouble. (post #44)

6: Wait for guys when they get dropped. Especially the new riders.

7: When you see a deer cross the road in front of you, look for the SECOND deer. Do not sit up and turn to your buddies to talk about the first deer. Same with dogs.

8: If you know where the dogs are at and if they're gonna give chase, let the new guys know and advise them on the best strategy to deal with the dogs. Each situation is different. Strong guys move to the back for dogs, act like crippled animals that can be cut out of the herd and eaten, sprint away to get a stern chase, let him get close, and hammer Fido in the face at short range with pepper spray. post #19)

9: When passing a buddy on a downhill, give him room and keep SILENT when passing. Don't startle him into a wreck. I prefer to warn people that I am passing early. That way there is still lots of maneuvering room left to do something about it if they swerve. This is especially important on a tandem. (post #19)

10: Stay on the correct side of the yellow line especially around blind corners. We don't carry dead people home.

11: When taking a pull and coming up to an intersection with a red light, indicate that you're stopping for it far enough in advance so that your train can also slow down. If you're close to the light when it turns red it's probably best to run the light instead of having a pile up of bikes behind you. The best way to indicate is to shout out "SLOWING", "STOPPING", and in the case of running thru a red light, "ROLL!" (post #9) If you run a light or go through a green and the others get stopped slow down and wait. This is a good way to keep the group from splitting. (post #44)

12: If you don't know a particular downhill, DO NOT fly down it blindly at top speed. Just sit at the back of the group so that you don't wreck. You can do it next time. Never pass on a sharp downhill turn. (post #78)

13: Get to the ride ON TIME. The rest of us have lives too and if we say we're going to roll at 5:30, show up BEFORE 5:30 to get ready. If you show up late, it pisses the group off even though we won't say it to your face. If you're going to be late, call one of us and discuss the options. Most likely we're willing to wait unless this is a bad habit of yours. My ride announcements say "The WHEELS ROLLING start time is....." It's almost always possible to park a few miles down the road and intercept the pack if the first few turns are known, which is also usually part of the ride announcement. NOW they show up on time. Amazingly, it is possible to modify human behavior. Most of the time, anyway. Turns out the reason Columbus discovered the New World is because there were only men on his ships and no one would stop and ask for directions to India..... (post #19)

14: When riding at night you can only ride with us if you have a decent light. If your light is a maglight ducktaped to your handlebars, you can't ride with us even if you are my best friend.

15: If you have a helmet light, DO NOT look at the other person that you're talking too. It will blind them.

16: Remember that the goal of the ride is to finish the ride. Keep your middle fingers and insults directed at cars in check. We don't want to stop the entire group ride so that you and Joe Sixpack can yell at each other. Ignore irrelevancies. If a car goes by and yells "Get off the ******* road," do not slow down, do not yell, do not throw anything. Just keep moving and watch your buddies. If you all crash in a heap, it will only encourage the ******* to yell at other bicyclists. (post #13)

17: When climbing a hill, yell "UP" a few seconds before standing up. This lets anyone behind you know that there will be a slight decrease in your speed as you stand. Note there is some discussion about this rule. We say "Standing," which might be a little more to the point than "Up," which might be a directive to get to the top of the hill faster. (post #19) If you are going to slow down or stop (like on a hill climb) let everyone know early. Crashes happen when you drop speed quickly. Let faster riders have the right away on hills. (post #44) When starting a climb, leave a little extra space to the wheel in front. If that guy stands up, his bike will seem to shoot back at few inches. (post #6)

18: When last in the train, yell "car back" if there is a car coming up from behind. It's best to yell "semi back" if it's going to be a semi. I like to know.

19: Don't pull until you are wasted, don't get dropped after taking a long pull. (post #78)

20: Newbies are not required to participate in a paceline and may stay at the back. (post #4)

21: If you are struggling, don't expect the people behind you to stay behind you. Let the people behind pass to close the gap. One group I occasionally ride with has one older gentleman who has a tendency to struggle. He also doesn't like people to pass him - probably a pride thing. This guy is always creating a gap. When you do pass him and fill the gap, he always passes you (and several others) up at the next stop light. (post #4) On the flip side... if you are a slower rider moving to a faster group (I am talking to myself and others here) that may drop you let them know that if you get dropped that you are still coming and you will meet them at a regrouping point. (post #44) Do not try and ride with a group that is so far over your head that you can not hang at all. I do not mean do not ride with people that are better than you. Always ask before joining a new group what their pace is etc. (post #44)

22: If you get a flat in the middle of a pack, call out "Flat!". Raise your hand, if it is safe to do so, so other riders can spot you and not run over you. (post #6)

23: Always assume that there is a rider behind you, and on your left, and on your right, until you can prove otherwise. (post #6)

24: Don't eat a lot of foods that cause gastrointestinal distress while riding and definitely don't fart when in a pace line. The resulting cloud of methane can drastically reduce the aerobic abilities of those behind you and cause them to drop off the front of the pack. (post #16)

25: Shower and put on clean Shorts before the ride. (post #17) and Make sure you wear shorts and jersey that fit. Too much moon for those behind you usually is a bad thing!! (post #20)

26: Eat and drink only at the back, and *never* while pulling. (post #52) Drop to the back when blowing your nose. (post #78)

27: Do not allow a gap to form. If you can fill a gap safely, please do. (post #24)

28: Railroad tracks are dangerous on group rides. I never ride a paceline over them, crash waiting to happen. (post #44)

29: When you're pulling the paceline, look over your shoulder for cars before you swing out of line. That kind of accident is embarrassing and screws up the pace (hard on the body also). This happens more than you might think. (post #26)

30: Know the route if you are going to ride ahead. The worst thing is to miss a turn and have everyone wonder what happened to you. (post #44) If you aren't the ride leader, don't sprint ahead of the ride leader. (post #51)

31: Let the ride leader or others know if you are going to end the ride early or going to take another route. (post #44)

32: If you aren't the ride leader (that is, the one who took the initiative to put the route together, notify riders, etc) you have no right to make changes to the route to suit your own ride needs. (post #47) I agree that you should not change the route of suit your own needs, that is wrong. You always have the option of breaking off and riding alone... (post #49)

33: Keep the group together on busy roads. (post #47)

34: Never forget that you're on a public highway. The fact that you're sprinting to a City Limit sign or a King of the Mountain point does not supercede local laws. (post #47) NEVER assume the car/vehicle/driver sees you or is aware of you. ALWAYS try and make eye-contact with them when possible and NEVER think you have the right of way even if you do. They usually think they do. (post #76) Never assume that cars will give you the right of way in a paceline. Make eye contact and then go. Handsignals like pointing forward work well. (post #44)

35: If you do sprint ahead because everybody else is just not up to your speed standards that day, at least know the darned route so the ride leader doesn't have to yell at you when you are two blocks up and have missed a turn. (post #51)

36: If you do miss the turn and are too far ahead to hear the ride leader yell, don't meet up later and complain that the ride leader SHOULD have routed it YOUR way. (post #51)

37: When dropping off, we drop off to the left and will often signal that we're done with our pull by either lifting our right elbow up or point with the fingers of our right hand. This let's the person next in line know that you're done and not simply moving over to the left to avoid an object. (post #68 and #75)

38: Have fun and encourage the new riders.

Last edited by soda; 02-11-05 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:13 PM   #2
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Good post.....somebody needed to do that. Thank you.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:17 PM   #3
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Reenforces my conviction that solo is better.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:20 PM   #4
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18. Newbies are not required to participate in a paceline and may stay at the back.

19. If you are struggling, don't expect the people behind you to stay behind you. Let the people behind pass to close the gap. One group I occasionally ride with has one older gentleman who has a tendency to struggle. He also doesn't like people to pass him - probably a pride thing. This guy is always creating a gap. When you do pass him and fill the gap, he always passes you (and several others) up at the next stop light.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydney
Reenforces my conviction that solo is better.
Great contribution to a thread about group riding, Sydney. Way to go.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:22 PM   #6
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I think that is a very good list. Here are one or two more.

It the leader points at an obsticle, you should point it out too. The guys at the back cannot see all the way up front in a large group.

When starting a climb, leave a little extra space to the wheel in front. If that guy stands up, his bike will seem to shoot back at few inches.

If you get a flat in the middle of a pack, call out "Flat!". Raise your hand, if it is safe to do so, so other riders can spot you and not run over you.

Always assume that there is a rider behind you, and on your left, and on your right, until you can prove otherwise.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:25 PM   #7
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Sorry guys, I added a few while you were writing and then I edited it again so that the numbering would be correct. Thanks to Avalanche325 for reinforcing the climbing uphill thing. I forgot that in my first post and then added it while he was writing.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydney
Reenforces my conviction that solo is better.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
11: When taking a pull and coming up to an intersection with a red light, indicate that you're stopping for it far enough in advance so that your train can also slow down. If you're close to the light when it turns red it's probably best to run the light instead of having a pile up of bikes behind you.
Great thread.
The best way to indicate is to shout out "SLOWING", "STOPPING", and in the case of running thru a red light, "ROLL!"
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Old 02-09-05, 12:45 PM   #10
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I gotta disagree with #17. Instead of yelling "UP!", then launching your bike backwards at the guy behind you as you stand up, rise up slowly and smoothly. If you pedal as you are standing, the bike will stay underneath you and won't be a hazard to the guy following. Also, upshift one cog just before standing to keep the speed up. The correct and courteous technique of standing on the bike is one that I see very few cyclists actually doing.

Otherwise, you are spot on with everything else. Great post!
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Old 02-09-05, 12:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stretch
Great contribution to a thread about group riding, Sydney. Way to go.
OK, I'll play and even add one. Don't be a d!ck.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:49 PM   #12
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18. Pretend you are tiring and start bagging pulls.
19. When the ride gets about 10 miles from home, start taking pulls again.
20. Time your pulls so you can come to the front on the climbs.
21. Set a hard-assed pace and try to shed some deadwood.
22. Pull off and see if the next guy can pull through, if he is half shelled, you are doing good. If not, try to jack it up on the flats next pull.
23. On the last hill of the ride, really put the screws to them....hopefully, you have ditched most of the ride and will be down to 3-4 guys. Ride a hard but not balls-to-wall pace at the bottom of the hill. About 3/4's up the hill, increase the pace...see who is hanging..
24. by now you should be alone or maybe with 1-2 other riders.
25. If you are alone, put your head down and don't let up.
26. If you have company, keep attacking them all the way in.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:54 PM   #13
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Another nomination:

Ignore irrelevancies. If a car goes by and yells "Get off the ******* road," do not slow down, do not yell, do not throw anything. Just keep moving and watch your buddies. If you all crash in a heap, it will only encourage the ******* to yell at other bicyclists.
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Old 02-09-05, 12:55 PM   #14
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when you've done what galen says about the last climb, don't forget "the look"



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Old 02-09-05, 12:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otoman
I gotta disagree with #17.
My take on hills is that you're pretty much on your own. Most riders tend to naturally spread out amongst one another and do their own thing, whether standing, sitting, hammering, or whatever...
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Old 02-09-05, 01:04 PM   #16
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Don't eat a lot of foods that cause gastrointestinal distress while riding and definitely don't fart when in a pace line. The resulting cloud of methane can drastically reduce the aerobic abilities of those behind you and cause them to drop off the front of the pack.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Don't eat a lot of foods that cause gastrointestinal distress while riding and definitely don't fart when in a pace line. The resulting cloud of methane can drastically reduce the aerobic abilities of those behind you and cause them to drop off the front of the pack.
Along that same line: Shower and put on clean Shorts before the ride.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:10 PM   #18
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when you are cornering sharply and in the front, be sure to accelerate and pull the first few people along with you . . . then have fun watching as the the riders farther back have to work progressively harder to keep up.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:11 PM   #19
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Ummm....

"3. Do not cross wheels....." better if it says overlap, but then what about tight rotating echelons in a crosswind? This one seems to be group-skill-variable. If the group has the skill to do rotating echelons, then they are going to overlap.

"8." Strong guys move to the back for dogs, act like crippled animals that can be cut out of the herd and eaten, sprint away to get a stern chase, let him get close, and hammer Fido in the face at short range with pepper spray.

"9." I prefer to warn people that I am passing early. That way there is still lots of maneuvering room left to do something about it if they swerve. This is especially important on a tandem.

"11." Never run a red light. We say "Red light," and "Brakes," and we stop. Didn't you see the yellow?

"13." My ride announcements say "The WHEELS ROLLING start time is....." It's almost always possible to park a few miles down the road and intercept the pack if the first few turns are known, which is also usually part of the ride announcement. NOW they show up on time. Amazingly, it is possible to modify human behavior. Most of the time, anyway. Turns out the reason Columbus discovered the New World is because there were only men on his ships and no one would stop and ask for directions to India.....

"17." We say "Standing," which might be a little more to the point than "Up," which might be a directive to get to the top of the hill faster.

Mirrors.

"....probably a pride thing. This guy is always creating a gap. When you do pass him and fill the gap, he always passes you (and several others) up at the next stop light."

Hazardous riding by all but the strongest riders is generally rewarded by a stiff pace with a tight paceline up the next hill that will drop the safety hazard, followed by an even stiffer pace at the top. He won't be catching up at the next stop. If you don't have pack-riding skills, stay out of the pack. If somebody screws up repeatedly but there seems to be hope that he can be rehabilitated, somebody who wasn't directly involved can mention the problem afterwards. You might have someone point out to that guy that bumping himself up in line at stoplights requires more passing at the next hill, and that the additional passes are an additional hazard for no good reason, particularly in a semi-competitive environment on a narrow road. If there are slower riders you want to keep and he won't get with the program, you pop him off the mailing list and move the start location for next week.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydney
Along that same line: Shower and put on clean Shorts before the ride.
And along THAT same line -- make sure you wear shorts and jersey that fit. Too much moon for those behind you usually is a bad thing!!
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Old 02-09-05, 01:28 PM   #21
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I agree with all but #9.
Quote:
9: When passing a buddy on a downhill, give him room and keep SILENT when passing. Don't startle him into a wreck.
Personally I would rather know that someone is coming around me so that I don't swing wide and take both him and me out. Same if I am the one passing. I would prefer the other rider to know that I am there. If the rider is riding in a group they really shouldn't be startled when someone yells "on your left".

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDS
"....probably a pride thing. This guy is always creating a gap. When you do pass him and fill the gap, he always passes you (and several others) up at the next stop light."

Hazardous riding by all but the strongest riders is generally rewarded by a stiff pace with a tight paceline up the next hill that will drop the safety hazard, followed by an even stiffer pace at the top. He won't be catching up at the next stop. If you don't have pack-riding skills, stay out of the pack. If somebody screws up repeatedly but there seems to be hope that he can be rehabilitated, somebody who wasn't directly involved can mention the problem afterwards. You might have someone point out to that guy that bumping himself up in line at stoplights requires more passing at the next hill, and that the additional passes are an additional hazard for no good reason, particularly in a semi-competitive environment on a narrow road. If there are slower riders you want to keep and he won't get with the program, you pop him off the mailing list and move the start location for next week.
It will be interesting to see what people say in this thread about dropping other riders.

The guy deserves to get dropped (and he has a few times) but most of the time he is tolerated by the group leader (the owner of the bike shop who sponsors the ride). Out of respect for a very good thread, I am not going to go into detail.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:39 PM   #23
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10: Stay on the right side of the yellow line especially around blind corners. We don't carry dead people home.
Unless of course, you live in a country where that will put you into oncoming traffic :-)
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Old 02-09-05, 01:42 PM   #24
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Do not allow a gap to form. If you can fill a gap safely, please do.
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Old 02-09-05, 01:59 PM   #25
MacMan
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Chicagoland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree Trunk
It will be interesting to see what people say in this thread about dropping other riders.

The guy deserves to get dropped (and he has a few times) but most of the time he is tolerated by the group leader (the owner of the bike shop who sponsors the ride). Out of respect for a very good thread, I am not going to go into detail.
Doesn't ride a yellow Klein by any chance?
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