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  1. #1
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Golden Rules of unsupported group touring.

    Overall, I think our Great Allegheny Passage / C & O tour was very successful but I think it could have been a lot less tension if everyone agreed on some established rules of group touring.


    This thread is intended to discuss the golden rules of unsupported group touring. This thread is NOT intended to debate the pros and cons of group or solo touring. Please debate that in another thread.


    A group will be defined as a number of people any greater than one. Some of the rules may only apply for groups of three or more people. A tour is a ride from one to many days.


    Please add your own rules or make suggestions of changing some of the existing ones. If someone want to "wordsmith" some of the rules feel free.


    These are not hard and fast rules. Merely guidelines. Unforeseen things occur and rules were meant to be broken but if you try to follow some of these rules, I think it will make for a more enjoyable groups tour.

    I will start.

    1. The group organizer is not the group leader. If you are looking for someone to attend to your every need then seek out a paid supported tour.

    2. You are responsible for getting yourself to the next destination, in the event of illness fatigue or injury. While some kind person may act as SAG, please don't expect it.

    3. You are responsible for bringing the proper gear. Don't expect to borrow anything. There are plenty of lists on the internet. If you are still not sure what to bring then ask. Most of these lists have been trimmed pretty closely to save weight. There is a reason for almost every item on the list. Don't assume you won't need the item. If you aren't sure then ask.

    4. You are responsible for your own lodging each night. If you intent is to camp then don't expect to pile into someone's room, that had the foresight to make reservations. You can always make your own reservations in case of foul weather and cancel them and camp if the weather is nice. Don't ask to share a room if you are not prepared to share in the cost.

    5. You are responsible for feeding yourself. Do not ask others to share their food or even make hints for sharing. If you go out to dinner then do not expect others to come looking for you. It is your responsibility to arrange dinner out, with others.

    6. You are expected to pay your own way. This means bringing bank cards, credit cards and plenty of cash. If you get stuck and do need to borrow then every attempt should be made to pay back the lender at the next town, even if it is a dollar or two.

    7. You are responsible for arranging for riding companions. You will be expected to make every effort to be on time for your departure. If you like a big breakfast or are slow mover in the morning then get up early to prepare for the days ride.

    8. If you are a slow rider then do not expect others to wait on you for dinner or post ride activities. If you are a slow rider and would like to participate in post ride activities then get an early start.

    9. If you start riding with a group and want to drop back or go ahead then get the agreement of others in your group. Everyone in the group should do a cell phone check so that you can keep tabs on one another.

    10. For one way tours, it is your responsibility to get yourself back home. If someone makes arrangements for the group, then it is your responsibility to understand the agreement of the arrangements. The day of departure is no time to be making changes to the agreement. It is your responsibility to be at the departure location when the group is leaving. Do not expect others to wait on you.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 06-28-09 at 06:32 PM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    So in other words, basically the unwritten rules of randonneuring summed up as "Come prepared ... you're on your own out there!"

    The only rule randonneurs don't include is #9 ... it doesn't fit with the "You're on your own out there" theme.


    I'm a bit surprised you found it necessary to write all those down.

  3. #3
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    This just drives home the reason I solo tour... I'll ride along with others but we are free to go our own way.

    Above list should be presented before the tour and not after
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  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    This just drives home the reason I solo tour... I'll ride along with others but we are free to go our own way.

    Above list should be presented before the tour and not after
    Good point.

    Also, what's the point of requiring a daily group start if everyone is on their own?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    This just drives home the reason I solo tour... I'll ride along with others but we are free to go our own way.

    Above list should be presented before the tour and not after
    +1. Sounds like somebody picked the wrong tour partners on their last tour.

  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    So in other words, basically the unwritten rules of randonneuring summed up as "Come prepared ... you're on your own out there!"

    The only rule randonneurs don't include is #9 ... it doesn't fit with the "You're on your own out there" theme.


    I'm a bit surprised you found it necessary to write all those down.
    I'm not. :-)

  7. #7
    Hooked on Touring
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    Don't forget "Rule 62".

  8. #8
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    I pretty much think all are good ideas but #9. I kinda see group touring as a solo tour with company, if you wanna go faster or slower fine, but no one is responsible for your own well being but you.

    Thats not saying that if it is getting dark and no one has seen you for hour they shouldn't call your cell, but having to keep tabs on everyone else seems like it be more than necessary unless otherwise previously agreed to.

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post

    1. The group organizer is not the group leader. If you are looking for someone to attend to your every need then seek out a paid supported tour.
    If the "organizer" is not the "group leader", then who is? Why would a person assume the title of "organizer" if he isn't going to lead to some extent?

    And why do you assume the "group leader" must be a person to "attend to your every need?" I've led day riders as "leader" and not had to assume such a responsibility.

  10. #10
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    If the "organizer" is not the "group leader", then who is? Why would a person assume the title of "organizer" if he isn't going to lead to some extent?

    And why do you assume the "group leader" must be a person to "attend to your every need?" I've led day riders as "leader" and not had to assume such a responsibility.

    A 'leader" would make sure everyone had a place to stay, a riding partner, everyone was set to go etc.

    I think that is a bit much to ask of a non paid organizer.

    There is no leader. We are a bunch of people who chose to ride together and possibly get together for post ride activities. This does not mean we all need to get together as a group. Groups will form naturally and myay change several times over the tour.
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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    This just drives home the reason I solo tour... I'll ride along with others but we are free to go our own way.

    Above list should be presented before the tour and not after
    +1

    I like either touring with Rowan ... where we look out for each other, and if issues come up we discuss them and carry on ... or doing very short organized tours ... where I pay a sum which covers certain things clearly outlined in the information brochure, and where I'm on my own for the rest.

  12. #12
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    This just drives home the reason I solo tour... I'll ride along with others but we are free to go our own way.

    Above list should be presented before the tour and not after
    Once again this thread is not to debate the pros and cons of solo vs. group touring.

    Thank you.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  13. #13
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    I appreciate that the OP wants to limit the discussion to rules of group touring. It's frustrating, because I, after years of group touring, have completely and irrevocably switched to solo touring.

    I think a rule should be that, as a default, every single person in a group must be completely self-supporting unless there are bilateral agreements not to be - sharing a stove etc. Then if things go South, there's no one to blame but the individuals involved in these side agreements.

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post

    Also, what's the point of requiring a daily group start if everyone is on their own?
    There is no "group start" unless a situation might arise that might make life easier for all, complicated directions, bad weather, maybe someone with local knowledge that would like to give a tour ets.

    Groups with in the main group will form naturally, if you want to ride with someone then speak up.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  15. #15
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    The rules are not meant to be what has to happen. They are what you should expect to happen. If you refer to the rules then you won't be disappointed when things don't go the way you expected had you not read the rules.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 06-28-09 at 08:06 PM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    A 'leader" would make sure everyone had a place to stay, a riding partner, everyone was set to go etc.

    I think that is a bit much to ask of a non paid organizer.
    You should see how the Elbow Valley Cycle Club organizes their tours ... they do a fantastic job!!

    The money we pay for those tours covers a vehicle which carries all our stuff, a place to camp on the two nights of the tour, and all the food. That's it.

    If the riders want to camp, they have to bring their own camping gear. If they want to stay in a hotel ... they have to arrange that themselves. That is clearly stated in the information.

    The food includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a couple snack stops. If riders want more food than that, they are responsible for bringing it themselves. Again, clearly stated in the brochure.

    There is a mechanic driving up and down the course who will assist if something goes wrong, but riders are responsible for making sure their bicycles are in good working order prior to the event, and riders need to carry their own tools, etc. All that is clearly stated in the brochure.

    Here ... see for yourself: http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/Tours/G...prereginfo.pdf


    They don't, however, make sure everyone has a riding partner (we're not 3 years old!) and they don't make sure everyone is all ready to go ... we go when we're ready (again, we're not 3 years old! ). Personally, I'd find that a little insulting if they did.

  17. #17
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You should see how the Elbow Valley Cycle Club organizes their tours ... they do a fantastic job!!

    The money we pay for those tours covers a vehicle which carries all our stuff, a place to camp on the two nights of the tour, and all the food. That's it.

    If the riders want to camp, they have to bring their own camping gear. If they want to stay in a hotel ... they have to arrange that themselves. That is clearly stated in the information.

    The food includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a couple snack stops. If riders want more food than that, they are responsible for bringing it themselves. Again, clearly stated in the brochure.

    There is a mechanic driving up and down the course who will assist if something goes wrong, but riders are responsible for making sure their bicycles are in good working order prior to the event, and riders need to carry their own tools, etc. All that is clearly stated in the brochure.

    Here ... see for yourself: http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/Tours/G...prereginfo.pdf


    They don't, however, make sure everyone has a riding partner (we're not 3 years old!) and they don't make sure everyone is all ready to go ... we go when we're ready (again, we're not 3 years old! ). Personally, I'd find that a little insulting if they did.
    This is a paid supported tour. Even though it is a club, they must be hiring someone to do all of the the work. If they are not paid then either they are crazy or very, very dedicated to the club.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  18. #18
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    So in other words, basically the unwritten rules of randonneuring summed up as "Come prepared ... you're on your own out there!"

    The only rule randonneurs don't include is #9 ... it doesn't fit with the "You're on your own out there" theme.


    I'm a bit surprised you found it necessary to write all those down.
    I would hate to go to the extent of saying you are on you own. A lot can be gleaned from a group tour, local knowledge, mechanical know how or just plain touring experience.

    I would say that to sum it up, if you act like you are on your own then you won't be disapointed.

    And yes it does need to be written down. In a group you are dealing with people with varying level of experience and it all walks of life.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 06-28-09 at 08:22 PM.
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  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    This is a paid supported tour. Even though it is a club, they must be hiring someone to do all of the the work. If they are not paid then either they are crazy or very, very dedicated to the club.
    There's a whole group of them that put it on ... most are volunteers, although the head organizer (a member of the club) might get paid a little bit. They've been doing it forever now so that it comes together quite simply.

    Basically the head organizer puts in a call to the two places they always camp to make sure they are available. She already knows the food menu, so she rounds up volunteers for the various stops and gives them a list of what to get. She puts in a call to arrange a mechanic. She rents a U-Haul for the bags and gets a couple volunteers for that job. And that's pretty much it ... although it doesn't always go quite that smoothly.

    Most of the volunteers who did it the year before are out again the next year and the next year etc. etc., with a bit of new blood thrown in now and then. And most of the volunteers are club members or associated with the club in some way ... although I think the supper and breakfast volunteers at Radium are a Lions Club or something like that.

    There's no hand-holding of the riders. We're told what is covered by the club (event organizers), and we're on our own after that.



    I did the Logan's Pass Hub & Spoke tour with the same club, and it was equally well organized, although not as structured. We were on our own for breakfast and lunch, but suppers were provided at a certain time. We were given a spot to camp on, but had to provide all our own camping gear. And in the mornings we all got together in a group and discussed riding options, then each chose an option and set off. Most of the time there were at least two people riding together, but sometimes we rode alone too.

    Oh, and we were provided with a brochure for that event as well.

  20. #20
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    Maybe more like expect to be on your own and if you get help be pleasantly surprised. Personally I am kind of the stubbirn type who would rather suffer than ask for help

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Overall, I think our Great Allegheny Passage / C & O tour was very successful but I think it could have been a lot less tension if everyone agreed on some established rules of group touring.


    This thread is intended to discuss the golden rules of unsupported group touring. This thread is NOT intended to debate the pros and cons of group or solo touring. Please debate that in another thread.


    A group will be defined as a number of people any greater than one. Some of the rules may only apply for groups of three or more people. A tour is a ride from one to many days.


    Please add your own rules or make suggestions of changing some of the existing ones. If someone want to "wordsmith" some of the rules feel free.


    These are not hard and fast rules. Merely guidelines. Unforeseen things occur and rules were meant to be broken but if you try to follow some of these rules, I think it will make for a more enjoyable groups tour.

    I will start.

    1. The group organizer is not the group leader. If you are looking for someone to attend to your every need then seek out a paid supported tour.

    2. You are responsible for getting yourself to the next destination, in the event of illness fatigue or injury. While some kind person may act as SAG, please don't expect it.

    3. You are responsible for bringing the proper gear. Don't expect to borrow anything. There are plenty of lists on the internet. If you are still not sure what to bring then ask. Most of these lists have been trimmed pretty closely to save weight. There is a reason for almost every item on the list. Don't assume you won't need the item. If you aren't sure then ask.

    4. You are responsible for your own lodging each night. If you intent is to camp then don't expect to pile into someone's room, that had the foresight to make reservations. You can always make your own reservations in case of foul weather and cancel them and camp if the weather is nice. Don't ask to share a room if you are not prepared to share in the cost.

    5. You are responsible for feeding yourself. Do not ask others to share their food or even make hints for sharing. If you go out to dinner then do not expect others to come looking for you. It is your responsibility to arrange dinner out, with others.

    6. You are expected to pay your own way. This means bringing bank cards, credit cards and plenty of cash. If you get stuck and do need to borrow then every attempt should be made to pay back the lender at the next town, even if it is a dollar or two.

    7. You are responsible for arranging for riding companions. You will be expected to make every effort to be on time for your departure. If you like a big breakfast or are slow mover in the morning then get up early to prepare for the days ride.

    8. If you are a slow rider then do not expect others to wait on you for dinner or post ride activities. If you are a slow rider and would like to participate in post ride activities then get an early start.

    9. If you start riding with a group and want to drop back or go ahead then get the agreement of others in your group. Everyone in the group should do a cell phone check so that you can keep tabs on one another.

    10. For one way tours, it is your responsibility to get yourself back home. If someone makes arrangements for the group, then it is your responsibility to understand the agreement of the arrangements. The day of departure is no time to be making changes to the agreement. It is your responsibility to be at the departure location when the group is leaving. Do not expect others to wait on you.
    I don't see anything in these proposed 'golden' rules on determining who rides and doesn't ride with the group.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    I would hate to go to the extent of saying you are on you own. A lot can be gleaned from a group tour, local knowledge, mechanical know how or just plain touring experience.

    I would say that to sum it up, if you act like you are on your own then you won't be disapointed.

    And yes it does need to be written down. In a group you are dealing with people with varying level of experience and it all walks of life.

    If you, the organizer, are not providing any services (camping spot, food, mechanical services, etc.) or even if you are providing very limited services (map, cue sheet, information on where food might be obtained, etc.) the riders are indeed on their own.

    Sure, they may end up riding together ... or they may end up sitting around the campfire at the end of the day and chatting ... and they may exchange local knowledge, mechanical knowledge, or touring knowledge, but that also may not happen.

    In Randonneuring circles, because randonneuring is not racing, it is considered nice and polite to check to make sure if the rider on the side of the road fixing a flat is all right. It's considered a little bit rude to just ride by without saying anything. But on the other hand, it is expected that the rider on the side of the road fixing the flat will indicate that everything is fine because that rider has all the stuff he/she needs to get going again.

    I'm not sure how your ride was organized, but if you were leaving much of the organizational things (where to sleep, where and when to get food, etc. etc.) up to the riders, you needed to tell them right up front, "You are on your own." Yes, we'll all be riding this route, and we'll all be stopping in this general area on these nights, etc. etc. But beyond that, you are on your own. Don't expect anyone to ride with you, to help you, etc. etc. ..... although they might, that's up to them.


    BTW - producing a brochure is key if you're doing a ride with more than a very small group of people. A brochure tells everyone in writing what to expect.

  23. #23
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    I'm not sure I'd want to tour (or hike or go to lunch or do anything else) with people who needed these rules. I sure hope these rules are not born out of prior bad experiences. If so, you have had some really bad luck choosing touring partners.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    I'm not sure I'd want to tour (or hike or go to lunch or do anything else) with people who needed these rules. I sure hope these rules are not born out of prior bad experiences. If so, you have had some really bad luck choosing touring partners.
    +1

    Sounds like they were born out of the recent Great Allegheny Passage / C & O tour.


    I'm curious to know which rider/riders were the food mooches and expected others to pay for their expenses. Or expected others to ride with them ... or even worse, expected that someone would be assigned to them as a riding buddy!!



    (No, I'm not actually expecting that information to be divulged ... the Great Allegheny Passage / C & O tour crowd can keep their secrets if they want)

  25. #25
    Senior Member gregstandt's Avatar
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    Here's where I think your rules are a good idea.
    Say a few friends are going to do a tour. They've ridden tours together before and do pretty good together. Then on one tour one of the people says "hey, my buddy from school is a biker and he'd like to come with us on our tour to....I've ridden with him and I think he'd do good."
    In a case like this presenting some written rules like this would let that person know 'exactly' what the deal is on the tour and would prevent any misunderstandings, freeloading, etc. on the trip.
    I like it.
    Relax, it's a bike ride.

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