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Group Riding.......No Fun Anymore

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Group Riding.......No Fun Anymore

Old 08-12-18, 07:32 AM
  #1  
slorollin
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Group Riding.......No Fun Anymore

At 63 with the various orthopedic issues that accompany this advanced state I've decided to no longer participate in ANY group rides. Every fall I've taken in the last few years has been caused by a less experienced rider taking me out with the exception of one dog bite. An injury can linger for months and months. From now on, if I'm going down it will be due to my own ineptitude.
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Old 08-12-18, 09:36 AM
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I understand how you feel. I'm careful of other riders on club rides or solo rides on the bike path, of geese, squirrels, feral cats, though chipmunks don't worry me. From my own experience I know it does not take much to but a bike down. Riding in close proximity to other people is all by itself an increase in risk. To my mind, the answer is to allow enough space to provide reaction time.
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Old 08-12-18, 02:47 PM
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Maybe you're riding with the wrong group. My solution has been to form my own group.
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Old 08-12-18, 03:09 PM
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No, no more groups for me. I've become a curmudgeon with little patience and fragile parts that never heal. The aggravation outweighs the reward. So, rather than being annoyed and annoying others with my poor attitude ........

I ride alone
Yeaaaah all by myself
You know when I ride alone
I prefer to be by myself
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Old 08-12-18, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by slorollin View Post
I ride alone
Me too. 2 - my maximum.
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Old 08-12-18, 05:39 PM
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Groups are great but at a certain point I need a break from all the social interaction. Melancholics don't do well in social situations.

After two or three group rides I'm ready for some long solo rides in the middle of nowhere, the further away the better.

A friend said that his bike is a "Two wheeled cloister."


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Old 08-12-18, 06:06 PM
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Riding alone is a valid choice, although another is to not ride in close proximity to inexperienced cyclists.That's the basis of the pacelining rule to never ride in a strange group or let strange riders into your group.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Maybe you're riding with the wrong group. My solution has been to form my own group.
This.

I stopped riding years ago with the local club when some of the rides had 15 or more and it became a fuster cluck of skills and stupidity. Nice people, many good friends and good riders but frequently some unknowns as well.

Biggest group for me know is at most 5 close friends who all share the same speed and skills and after 15+ years together know each other’s moves. Still, I had 2 near misses today with only one other rider as we separately thought we were turning, one going straight, one almost did, etc... nobody went down. All about communication, which is tough in big groups.


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Old 08-12-18, 08:26 PM
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I'm having trouble keeping up with the group these days, this after doing 100 group rides per year for many years. Sucks getting old.

I will say that groups of 50 are too big but 25 of the right riders is a hoot.
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Old 08-12-18, 08:30 PM
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Meh, I've fired whole groups of people mid-ride, telling them off, making it extremely clear exactly why they are dangerous idiots. No biggie. Find another group and move on. In my experience, the most dangerous riders are men and women 30-50, in "B" groups, who think they actually know what they're doing. "C" and below know better and the people in "A" groups and above are mostly totally predictable.
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Old 08-12-18, 08:46 PM
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I ride solo because no one around here rides bikes. Getting away from everything for a few hours and zoning out with an endorphin buzz is a great thing.
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Old 08-12-18, 08:49 PM
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I got a little radio...
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Old 08-12-18, 11:54 PM
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I enjoy energetic group rides but it's hard to find just the right riding partners. The smaller the group, as few as just a couple of people, the easier it is to find compatible folks and ride safely.

The only real problems I've seen in groups are large group events with a mix of inexperienced riders, casual but safe cyclists and faster but reckless riders who dart between slower riders rather than going around the outside.

I can keep up with the local fast club's B-group now, but only with maximum effort. That's dangerous. I prefer to have plenty of margin for reserve so my awareness and reflexes are there to react to anything unexpected. Hard to do when I'm gasping for breath and legs are burning from effort. I hang at the back so I'm not the weak link. But then I'm constantly sprinting to close gaps to a reasonable distance to stay more or less in the draft. Not worth the risk, especially on one of their regular routes that uses a narrow, twisty, heavily traveled part of the MUP. They have a safer but longer weekend route. Hard to keep up for their 50-60 mile distance. If they stuck with the posted 15 mph limit, no problem. I can sustain that on my own or in a group over distance. But it usually pushes to 17-18 mph, just enough to be maximum possible effort for me. It's just not the right group for me.

Most of my cycling friends are casual riders, a much slower and easier pace. That's fine for casual group rides. But occasionally I'd enjoy a little more spirited pace that everyone can stay together with, safely.

I know a couple of great guys who'd be fun to ride with, and they wouldn't complain about my speed, but I know from checking Strava their usual average is 20 mph or so. I don't want to put a crimp on their style. They have jobs, families and limited riding time, and having to loaf along at my 15-16 mph pace probably wouldn't be much fun for them.

I do have a few friends who ride at a pace I like and are safe, experienced riders. But they prefer city routes while I prefer the more lightly trafficked semi-rural routes on my end of town.

One compromise I can make is to change clipless systems. I use old school Look pedals and cleats. Great for uninterrupted high effort rides. But they're not great for stop and go, lots of unclipping and re-clipping in traffic. The exposed cleats and slick soles are like ice skates. I have to be extremely careful and conscious of every move. Everyone I know suggests switching to SPD and mountain bike type shoes that I can walk in or put a foot down with confidence on traffic stops.

That compromise would probably be better for riding with those folks. So it's really up to me to compromise to suit the conditions.
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Old 08-13-18, 12:40 AM
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BTW, I just saw some photos from a large gravel event that would make me hesitate to ride in some groups. In one photo a group of about 10 cyclists were closely spaced behind a lead rider whose arms were draped across the inner center of the top of the drop bar.

Yeah, it's more aero. Yeah, lots of pros do it. Yeah, it's probably okay on pavement with experienced riders who aren't tightly packed in a pace line.

But on gravel, with an ad hoc group of riders who only have being strong and fast in common? Nope.

I already pull well to the side of anyone I see using aero bars in group rides, even on pavement. Unless it's a time trial or solo training ride, I just can't see any sense in using aero bars in a pack. Shouldn't even be used on MUPs which are mostly just narrow sidewalks.

That would be my main pet peeve in any group ride.
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Old 08-13-18, 12:43 AM
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Iíll be in the back just in case
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Old 08-13-18, 02:05 AM
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Not a huge fan of group rides.
The LBS rides have had a few “wrecks and injuries” from riders not paying attention or just lack of “safe” riding experience. The increased level of risk riding within a group of novice riders is just not worth an injury requiring long term recovery and an expensive bike repair. My wife and I ride together, other than that I ride solo or with a select few.



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Old 08-13-18, 07:12 AM
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I'v gotten to the point where I don't really want to do group rides. If "group" means 3 or 4 riders I trust, I'm all in. But, my club's rides can be scary. Usually the club's Saturday B ride is a dozen or more riders of varying skill and awareness. I just don't trust them and would much rather ride alone or with a couple capable riders.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:18 AM
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As I'm out there alone 90% of the time, and the other 10% is with my wife, I sometimes think it might be nice to ride with like... other people every once in awhile.

And then I do, and the bike handling skills of strangers absolutely terrifies me, so I end up riding by myself, about 30 feet behind the group.

So much crossing over. So much half-wheeling. <shudder>
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Old 08-13-18, 07:23 AM
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A little story....last year I was on a typical club B ride with about a dozen other riders. As we were on a flat, in a line at 20+ mph, I was leaving a bit of a gap between me and the rider in front of me. A former local racer and very skilled rider came off my wheel to fill the gap. I stayed on his wheel. After the ride I said to him, "You didn't like that gap?" He said, "Yeah." I explained, "I know that guy and I don't trust that wheel. I'm sure your skill level is higher than mine but I'm just not going to be on that wheel." BTW, the ex-racers in the club have said that my skills are solid. But, as has been stated, one bad move by an inept rider can take a lot of riders out. Just another reason I don't like recreational group riding.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by slorollin View Post

I ride alone
Yeaaaah all by myself
You know when I ride alone
I prefer to be by myself
You beat me to it. Thatís my well worn line.

I dont do group rides. If I do, I make a quick looksie at the bikes to see if Iím riding along. Me? I prefer a small paceline.
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Old 08-13-18, 08:36 AM
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Looks like a bunch of curmudgeons here, but I'm there also. I like group rides, every once in awhile to do something different, but I can do without the sketchiness, stops and regrouping, egos, etc etc. One of the joys of riding, for me, are the few hours of solitude.
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Old 08-13-18, 08:49 AM
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I guess I'm the exception ... I love riding with other people.

But there is a caveat. Most of the group rides I do are in the mountains where you're either going up or down. When we're going up, the speeds are low and crashes infrequent and people space out well. When we are going down, the speeds are high and I keep my distance.

It's the group rides going 18-22 MPH on the flats that are of concern, and I don't do much of that.
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Old 08-13-18, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by slorollin View Post
No, no more groups for me. I've become a curmudgeon with little patience and fragile parts that never heal. The aggravation outweighs the reward. So, rather than being annoyed and annoying others with my poor attitude ........

I ride alone
Yeaaaah all by myself
You know when I ride alone
I prefer to be by myself
Ah, lonesome George. Awesome in concert, if you ever get the chance.
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Old 08-13-18, 08:55 AM
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Last Thursday I had 12:02:56 of pedaling alone time with me, myself and I and tunes from the iPod on my 2018 Roubaix Expert. It's very nice not worrying about wheel overlap or riding too fast/slow being dictated by others. Unlike many here, I still enjoy group rides where being physically challenged does increase the ride experience. Having to go beyond one's self imposed limits still holds some fascination for this 68yo rider. I do enjoy riding a 100 miler in under 5 hours employing drafting since solo riding requires sooo much more time on the saddle. Most likely had I been on my Propel the 201.18 miles would have gone by in far less of a time frame last Thursday, but there is something physically beneficial about riding a heavier bike and keeping one's heart rate down when temps feel like triple digits due to high humidity.

It's easily a "ride what you like and how you like" for maximum enjoyment. We've earned it.
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Old 08-13-18, 11:45 AM
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I understand about being slow to heal. These days bruises seem to stay blue for weeks or longer. Skin gets noticeably thin past a certain age. I'm getting reluctant to shave as there is usually more than one cut. I'm thinking about growing a beard.
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