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Group riding. Good or Bad idea?

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Group riding. Good or Bad idea?

Old 11-08-13, 09:08 AM
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Group riding. Good or Bad idea?

The reason i ask this question is i was taken out by a rider i never rode with before,i was hurt he was not.Now i am having second thoughts about this type of riding after seeing several injuries this summer from group riding.We were not in a pace line or racing at the time of my accident. thanks
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Old 11-08-13, 09:17 AM
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I like group riding for the company of other riders and the ride leaders
usually know the best routes. To minimize accidents; increase following
distance, have newer riders upfront, single file.

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Old 11-08-13, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by freedomrider1
Now i am having second thoughts about this type of riding
I ride solo in part because I don't trust other people's bike handling skills or judgment.
Back when I rode with a cycling club my teammates could be relied on to be predictable and solid, I didn't ride with anyone else.

Testosterone poisoning and a lack of bike handling skills and experience are endemic on the group rides I've been invited to, Pass.

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Old 11-08-13, 09:43 AM
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It all depends on the group. It is important to do your homework on the group and to find a group whose goals and expectations are similar to yours. I find it the most enjoyable to ride with others who cause me to push myself but don't make me feel out of place.

Group rides do increase the chances of collisions with other riders but selecting a riding group of competent and safety minded individuals reduces that risk. Groups of big egos and show-offs increases the risk. Riding with newbies (we all were one at one time) is also risky but you can mitigate that risk by keeping their newbie status in mind and adjusting your riding style accordingly. Your ride leader sets the tone for the entire ride, so make sure you have a leader that you trust.
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Old 11-08-13, 09:55 AM
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That depends on you! It's not a good or bad idea. Some people are self motivated and or are introverted, or simply don't have the same schedule as others so riding alone is good; while others need the motivation of a group to keep going and want the interaction of others.

I use to be self motivated but for some reason as I've gotten older (60 now) I've been having more problems motivating myself, so next year I plan on joining club.
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Old 11-08-13, 09:58 AM
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Group rides are incredible fun, social, and a major contribution to cycling joy. I've been riding with the same group for 16 years, so about 800 rides, plus maybe another 100 rides with other groups. Never been injured on a group ride, though I have been injured when riding solo: "Didn't see you."

Total injuries to others on these group rides: three that I can recall, plus one death when a car plowed into the paceline. As is my experience, injuries to these same riders when riding solo are more frequent. We just had a guy hit while riding solo on one of our usual roads when a car, who knew he was there, just swerved into him out of stupidity. Wouldn't have happened if he'd been with the group.

All that said, it's very helpful to ride with people who know what they're doing, and to know how to ride with a group. No, never put the folks who don't ride well at the front. They go at the back, where they can't hurt anyone. The usual thing is that the lower the standard of the ride, i.e. the slower, the worse the riders. Duh. So ride with people who are faster than you if at all possible. You'll be at the back, where you can learn something, and the other riders will know what they're doing. If you get dropped, well that's normal. I've been dropped probably 100 times. So what? Getting dropped strengthens the character.

If you keep riding with the same folks, you'll make some friends and learn a whole new way to have fun on the bike. Plus you'll get in much better shape. You'll also be more inclined to get your butt out of bed when the weather is crappy. Don't want to miss riding with your buds!
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Old 11-08-13, 10:01 AM
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There's safety in numbers, until those numbers start running into each other. In the last three years the number of falls I've been involved in are equal between riding solo and with a group. I do have more solo miles though.

Group riding is more fun as you get to interact with others. It's usually faster also as people tend to motivate each other. And if you have an accident, there's usually someone that can help right there.

I wouldn't give up group riding for the occasional accident. What I have given up is riding with certain individuals and groups that were too dangerous for my liking. I've gone so far as to drop off the back and tell people that I'll catch up later.
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Old 11-08-13, 10:15 AM
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Group rides are good for all the excellent reasons noted above. Don't make your decision based on one bad experience.

I ride alone when I commute (3 times a week) but ride with others on Tues./Thur. evening club rides and for sure on weekend rides. Sometimes I get dropped but usually not. If I do get dropped, it's not tragic.

Regarding "dangerous" riders, not all of whom are newbies, they are quickly identified by the "group" (in my experience) and either learn how to ride safely or are expelled by the group.

Rick / OCRR
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Old 11-08-13, 10:15 AM
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Group riding is the only way to fly imho. I probably would not ride if I had to do it alone. The above posts are especially good when looking into groups to ride with. Don't give it up, just ride conservatively and maintain a bit more distance until you become more comfortable. There are always risks, alone or in a group. Winter might be the best time to group ride, as you're better protected with clothing and speeds are generally eased a little.

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Old 11-08-13, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandera
I ride solo in part because I don't trust other people's bike handling skills or judgment.

I ride solo because I don't trust myself with others ..seriously I've been riding for a long time but almost always alone so while I'm familiar with my bike (at least my old steel, the new one is still a work in progress) I am not comfortable riding surrounded by other cyclists. If I get into a pack I will either slow and let them go or speed up and get ahead of them. 1 or 2 riders isnt too bad but more than 3 or 4 and I get a bit nervous. Further I am comfortable setting my own pace and not someone elses. I know I should change but that is going to take some time. It would probably useful to join a club but right now I don't have the time to do so
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Old 11-08-13, 11:07 AM
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I'm REAL picky about who I'll pace line with to the point that I basically don't do that anymore.

I enjoy riding with groups but I've learned to be cautious about being aware of the riders around me. If there's a hot looking woman on the ride, stay away from her. It's not the hot woman that you have to be wary of so much as the goofy things men riders will do to get close to her.
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
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Old 11-08-13, 11:12 AM
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Group riding is fun...being part of a giant fast flowing amoeba that changes shape, etc... fun to be part of a greater whole. It's fun to tuck in behind another and enjoy the draft while staring at his butt. Fun to take a turn at the front. HOWEVER.... we all agree you have to (1) know and trust other riders if you plan on being right on their wheel, and (2) be somewhere in the fitness range of the group. We all know the axiom about riding with others above your level to increase your fitness.....but, it's no fun getting spit out the back wheezing after half a mile. Or, dragging along with much slower others unless it's a "social" ride.

I learned about carefulness when the guy whose wheel I should have been watching more carefully jinked suddenly causing a wheel touch which sent me to the emergency room with a broken pelvis. Lesson learned.
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Old 11-08-13, 11:55 AM
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Half of my rides are solo and about half with the bike club. If with the club, I maintain one or two bike lengths separation, provided I can keep up in the first place. Most of us are well stretched out just like the riders in 1interceptor's video. Early on, in my riding with the club, I have bumped wheels hence my wish to maintain a comfortable separation.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If there's a hot looking woman on the ride, stay away from her. It's not the hot woman that you have to be wary of so much as the goofy things men riders will do to get close to her.
True. If we'd had passed by our photographer, instead of stopping to get our photo taken by her on the Katy Trail, I might have swerved right into you.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:16 PM
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Many good comments. In my 50's, I started from the ground floor and ended up riding with the fastest groups I could find. I noted two things over this time. 1. Rider category - Riding in the "C" or lower categorized rides always seemed pretty safe. Minimal testosterone, and everyone watching out for each other. The "B" rides were the most dangerous - high levels of testosterone and marginal safety. The "A" rides were great - everyone very experienced and dialed in. I worked my BUTT OFF (literally, ask my wife…) to improve to an "A" level, and above. 2. Group size - I found that 2-7 riders was the best size in most instances. Riding alone makes you less visible to drivers, and other riders can help if you have a problem. Also, I enjoy company when I'm riding. Larger groups, always seemed to be more dangerous (in my opinion). I did enjoy riding in pace lines with larger groups, but only when the riders all were racers, or race equivalent in attention to their surroundings.

I've been dropped on more group rides than I can count, but the only times that I've left a group ride for safety reasons were on "B" rides.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:29 PM
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As nice as it is to ride with others, even with highly experienced former or current racers and non-racers, the risk of leaving some of your epidermis on the pavement, or worse, is always present. It's actually one reason I don't get too bent out of shape by riding solo about 50% of my rides. Mistakes, or a moment's inattention that causes a crash can happen to anyone who happens to be a human - sad but true.
Also, a "group" could be just one other riding partner as far as being taken out by another rider. As stated by others here, the odds of being taken out increase the more there are in the group.
So many risks we all take by just riding a bike.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:36 PM
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I enjoy riding with a group if I can socialize. If I don't know anyone, or it's paceline power hour or something, then not so much fun. I don't know of a good way to judge hazards of groups vs solo riding.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:43 PM
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Don't get the chance to ride in a group very often. But, I can tell you from an outsider's perspective groups can be dangerous. Dangerous to those around them. They often seem to lose perspective and start behaving like they were on a professional tour race and have priority over everyone and everything else. Probably the worse I've seen is a group at speed charging through a city park sending everyone ducking to avoid being run over. Lots of scared kids and parents on that one.

On the other hand some of my most enjoyable riding has been with two or three other people enjoying the day and each other. Lots of smiles.
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Old 11-08-13, 01:00 PM
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I'm kinda with you on that Freedomrider1, although I have a grand total experience of one (1) group ride. It was a charity century back in May. Sure it was fun tooling along at 22 with hardly any effort but those riders were scary squirrely in my opinion so I stopped at a rest point after about 20 miles. Sure enough when I rode by them at the next stop there was a truck loading up a crumpled bike and one of the riders was being tended to so it was solo for me the rest of the way and ever since.

I'm sure that after finding a reliable group and having enough experience to predict them that it's not as hazardous, but it's not for me. So far at least. There's nothing wrong choosing to ride solo, nor with changing your mind later if you want.
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Old 11-08-13, 01:03 PM
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I have no problem with getting spit out the back end on a fast ride. I enjoy trying to stay with the stronger, younger riders and accept the consequences.

Riding individually requires multi tasking skills to remain safe just like driving a car. Riding with a group requires even greater multi tasking skills. For myself, again enjoyment.

Even the pros mess up and crash so no big deal.

BTW, I have been taken out by a rider and had to walk my bike back to the car. Not fun but got back on ASAP.
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Old 11-08-13, 01:52 PM
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Peloton? No thanks. Too great a chance of a crash, and too high of a cost if you do.

Paceline: If it's windy, but only with people I know with the appropriate skills.

Group rides: Sure. I love riding on group rides. A chance to chat with people and make new friends.
Proud parent of a happy inner child ...

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Old 11-08-13, 01:53 PM
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It all depends on the group
this ...

No cycling group here , but since I settled in here, after another Long solo Bike tour, this time, in Ireland And Scotland,

Im quite used to just going to get places.

Turning this thing off to get to one Now.
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Old 11-08-13, 02:05 PM
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I grew up riding solo and still prefer it by a wide margin. I do group rides when I have to.
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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Old 11-08-13, 02:05 PM
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Your moniker is FREDDOMRIDER1, makes me think that you are kinda like me, maybe. I like to chart my own course and be responsible for me.

BUT, as has been pointed out here, a good group is a nice thing. There is safety in numbers as well as a crowd. I have met some good resources for shooting the breeze and even doing business. I ride by myself @75% of the time, partly because I like riding after dark and have my own good places to ride. There are times like last week where I knew where a couple of local groups would be. I joined up for a while and 30 minutes later turned right when they turned left.

Its all good!
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Old 11-08-13, 02:11 PM
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I used to ride with groups a lot back in my hometown. Ever since I moved away from there almost 30 years ago I've done almost all of my non-event riding either alone or with one or maybe two riding partners. Riding with partners is fun and often I'm the more experienced partner when we do this. I've found I like that since I've gotten older. Back then when we rode in groups though we did push each other a lot and anybody else we came across: the race was on.......It was often on anyway, lol.

But now that I'm older I appreciate lesser crowds while riding and to be sure, the crashes that did happen did so in groups of guys competing with one another. You can still push one another in pairs so that's how I roll anymore when I ride with anyone at all.
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