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Do you prefer solo rides to group rides, and why?

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Do you prefer solo rides to group rides, and why?

Old 03-01-21, 08:55 AM
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I'd say it's a 95/5 split. I know a hammer ride with a group can be a good workout, but it is only a good workout if you planned for it to be. If not, depending on how it goes, it could just be useless filler.

When I ride with a group it is either to hone skills of one kind or another, or the social aspect. Training is done alone.

Some of it also is just that I'm tired of so many people either doing dumb crap on group rides, or complaining about things. It gets annoying. One hammer ride you've got morons blowing up the wrong side of the road to save 5 seconds slowing to go around a center divider before a turn. Other ride you get people moaning and complaining that they were dropped up a hill and everybody took the green light.

I think my favorite group ride is teammates on a couple hour tempo rotation. Rotate for a while at tempo, back off and chat at Z2 for a while. Enough to get a workout, not so much you've got folks falling off. Get close to home and lead out the big boys once or twice. No "agendas" and no "egos" to it. Just a good time.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:02 AM
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I ride solo. I have never voluntarily been in a group. The few times I've been swamped by a group was nerve racking enough to convince me that it is something I would not want to do.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:23 AM
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It's interesting how many people are staunchly solo. It makes me wonder how this question would go, with an included poll, in different sub-forums.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:36 AM
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I prefer to ride with my wife. The two of us is the biggest group I've ridden with.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
It's interesting how many people are staunchly solo. It makes me wonder how this question would go, with an included poll, in different sub-forums.
It's a survey demographics thing for sure.

I mean, if you were to poll among two groups of "no kids under, my age under 25" and "no kids, kids have left the house".............versus "I have dependent kids at home"...........I bet you'd find a pretty big split.

My thing is that group rides are one of my freebies to myself. They take a lot more time than just leaving my front door. I almost always have to drive there and back. Then there's the chat before and after. Which I enjoy. But, with kids, you're just not always able to carve out that amount of time for a group ride.

A 75min group ride in town winds up "costing me" about 3 hours total. Drive there, get bike out of car and going, ride, put bike back, chat/beer. When I ride out of my house.......I can get in 2 hours ride time instead of 75min and still be out only 2 hours instead of 3.

I like group ride stuff. If I had time and needed the solo workout also, I would just do that before hand. Then make the group ride about the fun. I just simply don't have the time to always make it happen.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:46 AM
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I like group rides if the group members are good. And by that, I mean people who know how to ride in and as a group, show up and are ready to ride on time with bikes in decent condition and know how to addresses simple things like flats.

On the flip side, I usually do one two-week solo, unsupported tour, one one-week and several long weekenders. BITD I twice spent 7 weeks touring solo. Talk about the ultimate in solo riding.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:10 AM
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I didn't do any group riding last year of course, but I do belong to a large 400 member club. They have several rides every week, including mid week day rides for retired members, weekend rides, and mid week evening rides. With such a large membership, you can choose pretty much any sort of group you could wish for. In Quebec, groups are limited by law to 15 people or less and the club prefers that we ride in groups of 12 or less. With smaller groups it is easy to find people at the same level to ride together. The best groups are cooperative rather than competitive which can make for a very safe riding experience. I do some solo riding, but am also able to to organise even smaller informal rides with friends from the club. It's nice to have a few friends to hang out with while enjoying the countryside. When you ride often with the same people, it is much safer since you know all their little habits. It is almost as if you can read each other's minds
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Old 03-01-21, 10:10 AM
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Solo rider, mostly for the convenience. When I walk out the door, I never have a set route or ride in mind. There are some guidelines, but nothing concrete.

That being said, it depends on one's personality and what they want to get out of the activity. When I do meet up with others at a ride the understanding is that you start together. After that, it's whatever. You can ride together or not. We see each other at the SAGS. Find out how it's going then take off again heading for the finish.

Even when my wife and I go out on a run or ride, we don't stay together. We usually stay together on rides, but not always. After about a mile or two, we'll get strung out and maybe go different ways. We'll see each other rolling around through the neighborhood and wave. Then talk about when we are both back at the house. That's our personalities. The ideal group ride for me is like the marathon training teams that my wife and I are on. The teams meet up, go over the route and daily concerns. Then you take off together. You can try to hang in a pack or not. Risk a blowup/bonk and the long walk back after. The teams get strung out with small packs or solo runners with 20-200 yards gaps between them. You are always passing someone or getting passed yourself. Chased and getting chased. Cat 6 racing at it's finest! You make it back to the start/ending point and see how everyone's run went.

Again, It depends on the personality. If I want real competition, I sign up for a league, tournament or race, depending on the sport/activity. Otherwise, I much prefer walking up as single in a pick up sport as opposed to showing up with your own squad. I'd rather get put with a new foursome for a round of golf than have the same standing time, with the same group, on the same course with the same personalities(including mine) over and over. That's just me.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:15 AM
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For me, I've only been a few group rides, and I don't really enjoy them. I guess maybe if they were people I knew better, but I'd have to go more often for that to happen.

Group rides take too much planning for me. I just like to get out and ride when I have the time.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:33 AM
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I pretty much ride solo right now. Once I get back into shape, I'll integrate into our local group rides again. Back when I was racing, my schedule was: Monday - recover (solo) or off; Tuesday - fast group ride 30-40 miles; Wednesday - recovery (solo); Thursday - work on weakness (climbing) solo or with a couple friends; Friday - off; Saturday - long, large group ride (60-100 miles); Sunday - tempo (solo or with a couple friends).

I enjoy the challenge of fast group rides but I also enjoy the solitude of just riding my bike alone. Recovery rides were ALWAYS done solo.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:39 AM
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I ride mostly solo, probably 95%.
More for selfish reason. I can ride out from home or drive to my starting point, etc, at my own choosing and time. My path can be where my mind takes me. My own pace.
I think this is mostly because when I started to ride longer distance in my mid-teens, I was the only one doing it. 35 years later, I'm still the only one of my fat friends still doing this. Also with my past employer of almost 20 years, my schedule was so dynamic, I could never schedule anything.
When I do ride in a paceline or group. I do enjoy it though. This is usually me latching onto a group on a charity tour or something.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:45 AM
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Many years ago I rode mountain bikes and riding with a bunch of people was fun. I did ride solo a few times on the trails but never felt like same.

Now I ride road only and you couldn't pay me to ride with others. I don't want to ride at someone else's pace or watch out for wheel overlap. I don't trust others and I am pretty sure if you rode with me, you wouldn't trust me either. It takes skill to ride in groups. This is a skill I don't have and really don't want.

The wrinkle is I am contemplating a gravel bike and riding with a few others at the slower pace on gravel roads sounds like a good match. At this point I don't know but having at least one other person might be the ticket.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:48 AM
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Solo is my least favorite riding on the road. Sometimes it's nice, but generally, I prefer interaction with other riders. Long endurance rides with a good friend (or a few) and good conversation is nice. My favorite is a mid size group (10-30) of riders of similar caliber (ex-racers, mostly) where everyone is comfortable riding in a tight bunch at a good pace, shares the work, and enjoys a few spicy segments to make the legs burn. When I was young and fast, I much preferred the large (100+ riders) high-level group rides, where suffering and making others suffer was standard operating procedure.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:31 AM
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During COVID I have ridden almost exclusively solo, including a short tour this past summer. I may have offended a couple friends by ignoring their requests to ride.

In non-pandemic times, I generally prefer to ride solo because there is nobody to protest to unplanned side-trips or activities, like going for a swim or stopping for poutine. Also, I often plan open-ended rides where I might chose a gravel road or hike-a-bike across a beaver dam, and my roadie friends might not be in to that.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels
I don't group with solo riders because I'd expect they prefer solo obviously. Unless I passed them and they took my draft and hopefully not too close. I'd expect them to get in front after a while!
On one rare occasion I got passed by a solo rider and I hooked on and we rode like that until we came to town and only reason I didn't go to the front was that the guy wouldn't let up (he knew all along I was on his tail and it turned out he was OK with it). If you expect somebody to take their turn up front, you have to 'step out'.

Group rides can be so much varied, main difference is whether it is just a bunch of people going out for a ride or if they ride in some organized fashion, taking at least some advantage of drafting. This second even if not done too seriously very much diminishes the social aspect of the group ride, given the attention it requires. Off road on MTBs, it is I think always almost purely social thing on group rides. If I had a choice, I'd prefer group of two or three, maybe four max.

Last edited by vane171; 03-01-21 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:13 PM
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The group rides I go on around here (in non-pandemic times) go from the same start at the same time each week, and follow the same route, but every ride is different depending on who shows and what the weather is like: Neutral roll out, very casual, very social; main part, essentially a race once the group hits a particular landmark; neutral roll back to town, again very social, very casual, some riders peel off and ride home or wherever, others might continue on to cafe.

There were times when I had a specific workout that I had planned for that day, but I'd still join the group at the shop and roll out of town with my friends. Once it ramped up, I'd peel off and go do my workout. Or for an epic day, a handful of teammates would ride to the group ride in the next town, do the group ride, and then ride home. Best of all possible worlds there.
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Old 03-01-21, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
It's a survey demographics thing for sure.

I mean, if you were to poll among two groups of "no kids under, my age under 25" and "no kids, kids have left the house".............versus "I have dependent kids at home"...........I bet you'd find a pretty big split.

My thing is that group rides are one of my freebies to myself. They take a lot more time than just leaving my front door. I almost always have to drive there and back. Then there's the chat before and after. Which I enjoy. But, with kids, you're just not always able to carve out that amount of time for a group ride.

A 75min group ride in town winds up "costing me" about 3 hours total. Drive there, get bike out of car and going, ride, put bike back, chat/beer. When I ride out of my house.......I can get in 2 hours ride time instead of 75min and still be out only 2 hours instead of 3.

I like group ride stuff. If I had time and needed the solo workout also, I would just do that before hand. Then make the group ride about the fun. I just simply don't have the time to always make it happen.
Heh - I have kids (9 and 5 years old), I'm their primary caretaker, and they're the reason that both long solo rides *and* group rides are wholly necessary.

My wife is a champ about it, and I'm thankful - if I'm looking particularly frustrated the evening before a "day off," it's not unusual for my wife to ask me, "you're going to be riding all day tomorrow, aren't you?"
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Old 03-01-21, 04:18 PM
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Solo or with the one biking friend that shares my attitude and approach. We are both past mid 70s so our preferences are similar. I've never ridden bicycle in a group. Got my fill of group rides on motorcycles. The more people, the more I disliked it.
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Old 03-01-21, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by KenCT
Typically I do one group ride and 3 or 4 solos a week. Both offer something different; the group ride is more of a social activity and a shorter ride compared to solo where I can push myself in distance and climbing and not worry about waiting for others to catch up or them waiting for me.
Same here. Is it a CT thing?
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Old 03-01-21, 04:48 PM
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I prefer to ride solo. The exceptions are riding with my son or wife and an occasional fund raiser group ride.
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Old 03-01-21, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
Same here. Is it a CT thing?
I started with organized group riding in 2019 with Class Cycles in Southbury. A Wednesday night ride would have 90 to 100 riders of various skill levels in 10 to 12 groups with different start times. I started riding with the C Social group. Last year about a dozen of us rode weekly, social distancing and masking as needed, and had a great time despite COVID. Prior to that I always rode solo, and did so for many years.

The group riding greatly improved my cycling skills and took me places I would never have gone riding solo. Great bunch of people, mostly around my age and egos in check.
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Old 03-01-21, 05:45 PM
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Solo.

When I started competing 35 years ago, I took up cycling because of triathlons. There were really no tri groups in my area, so it was just me training. My cycling got me noticed enough to join a trade team, and I eventually learned the fine art of glass cranking and (not) wheel gapping.
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Old 03-01-21, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
It's interesting how many people are staunchly solo. It makes me wonder how this question would go, with an included poll, in different sub-forums.
In my view, solo is the default for cycling. Almost all utilitarian cycling -- commuting, shopping, etc. -- is solo. The simplest way to enjoy recreational cycling is solo.

Group rides add a number of complications to cycling that automatically make it more of a niche activity. These include transportation to and from a ride, keeping pace, safety, etiquette, and so forth. So I would definitely expect group rides to be a relatively minor category of cycling.
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Old 03-01-21, 05:54 PM
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The longer the ride, the more I prefer group. Faster, less likely to get lost because someone will always be more familiar with a given area, more eyes to watch the bikes during breaks for food or facilities. Even a helping gulp of water or food if I fail to carry enough.

I've ridden exclusively solo or indoors since last March and I've struggled to decide where to ride outside when the weather's good. Every outing, I've encountered an unexpected and poorly detoured road closure. Riding out of my familiar zone is a necessity since I live in the city and there are too many stops everywhere, so it's inevitable that I end up perplexed when going solo.
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Old 03-01-21, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C
In my view, solo is the default for cycling. Almost all utilitarian cycling -- commuting, shopping, etc. -- is solo. The simplest way to enjoy recreational cycling is solo.
This is why I mentioned that results might be different in different forums. I'm primarily a road cyclist and I wouldn't at all say that there's a default either way - cycling is different things to different people.
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