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Group Ride Etiquette Question No. 72

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

Group Ride Etiquette Question No. 72

Old 05-16-15, 05:22 PM
  #1  
patrickgm60
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Group Ride Etiquette Question No. 72

During today's group ride (a local race ride; lots of flat and fast), when most of the group was in a double pace line (a few singles and triples), including the riders in front of me, the guy to my left insisted on trying to split wheels, i e. have his front wheel midway between the two rear wheels in front of us. The problems with that (beside being the only rider I noticed doing that) are that it pushed me close to the shoulder, and I lost much of the draft. I continued to ease left, but he wasn't giving in. This guy was heavy and seemed to be struggling (he wasn't even wearing a team kit!)

Other than "Grow a pair and claim your space!", any other opinions? Gracias.
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Old 05-16-15, 05:36 PM
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If he touches a rear wheel he'll go down.
Bump into his handlebars and ride with your elbows out.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:11 PM
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find another place in line.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:22 PM
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If he can fit in that space, you are too far away from the other line. Tighten up.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:22 PM
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Simplest thing is to just say something to him. Tell him to line up behind the rider on the left's wheel.

If you're a single that's the safest place to ride and you can even overlap wheels if the riders in front are riding in tight formation. Not very considerate if there are two riders however.

Generally, riders that do this just don't understand what's going on and a simple, short discussion should correct their behaviour.

The other possible explanation is that they are a weaker rider seeking shelter from a cross wind. If that's the case you can switch positions so they are on the sheltered side.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:18 PM
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It's hard to completely understand the dynamics of the ride, but it sounds like he was struggling and was looking for maximum shelter with no concern for where that put you. If either riders in front of him make a sudden move to the side, he's going down, so unless they are fully aware of where he is, this sounds like a risky place to ride.

You could say something or at the next opportunity where he needs to pull back, move closer to him and don't allow him to move into his preferred slot. If he insists on getting between again, I'd find another place in the paceline at the next opportunity. It didn't sound like you were comfortable riding next to him anyway, so shifting elsewhere in the paceline would solve the problem.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:28 PM
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I've had veterans galore do this whilst riding beside and sometimes it's just best to find another pace line. You can say something but if they have any tenure or "friends" in the pack, you might come out on the bad end of a shouting match. (Self righteousness abounds)

And, yes, it's ridiculous. You'd think that's something that makes perfect sense, but it's the very same reason people bump into each other when walking. Mostly just not caring, combined with not paying attention & "pow". Stupidity ensues.
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Old 05-17-15, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
It's hard to completely understand the dynamics of the ride, but it sounds like he was struggling and was looking for maximum shelter with no concern for where that put you. If either riders in front of him make a sudden move to the side, he's going down, so unless they are fully aware of where he is, this sounds like a risky place to ride.

You could say something or at the next opportunity where he needs to pull back, move closer to him and don't allow him to move into his preferred slot. If he insists on getting between again, I'd find another place in the paceline at the next opportunity. It didn't sound like you were comfortable riding next to him anyway, so shifting elsewhere in the paceline would solve the problem.
Thanks for the replies. Yes, he was simply seeking shelter in a fast group, with cross winds. I seldom join this ride and don't know many of the riders; didn't want to speak up. At the first opportunity, I found another spot and all was good.

I've very seldom experienced this, in my hundreds of group rides; hence the thread.

"Tighten up?" The two in front were maybe 6-12" apart, handlebar-wise. With my buddy splitting the difference, there was no way to draft directly behind the rider on the right.
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Old 05-17-15, 12:25 PM
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Some riders are not comfortable riding directly behind the wheel of the rider in front of them, so they ride off to one side or the other. I give them a little bump to move them over a bit so that they ride off the to the other side of the wheel.
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Old 05-17-15, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
Thanks for the replies. Yes, he was simply seeking shelter in a fast group, with cross winds.
In other words, he was exactly where he should have been. The better question is why everyone else was riding directly behind in a cross wind and the leaders were so far over there wasn't room for an echelon.
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Old 05-17-15, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
In other words, he was exactly where he should have been. The better question is why everyone else was riding directly behind in a cross wind and the leaders were so far over there wasn't room for an echelon.
There were stretches where we took the road, with echelons. Along this stretch, we kept it to a double pace line.

anyway, thanks for the replies. Still a great ride. Wish I didn't have to drive to get to it
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Old 05-17-15, 04:59 PM
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And then I just noticed this.
Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
The problems with that (beside being the only rider I noticed doing that) are that it pushed me close to the shoulder, and I lost much of the draft.
From what we now know, he actually put you in the draft, not force you out of it. Something smells fishy.
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Old 05-17-15, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
And then I just noticed this.

From what we now know, he actually put you in the draft, not force you out of it. Something smells fishy.
I think you're the only one not understanding it. Thanks, anyway. : )
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Old 05-17-15, 06:36 PM
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At my local race rides, it's often a full on race. Go where you need to go but keep it safe. I split wheels all the time. Sometimes for better draft in crosswind, sometimes getting ready to move when I need to, sometimes to purposely keep other riders off either wheel, so I can take my pick when I need to. And sometimes I'm the one pinched to the right. If his bars are in front of mine, tough luck, I have to ease up or get aggressive. If it's not a real race, it's usually just ease back and let him have the space.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
Thanks for the replies. Yes, he was simply seeking shelter in a fast group, with cross winds. I seldom join this ride and don't know many of the riders; didn't want to speak up. At the first opportunity, I found another spot and all was good.

I've very seldom experienced this, in my hundreds of group rides; hence the thread.

"Tighten up?" The two in front were maybe 6-12" apart, handlebar-wise. With my buddy splitting the difference, there was no way to draft directly behind the rider on the right.
It doesn't matter where the bars of the riders in front are, it matters where your bars are in relation to the guy next to you. If you leave a big enough space, it's possible that someone will try to move into it, which seems like what happened here.

It really shouldn't be that big of a deal, though. Group rides are dynamic and places shift, so as long as everyone protects his front wheel and avoids sudden lateral movements, it's all fine.
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Old 05-18-15, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
I think you're the only one not understanding it. Thanks, anyway. : )
Actually, I do think I get it because we see it here all the time. Someone starts out with a complaint that boils down to another rider wasn't doing what I wanted them to; what should I do about it. Then we get a one-sided, incomplete description that makes the poster seem entirely in the right and the other rider in the wrong. Then through the course of discussion, facts come out filling in a truer picture of what happened and the situation doesn't seem as black and white as was originally described.

In this case, you left out the fact that there was a left to right crosswind and the rider you complained about was putting himself in the proper position for the draft. To me the question is, why this group was riding straight when they should have been echeloned. Were they inexperienced and didn't know better, were there road conditions the required staying far to the right, were they echeloned, but the OP was the first to be guttered, and didn't recognize it? Obviously I don't know, but to get meaningful advice, rather than confirmation that the poster is right and the absent other rider(s) is wrong, it helps to have a full, accurate description.
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Old 05-18-15, 07:58 AM
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Been there, done that. Caloso's advice is the best, nature abhors a vacuum, and in group rides vacuums are often filled with the more noxious types. If you keep the door shut, you won't have to worry about someone sneaking in.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
It's hard to completely understand the dynamics of the ride,.
This.


Originally Posted by patrickgm60 View Post
During today's group ride (a local race ride; lots of flat and fast),

However, I think the answer is here. Sounds like this is a competitive ride, where people ride in a pack, not a paceline, there maybe attacks, and the dynamics of what the group is doing can change based on a number of factors, including wind direction, whether there's an attack to be chased down, the mood of the group, the section of the ride, and the habits of that group.

If this is your typical local Tuesday Night Worlds, There is nothing wrong with positioning yourself where you can get the maximum draft.

And in a pack situation, the rule is not to not overlap wheels, the rule is to protect your wheel. So while the rider may have had his wheel in front of the riders to your side, he may well have been far enough up that he could protect his wheel by keeping the riders from coming over on him with his shoulder or elbow if need be.


There are two possibilities here 1) the rider was sticking his wheel in a dangerous place, was risking getting it swept,a nd you need to stay away from him, or ,

2) he knew what he was doing, was positioning for the best draft in the cross wind, his "sphere" (the area he needs to have clear around him to ride safely) is smaller than yours, had his wheel protected, and he freaked you out because your not comfortable with riding with such a small sphere.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
, so as long as everyone protects his front wheel and avoids sudden lateral movements, it's all fine.
To elaborate on this, overlapping a wheel by an inch or two is obviously a bad idea, and a recipe to get your wheel swept.

Overlapping the rider beside you by enough that your bars are to their hips is not a big deal because you can protect your wheel with your body. And "overlapping" in that sense is pretty much impossible to avoid in a pack.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
To elaborate on this, overlapping a wheel by an inch or two is obviously a bad idea, and a recipe to get your wheel swept.

Overlapping the rider beside you by enough that your bars are to their hips is not a big deal because you can protect your wheel with your body. And "overlapping" in that sense is pretty much impossible to avoid in a pack.
It's also not a big deal in a two up pace line if the riders are in tight formation. Riding in between two riders with your wheel in the middle provides protection as the only way your wheel could be swept would be if both riders were to move in the same direction at the same time which is unlikely to be an issue if you're paying attention.
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