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First Group Ride on Saturday

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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

First Group Ride on Saturday

Old 04-01-16, 06:22 AM
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topslop1
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First Group Ride on Saturday

I've done 42miles on my own at something like 14-14.5mph average. I took a few stops for rest along the way - 5 minute rest each time something like 3 times?

Group ride this Saturday is 15-16mph average with a 37 mile route.


Is group riding easier / aero benefits will allow me to be OK or is my arse about to get dropedded?

Discuss.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:27 AM
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Sounds to me you're good to go--so enjoy
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Old 04-01-16, 06:29 AM
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Come into it with an open mind and expect to get dropped. I don't know the etiquette, etc. of this group, but spend some time learning to get comfortable drafting. Hold onto the wheel as best as you can. Respond to surges and never let that wheel in front of you fall off. Once you find yourself popped off the back, it will take a lot of power to get back on. Have fun and expect to learn a lot.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:32 AM
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From my experience group rides are easier. Only thing is that you have to be very aware of who is riding around you so as not to cause an accident. Also in order to stick with the group you can't stop whenever you want. The sound of so many free wheels buzzing is awesome!
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Old 04-01-16, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Xherion View Post
Come into it with an open mind and expect to get dropped. I don't know the etiquette, etc. of this group, but spend some time learning to get comfortable drafting. Hold onto the wheel as best as you can. Respond to surges and never let that wheel in front of you fall off. Once you find yourself popped off the back, it will take a lot of power to get back on. Have fun and expect to learn a lot.
Absolutely open minded and pliable mentally. Trust me, I have no ego about my 'performance levels' as a tall and big guy on a bicycle. I have a feeling this is going to be a lot like my first few crossfit classes from back in the day where I came in thinking I was in relatively good shape and clearly having no clue at all.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:41 AM
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Remember, for town line sprints, no hand slings allowed in the last 200 meters.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:43 AM
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You'll find the group ride much easier. Make sure the group knows you are a first timer. Ask questions. You'll enjoy it.
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Old 04-01-16, 07:00 AM
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You should be fine. But I would let the group know you're new to group riding, and hopefully somebody will explain their group's specific signals and etiquette.

Not all groups ride or signal alike. For example, some groups will run red lights and stop signs if the coast is clear, others will not. Some groups will signal slowing, stopping, and road debris/obstacles with different hand signals, etcetera.

Group riding can be very fun with a good safety conscious group that rides in a predictable manner. Hope you have fun!
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Old 04-01-16, 07:19 AM
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The only "group" rides I've done were big charity rides and random groupings on the road but I can tell you this. When you get in a cluster of even a couple of riders it's far easier, your regular pace seeming boringly slow even. So I wouldn't worry about it. Except for staying aware of riders. Some of them can zone out and get kind of random.
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Old 04-01-16, 07:24 AM
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Make sure you call out every road surface imperfection and car headed either direction. If other riders don't respond, say it again but louder. Also, develop a series of complex hand gestures for signaling other riders, and hand out a laminated sheet with an interpretation guide for each other rider in the group.

Those two steps can go a long way towards instilling confidence in those around you.

Edit: Almost forgot. When you or anyone around you drops their speed by anything more than .25 mph, call out "Slowing!" to avoid pileups.

Last tip: If you end up in a rotating paceline situation, as you get to the front make sure you hit it as hard as you can. Pacelines are an opportunity for each rider on the front to really hammer for a few seconds and then grab some serious brake while swerving (always to the left) so the next guy can take his turn.

Good luck and have fun! Bonus points if you get GoPro footage of your hand signals.

Last edited by Dan333SP; 04-01-16 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 04-01-16, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by deex View Post
From my experience group rides are easier.
In mine they're a lot harder. Of course that's why I like them.
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Old 04-01-16, 08:04 AM
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Pay attention, avoid coasting as much as possible, hold your line, relax and don't pull for the first few miles.
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Old 04-01-16, 12:33 PM
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You should have no problem with the distance or pace but as others have said, let other riders know this is your first time with a group. I would recommend staying near the back to get a feel for the dynamic. Keep steady, hold your line, don't half-wheel or allow gaps to form, and make sure to look up the road rather than just staring at the wheel in front. Even if it's a no-drop ride, make sure you're self-sufficient for flats/mechanical/food/water as if you were on a solo ride.

And have fun. A good group ride is the best!
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Old 04-01-16, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Pay attention, avoid coasting as much as possible, hold your line, relax and don't pull for the first few miles.
It can be nerve-racking if the guy behind me is frequently coasting.
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Old 04-01-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
I've done 42miles on my own at something like 14-14.5mph average. I took a few stops for rest along the way - 5 minute rest each time something like 3 times?

Group ride this Saturday is 15-16mph average with a 37 mile route.


Is group riding easier / aero benefits will allow me to be OK or is my arse about to get dropedded?

Discuss.
Most group rides at that speed are no-drop. If you start to get dropped, they'll most likely slow down for you or have occasional regroups.

Advertised group ride speeds are often "on flat ground with no wind" speeds, so if you're averaging 14mph or 15mph across real-world conditions and some hills here and there, you might already be going as fast as this group.

Even if you're leaving a gap of a couple bike lengths to the person ahead, if you can solo 14mph or 15mph, you should be fine drafting 16mph.

If you're used to taking a few short breaks, so are most groups.
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Old 04-01-16, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
I've done 42miles on my own at something like 14-14.5mph average. I took a few stops for rest along the way - 5 minute rest each time something like 3 times?

Group ride this Saturday is 15-16mph average with a 37 mile route.


Is group riding easier / aero benefits will allow me to be OK or is my arse about to get dropedded?

Discuss.

I just did my first group ride the other day. Here is the comparison.


I did a solo ride on Tuesday of just over 25 miles, and averaged 19.8 MPH and 254 watts throughout the ride.

On Wednesday I did a group ride of just over 27 miles on the same roads and averaged 19.7 MPH and 212 watts throughout the ride.

Both rides had about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.


I did a fair amount of pulling in the group so there wasn't as much drafting as there could be, but even with this, I could tell the difference a lot in the amount of effort I was putting out throughout the ride. The average power just confirmed what I was thinking.

I would say you are good to go. Get towards the back of the pace line, get on a wheel, and don't let go!!!
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Old 04-01-16, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Make sure you call out every road surface imperfection and car headed either direction. If other riders don't respond, say it again but louder. Also, develop a series of complex hand gestures for signaling other riders, and hand out a laminated sheet with an interpretation guide for each other rider in the group.

Those two steps can go a long way towards instilling confidence in those around you.

Edit: Almost forgot. When you or anyone around you drops their speed by anything more than .25 mph, call out "Slowing!" to avoid pileups.

Last tip: If you end up in a rotating paceline situation, as you get to the front make sure you hit it as hard as you can. Pacelines are an opportunity for each rider on the front to really hammer for a few seconds and then grab some serious brake while swerving (always to the left) so the next guy can take his turn.

Good luck and have fun! Bonus points if you get GoPro footage of your hand signals.
Beautiful, thank you for this. Lol.
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Old 04-01-16, 01:29 PM
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Most important thing is to let them know it is your first group ride. Second is be open to criticism and suggestions without getting your feelings hurt. Sometimes in a paceline things happen quickly and people tend to yell about mistakes. Usually not meant to be personal but it happens.
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Old 04-01-16, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DBak View Post
I just did my first group ride the other day. Here is the comparison.


I did a solo ride on Tuesday of just over 25 miles, and averaged 19.8 MPH and 254 watts throughout the ride.

On Wednesday I did a group ride of just over 27 miles on the same roads and averaged 19.7 MPH and 212 watts throughout the ride.

Both rides had about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.


I did a fair amount of pulling in the group so there wasn't as much drafting as there could be, but even with this, I could tell the difference a lot in the amount of effort I was putting out throughout the ride. The average power just confirmed what I was thinking.

I would say you are good to go. Get towards the back of the pace line, get on a wheel, and don't let go!!!
Almost 20mph is impressive. Would like to get up to that beastly measure. Someday..
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Old 04-01-16, 01:54 PM
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Ride in a straight line and keep pedaling
Stay close to the wheel in front of you but NEVER overlap his wheel- You will crash not him!
If they pace line don't surge when you get to the front just keep the same pace and feel free to take short pulls. Watch for traffic when you pull off.
Don't get mesmerized by the wheel in front of you- try and look over his shoulder so you can see whats coming.
If you are in front don't zigzag to avoid road hazards, create your line around the hazard well in advance or just go over the small stuff.
Try not to use your breaks- If you need to slow down you can sit up in the wind, pull out of draft or feather your brakes.
If there is a ride leader get his name and thank him at the end ;-)
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Old 04-01-16, 02:07 PM
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What group are you riding with, since I'm in the same area as you?
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Old 04-01-16, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Divtos View Post
Ride in a straight line and keep pedaling
Stay close to the wheel in front of you but NEVER overlap his wheel- You will crash not him!
Ok, this isn't fair. You're selling him short. If he tries hard enough, they both will crash. Dream bigger.
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Old 04-01-16, 02:40 PM
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Time it properly and you can get a few of the riders following into the mix as well.
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Old 04-01-16, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Make sure you call out every road surface imperfection and car headed either direction. If other riders don't respond, say it again but louder. Also, develop a series of complex hand gestures for signaling other riders, and hand out a laminated sheet with an interpretation guide for each other rider in the group.

Those two steps can go a long way towards instilling confidence in those around you.

Edit: Almost forgot. When you or anyone around you drops their speed by anything more than .25 mph, call out "Slowing!" to avoid pileups.
Just to clarify, here is the full lineup of voice signals. These should be parroted immediately and repeatedly as soon as you hear them called out.
Dog! (or cat, turtle, cow, dead squirrel as needed)
Hole!
Flat!
Car up!
Car back!
Car back, single up!
Double up!
Car right!
Car left!
Stopping!
Closing!
Clear!
Clear... no NOT CLEAR! Stopping!!!
Slowing!
Rolling!
Right turn!
Left turn!
Hold your line!
On your wheel!
On your right!
On your left!
STRAVA!!!

I think that's it.
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Old 04-01-16, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Just to clarify, here is the full lineup of voice signals. These should be parroted immediately and repeatedly as soon as you hear them called out.
Dog! (or cat, turtle, cow, dead squirrel as needed)
Hole!
Flat!
Car up!
Car back!
Car back, single up!
Double up!
Car right!
Car left!
Stopping!
Closing!
Clear!
Clear... no NOT CLEAR! Stopping!!!
Slowing!
Rolling!
Right turn!
Left turn!
Hold your line!
On your wheel!
On your right!
On your left!
STRAVA!!!

I think that's it.
You forgot:

HOLD YOUR LINE!!

He's going to hear that one quite a bit.
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