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Which is better?

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Which is better?

Old 12-16-19, 06:53 AM
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mcours2006
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Which is better?

Let's say a group of about 10 guys are about equal ability and skill regularly ride together. Then sometimes someone invites a rider who is neither as fit, nor perhaps as skilled in bike handling, to ride with the group. Would you:

A. Have the new rider(s) stay at the back of the line at all times, so when other riders finish their pull the slot back in front of the new rider(s) at the back.
B. Have the new rider(s) take their turn at the front, but only for a few pedal strokes, and then drop back to the end.
C. Is there a third option?

The main goal is to keep the line moving smoothly, steadily, and most importantly, safely, even if it means dropping the pace a tad to accommodate the new rider(s), but at the same time we don't want to reduce pace so much that it takes some of the enjoyment out of it for the rest of us.

Your input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:00 AM
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Fitness is pretty easy to assess going up the first hill. Handling skill might be more difficult. How would you know the new rider was less skilled than you prior to him doing something egregious? Anyway, have the person who invited him be the one to issue instructions.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:08 AM
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Is he a one-time visitor or someone you want to keep long-term??

If he is a one-time guest he stays at the back. If he is a potential friend/team-mate then encourage him to learn and take his place in the group, with shorter pulls.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Fitness is pretty easy to assess going up the first hill. Handling skill might be more difficult. How would you know the new rider was less skilled than you prior to him doing something egregious? Anyway, have the person who invited him be the one to issue instructions.
We know just from what the 'inviter' tells. "Oh, so and so wants to get back into cycling after x-number of years...he's been doing some riding for a few months, just got a new bike, etc." kind of thing. But the inviter should definitely be the one to issue instructions, but this doesn't always happen.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Is he a one-time visitor or someone you want to keep long-term??

If he is a one-time guest he stays at the back. If he is a potential friend/team-mate then encourage him to learn and take his place in the group, with shorter pulls.
That's also hard to say. We do have a few 'occasional regulars', if we can call them that, who aren't quite as strong, and aren't quite as adept at handling, who also currently do not take turns pulling, so they stay at the back almost all the time. I have been encouraging them to rotate up the line and take a brief turn at the front as it keeps in line moving smoothly without having the guys dropping back to slot it, which itself could cause problems. The last rider would have to open up a gap for the rider dropping back to slot in. If the pace is a brisk one, that last guy might not even able to latch on again.

Other guys say that because they're not confident in their handling skills that they might cause problem in the middle of the line. Being at the back is safer. He can observe and learn and when he's ready he'll take his turn.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:32 AM
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I am a slow rider .... when I was a bit faster I was an "occasional regular." The drill with the group was that I had the option of staying at the back and making room for riders in front, taking very short pulls or "pulling through," that is, just moving up and then immediately moving over (double pace line.) it is assumed that all riders are sufficiently skilled so as not to cause a crash.
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Old 12-16-19, 10:33 AM
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Option A for me, at least until you can be sure he won't put others in danger.
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Old 12-16-19, 10:45 AM
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If I have an inexperienced friend that wants in on a group ride I'll hang at the back with them and point out what's going on, while also helping them learn how to stay in the draft. Once they understand that, I'll have them follow me through the paceline and pull off with me after my pull is over. After 3-5 trips through the line it becomes evident what is going on and I'll only need to correct them once or twice. It's always one or two things: They are eating wind because they don't understand echeloning yet, OR, they attack the pull through.
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Old 12-16-19, 10:56 AM
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I go on a ride sometimes that is a bit too fast for me.

Likely will get dropped anyway, so I mostly stay at the back- taking pulls would just have me dropped sooner.

I can handle myself OK in a group, but if that was an issue, all the more reason to stay back.
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Old 12-16-19, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I was adamant that every rider should rotate through to the front to keep the line moving smoothly, but with the newer rider(s) pulling off as soon as they hit the front. But a mistake near the front of the line could take out the entire group. Some people take longer to build the skills and confidence, and are most comfortable at the back of the line. I wouldn't presume to rush them if they are not ready, either mentally or physically.

On my first ride with a group (first one after 30 year hiatus), which wasn't all that long ago, I stuck to the back or near back of the line the entire time. I read up before hand on etiquette, on what to do, where to focus your eyes, on modulating speed without hitting brakes, soft pedaling, pointing out hazards, etc., and during the ride I watched and learned. By the end of my second ride I was rotating through to the front and taking my turn in the wind. I did, however, have the advantage of being just as strong as the other riders in the group from 10,000's of miles of solo riding over the past few years.
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