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Etiquette on group rides

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

Etiquette on group rides

Old 03-29-07, 10:20 AM
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Etiquette on group rides

My wife and I went on an organized ride this past weekend that totaled 65 miles. About mile 40 we got caught by another rider and we talked for a bit. He was a stronger rider and rode a little faster than us, but we would catch him on the hills. He was struggling a little because of his equipment. His primary bike was in the shop and the bike he was on was his spare bike (Cannondale CAAD8). His problem was that he had tennis shoes and platform pedals. Everything went this way for a good 15-20 miles then he started slowing. I took the lead and pushed and next thing I know I looked back and he's gone. Arrived at the finish and ate lunch, but didn't see him for a good 15-20 minutes. He came by and said "thanks for pulling me in.". Was he upset? Couldn't tell myself. Didn't know if he was upset for me not waiting on him or if he was indeed thanking us for riding with him for a little while.

What's the etiquette on riding with people that you're not actually with? Good manners to wait for them? I ride a lot, but rarely ride in groups.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:25 AM
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Depends on the ride. Some groups are no drop, others will drop. Usually the slower group rides will send someone back and the group will slow down. For the faster groups if you can't hang you have to find your way home, although many have regroups after sprints and some have a slower group riding the same route that act as a sweepers for stragglers.

It is generally up to the ride leader to make decisions not the guy pulling on the front. So if the leader sees someone getting dropped and you are in a no drop ride then he/she should slow the group down.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:29 AM
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He could have been PO'd. Hard to tell without being there. Unfortunately there are a lot of riders that drop ambiguous comments like that. Makes it hard to know whether or not you're doing the right thing if you're new to the game.

Generally speaking if he pulled you guys for a while, and then started to falter, and you go to the front to pull....don't drop him. Hold back with him allowing him to ride in your draft to help him recover a little bit.

If he's totally shot he'll probably tell you to just go on. Most people don't like holding others back.

In this situation it is hard to tell because you mention you weren't riding with him until you would catch him on the hills.

...ahhh....it's finally spring....group ride etiquette threads begin!
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Old 03-29-07, 10:37 AM
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This wasn't a typical group ride from say a bike shop. It was one where like over 100-200 people was at.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by knobster
This wasn't a typical group ride from say a bike shop. It was one where like over 100-200 people was at.
So an "Organized Ride". An open invitational ride for all in the area with different route lengths, stocked rest stops, and usually an entry fee.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:40 AM
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[QUOTE=Psimet2001
Generally speaking if he pulled you guys for a while, and then started to falter, and you go to the front to pull....don't drop him. Hold back with him allowing him to ride in your draft to help him recover a little bit.
[/QUOTE]

That's the thing. He's was never pulling us. When he was in front, he was a good 30-50 yards ahead. Other times he was right beside me chatting. This is why I don't ride in groups. Hate pissing people off, especially when I don't know I'm doing it.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:40 AM
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it depends on the level of riders. usually...

if it's a "A" ride, usually when a rider falls off the back, they're on their own...

if it's a "B" ride, if a rider falls off the back, usually the pack will wait up so riders drop...

that rider etiquette varys though, depending on the group. i ride the "A" and "AA" rides in my group, depending on how i feel that day. when i ride with the "A" group, and someone falls off the back, we usually wait for them and ask them if they want to turn back. when i ride with the "AA" group, they take it more seriously, and if someone fall off the back they're on their own. that's how it should be...

check on-line, and see if this organized ride was sponsored by a local bike club, and see if they have a web site. if they do, they should have the etiquette posted for all riders to see...

and as far as the guys comment, it's hard to say, but i would think that he was pissed that you didn't let him get on your wheel to pull him into the rest stop. if i'm on a group ride, there are times where i ride at the rear of the line, and if someone falls off the back i will fall back so they can get on my wheel and i will pull them back into the group. like i said though, we're all friends, and i just do it because i know that sometimes people have bad days, myself included...

don't be hard on yourself, you and your wife were one what looks to be one of your first organized rides, just ride and enjoy yourself. i don't see why he would be pissed at someone else, after all, he was wearing tennis shoes...
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Old 03-29-07, 10:42 AM
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At an event like a century or something everybody really is just out doing their own thing, so don't worry about it too much. Sharing a few miles with somebody and moving on is how it goes, so I can't see anybody expecting you to wait for them.

My vote is that he was being honest. Sometimes if somebody is having a tough day anything they say is going to sound like their upset about something.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by knobster
came by and said "thanks for pulling me in.".
Sounds like he was thanking you.
That's what I would have said.
In my head I would say "stupid tennis shoes, thank goodness these guys are here and I can get a free ride behind them, I better thank them at the end"
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Old 03-29-07, 10:45 AM
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the guy is a poseur, don't mind him. If he didn't like the fact that you didn't reel him in then maybe he shouldn't wear tennis shoes.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:51 AM
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Generally I would say he sounded PO'd, but he really probably should not have been. Don't let this kind of thing keep you from riding in groups.

On an organized ride ANYTHING goes. You will have a ton of people grab your wheel, and you should feel free to grab just about any wheel along the ride. If you don't feel comfortable doing that then don't do it.

Some will argue whether or not to voice that you are on, but in a organzied ride it really doesn't matter. It is polite to do so though. Say something to the effect of "Mind if I grab a wheel?", "Mind if I hop on?", "Rider on.", etc...

If they reply with "I'd rather you not.", give you a dirty look, or look like a deer caught in headlights then just move on. Odds are the deer lookers are people in your shoes.

Once you're comfortable knowing what is expected, and what you should be doing (check back here daily throughout the summer for similar threads) then you can do the whole thing without saying a word to anyone...while still making sure that they know you are there, and your intentions to work together.

It helps if you have a rider or two that you normally ride with to go along with you. Then the outsider has the obligations to be the nicer one.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by veloGeezer
At an event like a century or something everybody really is just out doing their own thing, so don't worry about it too much. Sharing a few miles with somebody and moving on is how it goes, so I can't see anybody expecting you to wait for them.
+1

The fact that he wasn't towing you earlier suggests that there was no understanding that you were working together, had an intention to finish together, etc.

Everyone needs to go at his or her own pace. It's not fun to be dropped, but it's also not fun to be the one who's holding up the group.
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Old 03-29-07, 10:55 AM
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if you got discouraged by a poseur in tennis shoes and strap ons then I would say don't join group rides.

There are alot of guys who will hammer and drop you like a hammer on alot of climbs and depending on how slow you are they will not wait.

Just join a club and see how you like it---they are all different.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:06 AM
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i think it's impossible to tell what he meant by that without being able to hear the tone of his voice or his facial expression when saying it. did it sound heart felt or sarcastic? did he smile or scowl? did he look you straight in the eyes or roll his?

too many variables.

if he was yo-yoing like you say, then i would of kept my pace and if he was able to stay onto my wheel then great. if he couldn't keep up then i'm sure there were people behind he could of latched onto.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:09 AM
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In the future, if someone says something to you, and you don't understand what they mean, ask, "What do you mean by that?"

Then, he will explain, and you can apologize or tell him he's welcome or tell him to drop dead or whatever.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:34 AM
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Group rides are full of whiners.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ovoleg
the guy is a poseur
+1
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Old 03-29-07, 11:41 AM
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Seems like something he should have addressed to the group leader.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by skandal20
Group rides are full of whiners.
I hear that!
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Old 03-29-07, 12:07 PM
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Don't worry about it. If this was a ride with 100-200 people, there's plenty of folks he could've latched onto at the end. Sounds like he was a little too gung-ho and didn't eat enough and bonked or came close to it.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
So an "Organized Ride". An open invitational ride for all in the area with different route lengths, stocked rest stops, and usually an entry fee.
Exactly. Organized ride verses a group ride.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:28 PM
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He wasn't part of "your group" - you didn't owe him anything.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:44 PM
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Doesn't sound like much effort was made to help you along the way so he shouldn't expect any effort on your part either. I'm suspicious about the "good bike in the shop" story as well. If I had to use a backup bike for an organized ride I sure would have switched pedals so that I could use my cycling shoes on the ride. As a matter of fact, I'd do almost anything to avoid riding in tennis shoes.

I wouldn't sweat it - sounds like he was being snarky but shouldn't have had real expectations of unreciprocated assistance.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:57 PM
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The few events that I have riden in are the least organized group rides I have ever been on. It more like 400 people riding solo together. Our club rides are much more organized.
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Old 03-29-07, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55
The few events that I have riden in are the least organized group rides I have ever been on. It more like 400 people riding solo together. Our club rides are much more organized.
+1 - they are meant to be that way though. Organized only implys that someone had to do a lot of work to make sure there were people there to take your money, hand over a cue sheet, and tell stories to you while you ate the food that they bought, organized, and hauled in. It implys nothing about the riding.
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