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Going On My First Group Ride, Opinions Please

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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

Going On My First Group Ride, Opinions Please

Old 06-25-10, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GP
Which group has the most women?
valid question
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Old 06-25-10, 02:04 PM
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A+, solo breakaway for the win!

One guy will try to chase you down so it'll be a "sort of group ride".

Okay in all seriousness, A group definitely.
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Old 06-25-10, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dennisa
You're opinions please.
My opinion is, that instead of asking a bunch of people on the internet what we think you can do with a group that we know nothing about, you should call the LBS, tell them what kind of riding you typically do, and ask them which group you would be the best fit with. Posted "averages" on the web sites may or may not actually reflect reality. Even if they are accurate, they aren't really very representative.
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Old 06-25-10, 02:18 PM
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^ That is my plan as well, but being a little more educated about making a decision is always a good thing.

I do like the idea of starting with the B Group, and getting picked up by the C's if I can't hang with them.
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Old 06-25-10, 02:20 PM
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Go for C, like said mutiple times, you can go slower, but you cant go faster. And its not like you have to go with that group the next 10 years. If they are too slow, its only for 1 ride and go with group B the next time.
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Old 06-25-10, 03:21 PM
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It takes a while to calibrate your level in a given group or club. Go for the C group the first time - the worst that happens is that it's a little slow and you get impatient, but slow also means social and that's good for a first ride.
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Old 06-25-10, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by GP
Which group has the most women?

Very important question^
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Old 06-25-10, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Menel
Find out if they follow the same route.
If you get dropped off B, C will catch up with you and jump back in.
+10
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Old 06-25-10, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dennisa
^ That is my plan as well, but being a little more educated about making a decision is always a good thing.
Certainly do this. Anyway, the person who you talk to will have no idea how you really ride and is likely to make a conservative suggestion.

Originally Posted by dennisa
I do like the idea of starting with the B Group, and getting picked up by the C's if I can't hang with them.
What is appropriate kind of depends on how the rides are managed. If the B group leaders are aware of this plan, this would not be unreasonable to do.

Even if they do similar routes, the slower group might not be a position to pick you up (maybe, they will have mech issues and have to shorten their ride while you wonder where they are). If you can't deal with being dropped and getting back on your own, you really should go with the slower group for the first ride.

Anyway, start-out with the thing that will be less likely to inconvenience other group members.

Keep in mind that (it seems) you don't know what they mean by "hills" and, if it's a shorter ride, they might to be riding at the upper end of the range of speeds.

If you start out with the C group, it's one ride and, if it's too slow, you'll be able to move up to the B group next week.

(I think the D group is too slow.)

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-25-10 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 06-25-10, 04:19 PM
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I would say go with the B group. It will be easier to keep up with them versus keeping their pace on your own (at least in my experience)
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Old 06-25-10, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Urthwhyte
If the calves of the guy in front of you are the same size around as your thigh, move to a slower group. Otherwise HTFU and try to hang on as long as you can.
Not sure I agree.

On the hilly group rides I have been going to, you are describing the only people that climb slow enough for me to hang with. It's the skinny legged lightweights you want to avoid.

I have skinny legs and I'm sort of heavy (it's a great combination for cycling), so I don't really have a chance unless I'm sucking the wheel of one of the big strong guys (they climb a little slower, but have the power to bridge back up).

I'd say start with the C group just to get comfortable riding with others. After that, do whatever floats your boat. I enjoy my Tuesday night rides even though I may never be able to hang with the fast guys.
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Old 06-25-10, 05:09 PM
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Err on the side of slow the first ride.

This is not about 'keeping up', it's about 'learning group riding skills properly in the safest way'. If you're learning anything complex like a rotating paceline, you want to be paying attention to etiquette, signaling, spacing, etc. and it's a LOT easier to do that if you're not tired.

Tired + speed + unfamiliar activity + other people being affected by a mistake = bad bad bad.
And, you will make mistakes your first few group rides. That's just reality.

That said, most cycling clubs worth their salt will flat out tell you which group to go with on the first ride. That way they can train you in the way they do things, so the leaders of faster rides can act decisively and assume everyone will react consistently.

Last edited by schnee; 06-25-10 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GP
Which group has the most women?
eh, doesn't really matter I'm married, but I guess I could look at the menu.

Originally Posted by njkayaker

Keep in mind that (it seems) you don't know what they mean by "hills" and, if it's a shorter ride, they might to be riding at the upper end of the range of speeds.
Oh I know the area very well and I'm well aware of the "hills". I'm at the base of a steep incline 11-12% possibly greater, which is where I begin most of my rides and my terrain is pretty much rolling hills. Some of the area might seem flat but in one direction it's a continual gradual incline. I'm prepared for the hills.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:27 PM
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Don't go with the "B" group. Go with the "C". Take into account that you're not an experienced club rider. If you were, the concept of starting with a faster group and falling back would be reasonable. You need to keep up with the group, learn group riding concepts and meet new riders all at the same time. You'll have plenty to do by just riding with the C group. Next week you can ride with the B group if you feel the C is too slow.
Also, keep in mind the slower group will try to work with you. Faster groups generally don't and they'll drop you much faster.
I ride with a club that has a very similar set up. Anyone who has doubts about riding with the faster group is advised to ride with the 14-16 group for one ride, then move up to the lead grou if they have the speed.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:30 PM
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Go out with the C boys and attack them on the first hill.

Never look back.
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Old 06-25-10, 06:43 PM
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How can we tell how serious you are w/o info on your bike. Also, it goes without saying that you should show up in full Team Discovery Channel Kit (extra points if Yellow Jersey version).
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Old 06-25-10, 06:44 PM
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what shop is this?
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Old 06-25-10, 06:54 PM
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if you prefer to chat a lot w/ fellow riders- go with D

if you prefer to be a loner - go with A
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Old 06-25-10, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Guillotine007
How can we tell how serious you are w/o info on your bike.
Info on my bike is in my Sig.

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Old 06-25-10, 07:01 PM
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Whichever group you choose, have fun!!!
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Old 06-25-10, 07:19 PM
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If you don't go with the B group or better I think Cannondale should be able to repossess your CAAD9.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GP
Which group has the most women?
This. But don't make it too obvious choosing your position in the paceline.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:33 PM
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Something said above is important. You need to learn the etiquette. Hand signals and appropriate responses to hazards, crossings, etc. It's not the same as riding alone. Go with the slow group the first time. There's plenty of time for speed later.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
My opinion is, that instead of asking a bunch of people on the internet what we think you can do with a group that we know nothing about, you should call the LBS, tell them what kind of riding you typically do, and ask them which group you would be the best fit with. Posted "averages" on the web sites may or may not actually reflect reality. Even if they are accurate, they aren't really very representative.

This.
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Old 06-25-10, 08:28 PM
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There is only one correct answer here. This is obviously your first group ride so first and foremost you need group riding experience. I don't care if you are fast enough to ride with the front of the "A' group you don't belong in the A's or the B's until you are comfortable and SAFE riding in a tight group formation and understand how different type's of pacelines work. Do everyone a favor and start with the D's or MAYBE the C's and learn the ropes. You don't want to get yelled at.
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