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Group ride crash. I feel like a turd. Should I?

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Group ride crash. I feel like a turd. Should I?

Old 12-04-11, 09:00 AM
  #76  
asgelle
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
You should feel bad (but don't beat yourself up too much). Not because it was your fault, but because, in a group ride, everyone is responsible for the safety of everyone else. That is just the way it has to be if you are going to ride bikes in close proximity to each other. Replay the incident in your head and note what you could have done differently that could have resulted in a better outcome. There is always something. Store all that information so that the next time this happens, and it will happen again (this is just something that happens when you get a bunch of people on two wheels and ask them to ride inches from each other), you know a bit better what to do. Whatever you do, don't just leave it at "well, it wasn't my fault and so the dude should just suck it". Go back to the group, seek out the dude who crashed into you and apologize again, and ride. Sht happens. Everybody knows that, and chances are that the next time you see the dude who ran into you, his temper would have cooled and he'll accept your apology.
Very well said. Especially noting what could be done in the future to result in a better outcome.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:29 AM
  #77  
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This incident I was involved in had a good ending but illustrates the point. We were riding as a loose group recently, a dog headed towards the leading rider from his left, across the road. The creature's buddy charged the same bike from the right and passed directly in front (may have been going for the other dog, come to think of it). The lead rider braked hard, no time or space for much else, and those of us behind just had to deal with the situation. He doesn't need to hit a dog rather than brake (If he went down, the impact on the following riders would have been worse, as would have possibly been the case in the OP situation). Fortunately, when the first dog appeared, we all spaced it out a bit.

No one saw the second dog run out from the right; everyone was looking at the first one chasing from the left.

No one went down; everyone went out of their way to say to the lead guy that it wasn't his fault as he knew what would likely happen when he slowed unexpectedly and felt really bad about the situation.

Stuff happens
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Old 12-04-11, 10:03 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by catmandew52 View Post


It might be to the Fred's.
Almost everyone is someone elses Fred. Some of us are everyones' Fred.
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Old 12-04-11, 10:58 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Another thing of note: you stated you were trying to keep a bike length distance between you and the person in front of you. This indicates to me that it was likely you overreacted to what was going on in front of you, due to your inexperience. In normal riding, if you feel you need a full bike length buffer to enable you to respond to routine manuvers by the person you are following, it is likely you really slammed on the brakes in response to what was going on ahead of you. Now, that is just intuition on my part; don't read an insult into this. My point simply is that there is no intrinsic reason why someone hitting their brakes in front of you should cause a chain reaction of heavy braking. You have options. Most experienced riders, even while they are ridding inches for the person in front, they are off to one side by a couple inches. This is so they can move laterally in response to a sudden braking and brake more moderately or not at all. Ask the opinion of one of the more experienced riders who saw what happened what you did right or wrong. Then really listen to those more experienced people and take what they say to heart. Group riding and pace lining and the whole shebang is all about group cooperation, and making sure everyone knows what is expected of them is key to keeping the group safe.
I am guessing that the gent behind me was also about a bike length back, just from the delay between my slowing and the impact. I didn't move laterally (at least not intentionally), since I would have needed to check back before moving - too many bikes. I simply held my line and slowed quickly, but not slamming on the brakes. We weren't riding very fast, maybe 15 tops, and we were slower when all this happened. The voice heard way out front was unintelligible, and the pair riding in front of me slowed quickly. After the crash I looked up and could see someone stopped and looking back, but he had already assumed that position before the crash (or had stopped before the crash - he was at the front of the group and caused the confusion).

Looking back at it after a good night's sleep, I think the biggest contributor was the conglomeration of several ability groups. When we are leaving town, this is kinda ok, but usually once out on the road the different clumps of folks have found their level. The weather kept us bunched - nobody was thrilled with riding fast in the cold, and the visibility was at times very poor. It was a crash (or crashes, I don't know how the rest of the ride went) waiting to happen.

What I take away:
  • be cautious to the point of not riding when the group is this mixed as to ability and experience
  • there is weather where just htfu and doing it is stupid - yesterday's was a good example
  • hang way off the back unless it is a paceline - avoid the middle of the clump (nothing about this resembles a peloton) - in fact, I was pretty much off the back until yet another clump of riders caught up, which may have "pushed" the guy that hit me
  • I may simply stick to riding solo, with my wife, and with a couple or three buddies where our abilities and goals are in the same ballpark
  • I am not, thankfully, able to simply look at something like this and entitle the guy that crashed as an idiot, and move on along as nothing happens. I don't like being part of ruining someone's day like this.

I have done three organized rides in addition to these four group rides. My first was terrifying, with almost 500 folks riding out together through town and through some significant rollers until the 45 mile group split off of our 70 mile group. My second was ok - you just left when ready, so no real clumping up, and I rode with four friends that I knew well. The third was messy - riding through town and traffic with folks you haven't even met - trying to coach my wife in the cluster that was the first 3 miles of the ride before we got out of town.

After yesterday, I am rethinking the kind of "togetherness" I want in my rides. Probably less. I get the feeling that the commute and my trainer are going to be the bulk of the riding I do this winter.

And the chuckle, if there is one: I had sworn I was not going to join a club when I started riding. The membership application and check are completed but not mailed yet. I might have to just honor my original vow...

Last edited by david58; 12-04-11 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 12-04-11, 11:06 AM
  #80  
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Keep doing the group rides. My strategy as a relative noob is to hang out towards the back and watch people for a while. I started to notice that there are certain people I want to stay the hell away from.
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Old 12-04-11, 11:08 AM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Fiery View Post
The whole thread is about emergency stopping or slowing down. You know, the kind where there is no time to drift to the back, and where whatever makes the person stop is also a good reason for everyone behind him to stop. Do try to keep up.
OP indicated dodging around random "stoppers" bunching and unbunching the ride. if an individual has a personal emergency requiring a stop, indicating and pulling off onto the shoulder is ok. if there is an immediate hazard to the entire group, that is the lead rider's responsibility to indicate.

think i've kept up more than adequately.

to OP, you haven't really been doing good group rides. check out my michael barry blog reiteration in an earlier post in this thread. that's a group ride, and it's a shame no one has shown you.

Last edited by pdedes; 12-04-11 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 12-04-11, 11:19 AM
  #82  
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pdedes I agree with what you said there, but in your response to my quote , I was referring to when the entire group has to stop or be cautious (stop sign/signal, tracks, dog, crazy driver, etc..), not to the "stoppers" david58 was referring to.
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Old 12-04-11, 11:44 AM
  #83  
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I'm no expert or anything, but it seems like a group ride that's obstructed by people pulling off to the side (and not completely out of the way) and with people behind that don't protect their front wheel ... isn't a group ride that I'd want to be in the middle of.

I was in a very big peleton this summer during a organized century, which got going pretty fast (26? 27?, ok fast for me), and in the group of 80 or so riders, a few in the front decided to stop and pull over for a "biological break" ... and did so abruptly and quickly enough so as to nearly take out a whole bunch of riders in the rear. Happily, we were all aware enough to be able to avoid those in front of us ... but this was an impromptu situation, not an organized group ride that I'd chosen.

It's easy enough to avoid the first (a poor group) (at least after a ride or two), but a little harder to avoid the second (well, I suppose you could by never joining up impromptu with other riders -- but if you did this, how would you meet anyone)?
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Old 12-04-11, 11:48 AM
  #84  
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No. You're OK.
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Old 12-04-11, 12:19 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
that person is an idiot. drift to the back and stop, no yelling required.
before you call someone an idiot...
you completely missed the point. It's an emergency situation, the entire group was coming to a sudden stop. you can't just drift to the back and slow down when the entire paceline suddenly slammed on the brakes for something that happened near the front. If you're in an emergency stopping situation, in a tight group, the stupidest thing you can do is take your hands off the bars. Yelling out stopping for the benefit of any inattentive riders behind you though, sounds pretty smart to me.
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Old 12-04-11, 12:26 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
... The weather kept us bunched - nobody was thrilled with riding fast in the cold, and the visibility was at times very poor. It was a crash (or crashes, I don't know how the rest of the ride went) waiting to happen.
You also said that you were preparing to clear the ice off of your glasses.

The group I usually go out with won't ride if the weather will make things unsafe. Hot or cold, yes, but precipitation or bad road conditions? Nope. You guys in Oregon would probably be stuck with two good riding weekends out of the year if you stuck with that rule but I'd be pretty nervous about riding with a group if I can't see very well.
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Old 12-04-11, 12:32 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
What I take away:
  • be cautious to the point of not riding when the group is this mixed as to ability and experience
  • there is weather where just htfu and doing it is stupid - yesterday's was a good example
  • hang way off the back unless it is a paceline - avoid the middle of the clump (nothing about this resembles a peloton) - in fact, I was pretty much off the back until yet another clump of riders caught up, which may have "pushed" the guy that hit me
  • I may simply stick to riding solo, with my wife, and with a couple or three buddies where our abilities and goals are in the same ballpark
  • I am not, thankfully, able to simply look at something like this and entitle the guy that crashed as an idiot, and move on along as nothing happens. I don't like being part of ruining someone's day like this.
Dude, nothing in that list indicates you actually want to learn how to ride in a group setting. Learn the skill or stay away. A hint: it is not about the "mixed skill" of the group or the weather or the distance you hung back from the group, it is about your own inexperience. From what you have written, you do not have the experience to judge skill from non-skill or cause/effect.
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Old 12-04-11, 12:40 PM
  #88  
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You shouldn't feel bad about the situation. Things like that happen and it's not your fault. You can feel bad for being in that situation but not your actions. Getting hit from behind, in that situation, is not your fault. That kind of accident is common, and common even with UCI Pro racers that do it for a living.
Leaving a gap that was comfortable for you is smart. If that gap is too big for someone behind, they can go around.

We have a bi-weekly pack ride that is public. We have Olympians down to some dude that just wants to jump into a 30+mph ride.
Wildly different skill levels.

In pack riding, everyone takes on the risk for themselves. You choose to ride in it, you take the responsibility if there is a crash.
Yeah stuff happens. People have to suck it up and move on. You shouldn't feel horrible about it.

I'm sure that guy is upset at breaking something. Maybe upset at himself for riding up your butt? He has no right to blame you for it (It reads like he didn't).
But each person chooses to ride with the pack and licks their own wounds if they go down.

Hope it doesn't pull you away from riding in a pack. Sometimes it gets stupid and as others said, just pull out.
Use your judgement because there is always another ride.
You can also try smaller pack rides, I find them really fun too.
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Old 12-04-11, 05:21 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
if you're riding with a group that shouts "slowing", you're riding with the wrong group.
Truer words were never spoken... er... written.
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Old 12-04-11, 05:27 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by lhorn View Post
Wow, suddenly I have no desire to learn to ride in a paceline.
Who said anything about pacelines ?
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Old 12-04-11, 05:53 PM
  #91  
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It doesn't sound like the OP was in the wrong but I'd like to hear the other guys point of view. Generally the rule is protect your front wheel and ride predictably. Plowing into the back of someone is not protecting your wheel and braking hard is not riding predictably. I can't really tell which happened so thats for you to decide.

However, you really should ride group rides until you understand what those 2 things really mean. The last time someone crashed in front of me I went around them as close as possible without being too close and I didn't brake at all. The person behind me followed me around the 2 downed riders and we slowed down a ways down the road. We all were no more than a foot apart and no one else was involved.
btw, one guy surged in front and the guy in front of me accelerated too much right into the back of him. He said the surger braked but the only thing he did was stop accelerating.
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Old 12-04-11, 06:10 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Dude, nothing in that list indicates you actually want to learn how to ride in a group setting. Learn the skill or stay away. A hint: it is not about the "mixed skill" of the group or the weather or the distance you hung back from the group, it is about your own inexperience. From what you have written, you do not have the experience to judge skill from non-skill or cause/effect.
Could well be. Like I said, right now solo or the trainer seems preferable. I am certainly not good enough to deal with the unpredictability of a mixed, inconsistent group. If that is my inability to judge skill from nonskill or cause/effect, fine.

See, the point of this whole cycling thing is that it is fun. If it isn't, just like anybody else, I ain't doing it - I spend enough hours and days of my life doing "un-fun" stuff to recreate doing something I don't enjoy. So, as you recommend, I simply plan to stay away. Thanks for the hint.
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Old 12-04-11, 06:38 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Rippin View Post
Hand signals are more appropriate for low-paced riding / smaller groups / longer spacing between riders.
Yes-- I see the hand signals on the Century rides. Once the pace is up around 20+, barking out various hazards (especially when you are slowing and becoming the hazard yourself) makes tons of sense.

This seems obvious to me, and I consider myself a newbie on these rides. I'm not sure why there isn't more universal agreement on this....
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Old 12-04-11, 06:53 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
Could well be. Like I said, right now solo or the trainer seems preferable. I am certainly not good enough to deal with the unpredictability of a mixed, inconsistent group. If that is my inability to judge skill from nonskill or cause/effect, fine.

See, the point of this whole cycling thing is that it is fun. If it isn't, just like anybody else, I ain't doing it - I spend enough hours and days of my life doing "un-fun" stuff to recreate doing something I don't enjoy. So, as you recommend, I simply plan to stay away. Thanks for the hint.
Everything that is truly fun, takes work.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:10 PM
  #95  
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But working on something doesn't automatically turn it into fun.

As you said, learn the skill or stay away. Not interested in the skill right now, so I guess "stay away" is the name of the game.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:22 PM
  #96  
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Hard to really analyze what happened not being there, and not reading every post in the thread, and I agree that the guy behind the OP is ultimately at fault.

That said, it sounds like the OP, and certainly the guy behind the OP could have done a better job of anticipating what was happening ahead.

To the OP, when you're riding in a group, don't just focus on the bike ahead; keep that bike in your peripheral vsion, but your focus up the road. By doing so, you might have seen the situation that lead to the yell developing before the yell, and been better prepared to deal with it.

Anticipating what's about to happen is an important skill to develop in group riding. The guy behind you clearly needs to work on it, and it would also help you.
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Old 12-04-11, 07:27 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
But working on something doesn't automatically turn it into fun.

As you said, learn the skill or stay away. Not interested in the skill right now, so I guess "stay away" is the name of the game.
Today, we did an 80 mile ride with a group of about 100 riders. 40 miles or so of it was at a moderate pace around 22-23mph, rolling along smoothly, putting in volume, catching up with friends. 30 miles of it or so was hard, 25mph plus, hard workout, and challenging (at least for us).

All told it was a great ride in a number of respects.

If you never learn to ride smoothly and safely with a group, you'll miss that sense of community, challenge, achievement, speed, and a workout that will push beyond what you thought you were capable of.

Shame to give up on all that.
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Old 12-04-11, 08:22 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
Yes-- I see the hand signals on the Century rides. Once the pace is up around 20+, barking out various hazards (especially when you are slowing and becoming the hazard yourself) makes tons of sense.

This seems obvious to me, and I consider myself a newbie on these rides. I'm not sure why there isn't more universal agreement on this....
Most of the time, good groups point out hazards and communicate more efficiently (and much less annoyingly) with hand signals. If you're riding heads up, you're focused and anticipating almost any eventuality. Leave the screaming to the teen girl BFF reunions.
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Old 12-04-11, 08:52 PM
  #99  
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I was involved with my first crash last year. I was sprinting up a hill and as I down shifted, the Mavic freehub skipped a tooth and I went up and over my bars. The guy who was behind me hit me and crashed hard. He broke his pelvis and is still not riding. I felt real bad even though the Team Captain watched the entire thing and said 'It's part of riding in a group, there is nothing you did wrong, or could have prevented'. Still sucks that I am still riding and he is still out after a year.

My wife said that I should get back into hang gliding because this cycling stuff appears to be too dangerous.
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Old 12-04-11, 09:53 PM
  #100  
Terry66
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You controlled your bike and didn't hit anything. Same can't be said for the tool behind you. I would have found a good use for that broken shoe if the guy hit me and got an attitude about it.
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