First group ride - what to expect?

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Mububban
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First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Mububban » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:25 am

So I'm hooked on my new road bike and have been doing 40-50km solo rides on the weekends, averaging ~25kph. I think I'll try a social group ride run by a local bike store. The only mass ride I've done was the inaugural Freeway Bike Hike and that felt more like dodgem cars!

If I pop into the easy/intro group based on my speed, what can I expect? What are some of the points of etiquette and the "unwritten rules" I should be aware of? I don't want to be "that guy" who rocks up and makes an arse of himself :)
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A_P
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby A_P » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:30 am

Call out potholes / glass etc and hold your line and don't half wheel,
thats the basics.
Dont expect someone else to be responsible for your safety either.
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silentC
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:48 am

Probably depends on the bunch. If it's an 'intro' group then you probably don't have much to worry about.

The only things that annoy me when new riders join the bunch are wheel overlapping and generally erratic riding like overtaking on the left, wobbling about, fading to the left or right without checking behind/beside. Basically just being aware of what's going on around you is all it takes. Make sure you observe the road rules, even if others don't. Particularly running red lights.

I would just hang off the back for awhile until you suss it out. Don't go gung-ho. You'll soon pick up what's expected.

I'm sure there are a stack of other things people can add but I ride in a pretty informal group and you'll be accepted at what ever level you're at as long as you don't try to kill anyone :)

PS to me half-wheeling means always being half a wheel in front of the guy next to you, driving the pace. Don't do that either, whatever it is called. Or at least wait until ride number 3 :)
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby biker jk » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:39 am

Keep your eyes ahead at ALL times. Don't look at your computer, stem, pedals, etc. If you look down and the rider ahead has slowed it will end in tears. When climbing don't be too close to the wheel ahead as the rider may get out of the saddle and the rear wheel can go backwards for a second.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:25 pm

It's interesting you say that, and I think it is good advice. I have had a couple of riders almost collide with my rear wheel because I am an out-of-the-seat climber and typically I ride into a hill in a higher gear than I would spin in and stand up once I get to my desired cadence.

This means that I go fairly quickly into the climb but slow down rapidly when I get out of the saddle. Sometimes people don't expect it and if they follow my wheel they end up too close. It comes from riding the old down tube shifters and choosing the gear in advance of the climb, rather than hitting the hill and rattling through the gears like a lot of riders do these days.

I had one guy say something to me about it, suggesting that you should give a bit of a burst before standing up to open up a gap between any rider behind. I was thinking it's kind of your problem mate because you're following me and I can't be worried about what you're doing. But it has happened enough for me to be wary of it because you can't always rely on people giving you space in a climb. Usually it's only a problem with sit-down climbers who go at a more consistent pace. I know who they are and make sure I give myself plenty of room.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:34 pm

I don't think that's your problem, it's the guy following who should be careful not to run into your rear wheel. It's a given that when someone is going uphill and standing on the pedals they may drop back slightly,so they should expect it. In any case, it was apparently illegal to ride in this manner in NSW up until very recently... :lol:

I'd have thought the pre-ride briefing would mention that. It is sometimes mentioned at race briefings to the riders.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:46 pm

Hmm, the pre-ride briefing usually consists of discussion of last night's game followed by "well, come on you slackos, let's get going". :)
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby caneye » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:02 pm

be on time. you don't want to hold the whole group up :D

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:31 pm

silentC wrote:Hmm, the pre-ride briefing usually consists of discussion of last night's game followed by "well, come on you slackos, let's get going". :)

That is not what I'd expect from an introductory group ride conducted by a bike store where negligent liability and duty of care may be involved.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:34 pm

RonK wrote:
silentC wrote:Hmm, the pre-ride briefing usually consists of discussion of last night's game followed by "well, come on you slackos, let's get going". :)

That is not what I'd expect from an introductory group ride conducted by a bike store where negligent liability and duty of care may be involved.


SilentC's lot is probably a bunch of mates riding together, rather than a bike shop ride. Those tend to be a bit more serious about etiquette and briefings. I haven't been on one in ages, but I remember they used to do this.

In any case, there is also the endless discussion (a lot of it on this very forum) about bunch rides being illegal... So how is that compatible with the duty of care... :roll: :lol:

Being late is the worst, especially if it is a quick group. Better to be late at least with two or three people then you can take turns smashing it... Been there, done that.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:39 pm

Yeah sorry I think my silly sense of humour caused the wires to get a bit crossed there. Hopefully the ride Mububban is planning to go on is a bit more structured than our rabble.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:07 pm

g-boaf wrote:In any case, there is also the endless discussion (a lot of it on this very forum) about bunch rides being illegal... So how is that compatible with the duty of care... :roll: :lol

It's pretty simple really. If you as a bike shop proprietor run a shop ride then you have a duty of care to advise participants as to the proper conduct of the ride and you can be held negligent and liable if you don't and a participant suffers damage or Injury as a result.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby biker jk » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:23 pm

RonK wrote:
g-boaf wrote:In any case, there is also the endless discussion (a lot of it on this very forum) about bunch rides being illegal... So how is that compatible with the duty of care... :roll: :lol

It's pretty simple really. If you as a bike shop proprietor run a shop ride then you have a duty of care to advise participants as to the proper conduct of the ride and you can be held negligent and liable if you don't and a participant suffers damage or Injury as a result.


Yes and that's why it's vital that ride leaders have insurance along with providing a proper briefing.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:39 pm

RonK wrote:
g-boaf wrote:In any case, there is also the endless discussion (a lot of it on this very forum) about bunch rides being illegal... So how is that compatible with the duty of care... :roll: :lol

It's pretty simple really. If you as a bike shop proprietor run a shop ride then you have a duty of care to advise participants as to the proper conduct of the ride and you can be held negligent and liable if you don't and a participant suffers damage or Injury as a result.


I think you missed the point. ;)

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:46 pm

g-boaf wrote:
RonK wrote:
g-boaf wrote:In any case, there is also the endless discussion (a lot of it on this very forum) about bunch rides being illegal... So how is that compatible with the duty of care... :roll: :lol

It's pretty simple really. If you as a bike shop proprietor run a shop ride then you have a duty of care to advise participants as to the proper conduct of the ride and you can be held negligent and liable if you don't and a participant suffers damage or Injury as a result.


I think you missed the point. ;)

I don't think so - whether bunch rides are legal or not, if you organise one you have a duty of care. And if there is any doubt, that duty would including warning participants that the activity may be illegal.
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Mububban
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Mububban » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:24 pm

Thanks for the tips, I definitely won't be trying to lead a breakaway or show everyone how awesome I am, because I am too slow for any of that rubbish :D I just want to try a group ride for the experience. Cheers.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Bunged Knee » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:03 pm

For more info, read any topics that you pick to help you to understand it.

http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/group-riding-skills-and-etiquette
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby RobertL » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:22 pm

Mububban wrote:Thanks for the tips, I definitely won't be trying to lead a breakaway or show everyone how awesome I am, because I am too slow for any of that rubbish :D I just want to try a group ride for the experience. Cheers.


I'm a fairly experienced rider. I rode everywhere as a kid. I always owned a bike as an adult, but rarely rode it. When I did I was confident in traffic etc. In the middle of last year I started commuting to work by bike. At the beginning of this year, I decided to join a group.

That's just a bit of background, but this is what I discovered:
* All I was expected to do was ride sensibly. As others have said, no silly manouveurs etc.
* I had trouble keeping up with the slow group at first, but I improved quickly.
* You will ride closer to the rider in front than you have ever done before. This will be nerve-wracking, but you will get used to it quickly.
* The group will accelerate out of corners. This is not normally something that cyclists who have never done any sort of group riding or more serious riding do. Again, you will get used to it.
* Some experienced group riders are surprisingly poor at dealing with traffic and other road-riding techniques. Some of us commuters have more experience of that than many faster, sportier riders.

Most importantly, you will have lots of fun!

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby GAV!N » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:02 pm

Mububban wrote:Thanks for the tips, I definitely won't be trying to lead a breakaway or show everyone how awesome I am, because I am too slow for any of that rubbish :D I just want to try a group ride for the experience. Cheers.


In my opinion there shouldn't be any of that 'rubbish' in a group ride anyway. Leave that to racing. As a group cyclists need to set a good impression to other road users. No wonder we get a bad name after seeing some of that 'rubbish' in group rides on public roads (sprint to the town sign anyone? All good if there is no one in sight. but seeing riders go three, four, five abreast, including the wrong side of the road for the 'sprint' when there's cars coming from behind or in front is a horrible scene). :evil:

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:50 am

I haven't ever seen riders going three, four or five across on a public road bunch, except in a race, that was on a road that had rolling closures.

Do see plenty of cars taking to the wrong side of the road on tight corners in order to keep their speed higher...

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby madmacca » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:49 am

silentC wrote:I had one guy say something to me about it, suggesting that you should give a bit of a burst before standing up to open up a gap between any rider behind. I was thinking it's kind of your problem mate because you're following me and I can't be worried about what you're doing. But it has happened enough for me to be wary of it because you can't always rely on people giving you space in a climb. Usually it's only a problem with sit-down climbers who go at a more consistent pace. I know who they are and make sure I give myself plenty of room.


Rather than opening up a gap, call "standing" BEFORE you get out of the saddle.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby fergy1987 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:43 pm

I've always wanted to have a crack at a group ride, but with my average speed I'd be left behind after the first 100m :P

What's the trick to increasing speed.....just riding more?

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby DG1984 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:40 pm

fergy1987 wrote:I've always wanted to have a crack at a group ride, but with my average speed I'd be left behind after the first 100m :P

What's the trick to increasing speed.....just riding more?


Keeping up with the group for as long as you can until you can complete the entire ride, until such a point as the group are holding you back. Then repeating that with faster groups.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Parker » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:28 pm

silentC wrote:I had one guy say something to me about it, suggesting that you should give a bit of a burst before standing up to open up a gap between any rider behind. I was thinking it's kind of your problem mate because you're following me and I can't be worried about what you're doing. But it has happened enough for me to be wary of it because you can't always rely on people giving you space in a climb. Usually it's only a problem with sit-down climbers who go at a more consistent pace. I know who they are and make sure I give myself plenty of room.


Your duty of care is to the rider behind you, its the reason we call out things we see on the road, if you're not good at transitioning from sitting to standing then you need to call it or the group needs to agree on a signal. I have ridden with groups that have a signal.

The aim of climbing is always to be consistent, riders who see the hill and jump out of the saddle and get tired half way up are doing it wrong. I was one of those climbers who was doing it wrong.

Keep your cadence high as you go into the hill, even if it means dropping to the smaller ring, cadence is key here.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:44 pm

It rather depends on the hill, I don't go along with prescriptive stuff like that but thanks.

It's interesting you say the duty of care is to the rider behind. There is a lot of stuff that goes on behind you that you have no control over, take the wheel overlap (what some are calling "half-wheeling") conversation in another thread. I think it's pretty much accepted that the rider behind is responsible to make sure his front wheel is not beside the rear wheel of the rider in front. So it's not always the case.

But yes as I said I always make sure I have plenty of room so that I can climb the way I prefer without worrying about the spinners.
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