First group ride - what to expect?

g-boaf
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:02 pm

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


Unless you are one of those riders who does hills really quickly with a lower cadence. :lol: I've seen a few who can do that. :shock:

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silentC
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:31 am

OK here is an example. There is a little climb of about 1.8km averaging around 6%. It starts at the bottom of a short descent, so you hit that at a fairly high speed, around 40kph in a high gear if you are taking it easy. Now what I like to do is roll up it until I get to a certain point, and then stand up for a little pinch about 1/4 of the way up. I will climb that out of the saddle, then sit down and go down a few gears for the duration of the climb, with a bit of standing occasionally to break it up, depending on my legs.

Now what happened to me once was that there was a guy sitting on my wheel, and I didn't know he was there. When I stood up, his front wheel brushed my back wheel and I heard him go 'oh'. He actually apologised and to be honest, I do blame him because he was too close to me in that situation.

I very much go along with what bikerjk said. Don't sit too close to the wheel in front when climbing. I go by that and I also back off on descents. We aren't pros and I don't see any advantage in being that close in those situations.
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rodneycc
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby rodneycc » Sat Oct 08, 2016 9:18 am

Have you guys got any tips for what to do if you are in a large bunch - say 20 riders all nose to tail and you have started out fairly slowly because you are pretty new and start up the back but quickly find the pace isn't to your liking but the thought of riding past 20 people is a bit daunting and don't really want to get caught on the outside half way up a climb (not knowing what is ahead).

Is there any call or signal to pull in half way in the line (acknowledging some half wheeling will occur) or as I've always thought you'd have to bite the bullet and go all the way to the front and roll over to the left (or drop back on the outside looking a bit foolish). Just some strategies around that scenario would be good for the OP and myself.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby ironhanglider » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:31 pm

rodneycc wrote:Have you guys got any tips for what to do if you are in a large bunch - say 20 riders all nose to tail and you have started out fairly slowly because you are pretty new and start up the back but quickly find the pace isn't to your liking but the thought of riding past 20 people is a bit daunting and don't really want to get caught on the outside half way up a climb (not knowing what is ahead).

Is there any call or signal to pull in half way in the line (acknowledging some half wheeling will occur) or as I've always thought you'd have to bite the bullet and go all the way to the front and roll over to the left (or drop back on the outside looking a bit foolish). Just some strategies around that scenario would be good for the OP and myself.


Just wait. In a group ride everyone will get their turn on the front. Besides the effect of 20 riders pushing the air aside makes it seem easy/slow at the back. When you are pushing through clean air you will find it much harder and you would look very foolish to overtake everyone in order to get to the front, only to get tired and be overtaken by the bunch again.

Besides trying to make twenty riders adjust to your pace will be difficult and is not likely to encourage anyone else to ride with you, see the half-wheeling thread. If you want to be part of a group, ride at group pace. If you don't like the pace then find another group to ride with.

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g-boaf
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby g-boaf » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:35 pm

rodneycc wrote:Have you guys got any tips for what to do if you are in a large bunch - say 20 riders all nose to tail and you have started out fairly slowly because you are pretty new and start up the back but quickly find the pace isn't to your liking but the thought of riding past 20 people is a bit daunting and don't really want to get caught on the outside half way up a climb (not knowing what is ahead).

Is there any call or signal to pull in half way in the line (acknowledging some half wheeling will occur) or as I've always thought you'd have to bite the bullet and go all the way to the front and roll over to the left (or drop back on the outside looking a bit foolish). Just some strategies around that scenario would be good for the OP and myself.


The thing is, it might seem easy in the pack, but out on the front it might be a lot harder work. In the middle of the pack you can go along with minimal effort.

As for breaking away from the group, there are plenty of extremely good/talented riders out there who have done that on bunch rides they've been in, and I'm certain the various people calling out that sort of thing here would never have dared say anything to them.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby macca33 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:15 pm

To be honest, I reckon a lot of you are over-complicating a bunch ride. I've only been cycling - as an adult - since late 2012, but was comfortable riding in medium-paced bunches after a couple of months of solo duties, when I was told, 'Just have a go.'

The first trick is to ensure you can handle your bike correctly, clip-in and clip-out, hold a straight line and be predictable - accelerating, cornering, braking, etc....

Then, it is simply a matter of watching your own front wheel - to ensure you don't overlap and get brought down when the rider in front of you deviates slightly, or slows, for whatever reason.

Early on, the issue of leaving the saddle to climb, etc, was explained to me as being up to the rider who departs the saddle to try to do so smoothly, so as not to throw the bike backwards, into the trailing rider. I've seen a whole wheel-width disappear in a split-second when the front rider left the saddle and the person behind - who was leaving a reasonable gap of one wheel width - had nowhere else to go, but onto the pavement, when the wheels touched.

Also, there is no harm in simply sitting at the back of the bunch to ascertain how a bunch works, how efficient it is compared to solo riding and what other riders do, whether simply sitting-on, or swapping/rolling turns at the front.

I would recommend sitting at the back for the first few rides in a bunch, purely, so you can build a bit of confidence and also give yourself the buffer from the wheel in front that you feel you need - as your skills/experience develop, the gap will lessen and lessen. Also, don't be afraid to take advice - some may be good, some not so good, but it'll provide a sense of direction as to how you are going.

If you get dropped, well, figure out why and try to improve. On our local bunches, it typically takes a 'newbie' 3-4 goes to finally get around with the bunch, but each time, the rider is improving and getting fitter/stronger, so a sense of accomplishment is also imbued.

Riding solo, or in bunches....or racing, are all good fun, so enjoy it!

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:25 am

macca33 wrote:Early on, the issue of leaving the saddle to climb, etc, was explained to me as being up to the rider who departs the saddle to try to do so smoothly, so as not to throw the bike backwards, into the trailing rider. I've seen a whole wheel-width disappear in a split-second when the front rider left the saddle and the person behind - who was leaving a reasonable gap of one wheel width - had nowhere else to go, but onto the pavement, when the wheels touched.

Sure, you try not to do that - although I don't think I have ever gone backwards, can't even imagine how you would do it. I think you mean a sudden change of speed relative to the trailing rider. And yes if the guy behind is sitting too close, that can cause a problem. Some sources advise new riders not to follow the wheel ahead too closely into a climb for that reason. I would call that defensive and sensible riding. Staring at the wheel in front (or your own front wheel or your stem) and being caught out when the rider in front of you stands up I would call inattentive riding. A bit of situational awareness is called for.

I guess I ride with the same guys so often I know which ones will stand up when. The gear change up a cog or two is a dead giveaway too.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby trainspotter » Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:43 pm

silentC wrote: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.

While it is the responsibility of the rider behind to leave enough gap not to hit your rear wheel when you stand, it's just as much your responsibility to ensure you don't "throw" your bike backwards as you get out the saddle. The best way not to do this is to smoothly lift yourself out of the saddle on a power stroke so you don't lose momentum - concentrate on spinning out of the saddle rather than lurching. Your technique actually lends itself quite nicely to this as you'll be aware of when you're nearing your desired cadence and can lift yourself out of the saddle just before you get there. You'll also find that you'll use less energy on the initial stand than you would otherwise as you won't have to recover the lost momentum, and riders behind will be thankful too.
It's a part of good bunch ride etiquette, and something that should really be emphasised on a beginners group ride where there are varying levels of ability and fitness.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby trainspotter » Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:00 pm

silentC wrote: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.

Some things you cannot control, but there are things you can. Maintaining a consistent line in a bunch and not suddenly changing your line, not throwing your bike back as you stand for a climb, not overlapping the wheel of the rider in front, taking your turn and not attacking off the front, calling out the potholes, glass, and other debris on the road. All little things that make the ride more enjoyable for everyone. The best group rides work well when everybody works together to the benefit of everyone in the group. Think of the group as a single entity not as x number of individuals.
You may not necessarily "care for" the rider behind, but you should still care about them.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:17 pm

I really only bunch ride once a week and there aren't any real climbs, just little uphill sprints, so it's not something I have to deal with often. The couple of times it has become an issue have been on social rides and you simply don't expect to have someone sitting inches from your back wheel.

But I try to be a good citizen cyclist :) Wish I could say the same for others. We have a new guy who started riding with us a couple of weeks ago - training for a triathlon. He has a penchant for overtaking on the left. I was overtaking another guy last Sunday and I looked across to see old mate with the strap on tri bars mounting a flanking manoeuvre from the left. Someone should say something to him I suppose.

But this thread is meant to be about someone's first bunch ride (has it happened yet?) and so I reckon the original advice is good - to not sit too close to the wheel in front on climbs. If you're riding in an intro bunch then you can't rely on the person in front to know what they are meant to do so I think it is good advice to give, and it's probably why several of the 'how to ride in a bunch' pages I have seen mention it.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Mububban » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:25 pm

silentC wrote:But this thread is meant to be about someone's first bunch ride (has it happened yet?)


No but I've found a store ride (Joondalup) that includes a 25kph average that I'll try and join one Saturday asap.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:31 pm

Hope all this hasn't put you off!

I've been barked at a couple of times. It reminds me of karate, when you start out you get a bit of barking, but it's usually from the brown belts, not the black belts :)
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby limbot » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:37 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



It's a case of finding the right group. I was a solo rider for the last 3 years and never rode with any more than one other person ( and then only a handful of times).

Before riding the AGF I wanted to do some group riding so I wouldn't be too suprised when riding with 5,500 other riders. :)

Was recommended by a friend a nice non-drop group. It's a group of riders of all experience levels. Each weekend they run a social and a "serious" ride. At the social ride the faster riders aren't out to break any records and if they want to ride for speed rather than for the social aspect they do a later ride with the more "serious" bunch of riders from the same group.

They're a good bunch of people and coach and take care of newer/slower riders. The slower riders ride at their comfort and the faster do the same but stop at strategic places to wait and encourage the slower riders (e.g. at the top of a hill).

One young lady hadn't ridden across the Tasman bridge before so the faster riders waited at the other side for a fairly substantial time as in the end she walked her bike across.

In some ways I wish I'd joined group rides earlier as the camaraderie and assistance they give new riders is fantastic. Like you I always thought I'd be too slow to ride with a group but on the social rides I'm in the "faster" group.

Find a group that matches your requirements.

That being said I still like to ride solo because I never know where or how fast I want to go till I"m riding :)

Hint's for being new to group riding:
Don't be nervous
Sit up the back initially to see what the rest of the group does
Keep a bit of distance to those in front
Don't just look at your front wheel, look up
Ask if you're unsure of anything (hand signals, protocol)
Socialise
Have fun :)

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby billy70 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:37 am

Lots of great advice here Mububban, particularly from Macca. I recommend just having a crack and watching what happens from the back. I love the social side of group rides and the healthiness of the physical activity. I find I can also push myself harder and reach better fitness levels as a result.

In regards to initiating a standing maneuver, shouldn't be much of an issue for social rides. However, as it gets more serious, the pace increases and the gaps between riders decreases, it can be a significant issue when a jerky movement throws the bike backwards. I was riding in a Gran Fondo recently where we were going pretty hard and the guy in front of me at first wheel was doing this incessantly. Not predictable in any way, on flats as well as for small climbs, no warning and he'd throw himself backwards a wheel's length every time. I could see he was struggling to maintain the pace, but it nearly ended in tears the first couple of times. I backed right off and left a gap which should not have needed to exist in that group at that pace. I would never ride with the dude again, he was simply dangerous.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:07 am

OK, so it's impossible to 'throw the bike backwards', that's the first thing. You would go over the handlebars. What you mean is a sudden drop in pace. Yes if you drop your speed suddenly like that and someone is sitting on your wheel and they weren't watching, they will run into you. It's reasonable to expect an experienced rider in front not to do that, assuming he knows you are there.

I rode in the Bass Coast 121k ride in Victoria last year. They let us go in groups of about 100 and I was at the back of the first group - self-seeded and I ended up coming in at the back of the top 10% so I was happy with where I started ability-wise. But there were so many riders in front of me that had no idea of keeping a line. They were all over the road about 6 abreast and weaving back and forth. It was a nightmare, and after one guy nearly wiped me out I ended up sprinting for about 100m up the right hand side to get past it all. The point is that at those events there is a wide range of ability and experience and it's highly likely you will encounter someone who rides like that.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:01 am

[quote="silentC"]OK, so it's impossible to 'throw the bike backwards', that's the first thing. You would go over the handlebars...[quote]
I don't want to be pedantic but the back wheel will move slightly backwards because as the rider goes from a sitting to a standing position their body moves forward with the torso over the handlebars rather than over the seat.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:53 am

But surely that's the rider moving forwards in relation to the bike. The bike itself is still travelling in a forwards direction.

I suppose I was being a bit pedantic myself by pointing it out. But in terms of someone following, the bike in front doesn't suddenly start travelling towards you, it has just slowed so that if you continue at the same speed, you will collide with it. I'm reading a book that has a discussion of orbital mechanics at the moment, so I'm aware that these things are all relative.

What I tend to do is roll into the hill in the gear I want to climb in, then stand and 'catch' the pedals as my speed slows. The one time a guy collected me, I was being a bit lazy and my speed dropped a lot more than normal but at no point was I travelling backwards, my wheels were always rotating forwards. If I know someone is on my wheel, I will give a burst as I stand so that I actually speed up momentarily.
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:05 pm

Backwards is the wrong word I guess. "Moves forward at a slightly slower rate then previously."
I think we are saying the same thing :)

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby silentC » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:16 pm

Yep! Like I said just me being pedantic ;)
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Mububban » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:01 pm

Sickness and family duties have conspired against me, I was planning to go this Saturday just gone but got the dreaded lurgy. Hopefully this coming Saturday will happen!
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby warthog1 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:21 am

g-boaf wrote:
Parker wrote:Keep your cadence high as you go into the hill, even if it means dropping to the smaller ring, cadence is key here.


Unless you are one of those riders who does hills really quickly with a lower cadence. :lol: I've seen a few who can do that. :shock:



There used to be the odd one around. :)



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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Mububban » Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:24 pm

Well it finally happened :D I did a gentle 50km with the 25kph group to take it nice and easy and to learn the signs and calls used. They ride with a "no rider left behind" policy so if someone has a flat or hits the wall, everyone will slow down which is nice.

Next time I think I'll try the 27s which is what the shop owner suggested, but when the 25 ride leader grabbed me I figured I'd just go with it.

I'll definitely be doing that again. Thanks everyone for the advice :)
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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby Comedian » Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:40 pm

Start reading up on these. :mrgreen:

http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

Seriously, just try and be steady and predictable. If this isn't enough, find another group. People should welcome you and teach you.

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:08 pm

silentC wrote:Hope all this hasn't put you off!

I've been barked at a couple of times. It reminds me of karate, when you start out you get a bit of barking, but it's usually from the brown belts, not the black belts :)


Just read that :lol:
Nicely said. :)

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Re: First group ride - what to expect?

Postby jules21 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:29 pm

macca33 wrote:Then, it is simply a matter of watching your own front wheel - to ensure you don't overlap and get brought down when the rider in front of you deviates slightly, or slows, for whatever reason.

and there you have it. simple.

it should be a rule that every rider who yells out "oi! hold your line, you cut me off!" needs to shout the bunch beers.

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