Gong Ride

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:01 pm

I did my first ever gong ride yesterday. My wife asked if I'd ever do it again...

Firstly, I took up riding about 3 years ago. I ride an MTB set up for road riding (touring tyres) and these days average around 65km/wk, including a few short Zwift efforts, mostly workout mode. However I've never done a bunch ride, and although I try not to be completely ignorant, I certainly have no actual experience riding in a group.

I entered the ride mainly because I've never done an organised ride before, and wanted to experience it. I also entered for the challenge itself, it being longer than my normal rides (35-45km) but obviously within my abilities. I also went into it with my eyes well and truly open, having read various threads on this and other group rides over the last few years. I should also mention I crossed the start line at 8:15am (after my mate realised he hat a flat literally 10m into the race)...

I expected to be dodging slower people but wasn't prepared to be doing it for about 80 of the 82km. In truth, the once-a-year-on-a-borrowed-bike people weren't the problem; they stuck to the left and/or walked the hills (aside from once instance of trying to push too big-a-gear up a hill and using the entire width of the road). The main problem I had were people that obviously had some experience riding, but simply refused to keep left. That ranged from the chatting-to-my-mate to the how-dare-you-pass-me types (the ones that have seen you on their wheel for the last 3 minutes, but still don't move left even when they have the chance).

[What is it with these people? In the undulations at the tail end of the race, there was one guy in full road kit that seemed hell-bent on keeping me behind him for some unknown reason. We came to a short hill and he got out of the saddle... the road widened, I went left and blew him away and - regrettably now - didn't look back.]

Driving back with my mate we discussed the ride and I mentioned that I didn't have much memory of large sections of the ride, and we concluded that was because we spent the entire time negotiating traffic and therefore had no time to enjoy the scenery.

Having said all that, although it was somewhat tiring and tedious (distracting) to ride under those conditions (not to mention the weather) I didn't witness a lot in the way of outright dangerous behaviour. The descents were, if anything, a little too slow, and I suspect the wet roads had a lot to do with that. And for that I'm actually a little thankful.

I can definitely understand the sentiment that this ride should be avoided for anyone who is somewhat serious about their riding. In fact, it's ironic to hear people mutter about those that "have no business doing the ride" when in fact, IMHO, it's them that have no business doing the ride. This isn't your weekly training ride. This is a charity-raising, open-to-all social ride. Yes, I saw people walking up Taren Pt Rd to The Kingsway, and people hopping on the train at Engadine, but I don't begrudge them entering. The organisation makes no claims to cater to those in contention for the KOM, so don't complain about it.

So would I enter again? Maybe. It would be nice to do it in better weather. And having already met the challenge, I would perhaps be less inclined to worry about the pace and more inclined to sit up and enjoy the scenery. But with limited time these days due to other commitments, I'd probably try a different event next year. A couple of days of Port-To-Port sounds fun...
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

User avatar
Warin
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:13 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Warin » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:17 pm

If it is approached as a social ride then I think it would be good. Take some balloons and make a party out of it.

Not about speed etc, go and have some fun on it. Stop and take in the views. Relax. You'll enjoy it more with the slower people I'd think. :?:

User avatar
AUbicycles
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 12525
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:14 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:38 am

Fascinating reading the reports. I first did it as a teen and it was a big ride but I have always been a courteous bike rider on the road which automatically means creating space for others who want to pass or passing safely.

Many years down the track and experience in some other mass-participation events, if I can avoid them I do. The competitive streak makes it hard to concede and suck-it-up being stuck or held up by someone without experience or basic manners. Over estimating ones own abilities as a novice is human nature and something that can't easily be fixed. But it is not a competition so it is something you just have to deal with.

It is a brilliant opportunity for novices but for more serious bike riders, it is a much nicer ride when the Gong is not on and you have a nice group of friends who are prepared to start early.

g-boaf
Posts: 8796
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:11 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby g-boaf » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:23 am

I wondered why there were so many riders in the CBD on Sunday, I'd just ridden in to get some things from a bike shop and noticed heaps of riders. Had no idea about the Gong ride.

tez001 wrote:Other rides such as the Bobbin Head Classic , B2B, L'tape will probably have less of the "mum and dad" riders.


There are still negative opinions of those events too from various people. You realy have to go to the seriously tough multi-day cyclo-sportive events if you want to get away from the complaints that we regularly see on here.

I personally would love to see something like a Haute Route style event here in Australia to really promote cycling to the next level. Especially the flown on benefits to the local economy of having that many riders coming in and spending money at hotels, restaurants and other businesses etc. That will override the noisy minorities who don't like riders.

Warin wrote:because they are on a bike they think it is fine to ride through a red light ...


That's why the intersections should be blocked when riders are approaching. The cars get held briefly and the riders go straight through. It's what we had overseas on every day excepting the last one. The only times we didn't get a straight through run was at the construction zones with contraflows.

Hergest
Posts: 1110
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:05 pm
Location: Guildford West, NSW

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Hergest » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:35 am

g-boaf wrote:
That's why the intersections should be blocked when riders are approaching. The cars get held briefly and the riders go straight through. It's what we had overseas on every day excepting the last one. The only times we didn't get a straight through run was at the construction zones with contraflows.


When I was in England recently it was the inaugural running of the Velo Birmingham. 100 miles in a similar vein to the Gong Ride on a Sunday on closed roads. No messing about closing the odd lane here and there and no waiting at lights. Roads were closed and lights turned off so riders didn't have to stop. That's the way to do it.

The morning it was on I wasn't riding and as it passed down the end of my Mum's road I thought I would go and have a look. Before I walked off I thought there must have been a local football game on as there was a lot of cheering in the air. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I got to the end of the road to find the cheering was people who had come out of their houses to cheer on the riders. The atmosphere couldn't be more different from here. I filmed about 40 seconds of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldAvesD-eEw
13 LynskeyR230 01 Lemond BuenosAires

Image

GRider2192
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:12 pm
Location: 2192

Re: Gong Ride

Postby GRider2192 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:37 pm

Got my but slapped by a "lad" :mrgreen: :oops: :x after the sea cliff bridge when you start integrating with local traffic. I was going up a hill so was the last thing i needed...for a car to come so close, actually shocked me a little.

I wish there was more supervision, from say the police, in the last part of the course as well. Its like after you pass the banana stop there is no supervision and facilities like toilets. After spending most of the time on the bike and consuming water its around that time you probably need to pee...found a bush 3ks from the finish.

Uncle Just
Posts: 751
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Uncle Just » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:46 pm

You could have knocked me down with a feather when I got to the end of the road to find the cheering was people who had come out of their houses to cheer on the riders. The atmosphere couldn't be more different from here. I filmed about 40 seconds of it.


While I avoid massed start events these days, 'twas nice to see so many riders in your vid riding a straight line. :wink:

User avatar
trailgumby
Posts: 12859
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby trailgumby » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:46 pm

I did it in 2007.

It was quite a scary experience. 3 riders down needing ambulance attention on the RNP descent, and cramped hands from holding the brakes so we don't overtake the motorcycle escort. I was on a hydraulic-braked slick-tyred mountain bike. I was wondering what the hell I had signed up for.

The main issue was the windscreen wipers. Kids mostly, they would wildly swing from one side of the road to the other without a head check before changing line. Lost count of the times I had to hit the brakes to avoid having my front wheel taken out from under me. Most people dong the event have no idea how to ride with large numbers of other cyclists.

So I ended up riding most of the event a couple of feet on the wrong side of the centre line just to get some predictable, clear space.

A spectacular route, but I found the event singularly nerve-wracking. I haven't been back. If taking a place at the front doesn't give you some kind of assurance of a run clear of windscreen wipers, it's unlikely I ever will be.

User avatar
CaffeineAU
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:03 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby CaffeineAU » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:12 am

There are age limits in the ride now. I only saw one young rider this time (my first gong ride in 8 years) and he was very competent and rode mostly in a straight line.

The standard of riding behaviour seemed much better than the last time I rode it, although people still have an issue with keeping left. Some idiots were riding on the wrong side of the road, head down, into oncoming traffic, and only swerved back on to the right side when I yelled CAR UP for the third or 4th time.

I think the new start point also helped with the congestion issues (although I left in the second group at 6:15AM so I may have missed the majority of it). The descents into the national park and Lawrence Hargreave Drive were painfully slow though, many people were obviously terrified of the conditions. One guy was rolling down at slightly above walking pace, yet still panic braking and locking up both wheels, he was lucky to stay upright!

I don't think I'll bother entering next year. The ride wasn't really a challenge, and I've seen the scenery plenty of times before. The group rides I do on the weekends are much more relaxing, and often much more of a challenge.

User avatar
Mugglechops
Posts: 2930
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:51 pm
Location: Shoalhaven

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Mugglechops » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:56 am

After doing the Southerly Buster this year, the Gong ride is now off my list.

Riding the entire National Park in the dark from a 10pm leave at Newtown with only about 30 people was far better. Once we hit the National Park we only got passed by about 4 cars.
Image

User avatar
queequeg
Posts: 4800
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Gong Ride

Postby queequeg » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:51 am

Similar experience, the only time I did it in 2012, riding with less experienced friends.
It was a tiring ride from having to protect your front wheel from all sorts of riders clearly not used to riding with others, and failing to understand what keep left means.
The descent from Waterfall was frightening. Despite clear instructions at the top that the road was two way and to stay on the left, straight away people were riding down the wrong side of the road...then an ambulance comes flying up the hill (with a casualty from the previous wave).
I was by no means going quickly, as I was with my friends taking it easy. I just didn’t feel safe for most of ride.

The BUPA challenge ride was a similar experience, though at 145km was far tougher than the gong. Why oh why you would sign up for a 145km ride that starts with a 10km climb, then seed yourself in the “34km/h+ avg speed” group at the front, but then be crawling up the hill at 5km/h and riding 5 abreast is just beyond comprehension.
Watching Jens Voigt nearly get taken out by hubbards locking bars made me want to get through the mess as quickly as possible, but since I had 1000 slow people in front of me, it took about 35km until it thinned out enough to feel safe.
I only did the ride as my wife bought me an entry to ride with Jens.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '15 Cervelo S5

Hergest
Posts: 1110
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:05 pm
Location: Guildford West, NSW

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Hergest » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:54 am

I rode the Gong for 10 years straight from 2001 and not once had a problem with other riders. I used to leave with the very first bunch and would settle at a point with a few hundred ahead. I guess I must have been the most fortunate person around as I really don't recognise the ride from the descriptions I've read on here over the years. I only stopped when MS started getting a bit aggressive with their sponsorship encouragements as I really don't like being told to raise X amount of money no matter how worthy the cause.

Now I ride everywhere pretty much on my own and donate regularly to Wheelchair Sports.
13 LynskeyR230 01 Lemond BuenosAires

Image

User avatar
biker jk
Posts: 5851
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Gong Ride

Postby biker jk » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:19 pm

Hergest wrote:I rode the Gong for 10 years straight from 2001 and not once had a problem with other riders. I used to leave with the very first bunch and would settle at a point with a few hundred ahead. I guess I must have been the most fortunate person around as I really don't recognise the ride from the descriptions I've read on here over the years. I only stopped when MS started getting a bit aggressive with their sponsorship encouragements as I really don't like being told to raise X amount of money no matter how worthy the cause.

Now I ride everywhere pretty much on my own and donate regularly to Wheelchair Sports.


That's because the 10,000 inexperienced and/or dangerous riders were behind you.

User avatar
familyguy
Posts: 5627
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:30 pm
Location: Cromer, NSW

Re: Gong Ride

Postby familyguy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:45 pm

Yep. There are always sacks who start early and fade fast. I usually start by 7am and find a rhythm pretty early. Rarely have I had an issue. Now that they have introduced the second start at Heathcote you do get an influx of less experienced riders right before the RNP descent, but I have yet to encounter trouble (touch wood).

Jim

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:11 pm

GRider2192 wrote:I wish there was more supervision, from say the police, in the last part of the course as well. Its like after you pass the banana stop there is no supervision and facilities like toilets.

Agreed, it's like they couldn't be bothered with the last section until you hit the finish line. I guess they figured that if you made it this far, then you'd likely survive the last, relatively flat, bit on your own! :(
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:14 pm

Hergest wrote:I used to leave with the very first bunch and would settle at a point with a few hundred ahead. I guess I must have been the most fortunate person around...

Can't imagine why you had so much "luck" with only a few hundred cyclists, all capable of staying out in front of a 80-90km race??? :roll: It's almost as if they were all experienced cyclists! :shock:
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:16 pm

CaffeineAU wrote:There are age limits in the ride now. I only saw one young rider this time (my first gong ride in 8 years) and he was very competent and rode mostly in a straight line.

That's one thing I did notice - a distinct lack of young riders. I think I only saw a single pre-teen in the whole ride myself, and not many teens either for that matter.
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

User avatar
Bunged Knee
Posts: 745
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:29 pm
Location: Not drowning in Parramatta river yet

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Bunged Knee » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:35 pm

tcdev wrote: (after my mate realised he hat a flat literally 10m into the race.


[What is it with these people? In the undulations at the tail end of the race, there was one guy in full road kit that seemed hell-bent on keeping me behind him for some unknown reason. We came to a short hill and he got out of the saddle... the road widened, I went left and blew him away and - regrettably now - didn't look back.]


tcdev wrote:Can't imagine why you had so much "luck" with only a few hundred cyclists, all capable of staying out in front of a 80-90km race??? :roll: It's almost as if they were all experienced cyclists! :shock:


It is not a race but it is a charity ride for MS.

There`s some riders who treated it as a race, the riders who do it like that have no respect for other riders, have no right to be in charity rides and should be in road racing clubs and stay out of it unless they do it for fun and helping the causes by not racing in charity rides.
ID please? What ID? My seat tube ID is 27.2mm or 31.6mm depending on what bikes I ride today.thanks...

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:53 pm

Bunged Knee wrote:It is not a race but it is a charity ride for MS.

There`s some riders who treated it as a race, the riders who do it like that have no respect for other riders, have no right to be in charity rides and should be in road racing clubs and stay out of it unless they do it for fun and helping the causes by not racing in charity rides.

True, and I should not have used the term. Slip of the tongue. :oops:
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:00 pm

Bunged Knee wrote:
tcdev wrote:[What is it with these people? In the undulations at the tail end of the race, there was one guy in full road kit that seemed hell-bent on keeping me behind him for some unknown reason. We came to a short hill and he got out of the saddle... the road widened, I went left and blew him away and - regrettably now - didn't look back.]


There`s some riders who treated it as a race, the riders who do it like that have no respect for other riders, have no right to be in charity rides and should be in road racing clubs and stay out of it unless they do it for fun and helping the causes by not racing in charity rides.

I may have been 'racing' in the same way a bulldog on the wrong side of 15 races a pack of greyhounds! :wink: I was, however, trying to ride to a steady pace; this guy was just a tad slower than the pace I had settled on and simply refused to allow me to pass him, despite knowing I was there for quite some time. If everyone in the ride had that attitude, we'd all have finished at 6pm...
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

User avatar
Warin
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:13 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Warin » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:21 pm

tcdev wrote:'racing'


Some decades ago there was a section 'race against the clock'. They dropped it, and I have not been back since. Some of the riders took it as permission to ride through red lights etc. I think one of the reasons they drooped it was due to the road rule breaking by participants. Sticking to the road rules on my old MTB I made it is 3 h 15 mins... This was before the motorcycle limiter down the hill they use now, got remarks for my speed down there .. made up for it by my speed up the hills though.

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:03 pm

Warin wrote:Sticking to the road rules on my old MTB I made it is 3 h 15 mins... This was before the motorcycle limiter down the hill they use now, got remarks for my speed down there .. made up for it by my speed up the hills though.

Not bad. On my MTB I did 3:52 on Sunday, though definitely held up by plenty of traffic and a couple of times riding in circles on the top of the hill waiting for my mate. Wondered how much of a disadvantage MTB vs road bike was going to be, but then saw plenty of grinding on the latter up the hills! Go the granny gears!!! 8)
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

Hergest
Posts: 1110
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:05 pm
Location: Guildford West, NSW

Re: Gong Ride

Postby Hergest » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:35 pm

tcdev wrote:
Hergest wrote:I used to leave with the very first bunch and would settle at a point with a few hundred ahead. I guess I must have been the most fortunate person around...

Can't imagine why you had so much "luck" with only a few hundred cyclists, all capable of staying out in front of a 80-90km race??? :roll: It's almost as if they were all experienced cyclists! :shock:


Well a great deal of posts about the Gong ride mention about those that can't keep up and over estimate their abilities start at the front and create problems. It's something I never came across. Those that started at the front knew what they were doing but if you spend more than 10 minutes reading threads about large organised rides the premise seems to be that everyone rides poorly and it's a dangerous thing to get involved in as a seasoned rider, hence my post about the lack of problems I faced.
13 LynskeyR230 01 Lemond BuenosAires

Image

tcdev
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:59 pm

Hergest wrote:...if you spend more than 10 minutes reading threads about large organised rides the premise seems to be that everyone rides poorly and it's a dangerous thing to get involved in as a seasoned rider, hence my post about the lack of problems I faced.

Sorry, didn't mean to give you a hard time; you caught me in a sarcastic mood!

I would imagine the problem is now compounded with the 2nd start point for the 58km ride. Either way, starting at 8:15 I had ~80km of dodging to do...
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp

g-boaf
Posts: 8796
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:11 pm

Re: Gong Ride

Postby g-boaf » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:06 pm

tcdev wrote:
Hergest wrote:...if you spend more than 10 minutes reading threads about large organised rides the premise seems to be that everyone rides poorly and it's a dangerous thing to get involved in as a seasoned rider, hence my post about the lack of problems I faced.

Sorry, didn't mean to give you a hard time; you caught me in a sarcastic mood!

I would imagine the problem is now compounded with the 2nd start point for the 58km ride. Either way, starting at 8:15 I had ~80km of dodging to do...


Maybe this could be a solution for you:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/haute-r ... 9637634231

Two Wheel Tours is putting this one on, and it'll be a pretty good ride. You should register. :)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users