Gong Ride

phil_
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby phil_ » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:31 pm

g-boaf wrote:
phil_ wrote:Couldn't believe the number of aero bikes that were around. They're not even allowed on group rides with experienced cyclists, let alone 10,000 other weekend warriors or once a year participants.


As for TT bikes or Triathlon bikes, I see no problem with them so long as you don't use the aero bars. And I'd guess that a P5X might be rather decent for stopping power with its disc brakes. It's up to the rider to ride with care.

Aero bikes on the other hand are perfectly legal in group rides and races. Giant Propel and Cervelo S5 are testament to that.


Sorry, I should've been more specific and mean aero bars. I did see some drinking from their straws whilst tucked in.

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rdp_au
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby rdp_au » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:16 pm

I noticed that too. A few years ago it was disc wheels, this year it seemed to be aerobars. Followed one guy along the cyclepath at Sandon Point who was in a tuck the whole way. To his credit he was travelling quite slowly and negotiating the traffic smoothly enough. I used tri-bars when they first came into vogue 30 years ago, and never felt comfortable using them when there was traffic of any kind about.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby vosadrian » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:53 pm

phil_ wrote:I may opt to start earlier next time so I can get clearer roads. Even though I was supposed to start at 6:15, I didn't get through the gates until 6:30. First time riding it and finished with a 3:20 time... something to be improved upon next time.


I did the Gong ride in 2013, and we planned to go pretty quick. We were first riders at the front of the line at the beginning and got into the news photo/video. The intention was of course to avoid the crowds, but we got around the first bend and then there are herds of riders in front of us. It seems that many people avoid the crowds at the start and just start where they feel like. We did not get past the herds of people until about Loftus. A lot of the time there was riders going slow the full width of the road and we had to take to the traffic lanes to get past. It was pretty good after Loftus with clear roads and a police escort once we made it to the front.

I don't think there is much benefit in starting earlier to avoid the crowds.
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gerardvok
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby gerardvok » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:23 pm

This years ride was a *lot* different from last year, at the front. Last year there was a head-strong fellow from Sydney Cycling Club (wish he was there this year) basically commanded the formation of a very successful pace line. It was very fast, and very orderly. I had a great time slotted into this and our average speed for a long section was 40. Everyone worked and shared the front, there was a great sense of teamwork.

This year I was waiting at the front at the start line and about 3 minutes before we start, the Subaru NSW institute of sport team decides to push in from in front of the start line, and proceeded to block everyone with a meandering 3x3 group of guys. They were horsing around, farting (yep!) and generally acting way too cool for school. They were slow, weaving, and I hope they won't bother pulling that crap next year. Last year we were all right behind the police escort, while this year a few of us had enough of Subaru and eventually got around them to catch up with the police cycles which were well down the road. It seemed like it was everyone for themselves and there were so many bad riders with no group experience vying for the front that it made it a chore to ride in this chaos.

Still had fun but would have been a lot better if things were more civil at the beginning. I think considering the goals that many riders have when starting at 6, that this start time should be for riders with group riding experience and who want to enjoy the art of riding as a cohesive group.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby gerardvok » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:31 pm

Derny Driver wrote:Look I know my views are not popular. Im not trying to start arguments. I am in the minority with my views on charity rides and Gran Fondos.

My sons girlfriend had good intentions. Her mum has MS. The people who donated don't care whether she rode the bike or not. They were donating to the charity, not to her. It was wise not to ride.

I don't like AGF ...I wont go into that here. I like the Ben Mikic Foundation and try to support that.

The MS society - as well as somehow getting permission to run this ride and raise something like 3 million dollars, they also have somehow managed to get permission to run the MS readathon in around 5000 schools in Australia since 1979 to present. Its worth another 3 million or so. Joe Citizen has only so many charity dollars to give, and there are so many worth causes out there. MS is a worth cause. But somehow they manage to take the lions share and leave other charities the scraps / nothing.
Just my view.


I agree with some of these views. The Gong ride is MS's main fundraiser and they raised I believe 2.2 million according to an official at the end of the ride. I'd say breast cancer is the big fish when it comes to money, at the detriment of other charities. (Hello prostate cancer??)

I think that there needs to be more than just a start time given based on estimated finish times. New (albeit keen) riders should never be given a 6 or 6:30 start, for their own sake and that of others around them. Heck I figure if you dont have clip in pedals you shouldn't be given that start time. (Not sure how they would inforce this.. :? ) Riders without group riding skills should be actively encouraged to set out at 7. There's no shame in starting later.

gerardvok
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby gerardvok » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:41 pm

A short video I edited of the 2016 gong ride. Enjoy

https://youtu.be/4jxDZ4bKOdE

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Aldavid » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:32 pm

My say,
All in all I think the organisation of this event leaves a lot to be desired. If I nominate a time to start with an eta of abt 3hrs I dont expect to have riders in front of me who wont make it in 5hrs. The issue is people who estimate 5hrs do not have the same level of riding experience as those quicker riders.
Descending the bridge over Georges River a 14yo kid on a borrowed bike, in runners, way to big for him with no idea what he was doing, crossed 5 rows of bikes, a gap we left purposely for safety, tapped the wheel in front, hauled on the front brake. A over T, bike went right and got me, he went left and got hit by my mate.
I ended up in Hospital with 3 breaks in my pelvis, he went home with mum.
HE JUST SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN THERE. Why was he there ? because the start line organisation didnt exist.
I have left feedback with the organisers who at this point havent deemed me worthy of a reply.
I will never do a group ride again where I dont know the experience of those in front of me no matter how worthwhile the charity.
If you dont know where you are going...how will you know when you get there !

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Derny Driver
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Derny Driver » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:39 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
rdp_au wrote:... He’s an experienced club cyclist but this was his first mass ride...

and probably his last.
My son's girlfriend .... Shes never actually ridden a bike before...
These are the people you are riding with. People who have no idea and pull some old clunker with perished tyres out of their shed the night before.

I keep warning people about these charity rides and Gran Fondos. I live in Wollongong but I wouldnt go near the gong-a-thon if you paid me the $250.
As I said earlier I dont see the attraction of paying big money to ride with thousands of risky dodgy people. Take your wife and kids, and a bike riding mate and his family, and share the costs to stay in Bright ...or wherever. You can ride the deserted roads in peace and look at and enjoy the scenery while the women and kids are shopping in town or visiting a trout farm or something.
Or join a proper cycling club and ride in properly graded races with people who are of your ability, and have been schooled in the skills and etiquettes of bike riding.
newierider almost had a finger chopped off in L'etape last weekend. Sure the roads are closed but you'd actually be safer on there with cars and trucks rather than a thousand wobblers.
B2B is coming up ... I wonder if the guy who lost half his face the other year will be doing it again? Probably not.


3 breaks in the pelvis aldavid, that horrendous. And will take a long to recover fully. Im really sorry to hear it and I hope you heal up quickly. I have seen this happen so many times. The organisers dont care about the things you mentioned. The money is in their bank account. Thats all they care about.

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biker jk
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby biker jk » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:57 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
Derny Driver wrote:
rdp_au wrote:... He’s an experienced club cyclist but this was his first mass ride...

and probably his last.
My son's girlfriend .... Shes never actually ridden a bike before...
These are the people you are riding with. People who have no idea and pull some old clunker with perished tyres out of their shed the night before.

I keep warning people about these charity rides and Gran Fondos. I live in Wollongong but I wouldnt go near the gong-a-thon if you paid me the $250.
As I said earlier I dont see the attraction of paying big money to ride with thousands of risky dodgy people. Take your wife and kids, and a bike riding mate and his family, and share the costs to stay in Bright ...or wherever. You can ride the deserted roads in peace and look at and enjoy the scenery while the women and kids are shopping in town or visiting a trout farm or something.
Or join a proper cycling club and ride in properly graded races with people who are of your ability, and have been schooled in the skills and etiquettes of bike riding.
newierider almost had a finger chopped off in L'etape last weekend. Sure the roads are closed but you'd actually be safer on there with cars and trucks rather than a thousand wobblers.
B2B is coming up ... I wonder if the guy who lost half his face the other year will be doing it again? Probably not.


3 breaks in the pelvis aldavid, that horrendous. And will take a long to recover fully. Im really sorry to hear it and I hope you heal up quickly. I have seen this happen so many times. The organisers dont care about the things you mentioned. The money is in their bank account. Thats all they care about.


DD is spot on here. I did one Gong ride many years ago. It was shocking. Ambulances for riders who crashed on the hill from Waterfall into RNP. A moron who passed between me and another rider without warning just missing my bars. Many others with no idea on how to ride in a straight line or possesing any riding etiquette. That was my one and last Gong ride. A few weeks ago I rode from Sutherland to Shellharbour with a Mt Keira detour and back to Sutherland via the Otford Wall. That was very enjoyable unlike my one and only Gong ride.

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g-boaf
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby g-boaf » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:16 am

Aldavid wrote:My say,
All in all I think the organisation of this event leaves a lot to be desired. If I nominate a time to start with an eta of abt 3hrs I dont expect to have riders in front of me who wont make it in 5hrs. The issue is people who estimate 5hrs do not have the same level of riding experience as those quicker riders.
Descending the bridge over Georges River a 14yo kid on a borrowed bike, in runners, way to big for him with no idea what he was doing, crossed 5 rows of bikes, a gap we left purposely for safety, tapped the wheel in front, hauled on the front brake. A over T, bike went right and got me, he went left and got hit by my mate.
I ended up in Hospital with 3 breaks in my pelvis, he went home with mum.
HE JUST SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN THERE. Why was he there ? because the start line organisation didnt exist.
I have left feedback with the organisers who at this point havent deemed me worthy of a reply.
I will never do a group ride again where I dont know the experience of those in front of me no matter how worthwhile the charity.


That's a huge shame for you. I hope you heal quickly. And I'll bet somewhere in the terms & conditions the organisers will tell you that what happened to you is a risk that you accept... I'm wary about those cyclo-sportive or charity rides. Just riding anywhere near the spring-cycle event is risky enough.

I'm hoping Haute Route next year will be fairly predictable and that the sheer cost of it and the fact that it isn't just an easy roll through the countryside will keep the numbers down and attract fairly experienced riders.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby vosadrian » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:23 am

I don't know how much control the organisers have. I only did the Gong ride once in 2013. A couple of mates and I wanted to go quick, so we were at the front of the line in pole position for the start. We thought we would avoid traffic in front of us, but we got out of the start slip road to find riders all over the road in front of us. It seems that a large percentage of the riders do not start at the start line. They just start wherever they feel like it and whenever they feel like it. Not sure that the organisers can control this.

Perhaps if they had timing beacons and you only had a result recorded if you went through start and finish lines, that would help??
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familyguy
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby familyguy » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:59 am

vosadrian wrote:Perhaps if they had timing beacons and you only had a result recorded if you went through start and finish lines, that would help??


They supplied chipped tags this year, but don't know for what purpose. Nothing has come up about times on the website. I was hoping it would be like the shoe tags for the fun runs, where you get a time passing the start and finish.

Jim

gerardvok
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby gerardvok » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:22 am

Perhaps if they had timing beacons and you only had a result recorded if you went through start and finish lines, that would help??


Interesting. I wonder if they could tie this also into the photos.. Ie if you don't start at the designated start points and times you dont get your photos..

I really think they need to sort this stuff out. That pelvis break sounds unbelievably bad! Sorry to hear this..

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby vosadrian » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:52 pm

I did the B2B earlier this year. They have tags and scanners at start and finish (might have also been others?)... so to have your time recorded you must pass through these points. Then they send riders out in waves based on estimated pace. It is a more serious ride than the Gong ride, but the result is probably several largish bunches with people at similar levels. I guess the bunches are safer and stay tighter together the faster the pace. I think the thing about the Gong ride is the average rider is not that serious. For a high proportion it is the first time riding in close proximity to other riders. Serious riders that can ride safely together are a minority. This is less of an issue for B2B.

That is not to say the B2B is the gold standard. The level of riders experience is higher, but still plenty of inexperienced people around to take out others. At least if you are in a fast group, the chances are reduced.

I think they could control the Gong ride better if they had some way of motivating people to start at the start line.
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Derny Driver
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:17 pm

vosadrian wrote:That is not to say the B2B is the gold standard. .

Yes B2B would be better than Sydney to Gong. Ive been up there 3 or 4 times with my son, nephew and brother who are all experienced State level riders. But again, we have crossed it off the calendar and wont be back.
One year my son copped a $50 fine for being forced across the centreline when the bunch slowed and swelled. I think 3 riders copped a fine that year out of thousands, it was a joke but typical of the running of the thing. The commissaire scribbled me a receipt on the back of a half a ripped envelope which I posted on my facebook wall for all to see. The next year my son and my brother were in the front group, a small breakaway group 5 km from the finish. My son was a certainty for fastest U19 when a guy fell off and took them both down.
So yes it is better organised, but still unsafe in my opinion.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby vosadrian » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:14 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
vosadrian wrote:That is not to say the B2B is the gold standard. .

Yes B2B would be better than Sydney to Gong. Ive been up there 3 or 4 times with my son, nephew and brother who are all experienced State level riders. But again, we have crossed it off the calendar and wont be back.
One year my son copped a $50 fine for being forced across the centreline when the bunch slowed and swelled. I think 3 riders copped a fine that year out of thousands, it was a joke but typical of the running of the thing. The commissaire scribbled me a receipt on the back of a half a ripped envelope which I posted on my facebook wall for all to see. The next year my son and my brother were in the front group, a small breakaway group 5 km from the finish. My son was a certainty for fastest U19 when a guy fell off and took them both down.
So yes it is better organised, but still unsafe in my opinion.


Surely an incident in the front group 5km from the finish is a racing incident and not an issue of an inexperienced rider. I'm not sure how you get to that level of riding without doing a lot of bunch riding to get experience? In the mid levels (say low 30s average speed), you seem to get a lot of strong riders who have never raced and therefore are not great in a fast organised bunch.
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Hergest » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:25 pm

I mustn't half have been lucky as i did the Gong ride for 10 years straight from 2000 and never once had or even saw an issue. I used to start in the first bunch and off we would go, no problems. I know it has got busier the last 4 or 5 years (haven't they started restricting numbers?) but I'm amazed at the negativity surrounding it on this forum as it really doesn't fit in with my experience at all.

For the record, I stopped riding when ME starting pushing too aggressively I thought for entrants to raise money. I used to give a generous donation along with my entry fee but no way was I going to start asking people to sponsor me.
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tez001
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby tez001 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:26 am

Hergest wrote:I mustn't half have been lucky as i did the Gong ride for 10 years straight from 2000 and never once had or even saw an issue. I used to start in the first bunch and off we would go, no problems. I know it has got busier the last 4 or 5 years (haven't they started restricting numbers?) but I'm amazed at the negativity surrounding it on this forum as it really doesn't fit in with my experience at all.


I have had a similar experience with the couple of times I have ridden the Gong ride. Yes, I agree that there are mixed levels of experience levels, however the Gong ride, Spring Cycle you will always get that. Other rides such as the Bobbin Head Classic , B2B, L'tape will probably have less of the "mum and dad" riders.

Fundraising aside, I see these events as a good thing to get more people into cycling in a relatively safe environment.

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Warin
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Warin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:53 am

tez001 wrote: I see these events as a good thing to get more people into cycling


That is the benefit for cycling.

The problem for participants is, as has been said, the mixed levels of competence. The competent need to realise that and take measures to ensure their safety... possibly by realising that the event is not a competition, training ride ... but a social outing? Passing others can lead those passed to believe they should also be travelling at those speeds leading to the 'chase' and potential problems ... maybe a slower pass is a solution?

The gong ride used to have a section called "Race against the Clock" ... and I rode in that (3h 15 min on my old MTB was my 'record') but was uncomfortable with the attitude of some that broke laws in order to minimise their time .. e.g. riding through red lights .. when questioned answered "but I'm in a race" ... and that attitude probably helped lead to the demise of "Race against the Clock". And my reluctance to participate. If thoes individuals had read the information they would have seen a section that clearly stated you had to obay the road rules.... Same thing happens in 'Spring Cycle' ... because they are on a bike they think it is fine to ride through a red light ... one person out of 30 and we all get tarnished.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby gerardvok » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:10 am

I don't think anyone is advocating breaking laws such as running red lights just to go fast but there needs to be a solution that satisfies both occasional riders and riders who ride faster and wish to. There can be fast and safe riding for road enthusiasts if we obey road rules and stay below the speed limit however the start times are in place to allow faster riders to go first, and if this rule was adhered to without slower riders starting early at ad hoc start points then things would go well. If this ride doesn't cater to both slower and faster riders then people will stop riding it. I know several riders (very experienced ones) who have stopped riding the gong ride because of the worsening conditions and that is sad.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby caneye » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:13 am

During the Gong ride yesterday, at the top of Bald Hill, I saw a man unconscious on the ground. Initially I thought he had a convulsion but then it became clear that someone was administering CPR on him.
haven't heard anything about the outcome. the lack of news is hopefully good news.
fingers cross he's on the mend and have a speedy recovery.

kudos must definitely go out to the riders who stopped and administered CPR whilst waiting for ambulance to arrive (saw quite a few ambos speeding from the opposite direction but caught up in traffic along Lawrence Hargreaves Dr - one lane closed for cyclists).

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familyguy
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby familyguy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:30 am

The top of the short pinch at Clifton, just after the Seacliff Bridge? I saw that guy topple over about 8-10 bike lengths in front of me. I didn't see him attempt to put his arms out or break his fall at all, just landed on the side of his face on the road. He was out cold, making some very bad noises when I passed him moments later, by which time half a dozen people were assisting. I kept rolling, I wasn't going to hang around and needlessly clog up the area. Shortly after I was passed by a few guys talking about the people working on him, and a few minutes later the Subaru ambo passed going north towards him. No idea on outcome but it did not look good at all.

Aside from that, the wet wasn't a deterrent, and again, none of the incidents the earlier posts were going on about.

Jim

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Derny Driver
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Re: Gong Ride

Postby Derny Driver » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:38 pm

familyguy wrote:The top of the short pinch at Clifton, just after the Seacliff Bridge? I saw that guy topple over about 8-10 bike lengths in front of me. ....

Aside from that, the wet wasn't a deterrent, and again, none of the incidents the earlier posts were going on about.

Jim

There was this incident. Not a great look if the cyclist was in the wrong, as reported.
http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... al/?cs=309

Also not a great look were the dozens of riders riding helmetless up the footpath through the Wollongong Mall / Crown st. after the ride concluded.

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby familyguy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:44 pm

Yeah, saw that. "Just before 9am". I know the front runners were down there by 8:30 or so. So the driver was waiting to go across to the west into Murray and clipped his back wheel when she pulled out? Sort implies to me he was in the roundabout first? But when did the Mercury let facts rule anything lately?

It's better than the Crown St Mall of old where you wouldn't walk down there after 6pm...

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Re: Gong Ride

Postby tcdev » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:20 pm

caneye wrote:During the Gong ride yesterday, at the top of Bald Hill, I saw a man unconscious on the ground. Initially I thought he had a convulsion but then it became clear that someone was administering CPR on him.
haven't heard anything about the outcome. the lack of news is hopefully good news.

You must have been close to me, I passed as he was having CPR and I counted 3 ambulances on their way.

Hopefully, as you say, no news is good news. But these days news is and isn't being reported for all sorts of reasons, so who knows? :(
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