Recumbent riders start at rear???

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Recumbent riders start at rear???

Postby william » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:16 pm

In the upcoming charity ride, Round The Bay in a Day, I asked the promoters what the requirements were for recumbents in the event (not race). I was told I have to have a flag.... On a Bacchetta Corsa, What?
Ok if I have to (kicking and screaming a little) but they pointed out that due to the large amount of riders, safety is an issue as they are lower and harder to see in a large pack. Ok! Point taken and despite the head height of a Corsa rider is the same as a family sedan driver my argument was overruled because of other recumbents that are lower. OK! OK! Flags, Lights, sirens blaring, here comes a recumbent rider, "look out"...

To add insult to injury, last night they posted by email, "The Ride Guide" for the Bay ride. They also noted record numbers of 15,500 entries. Phew!

It is a fantastically laid out 28 page detail of tips, maps, nutrition, rest stops, lunch stops, help etc, etc. Then on Page 7, 2nd Paragraph under "where to stand at the start" it says
"For safety reasons, All recumbents and hand powered bikes should assemble at the rear of the starting area"
What! Th'....
Can you imagine how far a line of 15,500 riders would be (gasp).

Now I've lost the logic... And interest.

William (where is the leprosy clinic?).
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by BNA » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:40 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:40 pm

The same short-sighted vision was exhibited last year too. Someone in the organisation doesn't want 'bents to ride in the event, and they are doing all they can to piss us off. That person is telling the organisers that 'bents are trikes.

You can use that misinformation and preconception against them - your Corsa is "most definitely NOT a 'bent, because it only has two wheels". Just don't tell them it's a recumbent bike on your entry form. :twisted:

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby william » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:59 pm

Sad! But true, we recumbent riders are, err, different but in a way where fear of being different should not be an excuse to be recluse.

In my re-think of RTB, and riding from the rear, I'm going to ride with pride and gusto to prove the point that recumbent riders are cyclists like anyone else.
In my riding on the road with many others I've never had a bad comment from other cyclists. Some funny ones and in particular young children who are not adulterated with peer always make positive sounds of delight or "cool" is the word I hear most. I often see the rear windows of cars filled with kids waving and smiling. Also every recumbent rider I see will give an acknowledging wave or stop for a chat. Even Bike Friday riders give cheery waves. For these people I'm going to be proud and loud. I'm also going to do my best with speed and show we're no slouches.
I'm going to fly my little recumbent flag although what goes on it I have not decided whether nice or just a crazy logo. I'm also fitting a Air Zound air horn to warn other riders to look before they change their line... Maybe.
Either way I'm going to fly the flag for all recumbent riders and those who want to be themselves.
For all the other recumbent riders participating I'll see you there..

Regards,

William (the conquerer)

.
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Postby sogood » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:38 pm

I think it's understandable to ensure there'd some separation. Most of those recreational riders wouldn't know how to deal with bunches with regular bikes, let alone a few bents.
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:04 am

Sogood,

The point is recumbent riders can be some of the quickest riders in the field. Starting them at the rear just because the bike is a different style means they won't necessarily stay separated for long - they are forcing some fast riders to ride through 15,000 other riders.

Separation is good, but doing so based on the type of bike (in an uninformed manner) is ludicrous. Should they also put people on tri-bikes at the back of the field?

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Matt_Matt » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:22 am

The start line of ATB could be described as a shamble ........

Most find themselves walking their bikes for the first kilometre or so due to the sheer numbers of participants.


That may have had some bearing on the decision



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Postby sogood » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:40 am

Kalgrm wrote:The point is recumbent riders can be some of the quickest riders in the field. Starting them at the rear just because the bike is a different style means they won't necessarily stay separated for long - they are forcing some fast riders to ride through 15,000 other riders.

Separation is good, but doing so based on the type of bike (in an uninformed manner) is ludicrous. Should they also put people on tri-bikes at the back of the field?

I don't disagree with your point nor the difficulty of the situation faced by the organizers. If it works out well this year, maybe next year they'll let you guys into the main group. ;)

All social advances take time are achieved through trial and error... Just hope that we don't die before the advance.
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:33 am

[cynicism]

Or perhaps they are hoping that having a group of fast 'bent riders starting from the rear will provide the environment for a few serious accidents to occur. Then they can reimpliment the total ban they had last year (until the international pressure overturned their stance ....). Every other mass public ride I know of splits their field based on the expected speed of the riders (with good reason). To put some riders at the rear - who they already believe might cause accidents - where they can interact at potentially high speeds with the slowest (least experienced) riders in the filed appears as if they want an accident to occur. They are providing the right conditions for it (in their eyes*).

[/cynicism]

Maybe I really am being too cynical, but these guys appear to have discrimination against recumbent bikes on their agenda.

Cheers,
Graeme

* I say "in their eyes" because I don't think 'bents are any more likely to be involved in an accident than other bikes - who ride at similar speeds.
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Re: Recumbent riders start at rear???

Postby Kalgrm » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:44 am

william wrote:It is a fantastically laid out 28 page detail of tips, maps, nutrition, rest stops, lunch stops, help etc, etc. Then on Page 7, 2nd Paragraph under "where to stand at the start" it says
"For safety reasons, All recumbents and hand powered bikes should assemble at the rear of the starting area"

William,

I've just seen your loophole - the word "should". Feel free to start wherever in the field you choose. Just because you should start at the rear, it doesn't mean you must start at the rear.

Take the pamphlet with you and show it to any marshal who directs you to the rear. If they object, tell them "for safety reasons, I should start with riders who ride at a similar speed to me". Explain to them that riding up to 20km/h faster than other, less experienced riders may be dangerous and point to the buzz-saw at the front of the bike to reinforce that point.

Cheers,
Graeme
Last edited by Kalgrm on Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Caelum » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:44 am

Come on guys... there's gotta be some clever marketing slogans here somewhere....


"Bent riders do it from behind"



etc. :P







(i too, think it is silly)
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:05 am

Just to show how it could have been handled, in the Perth version of the event, hand-cycles start 5 minutes earlier than the rest of the field, allowing the fast riders to overtake them once the bunch has spread out. Other recumbents start in whatever group they are designated to start with, based on expected speed.

In this year's Freeway Bike Hike, my average speed for the ride was 40.03km/h and I finished in the second large group across the line. There is no way I'd be considered a fast rider, either. While I did see a pretty major fall at ~45km/h about 15m away from me, I am quite sure I didn't cause it.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Matt_Matt » Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:12 am

Kalgrm wrote:Just to show how it could have been handled, in the Perth version of the event, hand-cycles start 5 minutes earlier than the rest of the field, allowing the fast riders to overtake them once the bunch has spread out. Other recumbents start in whatever group they are designated to start with, based on expected speed.

In this year's Freeway Bike Hike, my average speed for the ride was 40.03km/h and I finished in the second large group across the line. There is no way I'd be considered a fast rider, either. While I did see a pretty major fall at ~45km/h about 15m away from me, I am quite sure I didn't cause it.

Cheers,
Graeme


How many participants were there, and what were the different speed brackets you could nominate?

And I guess more to the point, how did you find the start ?



Any ride with an average speed over 40km/h is fast in my book. Nice one.



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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:41 pm

The 2007 Great Bike Ride had about 8000 participants, if my memory serves me correctly (can someone confirm? ). We didn't say "I want to start in this bracket", but rather, we nominated a speed we were confident of doing (30-35km/h in my case) and the organisers told us which group to start in (I think I was in J). Each group had about 100 starters(? ), and the groups departed every minute.

The start was fine. There was a lot of caution being displayed by all riders, so we gradually got up to speed without incident. It wasn't a race.

In the Freeway ride, we nominated a group to start in by choosing our speed (I chose Group A, since it was for riders doing >30km/h). There were only three groups. I lined up near the front of the group and settled in with a bunch which matched a speed I was comfortable with.

I think there were around 10000 riders in the Freeway Bike Hike, but only about 4000 doing the 60km ride I was on (we joined up half way through).

Again, we moved away from the start with caution. No incidents occurred until much later in the ride, and I was not involved in them.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby william » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:49 pm

Hi Graeme,
You're a faster rider than me. At the end of todays 130K training ride I managed a 28K/h average even though my riding speeds were 34-35. Traffic lights I guess.
In reflection of todays ride though I spoke with many people and had many questions asked about the Corsa, none of which were negative. One rider on an upright even asked if he could join me from the Mordialloc bike cafe back to Melbourne. We chatted about riding in general and fors and againsts of the different bikes. At one point a small group of roadies caught us and several of those riders chatted with us as we rode. At this point we were cruising along at about 38K's. When we came through to St. Kilda we turned into a fresh breeze and the group speed dropped to 32K's but I then moved to the front and could hear complaints of no draught. Sorry boys. I then moved ahead or should I say they were dropping back but out of politeness I slowed too.
It was from this camaraderie that I realised the disparage is not from the riders themselves but the organisers. They are the ones who need to learn.
As for the start point... Hmmm! There are some groups starting at different locations and joining in along the way... A thought.
But then again a recumbent bike is going to stand out in the crowd and I do not want to be seen as a rebel and ruin the whole thing for recumbent riders.
I'm going to set a good example. Within reason.

Regards,

William.

good luck to the Brizzy to GC riders too.
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Postby Just Bents » Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:14 am

Hi

I provided a carbon fibre low racer to one of the guys who was interested in testing the limits in the Perth Freeway Bike Hike. He average 44K/h which was 1K/h faster than the group that came in first and he had to start with the second group. I cannot imagine what would have happened if he had started at the rear of field. Greame's right about the dangers of starting rear of the field. Last years around the river in Perth I was on a trike and started at rear of field. There was a number of times I had to take heavy braking action when trying to over take and this was with a flag flying.

I discussed with the local organisers the risk management process I had applied to the race around the river and was able to change a number of miss conceptions some one had highlighted. If you evaluate 90% of incidents they are between normal riders that may only ride occasionally and the other are those that are in large groups of normal bikes going flat strap near the front. No one from the organisers could produce any statistics that proved recumbents were of any higher risk in causing an incident than normal bikes, in fact no one from the organisers could provide any proof an incident had occurred with a recumbent.

It's all in the risk management formula and what and how it is applied.

I just think keep chipping away at those that put the barriers up and asking them to demonstrate how they came to their conclusion. If you have a better model then it is difficult for those decision makers to inforce their risk models when it is demonstrated theirs is flawed. Insurance companies become very nervous when this happens. Take it from me when I had to apply for insurance for Go Kart racing around streets of a tourist town you had to get it right and right the first time.

Cheers

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Postby raptordesigns » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:00 pm

Cross-posted from the VicHPV forum:

Once again, if you want to start at the Alexandra Gardens, if you're riding a recumbent or hand cycle, you're being asked to line up at the very rear behind the slowest riders. For "safety reasons" according to the rider guide.

I emailed BV to ask what these "safety reasons" were and received the following explanation:

"..the objective is to give recumbent riders a clean start and eliminate any poor line of vision for general riders. The experienced recumbent rider will then be able to safely over take and work his or her way through the field..."


Here's my response:

"I am not sure what you mean by "eliminate any poor line of vision for general riders". Low recumbents offer a superb line of sight for upright riders behind them, while the generally used flags provide a conspicuous and easy to use guide to safe rear clearance from the recumbent itself. As far as visibility for the recumbents themselves is concerned, it's been my experience that our head-up position provides great visibility for us and better peripheral vision - and for low machines, a low head line also allows a distance view of the road ahead though the pack's legs rather being blocked by a sea of broad backs. We can often see the bikes ahead slowing or swerving before the person in front can! Of course the increasingly popular higher classes of recumbent (highracers) are indistinguishable in "line of sight" potential from an upright bike.

As for "the objective is to give recumbent riders a clean start"
and
"The experienced recumbent rider will then be able to safely over take and work his or her way through the field."

I'm not sure how this equates to a "clean start" for recumbent riders.

He or she will be spending the first half hour ringing their bell and in order to "safely" overtake, be forced to ride at a grandmotherly pace - only, having passed the slow riders, to be left well behind any chance of catching their performance peer group and taking advantage of group dynamics which is half the fun of the ATB ride.

The result of the policy will be precisely what it was last year (when we had to lobby just to be allowed to participate - BV cited "safety reasons" for the initial ban. We did ride in the end, the sky did not fall, and there were no incidents or complaints). Because of the "start at the back" policy, most of the recumbent riders I know who were on the 2007 ATB decided to either ignore the edict or forego the option of participation in the mass start in favour of joining the ride further along the route. I know this latter is what I will be doing again this year. It's a workable solution, the only disadvantage being missing the atmosphere of the start and the disappointment of not feeling included or welcome by BV."


I've received an acknowledgment that is slightly encouraging, but not much use this year.

"Point taken and yes I will be in contact with you post event in setting next year's policies with reference to recumbent riders."
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Postby bradwoodbr » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:21 pm

Recumbents starting the ATB at the back of 15000 riders is a recipe for disaster. Riders of any type of bike would be safer riding in their correct average speed group. I think BV should study the organisation of The Great Bike Ride in Perth Western Australia.
On a recumbent, I have always started in my average speed group in the The Great Bike Ride in Perth Western Australia with no problems at all between myself or any other type of bike.

The biggest safety issue came at the start of the second lap where there were many social non group type riders and riders with a much lower average speed differential. It was extremely dangerous and difficult to move forward through a sea of cyclists.
Riders did not hear or understand the call to move left, hold position or what the sound of the bell actually meant. Actions showed many of them were not using any group riding or standard rider etiquette. Their movements (left, right, speed up or slow down) were unpredictable and great caution needed to be taken.
The dangers of this situation are real and every caution should be taken (even starting elsewhere on the start line for safety's sake).
Good luck and enjoy the ride no matter where you start :wink:
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Postby raptordesigns » Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:59 pm

bradwoodbr wrote:Good luck and enjoy the ride no matter where you start :wink:


If anyone's interested in forming a recumbent group on the ATB 250 (or 210) anticlockwise, I'll be ready and waiting at the Todd Rd on-ramp of the Westgate Bridge at 5:30am when it opens. Look for the lowracer with red tailbox and low red-and-yellow flag.

John.
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Postby william » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:57 pm

Hi John,

Unfortunately I'm going the other way otherwise I'd join you.
This is the first RTB for me and when I entered the anti-clockwise ride was booked out. Still not sure why exactly but I'm starting to get the picture with the amount of bike traffic heading to Sorrento.
I'm still in two minds about the start also. If it seems too bad on the day I may do a u turn, go through the back streets, then come out on Beach road somewhere.
With a usual speed of 32-34 Kph I don't want to be fighting my way through the throng of slower inexperienced groups of riders. That really isn't safe.
If any others are heading to Sorrento and want to start as a group somewhere....

William.
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Postby raptordesigns » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:14 am

william wrote:Hi John,
If any others are heading to Sorrento and want to start as a group somewhere....

William.


Last year when I did the ATB clockwise, I met up with Steve Nurse at the Frankston rest area at 6:30am and we rode together down the Peninsula. He put out a note yesterday saying that he'll be there again at 6:30am if other recumbent folks want to join for the slog up and over Mt Eliza and Mt Martha and down to Sorrento. So there may be a small group.

Look for his LWB with the full-length yellow body sock.

John.
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