Group Rides

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richsieb
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Group Rides

Postby richsieb » Tue Dec 04, 2012 20:08 pm

My local bike store runs group rides every weekend, so I was thinking about going along to one. They say any level of rider is welcome, but having only ridden on my own, I do not want to come across as a complete novice when riding in a group. Is there any fundamental basics or tips for group riding so it doesn't all go tango uniform? :lol:

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Bobbinogs
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Bobbinogs » Tue Dec 04, 2012 20:18 pm

richsieb wrote:... I do not want to come across as a complete novice when riding in a group...


But you are a complete novice when riding in a group if you haven't done it before so why not tell them this when you meet up? That way, one of the group can watch out for you, go through their basic etiquette and warning signals, etc., and make sure you are ok with the pace, etc. The only thing I would add is to keep your lines predictable and sweeping, that way the old hands will be able to work out what you are doing, even if they don't like it :)

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Cleat Eastwood
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Cleat Eastwood » Tue Dec 04, 2012 20:18 pm

If they say any level is welcome they probably mean ANY level - which is a good thing as the group will probably split into easy, medium and fast paced groups.

The rides will probably be lead by someone who with experience who knows the good routes, so it will probably not be too difficult. When you're starting in a club you're expected to find your feet first with a few easy rides, often at the back as you pick the general feel about what to do and what signals, if any, the club use.

The most difficult thing when riding in a group first time is gaining confidence being so close to another wheel - if it feels uncomfortable slow down and have a chat with one of the experienced riders, i've found they are only too willing to pass on advice.

One thing you will find is that you will ride a longer distance but your legs will feel like they've only done a short ride - such is the joy of group riding. Just turn up and relax and enjoy.
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Mikey23
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Mikey23 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 22:54 pm

Both occasions I have been out with a local group, I have felt totally out of my depth. On the first occasion, I was the slowest and they all waited patiently for me at regular intervals which did nothing for my confidence. On the second occasion, the whole lot of them went whizzing off up the first hill and into the distance. And that was there slowest group. It's unlikely that I will be going back ...

So I just do my own thing now in my own time and at my own pace

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CiB
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Re: Group Rides

Postby CiB » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:28 am

Go along and let them know that you've not done group rides before, so that they don't expect you to know the ropes and don't all blame you when £20k's worth of bikes come crashing into each other thanks to you not knowing something that they could reasonably have expected you to. Maybe :)

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ddraver
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Re: Group Rides

Postby ddraver » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:11 pm

Echo the above really, Go along, get there 5-10 mins early, be up front and honest about your experience and ask if there is someone who can just run over the basics with you.

Even if your sure you can keep uo with a fast group, go with a slow one and ride at the back for a bit to take it all in for the first time.

Make sure you can be self sufficient with tools/drink/food etc and make sure the bike is working properly. Take a fiver for the cafe stop (if applicable)

Enjoy!

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Monty Dog
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Monty Dog » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:56 pm

Yes, as long as you're up-front about your experience and obviously depends on the speed of the group and your expectations. Ask if it's OK to just sit on the back. Make sure your bike is working well and you have tools, tyre levers, spare inner(s) and a working pump. Take sufficient drink and food as well as money and a phone if needed. If you're familiar with the route / local geography then making your own way home at your own pace can make it less daunting. Avoid over-lapping your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front - stay in their tyre tracks otherwise you'll end up on the floor if they move over unexpectantly.
Don't do as some and turn up unprepared, having only ever ridden for 30miles, then trash themselves on a fast ride for 2 hours to a cafe at a place they don't know with no money, no food and only water and expect to be chaperoned back home when they get dropped on ever minor drag, it starts raining, get a puncture / mechanical with no spares which is one of the reasons some groups are wary of new riders.
Everyone gets dropped, as a beginner, due to a mechanical, a bad day or lack of training - the important thing is being prepared for it, coping and coming back again.
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willow71uk
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Re: Group Rides

Postby willow71uk » Wed Dec 05, 2012 14:30 pm

Just go along you won't regret it. I was the same a few months ago, i kept putting it off but eventually went along and it was the best thing i ever did.

millsey_awm
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Re: Group Rides

Postby millsey_awm » Wed Dec 05, 2012 14:57 pm

Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.

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markos1963
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Re: Group Rides

Postby markos1963 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 15:20 pm

millsey_awm wrote:Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.


What a load of rubbish! Beginners get loads of help from most clubs. Clubs aren't businesses, they are groups of like minded cyclists who want to ride together and share the experience. What they aren't are nannies. If you are cycling regulary then you should be able to change an inner tube or at least have one on you. Are you expecting someone from the club to give you one of theirs for free?
Perhaps you aren't suited to club riding( not all are and that is fine in my book) good clubs are good because of what people are prepared to put in, not what they get out of it.

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ddraver
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Re: Group Rides

Postby ddraver » Wed Dec 05, 2012 15:21 pm

^^

A - Well some are better than others for sure

B - It's also not a small ask for anyone to ride a bike that will make it around the ride without breaking really.
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millsey_awm
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Re: Group Rides

Postby millsey_awm » Wed Dec 05, 2012 16:10 pm

markos1963 wrote:
millsey_awm wrote:Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.


What a load of rubbish! Beginners get loads of help from most clubs. Clubs aren't businesses, they are groups of like minded cyclists who want to ride together and share the experience. What they aren't are nannies. If you are cycling regulary then you should be able to change an inner tube or at least have one on you. Are you expecting someone from the club to give you one of theirs for free?
Perhaps you aren't suited to club riding( not all are and that is fine in my book) good clubs are good because of what people are prepared to put in, not what they get out of it.


Of course i would carry a spare inner tube. Two infact. And a repair kit. That is not my point. I don't expect to be nannied.

What i was getting at, is the point mentioned above; whereby the guy got left behind. How in anyway is that encouraging to beginners?

I am sure not all clubs are like that, but i bet there are some with x amount of members who will just want to bomb off.

Maybe Skyrides are a slightly better induction to beginners? But then what do i know, i'm just a beginner who's furthest ride is 28 miles at a neglible pace :?

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ddraver
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Re: Group Rides

Postby ddraver » Wed Dec 05, 2012 16:17 pm

You need to find a club that suits you - rocking up at the local race team is unlikely to be for you

Now, you probably did nt need me to tell you that, but you'd be surprised how many people do...
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richsieb
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Re: Group Rides

Postby richsieb » Wed Dec 05, 2012 16:26 pm

But you are a complete novice
haha yeah but I want to minimise any mistakes I may make :)

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markos1963
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Re: Group Rides

Postby markos1963 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 16:31 pm

millsey_awm wrote:
markos1963 wrote:
millsey_awm wrote:Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.


What a load of rubbish! Beginners get loads of help from most clubs. Clubs aren't businesses, they are groups of like minded cyclists who want to ride together and share the experience. What they aren't are nannies. If you are cycling regulary then you should be able to change an inner tube or at least have one on you. Are you expecting someone from the club to give you one of theirs for free?
Perhaps you aren't suited to club riding( not all are and that is fine in my book) good clubs are good because of what people are prepared to put in, not what they get out of it.


Of course i would carry a spare inner tube. Two infact. And a repair kit. That is not my point. I don't expect to be nannied.

What i was getting at, is the point mentioned above; whereby the guy got left behind. How in anyway is that encouraging to beginners?

I am sure not all clubs are like that, but i bet there are some with x amount of members who will just want to bomb off.

Maybe Skyrides are a slightly better induction to beginners? But then what do i know, i'm just a beginner who's furthest ride is 28 miles at a neglible pace :?


That guy was unlucky, he chose a cr#p club. Most of the local clubs around here would never leave any rider behind in a beginners group. Our club makes sure we put experienced riders as leaders in the beginners group to make sure the pace is kept down. We have had club rides with averages as slow as 12mph or as much as 19mph, it all depends who turns up!

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gthyer
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Re: Group Rides

Postby gthyer » Wed Dec 05, 2012 17:01 pm

richsieb wrote:haha yeah but I want to minimise any mistakes I may make


I think it's good to think that way, but don't be put off from going along because you feel you may not be up to standard. You can build these things up in your mind to make them something that they're really not.

I was so worried about going along to my local club that I trained hard for months to make sure I got to a standard that I deemed myself worthy of showing my face. It turned out that I'd massively over-estimated the requirement and wish I'd joined all those months ago!
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Monty Dog
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Monty Dog » Wed Dec 05, 2012 17:25 pm

There's nothing wrong with being a beginner (we all started somewhere) and most importantly you are on the right track by 1. being realistic of your capabilities, 2. being prepared and 3. listening to others. Whilst, there are countless of tales of people being dropped on their first club-rides, it doesn't just happen to beginners - my winter regime usually involves getting 'belted' at some point and grovelling home with dead legs. Don't worry, the good days on the bike massively outweigh the bad ones - the hard thing is you can often have more bad ones than good ones when trying something new or unfamiliar.
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gloomyandy
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Re: Group Rides

Postby gloomyandy » Wed Dec 05, 2012 18:11 pm

Clubs vary a lot. Some like my own may only have a small number of riders out on a club ride at this time of year. This may work well for a beginner in that it is easier to get to know people, or it may not, the only people that turn out may be in a hurry and want a fast ride. Certainly there may only be the one ride on offer on say a Sunday. In my club we have a shorter regular set of rides to the same cafe every Saturday morning, and a longer/harder/faster ride on Sunday. So new members are often better off on the Saturday run. When I first started out, I used to make my own way out to the cafe and then tag along for the ride back to get to know people. This gave me the chance to try out riding in a group, but also let me bail out if the pace was too fast.

One thing that many people don't realise is that it can actually be rather hard to be at the back of a bunch. Any variation in speed seems to be magnified, and it is easy to get caught out by traffic lights and at junctions. If you think you are going to get dropped shout out and let people know! You also tend to be the one with the bus or car breathing down your neck as they try and overtake, which is not much fun. One thing that really caught me out is what happens when climbing in a bunch. The person in front may decide to get out of the saddle at any time. With some people this means that they slow down rather abruptly when they do this which if you are close on their wheel can be a bit of a shock!

Even if people know there is a new member along on the ride, they may forget as things get going and either the cafe, or home beckons, so you may have to ask them to knock it down a notch if you are struggling, you may find you are not the only one and that a few of the regulars will be more than happy to "help out the new member" by easing off a bit!

Nik Cube
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Re: Group Rides

Postby Nik Cube » Wed Dec 05, 2012 22:34 pm

millsey_awm wrote:Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.


The club I ride with has a novice ride and we have spent many a hour half hour sorting a new riders bike out on the side of the road. We also do not leave people behind who are struggling to keep up. And that philosophy extends to all our rides and to all riders new, experienced, young or old.

We are a racing club and have fast rides and a fairly hard mid week chain gang - and no one gets left behind (a little bit like the rangers but in Lycra) :D
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millsey_awm
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Re: Group Rides

Postby millsey_awm » Thu Dec 06, 2012 15:27 pm

Nik Cube wrote:
millsey_awm wrote:Sounds like these clubs don't help beginners much....

So even if you're a beginner they will leave you behind. And you've got to be proficent in bike repairs as well. It's this elitism that puts me off joining a club at the moment.


The club I ride with has a novice ride and we have spent many a hour half hour sorting a new riders bike out on the side of the road. We also do not leave people behind who are struggling to keep up. And that philosophy extends to all our rides and to all riders new, experienced, young or old.

We are a racing club and have fast rides and a fairly hard mid week chain gang - and no one gets left behind (a little bit like the rangers but in Lycra) :D


Great to hear things like that. Sounds like you're with a brilliant club there.

And refreshing to hear a reasoned, non-judgemental response. I think some people on here forget this is the 'beginners' section :roll:


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