Every group ride has a range of riders and within those inevitably lie a couple of problem folks. Here’s a list of the most common riders who can be annoying or even crush a group ride’s spirit.
Are you one of these types of riders? Don’t be.
1. The whiner
You’re out riding bikes! Is there really anything to whine about?
This sour puss is intent on grumbling about something rather than enjoying the ride, nature, or just getting some fresh air. Maybe a good ride will shift their attitude.
2. The one-upper or half wheeler
Half wheeling is when the person in front of you always keeps their handlebars ahead of the person next to them or rides half a wheel’s length in front of you no matter what the speed.
Whether it’s a dominance thing or a lack of etiquette depends on the person.
The reason not to do it is because it makes the person getting half wheeled feel like they’re always chasing or trying to catch up. Additionally, it’s a sure fire way to see the pace accelerate even if it’s not intended.
3. The constant talker
On almost every group ride there’s a time and place for chatting and joking around. It could be before the ride rolls out or on a particularly boring stretch.
However, there’s also a time for riding and focusing on the task at hand. When that time comes and the pace is high it’s distracting to keep yapping your gums and even a bit selfish to take someone out of the moment to listen to the non-stop verbal diarrhea.
Being prepared is essential when logging miles far from home or a bike shop Michael Robson
4. The retro warrior
“Bah, who needs that fancy crap?” is the mantra of the retro grouch. He or she’s been caressing down tube friction shifters just so since the early eighties and sees no need for all this fancy mumbo jumbo.
5. The singlespeed hero
This rider wins even when they lose. And when they win, they win double. Along the lines of the retro warrior, this rider eschews derailleurs and most forms of technology. When they can’t keep up, or can’t clean a climb it’s okay because they’re on a singlespeed.
When they can hold the pace or smash up a hill they’re vastly superior to you and your geared monstrosity because they did it on a singlespeed. Walking or riding, it’s simply a can’t lose game on a singlespeed.
Ironically, while shifters and derailleurs are evil, other technology such as fancy hubs, super high-end steel tube sets, and varying wheel sizes are viewed as perfectly okay. If you choose to ride with one gear, that’s awesome! Just be cool about it.
6. The borrower
The borrower is the rider who is rarely ever prepared and always in need of a tube, pump, or food. Maybe water as well. And a jacket if you have a spare.
If the borrower has a mechanical while out riding, they’ll likely need your multi-tool, and very well your expertise on how to use it.
It’s imperative to be prepared when riding or at least have a very understanding companion to bail you out.
7. The always racing rider
This rider is out there to win even when no one else knows it’s a race. It could be a commute from work, a parent pulling a kid trailer, or a fully kitted out roadie crawling home after intervals, it does not matter to the rider who’s always racing.
Temper the competitive angst and race when and where it’s appropriate, and for heaven’s sake don’t blast by the parent pulling a kid trailer.
8. The lolly gagger
The lolly gagger is slow to get going and hard to keep moving. They’ll probably arrive late to the meeting point, then have to have two espressos, then use the bathroom, then make a phone call.
It’s common that the lolly gagger will also be a junk show, also known as a hot mess or train wreck. They’re likely well intentioned, but due to whatever reason they can’t get their stuff together. Missing one glove, forgetting a helmet or shoes, having a bike that needs work are all common traits of the lolly gagger.
9. The pre-excuser
The excuse-wielding cyclist comes to every ride loaded with a rolodex of reasons why they’re riding slow. The list varies but the more popular ones revolve around work, kids, house duties, or being hungover from the night before.
Some choose the pre-excuse route where they preemptively make excuses before the ride even starts. What’s even worse is that after listening to the litany of reasons for going slow is when they crank up the pace and work everyone else over.