Group Riding

We all love riding and we all want our rides to be enjoyable and safe for everyone. A friend of mine from another city shared the following concerns with group rides that they were having and I thought it might be helpful to share as we’ve all seen or been guilty of at least one of these.

1.  This is a group ride no matter what the pace, it is not a competition or a race. The goal should never be to drop the person riding behind you or beside you. Save that for your team ride or better yet...a race.

2.  Do what is good for the group. Flying by the person pulling up front, as you pedal from the back in some sort of halfhearted breakaway, is not good for the group. Never attempting to pull at least once and sprinting off stop lights, stop signs, and road crossings is not good for the group.

3.  If you are pulling up front, you are responsible for the group. Have the last 3 pulls been 18mph? That would mean don't do 22 mph. If you're in front, you are responsible for the person in the back. If you are in front, you are the first line of defense for road hazards. Look ahead and call out what you see. If you need to move over, do so with purpose and authority, missing a giant pothole by 2 inches does the rest of the group no good. If you can't properly see hazards while you lead, you are pushing too hard, need glasses, or just don’t care about your fellow riders.

4. Stay on your side of the double yellow lines at all times. This should not need explanation. Same goes for corners if you can't maintain your side of the double yellow in a tight corner you need to slow down or get better skills. Flying downhill and passing someone on the right without warning is not good for the group.

5. Ride with authority and purpose, holding your line in corners and the straights. If you are constantly jockeying for position in a pace line, you are doing it wrong. Be happy where you are, since we are all in this together. Don't randomly string single file to the right of cars to get to a stop light a little faster. It pisses cars off and a group of 20 people can't do that. If there are cars stopped at a light or sign, park it behind them in an orderly fashion and don't fan out into multiple lanes.

6. If you feel like dropping off from the ride, let someone around you know, so others don't think you crashed or had a mechanical when we don't see you. Everybody has bad days and everybody gets in over their head sometimes. That's ok, but don't expect an 18+ mph ride to cater to your non-pulling 16mph self. This group thing works both ways.

7. We all do it. But forget about avg. mph. it's good to ballpark your pace but trying to beat last week’s avg. is silly. Conditions change, lights change, etc. living by avg. mph is the wrong way to gauge how the ride went. It's tempting, but don't do it. That's a slippery slope of running lights, auto pausing, dropping others at stops or crossings, and all kinds of other non-sense.

8. On any ride, you shouldn’t ride as hard as you can and ignore the people around you. There are really fast folks who will have to dial it down, it's part of being a responsible rider. It's more challenging to drive a ride at a pace that 90% can do than it is to throw everything you have out on the line and see what sticks. The group should not tailor to the fastest person. The fastest person should tailor to the group. That's not what a group ride is about.