Peter Wilborn via http://cyclingtips.com.au (via wildstyles1983)
Most popular group rides turn into race simulations and few people take the time to point out the little things to newer riders. Can these things be learned without someone pointing them? Of course, new riders can learn these things on their own but it takes much longer than it has to.
So when you see someone surging in a pace line or allowing gaps to open up when going through corners take the time to explain how to do these things properly. Let them know why it will help them and/or why it’ll help the group and your group rides will get better.
-Riding in Circles of Various Size (via ride-in-circles-of-varying-size) (via velospence)
"I don’t want to be the road cop"
"No one cares what you think"
"All the races in central Ohio suck, this is what we like to do"
"We like to take newbies out and drop them"
"I’ve crashed three times on "that" group ride this year"
"They hammered it and dropped my newbie mother, left to find own way home"
and on and on - heard direct, or second hand. I get it, responsible group riding takes work, easier to avoid the issue, but wouldn’t it be great to be part of a new (old) culture of riders who are willing to coexist with other users of the road?
Most group riders have competitive aspirations of some flavor, or least like to ride above the average touring pace. Learning some, or all of the above lessons can greatly enhance the riding experience, and will improve racing capability beyond any shade of doubt.
More experienced riders have an obligation to set the tone, first and foremost, don’t ride left of center, then build from there.
Set expectations at the beginning of the ride. Fast, slow, 22 mph avg, no drop, no drop half way, distance, route, hilly, not hilly, etc.
Pick routes that are appropriate for groups, avoid busier roads if possible, ride in smaller groups to a meet point at the edge of the city, etc.
Group more than 10 or 12? Break into two or more groups after clearing the city, slower group given a head start, faster group chases a bit, or distribute riders equally and use it as a teaching moment - the art of the chase. Very little to be gained by having 12 riders split into groups of two and three spread over a quarter mile, or even worse, riding left of center due to a crosswind.
Newbies or less strong riders? Teach them how to read the wind, how to echelon, when to sit on, how to sit on properly (and let others rotate in front of them), how to form a second echelon.
I’ve competed in over 2000 races, starting as a 15 year old - take that experience for what it is. Group rides conducted as races? Tread carefully, think about doing the right thing and participate in actual races. Train, prepare, travel, enter.
Ride responsibly and maybe other users of the road will start to take cyclists a little more seriously. If for nothing else, you just might, just might, save a friend from a trip to the hospital - who wouldn’t want that?