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2009-04-13 7:36 AM

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Subject: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

Given that the season is starting to back into full swing and many of us are starting to ride outdoors more, thought this would be a good topic to restart the topic of the week (TOTW) feature of our state forum.

The purpose of this TOTW is to let some of the newer riders in on the 'do's and don'ts' of group rides.  These group rides can either be a regularly scheduled roadie ride (such as the Mayors Ride in Roswell) or an ad hoc ride with a bunch of friends. 

Sometimes the "rules" differ: e.g. when doing a "roadie ride" you should not get into your aerobars when around other people - period. Roadies as a group ride much closer to on another and excel at drafting, tight cornering, etc.  You do not have as much control and have somewhat dimished reaction time when in aero.  That said, when riding with your fellow tri-geeks, it is expected that you ride in aero as a wider bearth among riders is given.

For this topic, please delineate whether the rule is for group triathlete training rides, roadie rides ... or both.

Who wants to start?



2009-04-13 7:44 AM
in reply to: #2080283

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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
I hope this isn't too off-topic Brian:

I think that too many triathletes do not see or utilize the benefits of a good group ride.  Group rides, especially roadie rides, can be of great benefit to triathletes.  They force you to improve your bike handling skills (close quarters), they teach you patience (don't yo yo) and they help improve your top end (sprints and high tempo). 

Roadies are a different breed and seem very unfriendly at first.  In GENERAL, they are cocky but quickly open up when they see that you are either 1) trying or 2) know what you are doing.  The reason they are stand offish is because they don't know who you are or more importantly if you know how to ride or not.

Show up to a group ride and let them know it's your first time.  Chat them up and watch what the group does.  Adapt to them, not the other way around.  Within a couple of rides, you will be fully integrated and now they know what to expect. 

You get a great workout that you would not get on your own and have learned a new skill set.

To get it back on topic:

If you find yourself at the front of the pace line and are getting ready to pull off, throw your right elbow out (chicken wing) to let the person behind you know they are about to start pulling.  Accelerate a bit and THEN shift to the left off the pace line.  Don't just pull to the left when you want to get off the front.  Accelerating gives you some space to pull out and the chicken wing lets the person behind you know your intentions.
2009-04-13 8:20 AM
in reply to: #2080296

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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
If the person in front of you points out a bump/hole/roadkill, make sure and point it out for the person behind you.

Ditto for repeating "car up" or "car back" etc.
2009-04-13 8:33 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Interesting TOTW. I am doing a charity ride this weekend, and I will be riding with a roadie buddy of mine. I have no idea what to expect. I do not think there will be tons of drafting type riding, but any other tips would be great! Anybody have any ideas how charity rides normally go?

(yes, I will be tri-biked up).
2009-04-13 9:04 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
bcart1991 - 2009-04-13 9:20 AM If the person in front of you points out a bump/hole/roadkill, make sure and point it out for the person behind you. Ditto for repeating "car up" or "car back" etc.


In my experience, this is more for tri-rides or ad hoc rides.  When I have ridden in roadie packs, you didn't take your hands off the handlebars to point out anything unless you were hanging off the back.  You needed both those hands to hang on for dear life. 
2009-04-13 9:12 AM
in reply to: #2080373

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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

Great topic Brian and Dan also made an excellant point.  I have noticed that a lot of very, very strong triathletes idea of a group ride is several people riding together seperately.  By that I mean, they do not want to ride or want to know how a roadie group ride goes.  Even now I see a lot of triathletes that are not trying to be rude, they just do not realize that roadies DO NOT want to be around you if you are in the areo position.

As Dan said and I mentioned this on the NAMSC club page last week.  You are a more complete rider if you spend some time in roadie group rides and not just the way that we do group rides in NAMSC. 

The last thing that I would mention without getting out my laundry list of etiquette rules would be to watch other people and do what they do.  Most things should be common sense, but you will not go wrong too often if you are not too agressive and try to pay attention to other riders.



Edited by nealphelps 2009-04-13 9:13 AM


2009-04-13 9:13 AM
in reply to: #2080373

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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Charity rides tend to have a mix of rider types and styles. There may be a few groups of pure roadie speed demons that will make a little peleton and paceline, county-line sprint and other such things out there.  You probably shouldn't get in a group like that if you're not already proficient in riding with a group of race-minded roadies.

There will probably be some strong, small groups of recreationalists.  These guys tend to be more relaxed about the ride.  They're not out to prove they're the best and probably won't  bust their tails to catch the next guy ahead of them like the previous group would, but they will expect anyone that inserts into their pack to do their share of the work.  Take a pull from time to time, hang back and relax.

You and your buddy may wind up being swept into either of these groups or finding yourselves riding your own style the whole way, either side by side and chatting or taking turns riding each others wheel.  If you're not sure of the rules of a group you either catch up to and consider joining or that catches you, that may be your best option.  You can always hang back out of the draft and watch to get an idea of what they're doing.

Remember, on a charity ride you'll have a much higher ratio of pure recreationalists that are as likely to be new to riding and have no idea what etiquette for group riding is either.  There are as many squirrelly "no handling skills" riders on those as are in a triathlon (no offense to those of you who fit that description), many of whom are similarly uncomfortable in tight packs.  If you want to ride with a group you see going about the right pace, it wouldn't hurt to ask.
2009-04-13 10:29 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Thanks for the information. That helps. I have never riden with my buddy but I know he is a roadie. I always ride alone, so I am sure it will take some getting used to riding next to him. I perfer the one man rocket approach, but this this ride I am going to ease up and go with his flow. He invited me, so I will have a no-drop policy Saturday. Well, unless he tries to drop me, then it will be on............like Donkey Kong!
2009-04-13 4:55 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
On a more generic sense (as opposed to an organized event ride), here is a rule to follow when either doing a normally scheduled roadie ride or a group training session with friends:

Rule #1: Show up on time - period.  When the agreement is to have "... wheels rolling at 6:00 pm" it means that you are to be tires pumped up, bottles in cages and butt in the saddle ready to go.

I have been guilty of being a few minutes tardy on group rides and rightfully suffered the ire of my friends.  I have run late for a roadie ride and had to hammer to catch-up as it was wholly unrealistic to expect someone to wait for me as opposed to going in the group.

If you are going to be late then call ahead to whomever you are meeting as a courtesy and understand that they are under no obligation to wait for you as they may have other plans and/or not be able to hold back the start of the rest of the group. 

At no point do you have the right to be mad if they do leave; you are the one that is late.  I know that sounds hard but there is only so much available non-work time for folks to train and be away from the family ... and folks have to make the most of it.
2009-04-13 8:25 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

Huge tip for pack riding...DO NOT OVERLAP wheels with the guy in front of you!  I can't tell you how many people find out the hard way on this one.   The pack will ebb and flow forward and backwards side to side. 

Second tip, do not throw your bike into a gap when the gap is too small for your bike or just big enough.  Again, I see new riders pushing towards the front and do this move.  It is rude and you will get a few words for your aggressive riding.

 

2009-04-14 5:05 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Roadies scare me.


2009-04-14 6:57 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
jonathan22 - 2009-04-14 6:05 AM Roadies scare me.


I used to share that sentiment but have since found that riding with Roadies will make you a better cyclist ... just don't rub the fact in that you can also swim + run.
2009-04-14 11:43 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

brian - 2009-04-14 7:57 AM
jonathan22 - 2009-04-14 6:05 AM Roadies scare me.


I used to share that sentiment but have since found that riding with Roadies will make you a better cyclist ... just don't rub the fact in that you can also swim + run.

I like to spend the whole ride trying to talk them into a nice 5 mile run after we get back to our cars. 

2009-04-14 12:33 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
These are my tips about riding with roadies, triathlete rides are generally different. (like everyone just rides and does their own thing)

The tip about NOT overlapping wheels is a really good one. I would also advise to hold your line and ride in a predictable manner. The people riding around you need to trust that you're not gonna go all squirrely and endanger the group.

Also, when drafting, don't only watch the wheel in front of you. I make a habit of watching up and down between the road, the wheel, the rider, and the upcoming road (or the pack if you can't see it.) To be good at pack riding, it takes a helluva lot more concentration than solo riding because you have to be aware of everything around you. I also always have my hands on the hoods and 2 fingers on my brake levers when drafting in case of sudden change.


Edited by autigers_1998 2009-04-14 12:37 PM
2009-04-14 1:01 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
brown_dog_us - 2009-04-14 12:43 PM

brian - 2009-04-14 7:57 AM
jonathan22 - 2009-04-14 6:05 AM Roadies scare me.


I used to share that sentiment but have since found that riding with Roadies will make you a better cyclist ... just don't rub the fact in that you can also swim + run.

I like to spend the whole ride trying to talk them into a nice 5 mile run after we get back to our cars. 



I hear you but some of these cats can really run, too..I have a guy in my club who runs sub-40Peachtree on about 5miles a week run training. And that's only for the last couple of weeks in June. When I really want to assume a position of righteous superiority, I talk swimming. To a man, they'll have no rebutal in the least.
2009-04-14 1:27 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Instead of using your brakes to make small slowdowns or accelerations, use your body.

If you find yourself getting too close to someone instead of braking, open up your chest to the wind.  It will act as a sail and slow you down.  Do the opposite to go a bit faster in the draft.

It's much harder to brake and reaccelerate and now you have introduced a yo-yo affect into the line.  Plus when I see you brake (yes, I see your brake calipers move) I immediately expect something to happen.  So learn to fine tune using your body.


2009-04-14 4:49 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
the key to a group ride is simple: stay in the front and pull the whole time. that way your weak handling skills like mine are less apparent, your fitness improves better than all the drafters, and you establish dominance over the lowly single sporters or the other triathletes who you will be competing with down the road. aint that right coach dan? haha
2009-04-14 6:14 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

phatknot - 2009-04-14 5:49 PM the key to a group ride is simple: stay in the front and pull the whole time. that way your weak handling skills like mine are less apparent, your fitness improves better than all the drafters, and you establish dominance over the lowly single sporters or the other triathletes who you will be competing with down the road. aint that right coach dan? haha

Fixed.

While I realize the sarcasm font was implied for many of us veterans and retired folks, 'tis the season for newbies, many of whom start out as awesome single sporters.  Let's be mindful of that.

As someone who oversees 4 weekly group rides and some additional "every now and then" rides, I agree with much of what's already been written in terms of expectations and etiquette, so not much by way of specifics to add.  My advice is pretty simple. I encourage newer-to-group-riding people to be up front about their experience, or lack thereof, when they show up.  Even if you've done all your homework, it helps you make a connection to the group and you might find out something you didn't already know.  As someone mentioned above, it doesn't hurt to ask about grouping/regrouping/sweeping, etc.  I find that ride leads are appreciative of this, are generally helpful to those who are less familiar with group riding etiquette, and, if time allows, happy to brief them on what to expect.  That said, as Brian mentioned above, wheels down times are prompt, so arriving early to get that information and get ready to roll is important.

 

2009-04-14 9:00 PM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

There is a good overall list of etiquittte here:

http://bicycletrip.com/page.cfm?pageID=150

I ride with a regular group which also has several triathletes.  Just remember to stay off the aero bars when in the pack!  If you are unsure of how to ride in the group, stay to the back and watch, you will quickly learn by watching the group. 

2009-04-16 8:44 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
I'll add: Make sure you have a spare tube, co2, and tire levers with you when you go on a group ride. Kindof obvious, but in the past I've had to give up my only spare and hope the remainder of the ride went flat free....

Edited by runatlanta 2009-04-16 8:44 AM
2009-04-16 9:08 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

runatlanta - 2009-04-16 9:44 AM I'll add: Make sure you have a spare tube, co2, and tire levers with you when you go on a group ride. Kindof obvious, but in the past I've had to give up my only spare and hope the remainder of the ride went flat free....

That is a good one, the only thing I would add is that if you do, it would be courteous to replace the tube and CO2 cartridge if you know you will see them again.  Most people do not think about this.  Someone just gave you about $6 to ride and they may not know you that well.



2009-04-16 9:43 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
Always
Always
Always

Make sure your rear wheel is tight in the dropouts. Ask me how I know.
2009-04-17 9:04 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer
[soapbox]

On a related note:

I did the Thursday night Roswell ride with the A Group last night (well out of my league) and saw that one of the riders fall back in the pack to take a gel.  He then just threw the wrapper on the ground in the middle of Waverly Hall subdivision.

WTF?!?!?

Without 'that tone' or admonishment I told/showed him how to put the used wrapper in the leg of his bike short.  He looked sheepishly guilty ... but did not acknowledge.

As I am new to the ride (and the others are stronger riders than I am), I felt a little sheepish myself bringing this up but whether you are with the A Group or riding clean-up, littering during training is not acceptable anywhere nor is it acceptable during a race - period. 

Shoot, the Mayor of Roswell does this ride ... would you throw down your trash if he was riding behind you?

[/soapbox]

2009-04-20 7:47 AM
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Subject: RE: TOTW: Group Ride Etiquette - a primer

brian - 2009-04-17 10:04 AM [soapbox]

On a related note:

... He then just threw the wrapper on the ground in the middle of Waverly Hall subdivision.

Without 'that tone' or admonishment I told/showed him how to put the used wrapper in the leg of his bike short.  He looked sheepishly guilty ... but did not acknowledge.

....[/soapbox]

Kudos Brian, I hate to see anyone litter and I certainly think that having the class not to is a huge part of etiquette I always want to go pick up a just thrown cigarette butt back into the car from whence it came although the most I have ever done is toot the horn at them.  I normally do not admonish other bikers for breaking traffic laws, but I would for littering.  I bet that guy does not litter again if front of people anyway. 



Edited by nealphelps 2009-04-20 7:49 AM
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