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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
5/19/09 7:40 P

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+1 to what's already here.

My local club has a variety of levels, like ALTHEKAT mentioned. At the slower speed, hand signals and being predictable are important, but they don't usually have a pace line. And no one is dropped. At the faster speeds, you get into the paceline issues (dropping off to the left, etc)

Bottom line: In a group, be predictable. And join the club! It you hate it, it was only a $15 investment. I think you'll like it. Club members tend to be much more coureous that the random riders on the trail...

WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
5/19/09 12:22 P

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FREECLOUD:
DO IT! Group riding is awesome. Scott's given you the run-down on hand signals but you should know the ones that your group uses regularly. I've never seen the "Standing" one that he describes but I've seen and used most of the others, or variations thereof.

Beginner groups tend to overkill the signals, especially the verbal ones. When I'm racing in a pack or out with the faster boys then there's very little verbal communication but that's due mainly to the fact that they're more skilled bike handlers and know what to do in a paceline/group.

When riding in a group, ride in a straight line. It's easier said than done! Don't overlap wheels with the guy in front. Nice even speed, don't let a gap open up and then sprint to close it. When it's your turn on the front, keep the speed nice and consistent - if you can't hold that speed for very long, that's OK, just pull off.

For a beginner group you'll usually pull off to the left regardless of wind direction. When you pull off, slow down a touch so that everyone else passes you. Then jump back on as the last rider comes through. Everything should be nice and smooth. When you're in the back, that's your cue to grab a drink or something to eat - that way if you fumble a water bottle you don't take down anyone behind you. Make sure you carry tire changing kit and know how to use it.

This is just the basics. Don't worry if it sounds daunting, get on some group rides and they should explain it to you, especially if you're new. And for $15, it's a no brainer to go out, get faster and more skilled, and meet new friends!

In God we trust, all others bring data.
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If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
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FREECLOUD's Photo FREECLOUD Posts: 1,548
5/18/09 8:41 P

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Thanks for the input everyone. I'm not really shy, but biking has always been "my" thing to do for my alone time, so I'm concerned how riding with a group would work out. Until I got my road bike this spring, I was always a lone mountain biker. Now that I'm riding bike paths, the rudeness of other riders is sort of getting on my nerves.

So maybe joining a group will be a positive experience overall. I do enjoy meeting others, and I'm looking forward to learning. The group I'm considering joining is pretty varied....in fact my retired gym teacher from high school (20+ years ago) has the record for miles right now ;)




Wendy
~~~~~

"I have achieved oneness with the road - Please dial 911 for me" - Unknown

"A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness." James E. Starrs, The Literary Cyclist

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom."
-Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile


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HEYPUTTHATDOWN's Photo HEYPUTTHATDOWN Posts: 261
5/18/09 12:54 P

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I can't think of any downside to joining a cycling club.

I have learned a great deal from more experienced riders and have found that a weekly ride with a group of riders who are faster than I am and competitive enough to prove it is a great motivator to work harder even when riding alone. The key is finding a group where camaraderie is more important than ego.

Obviously there is the initial shyness and feeling like a total noob but remember that everyone was once a beginner.

Riding in a group is like riding in traffic. Be steady and predictable and assume nothing. Point out hazards and let others know what you are going to do before you do it.

If Peloton choreography and Illuminati hand signals are necessary you're probably riding with the wrong group. Maybe it's because of the up and down hilly terrain where we ride but I can't remember ever riding in an organized paceline on a club ride. Hand signals and such aren't really necessary going up a hill at 8mph.

Wait ... one rule ... always spit straight down.



I'd rather be sitting on my bike thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about my bike ...
ALTHEKAT's Photo ALTHEKAT Posts: 45
5/18/09 9:05 A

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I'm a newbie at group rides, but, our local cycle club has about a dozen or so different levels of rides. We have an e-mail list to let everyone know when, where, & what ride is happening.

The other plus is that our club sponsors charity rides with differing milage for different levels.

I say go for it!

Alicia R.
Gainesville, FL

"If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now"


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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD SparkPoints: (36,181)
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5/17/09 11:16 P

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Scott - thanks for the great tips. I knew about some of these, but some I was not aware of (I don't ride in groups, so that's probably why!).

As far as should you join, it's only $15 so if you decided you don't care for group rides, then you're not out alot of money. On the other hand, for the low, low price of $15 you're getting a great experience.

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
BEVPRESLEY's Photo BEVPRESLEY SparkPoints: (130,048)
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5/17/09 10:41 P

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By all means, join the club and go on some rides. I have learned a lot and had a lot of fun with our club. Our little club has group rides, but we are a very small group and usually end up spread out and not bunched up.

beverly

One Day at a Time:
1) 10,000 steps daily
2) fruit & vegie at every meal and log
3) aerobic or strength train every day
4) 7 hours sleep daily
5) check in with SP daily

August 2014 goals:
1) Get my nutrition back under control and record daily
2) Finish the forest service quilt and wall hanging
3) Ride my bike 25 miles a week
4) Clean and de-clutter one room each week


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DREMARGRL's Photo DREMARGRL Posts: 11,544
5/17/09 9:48 P

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Thanks so much, Scott!! I knew a few of these and to say "passing", but this really spelled it out for me. OOoohhh....and I definitely want to look TOTALLY AWESOME! LOL. Go for it in Spain and be sure to wear that sunscreen!! Mary Ann emoticon

SCOTTCR1's Photo SCOTTCR1 Posts: 103
5/17/09 7:54 P

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Ok... the unwritten "rules" of group riding

A dangerous "spot" in the road (man hole, large pothole, object) ---- point down to the ground on the side of the bike that the object is on.

A car parked or double parked in such a way that might be unexpected ---- wave your hand behind you as if (umm..) you were slapping a bull (or to say "move away from the side of the road")

Turning left or right ---- Well before, give a signal when turning to alert the riders behind. There is some discrepancy here as purist say that all hand signals should be made with the left hand (straight 90 degrees for turning left, "L" shaped arm for turning right, downward L shape (with palm facing down) to signal stopping. Pretty sure this is the universal code to use while motorcycling or driving when you signal lights do not work... always with the left hand. Although some people signal a right turn by pointing with their right hand.

When you are about to "stand" on the pedals (get out of the saddle) --- when your hands are still on the hoods of the levers, you extend your fingers of both hands outwards (4 fingers of each hand pointing at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock respectively) just prior (2-5 seconds) to standing on the pedals to ride out of the saddle. *Note that I think** I've seen this only in Europe, but I cannot say for sure. Do it if you want to look totally awesome. :)

When you are riding over a road that has dangerous sections all around (left and right, lots of bumps, potholes) extend fingers of both hands as noted in previously.

When a part of the road is full of unexpected dirt or glass (such that you would want to pull out a little into the road) you should put out your hand on that side and wave it (as if waving to the ground) to signal unstable pavement.

Probably would see this only in a race situation, but an arm straight up (like when answering a question from a teacher in class) means you have a mechanical problem or flat tire. The highly raised hand alerts all riders that you will now be riding slow and the alerts the "team car" (if available) that you need a new wheel. (I forget which arm means what, ie right arm = rear wheel or ...) probably not important anyway.

Verbal commands:
Usually verbal commands are not done in road biking, but I have heard "slowing" for when you are slowing down.

It is also necessary to alert riders ahead if a rider behind needs to stop or has a mechanical difficulty.


If you are able to remember and execute all these, congrats, you will earn lots of respect. Doing half of them is very good. Simply knowing what each means (even if you do not execute any signals) is very valuable to know.

As for riding formation... there is no generally accepted rule. Usually the faster you are going the shorter the "pulls" at the front. If you are riding fast and you have pulled your hardest at the front for as long as you can, sometimes (even if you try to pull off to one side or the other to let the next person do the pulling) they still don't "know" you are "done". In these situations, you basically twitch your left elbow just a bit when you turn off to the side (usually the left side, but depends on the wind).

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DREMARGRL's Photo DREMARGRL Posts: 11,544
5/17/09 7:23 P

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My husband and I ride a couple of 50 mile rides during the year as a group, but they are so spaced out, we seldom get "grouped up". We can begin any time after sign in and can ride at our own pace. I have really never riden where everyone starts together as a group. I am interested in learning the rules, however, if anyone cares to post them. Thanks, Mary Ann

SCOTTCR1's Photo SCOTTCR1 Posts: 103
5/17/09 7:10 P

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I would join. You donate to a good cause, local, sport oriented, wholesome etc... Probably the biggest benefit will be the social aspect. Meeting new people, someone saying "you should meet so-and-so". I think there is a lot to gain for female riders since there are lesser in numbers... but a group or club has access to more of them.

Generally, I always think I'm an outcast, as I like to ride at my own pace. But, every time I have joined a bikeshop ride, or team ride, I come away with learning something new or finding a new friend, or learning about a new event, or experiencing something I never could have done while riding alone.

True, group riding has a different etiquette, hand signals, and riding skills... but they are good to learn. Plus, I always find new fun places to ride when I am with a group that knows where the best riding is. And, you will be surprised how open and welcoming they are to women... a noticeably small population in the cycling world but for no discernable reason.

I never regret any group ride I've ever been on, regardless of the fact that I probably could have gone on a better/faster/slower/my pace/my route/ type of ride.

A worthwhile investment in your fitness no doubt. Possibly life-changing depending on the people you meet. $15 probably never went so far!

- Scott the "I love riding alone" guy

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FREECLOUD's Photo FREECLOUD Posts: 1,548
5/17/09 6:53 P

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There's a bike club near me that I'm thinking of joining. The perks are that a year membership is only $15, it's an opportunity to learn a lot about cycling and different types of bikes, access to information and events going on in our area and a membership allows discounts on merchandise in local bike shops.

The down side is that I'm not sure that I'd enjoy riding in a group. I have always ridden solo, although since my husband has taken an interest, I "allow" him to ride along with me ;)

So what is your experience with group riding? Enjoy it, hate it???

Wendy
~~~~~

"I have achieved oneness with the road - Please dial 911 for me" - Unknown

"A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness." James E. Starrs, The Literary Cyclist

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom."
-Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile


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