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To Lead or Not to Lead?

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To Lead or Not to Lead?

Old 12-31-19, 06:06 PM
  #26  
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It was a bit over five years ago, I was part of a group of ten, a friend of mine organized the trip. We all knew each other and as a group we hired one of the tour companies to haul our gear, food, water, cook our food, etc. for our White Rim ride in Canyonlands. Thus, this was not a normal kind of tour group because we (the riders) planned the trip, got the permits, etc. The guy that the tour group company provided was OUTSTANDING. He was barbecuing up our food in the photo. During each day, he drove the truck with all the stuff, while we rode. But he also stayed behind each day during the ride to help anyone that got a flat or anything like that. White Rim Trail is a 4X4 road that is a great bike mountain bike ride.

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Old 12-31-19, 07:10 PM
  #27  
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Lead or be led

A coworker and I went on two trips together. I was the leader but not because I wanted to. It was a little stressful when his bike broke a couple of times on both trips. I thought it was going to be a disaster but I forced myself to improvise and make the trips work. My co worker followed my lead without question or dissent. That was important.

It was a great experience especially since both trips worked out. If you go on a trip you have to trust each other and talk it out. Snd have ground rules spelled out.
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Old 12-31-19, 09:14 PM
  #28  
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- not to lead

I organized a few Scout backpacking trips.
I've taken a couple friends on S24O treks.
Then this summer I rode the GAP/C&O. I accidentally said OK to a new acquaintance I met dirt road riding. He said he had quite a bit of backpacking experience. I could tell he was about the most component rider in the dirt road group - I mean, 70 years old on a fixed gear single speed rolling with a group on dirt roads!
We had a great 6 day ride and got along swimmingly. I think I got cranky once. Sort of. A little.
He met some rules I didn't know I had: 1) no blue tooth boom box; 2) no matching jerseys; 3) something else I can't remember, kinda like, ride without talking sometimes.....
tschuss!
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Old 12-31-19, 09:34 PM
  #29  
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I had thought about leading trips, but after teaching and coaching high school kids for 30 years, No Way! I need a break. Dealing with adults is probably worse. I'll stick to solo touring.
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Old 12-31-19, 10:22 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
I had thought about leading trips, but after teaching and coaching high school kids for 30 years, No Way! I need a break. Dealing with adults is probably worse. I'll stick to solo touring.
I was a scout leader for about 12 years, including two multi-day bike tours. Assistant Scoutmaster was great because I just worked with youth. As Scoutmaster or Committee Chair, I had to deal with adults. When serious issues arose, it was parents. Always the parents.
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Old 12-31-19, 10:42 PM
  #31  
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My brother coached as well. He always said the perfect coaching job would be at an orphanage. No parents!
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Old 01-01-20, 12:15 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
My brother coached as well. He always said the perfect coaching job would be at an orphanage. No parents!
That's funny.. and probably true
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Old 01-01-20, 01:10 PM
  #33  
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I am on the board of a teen mentorship program where we spend 5 months riding bikes a few times a week training for RAGBRAI.

Thru that time, the kids do 3 weekend campouts and ride over 1000mi before starting RAGBRAI.
it's a lot of 1 day ride leader responsibility for me and a few others who are on the board.

Herding 30 teens and 30 adults across the state on an organized ride is exhausting, and I share responsibilities with a handful of others to do this. I cant imagine being a sole ride leader and having it last the entire length of the US! That requires a special kind of patience, perspective, and strength which I know I dont possess.
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Old 01-01-20, 03:29 PM
  #34  
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When I was a Scout leader we had an unofficial rule, you don't yell at your own kid, there were other adults to do that
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Old 01-02-20, 10:30 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I cant imagine being a sole ride leader and having it last the entire length of the US! That requires a special kind of patience, perspective, and strength which I know I dont possess.
It does, and they were qualities which our original leader did not possess. And it was odd because he had been stationed in Japan in the Navy. I was fully expecting some guy like the Drill Sgt. in "Full Metal Jacket." Quite the opposite. To give you an idea of his ineptitude, there was a couple in Sandpoint, ID, who, for years, had hosted the tour when it passed through town, letting people camp on their property for two nights. I was the first one to reach town and realize that our leader gave us the wrong directions to the house. After tooling around an outlying neighborhood for about 30 min. I finally stopped at a local jail to use the phone. Called the house and spoke to the wife. She said "No. I told him left at the T and then right onto the first dirt road." She then told me I was welcome to come on by but that he had told her he we would not be arriving until the next day. Everyone eventually found the place. It was chilly and rainy and the leader twisted the couple's arm to let us sleep inside the house, which was not that large. (They had a daughter who appeared to be about 11.) He also did some other stuff, the details of which I didn't get, but it was bad enough that the couple stopped hosting the tour after that.

As I think I mentioned above, we eventually voted him off the island. What I didn't mention is that Bob, who weighed in above, was our second replacement leader. The first replacement, who was also terrific, had prior a commitment and could not finish the trip. Bob took us through the Adirondacks and eventually into Bar Harbor.
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Old 01-02-20, 10:40 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Indy-What the shirker was really saying was 'please add a few rocks to my panniers while I'm not looking'
We actually did that to someone, for not dis-similar reasons.

(I'm also guilty of doing it just as a prank.)
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Old 01-02-20, 01:20 PM
  #37  
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No new problems ladies and gentleman. More importantly, what are you learning from all these experiences?
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Old 01-03-20, 10:14 PM
  #38  
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A few years ago I spent a week touring down south with a couple fellows that had been ride leaders for one of the ACA tours across the US. Wow, did they have some interesting stories about individual riders in their groups. The amusing thing was that I could have followed the one gentleman around the world, I was that impressed with him and his sense of humor..... but as for the other one, I couldn't wait to be rid of him after only a few days and felt pity for those poor riders that he had lead.
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Old 01-05-20, 07:58 PM
  #39  
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I suppose it's always a bit of a crap shoot as to who shows up for a group tour. You might get a bunch of fine folks, with lifelong friendships being formed. Or it could be a bag of ferrets, with everyone ready to kill each other by Day 2. Mostly likely somewhere in between but even so, it would only take 1 or 2 toxic people to ruin the experience for everyone and make the leader's life a torment.

A few years back, touring solo, I crossed paths with a group who were, briefly, going the same way as me. Most of the party were great folks and I almost wished I could tag along with them. But then I met a middle-aged couple, also in their party. Angry, bitter, unhappy people who were determined to complain about ever last mortal thing and expect the tour leader to fix it. What a couple of energy drains they were. If the group leader didn't chop them into tiny pieces and scatter their remains in the desert before tour's end, then he's a better man than me.

Which is a long way of saying, no, I would never want to lead a group tour.
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Old 01-07-20, 09:10 PM
  #40  
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Im way late to this thread, and still missing in some ways. 😉 Im fairly sure group touring is not for me, so leading one isnt even really possible. Im just too hard to get along with, even for myself. 🤔😉 Some of us are just cut out to be loners, with the exception of certain women. Note, I said certain women, compatibility is paramount.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:44 AM
  #41  
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in the absence of leadership, sheep will follow any barking dog
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Old 01-08-20, 12:54 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Connell View Post
A few years back, touring solo, I crossed paths with a group who were, briefly, going the same way as me. Most of the party were great folks and I almost wished I could tag along with them. But then I met a middle-aged couple, also in their party. Angry, bitter, unhappy people who were determined to complain about ever last mortal thing and expect the tour leader to fix it. What a couple of energy drains they were. If the group leader didn't chop them into tiny pieces and scatter their remains in the desert before tour's end, then he's a better man than me.
Yeah. That would be draining. We basically learned to ignore our work shirker--for the most part. On one day when he left camp early after not helping with group dishes, delaying the rest of from getting on the road, I chased him down and gave him an earful before dropping back. His assigned partner was an older woman who was probably the slowest rider in the group, so leaving her the chores really pissed me off more and I could not restrain myself. No one really wanted to ride with him, so that kept him out of our hair while on the road each day.

The following year I was back out west and ended up meeting up with ACA's North Star Tour (Missoula to Anchorage) in Glacier National Park. We spent the night at the same campground. The tour leader was a friendly guy, literally and figuratively. (His name was Guy.) I mentioned to him that I had done ACA's Northern Tier tour the previous year and had crossed Logan Pass, which they were going to do the following day. He kindly invited me to join the group dinner and asked if I could tell the troops what to expect the next day. When dinner was ready, the leader called me over. As I was getting my dinner I heard some blowhard in the group ask the leader "What? Did that guy just bum dinner off of us?" The leader calmly explained to the dude that he had invited me and why.
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Old 01-08-20, 03:43 PM
  #43  
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I did two group trips in Europe through REI Travel. They provided most meals, indoor lodging every night, bikes, etc.

One of those two rides had a driver, van and trailer to haul our luggage and a guide who was in charge that rode with the group. On that trip one of our group asked the trip leader what the worst trip he had was like.

He said that the worst trip he had guided for was a group of only four, that was the minimum number that they would do that trip with. Two of the four were a married couple that was trying to reconcile to avoid divorce, and they were doing a terrible job of reconciling, thus constantly fighting. And, there were two single guys that were assigned to share a room, the guys had volunteered to share rooms if necessary to avoid the single lodging charge, and the two guys both disliked each other. So, everyone in the group hated each other. I am not sure who I had more sympathy for, the guide that had to work that trip or the customers that flew to Europe to have a terrible vacation.

The driver could not speak english, so he probably was the only one that did not have a terrible time.
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Old 01-08-20, 04:06 PM
  #44  
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I thought the article from Outside was really funny. I've never been on a group tour,but I've met some groups, and found the group members to be much more involved with the group, and not open to outsiders. They didn't seem to meet local people or other travelers. One of the challenges of tou,ring on your own is finding your own way in a new place, or a foriegn country, but it is also one of the rewards..

I guess I've always been something of an anarchist
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Old 01-08-20, 09:39 PM
  #45  
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Guys, your stories really gave me some chuckles, thanks.

and ironwood, I agree, the whole interactions with folks is a big part of what I enjoy with bike traveling.
but some people just need the mental security blanket of being herded and cared for...... but hey, at the same time they are getting out and biking, so group trips certainly have merit.
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Old 01-09-20, 05:49 AM
  #46  
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I think the various accounts here could be combined to make a great comic road movie. I think the author of the Outside article should write a movie script.
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Old 01-09-20, 06:26 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I've never been on a group tour,but I've met some groups, and found the group members to be much more involved with the group, and not open to outsiders. They didn't seem to meet local people or other travelers.
I agree. In addition to my experience at Glacier noted above, I have crossed paths with a couple of other group tours while travelling solo, including ACA's Cycle Montana twice. Most people in the groups kept to themselves. The second time I met up with Cycle Montana I camped at the same place. Turned out that there were three people on that tour who were on ACA's 2010 Cycle Vermont, which I had also done, and one of the leaders of Cycle Montana was also a participant on that tour. (It truly is a small world.) Outside of those four people, no one else had much interest in conversing with me. One or two "Where are you going tomorrow?" was pretty much it. That evening the leader invited me to join the group for breakfast the next morning. It was almost like I wasn't even there.

There is also a flip side. When you are in a group I think you get approached less often by locals in certain circumstances. I have to imagine that they see you are more self-sufficient. There are also practicalities to consider. It's easy to offer a hot dog and a beer (family at a campground in NH) or some fresh baked cookies (campground host at Sprague Creek in Glacier) to an individual. No so much with a group of 13.
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Old 01-09-20, 11:12 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
There is also a flip side. When you are in a group I think you get approached less often by locals in certain circumstances. I have to imagine that they see you are more self-sufficient. There are also practicalities to consider. It's easy to offer a hot dog and a beer (family at a campground in NH) or some fresh baked cookies (campground host at Sprague Creek in Glacier) to an individual. No so much with a group of 13.
The exceptions are larger groups, like a church social (small town in Colorado), or a big family reunion on Memorial Day weekend (Council? VA). The social welcomed four of us, and the reunion practically begged about 8 of us to eat everything we could so they didn't have to carry it home. Good food, both places!
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Old 01-09-20, 11:37 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
The exceptions are larger groups, like a church social (small town in Colorado), or a big family reunion on Memorial Day weekend (Council? VA). The social welcomed four of us, and the reunion practically begged about 8 of us to eat everything we could so they didn't have to carry it home. Good food, both places!
True. During a rest day we were invited to chow down at the free customer appreciation day BBQ lunch offered by Gordon's Warehouse Grocery in Glasgow, MT, even though we were (obviously) not regular customers.
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Old 01-09-20, 01:05 PM
  #50  
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I'm not so sure about being approached less by locals if I am riding with a group. Often I ride with other elderly individuals, a few of which are women and people feel much more comfortable approaching when I have those companions with me. A single male might not be approached as easily. I don't read too much into that, simply the way it is.
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