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"No Drop" rides

Old 06-11-21, 09:54 AM
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Bald Paul
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"No Drop" rides

How does your local riding club approach an advertised "No Drop" ride?

I've been on rides where the posted ride speed is immediately exceeded by 2-3 MPH, and invariably, someone will get dropped off the back of the main group, who will then wait at the next turn/intersection for the slower rider. Usually, as soon as the slower rider catches up, it's time to roll again, and the process starts all over.

Is that really a "no drop" ride, or a "nobody gets lost" ride?

I have, on occasion, led rides for some of our 'more seasoned' (i.e.: older) riders, many of whom (including myself) ride for health reasons - heart issues, bad knees, etc. We still enjoy riding, but our days of riding quickly are behind us. They are known as SORE (Slower, Older, Relaxed, Easy) rides. The advertised pace is (don't laugh) 13.5-14.5 MPH (it's hilly in the area), but at the start of the ride, I will announce that the group will ride at the speed the slowest rider in the group is comfortable with. No one rides alone, hoping to catch up. If the group agrees, we will bump the average speed up, but if someone tires, I'll slow it down again. If someone wants to ride at a faster pace, I tell them they had better know the route, because they are on their own.

On occasion, there will be someone who shows up at a ride knowing they cannot keep up with the posted average ride speed. Then, I have no issue with the "get dropped and catch up" format, so long as the ride is actually at the advertised pace. Post ride they will usually be invited to join in on a slower paced ride in the future, as it's not fair to the rest of the group to have to constantly wait for someone who shouldn't have joined in the first place.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-11-21, 10:03 AM
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Cpn_Dunsel
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For 'No Drop' rides we have a designated person to make sure no one is left behind. The group keeps going at the advertised pace and at least one rider stays in the rear to make sure no one is left behind. The "Sweep' rider stays back of the group and brings up the rear and allows the group to keep going.

Mechanicals, flat, or just fatigue may cause a drop and if the person is unable to ride anymore the SAG Wagon is called for the pick-up. If the person is still able and willing to ride then someone rides with them to the end to make sure they not left behind.

Last edited by Cpn_Dunsel; 06-11-21 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:07 AM
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Our local club rides have designated regroup spots on the route. Everyone waits there until the last rider arrives.

The faster rides tend to have fewer regroup spots.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:09 AM
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I managed to get dropped on a no drop ride...
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Old 06-11-21, 10:19 AM
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Bald Paul
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Originally Posted by Sojodave View Post
I managed to get dropped on a no drop ride...
The ride leader should be tarred and feathered.
BTW, nice bike you have! I have the same, only not with Di2.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:25 AM
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I guess it depends on the focus of the club.

If a club proclaims to be for people of all abilities, then club ride offerings should reflect that.

I see no reason a club couldn't offer a once monthly, no drop/solo, 5~10 mile, family friendly, flat ground ride.
Even if only to bring such attendees together in the hope they will create additional rides within that interest group.

Barry
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Old 06-11-21, 10:34 AM
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In a big ride with people of different abilities, I used to like to break a 'B Group' off the back that could maintain a more casual pace. Many don't have the confidence or experience to know this is acceptable or desirable.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
I guess it depends on the focus of the club.

If a club proclaims to be for people of all abilities, then club ride offerings should reflect that.

I see no reason a club couldn't offer a once monthly, no drop/solo, 5~10 mile, family friendly, flat ground ride.
Even if only to bring such attendees together in the hope they will create additional rides within that interest group.

Barry
I'll agree that if the focus is a racing club, you can disregard my original post.

My local club offers a "beginners" ride once a week. Normally 15-20 miles at 12-13 MPH on the flattest roads in the area - which means nothing above a 6% climb. I try to show up as often as possible to ride sweep for the group.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
My local club offers a "beginners" ride once a week. Normally 15-20 miles at 12-13 MPH on the flattest roads in the area - which means nothing above a 6% climb.
I've met many (including me) that would not call that a "Beginners ride".

But..... everything is relative !



Barry
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Old 06-11-21, 10:47 AM
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Some people list rides as no drop (sometimes with re-grouping) but also make clear that you are expected to keep the advertised pace. The purpose it to, say, let a C rider know that if he/she shows up to a B+ ride and cannot keep the advertised pace, expect droppage. When that is made clear, I don't think you can fault a ride leader for leaving anyone behind. What is the leader supposed to do? Sacrifice his/her riding enjoyment because someone is not capable of keeping the advertised pace? That's a great way to discourage people from leading rides.

When I led club rides I would expressly state in the description that if you are far off the front or back you are on your own. I really do not like a person who "rides below their weight class." You get people who come on what are supposed to be more relaxed rides and then bust the pace. They clearly belong on a faster ride but likely don't want to risk getting dropped themselves. At least once I listed a ride where, to discourage pace busting, I expressly stated that the ride is intended to be true group ride and that if you might feel the need to fly off the front please pick a different ride.

And something you need to keep in mind about listed paces: Something like a strong wind can up that pace. Also, in our club, the posted average speed is not the maximum moving speed. It is an average. I (and many others) have always understood that to mean the average at the end of the ride. So if I list a 15 mph ride with both flat and hilly terrain, we may be doing 20 mph on the flats at times, 8 mph (or less) up hill, and 30 mph on descents.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:59 AM
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The group I ride with is really casual. Our average pace is usually around 10 MPH. Actually a bit slow for my style, but enjoyable nonetheless. Nobody ever really gets dropped, but we do stop at different places to let everyone catch up & take a break for a few minutes. We never have anyone who gets dropped at 10 MPH.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:00 AM
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A no drop ride has a sweeper. They should be quick with flat tires, mechanicals and most important - friendly encouragement. Able to txt or call the front leader too. A no drop ride should always include a speed range of minimum to maximum. If a person can’t ride within that range, they don’t belong on that ride. That goes for fast or slow riders.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:12 AM
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I don't think our club actually advertises any rides as "no drop." We'll have a sweep rider who is usually accompanied by a friend or two. We'll have designated re-group spots and a rest stop or two. The faster folks usually go off ahead with fewer regroups. We normally break up into several groups based on desired speed and distance. Riders can and will move from one group to another, it's very casual. We rarely have people show up who are totally off the pace. When that has happened, they generally are apologetic and ask to be shown the quickest route back or an alternate they can ride by themselves. A RWGPS route is usually provided ahead of time.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:15 AM
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When I lived in a town large enough to have a weekly group ride, it was 'no drop.' There was a general understanding of the typical speed, but everyone rode at their preferred pace with several designated stops at which we'd wait for all riders. Those who got to those stops first would sometimes circle back to regroup with the slower riders in order to keep the legs moving.

Note that this was the rural midwestern US, where rural roads are laid out on grids -- so we would tend to regroup at the few turns in a loop -- and in-between turns, it was pretty hard to get lost.
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Old 06-11-21, 12:31 PM
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The posted speed is some sort of average. It's not a "maximum" speed. That is, it's normal to go above the posted speed once in a while.

"No drop"' means no one is left behind. It doesn't mean "keep the group closely together". That is, periodic regrouping (especially at turns), can still be "no drop".
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Old 06-11-21, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
First NO DROP ride I went on last year, the group was flying at 26 MPH as soon as we got out of the parking lot. I held on wondering what I had gotten into. The group dropped about 10 out of 25 riders on the way out.

Regroup about 12 miles out and the turnaround point. Here, started the gradual grade back to the start. Turns out people are much faster on a descent than on an ascent. People were scattered over a couple miles. A few have gotten lost here and there.

The ride leader used to race and has a beat down your friends mentality. I did the first 3 or 4 rides trying to ride with people only to see they were trying to kill me every chance they got. So I had to drop that "let's ride together" attitude I had.

Rode for a few months then went back to my solo rides. Maybe a partner here and there.

Never felt good about leaving people miles behind on a no drop ride.

I've done a few no drop club rides over the years and seems the regroup is always present. Not what I expected so I don't bother any longer.
never done a group ride before but from the sounds of your description that is one i would not like to join. i've done a charity ride twice and for that there was no concept of keeping the group together but i think that was fully expected.

i would expect a gropuy ride to be, i don't know, more of a group i ugess.
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Old 06-11-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
"No drop"' means no one is left behind. It doesn't mean "keep the group closely together"
^This. Separating into "A" and "B" subgroups can be a good idea if people routinely fall off the pace.

What grinds me is when the guys in back take advantage of the "no drop" status and treat the ride like it's a social gathering. Don't make the whole club wait at every intersection because you're exchanging meatloaf recipes back there.
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Old 06-11-21, 02:36 PM
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This makes me appreciate the honesty of the race ride. You know going in that if you get dropped, no one is going to wait for you, so be self sufficient and know the way home.
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Old 06-11-21, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cpn_Dunsel View Post
For 'No Drop' rides we have a designated person to make sure no one is left behind. The group keeps going at the advertised pace and at least one rider stays in the rear to make sure no one is left behind. The "Sweep' rider stays back of the group and brings up the rear and allows the group to keep going.

Mechanicals, flat, or just fatigue may cause a drop and if the person is unable to ride anymore the SAG Wagon is called for the pick-up. If the person is still able and willing to ride then someone rides with them to the end to make sure they not left behind.
Never done a group ride.

Assumption from military convoys is this...
If it’s important to not lose anybody then one of the most capable and wisest riders stays at the rear. This rider would have some type of comms with the lead rider.
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Old 06-11-21, 07:58 PM
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‘No Drop’ can mean a number of different things, depending on the size of the group and the territory you’re covering.
A group of 6-10 riders on the open road may be able to hang together, with ‘No Drop’ meaning no attacking or sprints.
A bigger group, especially ‘in town’ may use a sweeper or rally points, either pre-arranged or at the ride leaders’ discretion, as you may have a wider range of skill/fitness and external factors like traffic, that may make it hard to keep the group together.

In any case, things like average speed, and the ‘No Drop’ criteria should be spelled out at the start of the ride, especially if you have new-to-the-group riders.
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Old 06-11-21, 08:32 PM
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I find it interesting to know that this discussion, in some form, has been going on practically since the bicycle was invented. Arguments about the right way to ride, in the style of Euraudax (fixed pace with the group staying together) vs Randonneuring (allure libre or free pace), are over a hundred years old. The Audax Club Parisien (ACP), one of the oldest cycling clubs in the world, had an acrimonious split in 1920 on just that topic, and only just recently do the resulting two organizations get along.
But maybe we'll get it all sorted out in this thread
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Old 06-11-21, 09:25 PM
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Reminds me of organized religion and orthodoxy. I have a difficult personality in the first place. I can see where a group or organized ride would take all the joy out of cycling for me.
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
I find it interesting to know that this discussion, in some form, has been going on practically since the bicycle was invented. Arguments about the right way to ride, in the style of Euraudax (fixed pace with the group staying together) vs Randonneuring (allure libre or free pace), are over a hundred years old. The Audax Club Parisien (ACP), one of the oldest cycling clubs in the world, had an acrimonious split in 1920 on just that topic, and only just recently do the resulting two organizations get along.
But maybe we'll get it all sorted out in this thread
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Old 06-11-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Sojodave View Post
I managed to get dropped on a no drop ride...
Me too. The group was trying to wait for me and it didn’t matter, I couldn’t keep up. Generally riding with the same group is pretty slow. I asked them to ride away so I could limp home. I barely made it.

It was Feb 2020 and looking back, I’m sure I had COVID before anyone even thought of such things.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:19 PM
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When I ride alone I prefer to be by myself.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:19 AM
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Well when I started doing group rides there was someone designated to. Ride at the back with in riders. It was a task I did often. After retiring and getting back in to club rides again things have changed. No on stays in the back and they loosely sweep the ride.
I have been on ride leader looks back at the slower rider and just keeps going.
times have changed and riders are more into their own ride and not so much into helping beginners. They feel they should not attend a ride if they can not keep up with the group.
But that is the was society is today self inward looking and not thinking of others.
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