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First Group Ride Coming Up

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

First Group Ride Coming Up

Old 09-29-22, 09:26 PM
  #1  
rudypyatt
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First Group Ride Coming Up

I got riding again this summer after taking a couple of years off. I'm used to riding alone from 10 to 30 miles, but just registered for my first group ride with New York's Five Boro Bike Club. It's advertised as beginner friendly and covers about 25 miles through Brooklyn and Queens, so speed and distance won't be a problem and the bike won't be a limiting factor. But I'm a little nervous since I'm unused to riding in groups.

Anyone have some general tips for group rides?

FYI, my road bike is a single-speed to three-speed conversion (pictured below).

Manhattan Beach, next to the Atlantic Ocean.
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Old 09-29-22, 09:32 PM
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Wear a shirt, don't take any zoom meetings during the ride, don't pull over to look into dumpsters, and -- above all -- don't blow any snot rockets.
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Old 09-29-22, 09:36 PM
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Okay, seriously: ride predictably -- no sudden accelerations or sudden braking, hold your line (i.e., don't swerve unless you absolutely have to), don't get too close to other riders (that can come later, when you are more comfortable in a group), call out and point out any obstructions in the road (potholes, debris, etc) and swerve around them smoothly and predictably. Be pleasant, help other riders if they have mechanical issues, bring plenty of water and snacks if you'll need them.

Oh, and wear a shirt. Seriously.
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Old 09-29-22, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Okay, seriously: ride predictably -- no sudden accelerations or sudden braking, hold your line (i.e., don't swerve unless you absolutely have to), don't get too close to other riders (that can come later, when you are more comfortable in a group), call out and point out any obstructions in the road (potholes, debris, etc) and swerve around them smoothly and predictably. Be pleasant, help other riders if they have mechanical issues, bring plenty of water and snacks if you'll need them.

Oh, and wear a shirt. Seriously.
Thanks! I will keep all of those tips in mind, especially re holding the line and riding predictably. We are supposed to be making a restaurant stop, so I should be okay with water and a couple of bars to supplement that.

I will also make sure not to dumpster dive for liquor or golf clubs (I saw the threads you're referring too).
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Old 09-29-22, 10:38 PM
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Show them no mercy.
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Old 09-29-22, 11:01 PM
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Hold your line.
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Old 09-30-22, 12:08 AM
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if the group seems equally consistent, ride at the back for a while, and practice maintaining a steady pace. Work on riding on a wheel, at 1 to 1.5 bike length is a good target. (riding a wheel is staying behind a rider in front of you on approx the same wheel track.)
When on a wheel, try to look over the rider in front (over their shoulder or 'around' if they're bigger than you). The idea is to be aware of what's happening up front, before you get surprised.
Spotting what's happening up front will make for a much more comfortable ride for you.
Practice pointing out obstacles by pointing in the direction you'll be passing them. Pothole - point down to the road at approx the distance to where it will appear when you pass it. Same for other obstacles.
Determine which riders also show a steady wheel, are predictable, seem experienced in good group riding. Note those riders who are unpredictable, unsteady and squirrely. Make a point to stay off their wheels.
When riders seem to fall off the group pace and you still have plenty to give, learn how to go around those riders and catch up to the group. The smaller the gap when you make a move to go around those falling off the pace, the easier it will be for you to keep with the group.
There's a fine line to 'keeping up' or constantly over-reacting to small gaps. That skill takes time to develop - good to start as soon as possible, learning.
Smile, enjoy, keep the 'intent' strong but light. Also a big part of having group rides be something you'll always look forward to.
Ride On
Yuri
EDIT: Important hand signal for quick narrowing spots/ride lines, pinch points, obstacles like parked cars in the line of travel. ON the side which the pinch point will happen, wave,bring your arm/hand around to your back - same motion as if you were to get something out of your jersey rear pocket. One wave for small pinch points, more/strongly motioned waves if the the pinch point is more severe/sudden.
Yelling out something never works, because riders behind will never make out whats yelled before they come onto the obstacle.
Make your move to avoid the obstacle smoothly, well before you come to it - NOT sudden swerve (the reason why you're looking forward to what's happening up front...)

Last edited by cyclezen; 09-30-22 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 09-30-22, 05:55 AM
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Don't feel obligated to do something that makes you uncomfortable to stay with the group. It is sometimes the case that a "herd mentality" governs the group, and they may ride in a way that makes you feel unsafe - e.g. blowing stop signs/traffic lights, filtering to the front of a stopped line of traffic, blocking traffic, yelling at other road users, etc. Hopefully, this being a beginners ride, this won't happen. And, honestly, with smaller groups of more experienced riders this type of behavior is pretty rare. But I've seen it happen with larger groups (>12-15 or so) of mid-level riders. Larger groups (> 25-ish) can get pretty crazy (but, again, probably not on a beginners ride). If this type of thing happens, I abandon the ride and do my own ride. Since it's a beginners ride, if you do decide to abandon, you should let the ride leader know, of course.

Otherwise, just don't be a d!ck. Ride smoothly and predictably - no sudden stops, swerves or accelerations, signal your intentions. If you are not comfortable riding close to others while reaching for a bottle or adjusting equipment or something, then drop to the back of the group before doing so. Don't b!tch and moan - about the speed of the ride, the route, the way the leader organizes the ride, etc. You chose to ride with the group, if you don't like it then just don't go back. Do not go off on your own without telling someone, preferably the group leader. Above all, don't crash and take others down with you. You have to extend your awareness and perceptions to cover those nearest to you and the group as a whole, as well as yourself. Pay attention, your riding can now affect the safety and enjoyment of others.
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Old 09-30-22, 05:57 AM
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Rudy,
The 5BBC group rides are easy going, except the fastest rated rides (I forget the term for the fast ones, but it's a 20 mph pace).

The rides I've been on are really nice and slower than I expected. No pacelines or serious drafting.

A 5BBC group ride this spring was my first group ride in 40 years and it was plain fun and required no group riding skills. But I did fail to unclip at a stop and did a slowwww tip-over to everyone's enjoyment.

All good,
BT

PS. The MS Ride NYC is coming up Oct 23, requires $250 in fundraising, but looks to be a fun route. I like riding closed city highways 😀, Bklyn Battery Tunnel, the FDR, and some of West Side Hwy will be bikes only!

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Old 09-30-22, 08:12 AM
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If for any reason you are going to stop, then don't stop in front of everyone. Work your way over to one side or the other and then let everyone know you are stopping both verbally and with hand signals. Same for if you are going to turn off to go to a rest stop if they have any for a 25 mile ride. Not everyone stops at rest stops.
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Old 09-30-22, 08:43 AM
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Rule number 1: don't be a French Shower. Be sure to introduce yourself to the ride leader and let him/her know it's your first time. Should be fun. Let us know how it goes??
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Old 09-30-22, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Be sure to introduce yourself to the ride leader and let him/her know it's your first time.
Agree. I'd say this is the #1 most important thing. Show up with the mindset that you're new at this and therefore need to learn some new skills.

This can sometimes be a difficult thing for people who've been riding for years, but have never done a group ride.
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Old 09-30-22, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Rule number 1: don't be a French Shower.
Methinks you don't know the definition of "French Shower."
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Old 09-30-22, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Methinks you don't know the definition of "French Shower."
I meant doosh which is "shower" in French but if you spell it correctly the filter blocks it.

Don't be a ******.
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Old 09-30-22, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I meant doosh which is "shower" in French but if you spell it correctly the filter blocks it.

Don't be a ******.
That's very different than a French Shower, but I get you.

'Course, the OP is asking how to avoid being that thing...So telling him to NOT be that thing is pointless.
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Old 09-30-22, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
That's very different than a French Shower, but I get you.

'Course, the OP is asking how to avoid being that thing...So telling him to NOT be that thing is pointless.
Yeah, I know. But I still think it's a good idea to "be nice," ie. don't be a ******.
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Old 09-30-22, 09:52 AM
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This club is super congenial,at least at this level, new riders get intros and welcomed. Close to 50% women on my rides.
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Old 09-30-22, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Yeah, I know. But I still think it's a good idea to "be nice," ie. don't be a ******.
Yep, agreed! Many years ago, on a group ride, I gave a tube to a rider who had punctured, and told him "Hey, don't worry about it." I made a friend for life.

Ditto with energy snacks -- I always try to bring more than I'll need, just in case.
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Old 09-30-22, 10:56 AM
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I agree with riding in the back, at least at first. Get a feel for the ride.
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Old 09-30-22, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
Anyone have some general tips for group rides?
Don't ride too close to other riders. Ride in a smooth and predictable way. Look where you are going (left or right) before moving.
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Old 09-30-22, 02:43 PM
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It's pretty straightforward and there are some super-helpful posts with guidance on these forums.

Tips and Guidance for Proper Group Ride Etiquette
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Old 09-30-22, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Yep, agreed! Many years ago, on a group ride, I gave a tube to a rider who had punctured, and told him "Hey, don't worry about it." I made a friend for life.
His name is Larry.
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Old 09-30-22, 05:09 PM
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[QUOTE=rudypyatt;22664002). We are supposed to be making a restaurant stop).[/QUOTE]

Wear deodorant. Had one guy in our club with terrible BO. We think he did it on purpose so we would always get in front of him in pacelines leaving him to always suck wheel/draft.
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Old 09-30-22, 05:13 PM
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If you need to blow your nose either:

1. Go to the back of the pack and blow away, or

2. Stop, get a handkerchief and blow your nose like a true gentleman and then pedal like a mad man to catch the pack that left you in the dust.

3. Wear a N95 and just blow away into your mask
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Old 09-30-22, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
It's pretty straightforward and there are some super-helpful posts with guidance on these forums.

Tips and Guidance for Proper Group Ride Etiquette
Thanks! I saw that thread awhile ago but didn’t see it in my search results.
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