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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043

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    I've done a lot of mixed-gender training rides over the years and definitely have developed some likes/dislikes. I prefer groups that offer different subgroups to cater to faster/slower speeds and experience levels. I'd suggest having a no-drop policy, but I'd add that all of the group rides I've done have had marked routes, which is helpful for those (like me) who don't necessarily need a no-drop policy but do want to know how to get back to my car. If I were putting a ride together, I'd try to find a route with low traffic, decent road surfaces, good sight lines and no loose dogs.

    Most of my frustration during training rides had to do with lax etiquette and safety issues. I think it would be helpful to offer some instruction on how to safely and politely ride in a group/paceline. I also think it's important to establish and enforce some safety rules and expectations, not just so that no one in the group gets hurt, but also to maintan a positive relationship with vehicular traffic. Some of our local training rides have really gotten crosswise with the community because they don't respect the rules of the road. I would repeatedly make it clear that stop signs will be respected and that the group will only ride two-abreast when conditions allow.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    No pacelines. I'm not there yet.

    No-drop means no-drop, or at least clarity on the speed so that I can gauge whether I'd be the slowpoke or not.

    Some kind of social aspect afterward (say, grabbing lunch, coffee or a beer) would be nice. Casual rides out for breakfast/lunch/dinner and then riding back are cool too.

    Also, a mostly-low traffic route is a must for me, or at least an early start so that you can avoid most of the traffic. I don't go on the shop rides because the traffic is heavier than I'm comfortable with.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    26
    I was interested in reading this thread, since I have just purchased my first road bike, and would like to do group rides at some point. Although I have ridden a hybrid for many years, I realize that I will need to improve my road bike skills in order to join a group ride, and determine what sort of speed I would be comfortable with. What is the general protocol for joining a group for the first time..when I see a group zooming along, it seems very intimidating...so how does one "learn the ropes" when starting out? I generally ride solo, however I realize from touring, riding with others definitely pushes ones capabilities. I'd be interested in your initial group experience and how you got started. Thanks!

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    238
    Quote Originally Posted by Citycyclegal View Post
    I was interested in reading this thread, since I have just purchased my first road bike, and would like to do group rides at some point. Although I have ridden a hybrid for many years, I realize that I will need to improve my road bike skills in order to join a group ride, and determine what sort of speed I would be comfortable with. What is the general protocol for joining a group for the first time..when I see a group zooming along, it seems very intimidating...so how does one "learn the ropes" when starting out? I generally ride solo, however I realize from touring, riding with others definitely pushes ones capabilities. I'd be interested in your initial group experience and how you got started. Thanks!
    If you can find a beginner or more intermediate ride that would be a good starting point. They may not do pace lines, which is better for your first time in a group. My first group ride was a beginner route, and they taught us how to call out everything ...when you slow down, when you see something in the road, car back (cars behind you), how to follow at a safe distance, how to stay to right of road how to merge with traffic to make left turns, etc. WHen you figure out your average speed then you can figure out which level group you want to ride with

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,505
    Make sure that the routes are good. Know that people will want to ride two abreast, so there should be a good bike lane to accommodate that. I've opted out of many rides here because they go on roads that just aren't safe. For example, they might be narrow, heavily trafficked with high speed limits or rutted with pot holes. I figure that I'll be riding with people who may not understand how to point out obstacles and that could be disastrous.

    Oh, and always start on time. It isn't fair to those who made the effort to get up, get their act together & get out.

    I do like the idea of a monthly clinic for newbies. They need to know how to ride a paceline, single and double, how to effectively signal for trash, slowing and turning, etc.
    Last edited by Dogmama; 04-10-2013 at 05:43 PM.
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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    CityCycleGal, are you going to the "instructional" ride on the 27th? You will learn all the "protocol" for riding in a group there. I think there will be parking lot practice and then a 10 mile flat ride. The instructors for this are really good, so take advantage of it. You should be fine to do the "easier pace" group on the New Members Ride on May 11th after you take this class. Lamar (who spoke at the workshop) and my friend Janine, who has bee an AMC leader for 20 years lead this group. We won't look quite like the groups you see whizzing past!
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Citycyclegal View Post
    I was interested in reading this thread, since I have just purchased my first road bike, and would like to do group rides at some point. Although I have ridden a hybrid for many years, I realize that I will need to improve my road bike skills in order to join a group ride, and determine what sort of speed I would be comfortable with. What is the general protocol for joining a group for the first time..when I see a group zooming along, it seems very intimidating...so how does one "learn the ropes" when starting out? I generally ride solo, however I realize from touring, riding with others definitely pushes ones capabilities. I'd be interested in your initial group experience and how you got started. Thanks!

    I see that you are in the Boston area. The ride I listed as a women's only in the area is PERFECT for you. Beginner level rides (and you can progress to faster groups through the season), and the focus is on good pace lining skills and riding with a group. It is really ideal for someone starting out - safe environment, passionate/experienced leaders and a group of women who all share their love of the bike. Check it out: http://nebc.us/rides/tuesday-night-womens-ride/ I think the ride starts the second Tuesday of May this year.

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Excellent! Thank you so much for all of the feedback. Most of what has been said, mirrors what I expected. I used to lead rides, but as I've mentioned before, I took some time off of the bike to start a family. Back at it now, I feel, once again, a strong pull toward cycling advocacy for women. We are trying to get a repeating ride set up that has women-specific needs in mind, but that would, of course, welcome anyone. I've taken note of everyone's input:

    - assurance that it will not be above riding ability (don't want to be left behind or struggling)
    - clear expectations of pace and distance ("rolling" average or are posted speeds cruising/pacelining speeds)
    - some social aspect to the ride
    - groups of similar skill levels
    - offer different distances
    (question here - should shorter rides be slower and longer rides be faster or does that matter?)
    ... again, I have my own opinion of this, but would like to hear from others

    - keep at the published pace
    - develop skills together, instruction is important for newer riders
    - start on time... if you're late, you have to sprint to catch-up... time is precious
    - socialization again... gather together post-ride for libations and talking
    - welcoming attitude to group
    - be consistent - same loop every week, not necessarily marked but have cue sheets available
    - have a sweep and use human arrowing for no-drop
    - make the ride NO DROP!!
    - address frustrations of being "between" groups (frustrated at slower group, faster group hammers too much)
    - talk about hills on route and how it affects pace
    - road ride = road bikes... no mt. bikes
    - marked routes, no drop (mentioned above)
    - low traffic and good road surfaces
    - instruction on safe and polite group riding etiquette
    - instruction about pacelines (this will hopefully, eventually, apply to us)
    - make safety rules known and enforce them
    - have some workshops with parking lot practice

    I appreciate the input. Please add as you think of things. This has been very helpful.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I'd like to reply to your "should short rides be slower and faster rides longer?" This is the only part of the group I ride with that I don't like. I almost always want to do the longer distances, but it's always the faster group that does them. I routinely ride those distances (40-60 miles), but I can't maintain the pace they do for that distance.
    It's frustrating and why I mostly ride with DH or 1-2 friends.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Velo, most of the evening training rides that I've done are 20-25 miles, with only one route offered (although there is often an unofficial shortcut). One of the nearby shop rides offer two ride lengths, but I think the slowest group does the shorter of the two routes early in the season and then progresses to the longer route--although I could be wrong about that.

    Frankly, if I was in your position and trying to put a new ride together, I'd keep the logistics relatively simple and would likely just offer one route with 2-3 sub-groups to cater to different paces and abilities. I'd make it a length that was doable after work such that people could still get home at a reasonable hour, and I'd only offer a post-ride social option, say, once a month--again in an effort to keep logistics simple.

    I'll share one other "like" of the rides I've done in the past. It's really helpful to have a bathroom or porta-potty that riders can use before/after the ride. One of the training rides I did met at school that had porta-potties near the school's ballfield. Another of the rides I did, did not offer similar facilities. Guess which one I preferred?
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I'd like to reply to your "should short rides be slower and faster rides longer?" This is the only part of the group I ride with that I don't like. I almost always want to do the longer distances, but it's always the faster group that does them. I routinely ride those distances (40-60 miles), but I can't maintain the pace they do for that distance.
    It's frustrating and why I mostly ride with DH or 1-2 friends.
    What Crankin said. For me, the shorter the ride, the faster I can go. I'd love to have some slower options when I want to crank out big distances, and some short fast rides when time is limited.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    What Crankin said. For me, the shorter the ride, the faster I can go. I'd love to have some slower options when I want to crank out big distances, and some short fast rides when time is limited.
    I concur, for longer rides I've got to go slower - but then again my average speed really has never broken 13 consistently. I am just slow I agree with IndySteel that having access to some kind of bathroom facility would certainly be an attraction... Not too many groups, and know that some will stay with the slower/easier group for the season while others will want to rapidly progress to faster/longer groups. I've seen that dynamic in the last two years at the shop rides I attend occasionally. Sadly I get off work too late these days to make them

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,171
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    That raises an issue that I think happens a lot for group rides: The rider leader should make clear whether the posted speed for a group is the average or the "rolling" speed. That can make a big difference in someone's ability/expectation to keep up. If a group averages, say, 15 mph for a ride, then attendees will have to be able to maintain speeds higher than that to keep up.
    Rolling vs. average speeds is a big part of it, I think.
    I do group rides (well - have done, I'm woefully out of shape right now for rides with ANYone, never mind my usual group) where I will average 16 mph, but most of the time, we're cruising flats at 20 mph or more. I think pacing is a big reason women don't ride groups more. Where I am, there are plenty of women riders - and plenty of women racers. Personally, I'm usually stuck in "no man's" land - faster than the slow group, slower than the fast group. So I frequently ride "group rides" alone and just catch them at the rest stops or re-gatheriing spots or hope for red lights. Frankly, that gets a little old after a while.
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  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    26
    Yes, I am going to the instructional ride, and would love to go to the ride on 5/11, but probably cannot, It is the weekend of the NH Wool Festival, and I had already made plans to take a visually impaired friend to it before I knew about the ride. I finally have some free time this week, the weather will be good, so I am headed to the Cape for a few days, and intend to get in some riding and experience with SRAM, etc. Will keep in touch.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    26
    Shefly, thanks for the info about rides, I will definitely look into it. I know the area there well, although I now live in the city. I have had to reinvent my life recently, and I really miss having people in my life that like to hike, ride, be outdoors etc. That looks like a great opportunity!

 

 

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