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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    251

    Getting women to group rides

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    This is a pretty broad question. What do you think appeals to women to get them to come to weekly group (not one-time organized) rides? I know that the answer is ALL over the place, and maybe there isn't a good answer, so perhaps this will be a very short thread. But, if you were wanting to get the women local to your area to join together for riding, what are some key issues that would need to be addressed? Looking to hear from all types of riders and experience as well as those who attend group rides, won't attend group rides (why?) and those who lead group rides. I have some thoughts in mind, but don't want to say anything until I get varied opinions. This would be weekly evening rides, btw. I know it's open-ended and I'm trying to keep it that way to generate spontaneous discussion.
    Last edited by velo; 04-09-2013 at 05:24 PM.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    492
    For me, it is assurance that it will not be above my ability level. I don't want to be left behind or struggling to keep up, so make it very clear what the expectations are for pace and distance. For a weekly ride, some social aspect helps too, like meeting afterwards for some kind of food/drink. My group enjoys having a facebook group page to chat about rides.


    Grits

    2010 Trek 5.2 Madone WSD, SI Diva Gel Flow
    2002 Terry Classic, Terry Liberator

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301

    Re: Getting women to group rides

    As a newbie it was finding a group that was a similar skill level. I hate being the one that holds back others.
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    2013 Electra Verse

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    369
    Ditto what everyone said above.

    For me, it's also a time commitment thing. It's hard for me to give up 3 hours of the day since I work full time and weekends are spent with family. I'd love if a group offered shorter rides for those that are time challenged so I can join more often.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    238
    I agree with knowing there is a group at my level. There are few beginner/C level rides out there and I won't join a B ride knowing I will hold them back. (And I'm sure there are plenty of ladies looking for super fast paced rides.)
    Provide clear definitions of each group's pace.
    Time of day is also important to me, but you'll never be able to accommodate everyone. I can't ride until after work (5pm ish)
    Short clinics associated with the group would also be nice (rules of the road/group rides, basic mechanics, nutrition, building speed, climbing hills, etc).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Grits View Post
    For me, it is assurance that it will not be above my ability level. I don't want to be left behind or struggling to keep up, so make it very clear what the expectations are for pace and distance. For a weekly ride, some social aspect helps too, like meeting afterwards for some kind of food/drink. My group enjoys having a facebook group page to chat about rides.
    This. There are plenty of "no drop" rides that are "no drop as long as you can keep up". And if you advertise a pace of 16-18 mph, for example, don't go zooming off at 20+.

    There is a big box bike store around here that has a Sunday morning ride that is truly no-drop. There are a few people in the group that agree to hang back with the slowest person, no matter how slow they're going. I really respected that.
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    I'll be interested to follow this discussion. I joined a women's "team" last fall- not a race team. We are sponsored by several local businesses and last fall we received kits (we paid a portion of the cost) and had our entries paid for the big local event, El Tour de Tucson. But a lot of the gals who joined didn't stay committed after El Tour was over, and we have dropped from 25 down to 15 people (with a couple replacements). So even though we are specifically a group for women, we have had some growing pains in trying to structure the group. We tried to accommodate members by rotating the start locations and alternating Saturdays and Sundays, but it has mostly led to confusion and not to greater participation. On some rides the stronger riders took off and left others behind, which led to some hard feelings. We are currently planning team rides based around improving our skills and safe riding practices, and recommending that team members do their serious training on the other weekend day or during the week.

    I feel we still need too develop cohesion as well as skills, and get familiar with each other as riders so that we can ride together safely. I find it frustrating when some of the group report don't show up for rides and later report doing non-team rides on facebook - so that commitment isn't really there yet. Eventually we want to help newer riders and do more community service, but we aren't stable enough for that yet.

    So any ideas that help us reach out and keep our group going are of interest.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    For me, one of the biggest barriers to group rides is people who are inconsiderate of others' time. It's very frustrating to hustle to get to a ride and be ready to roll at the prescribed time, only to have to wait for people who are running late. Late starts mean getting home to my family late, eating late, getting to bed late, etc. I do understand that things happen outside of our control (work, traffic, etc.), and it's happened to me on more than one occasion. However, having a ride leader who is willing to enforce, "if you're late, you're chasing!" is important to me. YMMV.

    The pace issue is a common issue with groups of every ability and speed. It never hurts to contact the ride leader and ask if the published speed is "cruising speed" or if it's the rolling average speed. Around here, advertised speeds seem to be average speeds.
    Last edited by Becky; 04-10-2013 at 02:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    492
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I find it frustrating when some of the group report don't show up for rides and later report doing non-team rides on facebook - so that commitment isn't really there yet. Eventually we want to help newer riders and do more community service, but we aren't stable enough for that yet.
    Is it the faster riders that are dropping out or the slower ones - or a mix? If they are doing other rides it is probably because the rides are better suited to them for some reason: the location, distance, speed, or even the social/fun part of the ride.

    There are two groups in my small town. One is more training oriented. The people in it tend to be getting ready for tri's and are very focused on speed. The other group is more recreational and does long rides, but almost always followed by gathering somewhere for food. The two groups really don't mix much. We have different goals.

    It is natural to lose some of the initial people in the group as everyone finds out what they want out of a riding group and how yours fits their needs. It won't be the group for everyone, so don't take it personally. They might have friends in the other groups that they want to continue riding with sometimes and may not think that they need to make a commitment to riding with one particular group. Things will settle down, and as you get your ride schedule stabilized, more riders will give it a try.


    Grits

    2010 Trek 5.2 Madone WSD, SI Diva Gel Flow
    2002 Terry Classic, Terry Liberator

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    329
    I rearrange our lives to attend my 2X a month Luna Chix RLAG nights.....why?....there are always several pace/ability groups and instruction is constant. When I first started mountain biking I was frustrated by my lack of technical ability. I learn more on one RLAG than 30 hours solo.

    The team has many of the components mentioned before: social beyond riding, clear pace groups and welcoming attitude. In addition they have the support of Luna Co plus the expertise for occasional clinics from Luna pros like Georgia Gould and Danelle Kaboush.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Be consistent. Our women's ride runs every Tuesday evening from the second week in May to the last week in August, starting at 6 pm. We ride the SAME loop EVERY week (it's not marked, but we have maps and cue sheets available). It is NO DROP, with the exception of our fastest group. Miss the group going at the pace you want to go at because you are late? Chase, or ride with a slower group. See someone you don't know? Introduce yourself and get to know them.

    We've been consistently running this ride for 5 years, and usually have between 20 and 40 women every week. You can read more here: http://nebc.us/rides/tuesday-night-womens-ride/

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I have found one group that I like, but even now, they often split into 2 groups on rides and I don't quite fit into either. It's a social ride group of mostly older people who can ride during the week. There's always a lunch afterwards, which I haven't been to in 2 years. As I sit here now, I am getting ready to go on my first ride with them this year; last year I only did one. So, the main group ends up averaging about 13, although they will ride along at 15-20. I climb better than most of these people and this is where they slow up. I deal with it, but they also use a "human arrowing" system which means if you ride near the front you have to be willing to take a turn sitting at a corner to guide the group and wait until the sweep passes to leave your spot. Then, you have to sprint to get back into the group. I don't mind doing this around here, but if we are riding on the north shore or up in NH, I don't like being out there, trying to catch up when I don't really know where I am. As some of the older people have slowed or left the group, a group of semi tough but nice guys have split off and often do a longer version of the ride, at a pace of about an average of 15-16. I can do the pace, but not for 50 miles at this point in my life. They have encouraged me to ride with them, but I am afraid I'll hold them back. So, I end up frustrated, with the slower group.
    Today I just hope I can do the 34 mile base ride. There is an option for 23 relaxed miles, but I think I might get annoyed.
    The thing here, no one is dropped, this is not a typical group ride. Some of these people have been riding together for 20+ years. I found out about the group when one of the guys came on a ride I led, when DH was in the hospital and he was impressed (I was stronger then!).
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301

    Re: Getting women to group rides

    Quote Originally Posted by luvmyguys View Post
    This. There are plenty of "no drop" rides that are "no drop as long as you can keep up". And if you advertise a pace of 16-18 mph, for example, don't go zooming off at 20+.

    There is a big box bike store around here that has a Sunday morning ride that is truly no-drop. There are a few people in the group that agree to hang back with the slowest person, no matter how slow they're going. I really respected that.
    You hit the nail on the head. I went on my first "no drop" ride that was supposed to be 12-14. Well, at the time I knew I could do 12.5, but that group zipped of at the 15-16 range. I didn't come back for a couple months when I knew for sure I could do 14. It was really discouraging.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by thekarens View Post
    You hit the nail on the head. I went on my first "no drop" ride that was supposed to be 12-14. Well, at the time I knew I could do 12.5, but that group zipped of at the 15-16 range. I didn't come back for a couple months when I knew for sure I could do 14. It was really discouraging.
    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.
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    130
    I only do a shop led women's group ride and most of the time it is all good, there have been times when people tuned up with old MTBs or cruisers, so I think no drop needs to be be clarified if it really is for road bikers. I am at the older end and not the slowest. I don't want to be on a slow cruiser ride, I want to be pushed. I really appreciate the effort put in to organize these rides and many of the riders are real athletes that are always encouraging to the rest of us. I find it hard to read speed as a guide as it depends on how much climbing there is. I would love to have more options really, to join group rides.

 

 

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