An Official Ride?
October 31, 2008 at 5:30 pm #2310CandiceParticipant
So, I’m glad I didn’t put my bike away for the winter yet because the weather is pretty nice again here in Chicagoland. I was invited by some co-workers to go on a Veterans ride on Sunday, I said yes, but I feel a little intimidated since there will be hundreds of bikes there. Anyone ever been on one of these, any advice for safety? I hope I don’t chicken out.October 31, 2008 at 5:37 pm #14482AndrewParticipant
Just stay calm and don’t ride at a pace your not comfortable with.October 31, 2008 at 8:42 pm #14487megaspazParticipant
Ask a lot of questions. Things to wonder about…
1. What’s the route?
2. What are the tricky points in the route?
3. How many miles is the route?
4. What are planned stops and break points in the route. ie. picture points, gas stops, rest breaks, potty breaks, etc.?
5. What’s the pace?
6. Will there be breaking up into groups based on experience?
7. How many people in a group?
8. Will there be leads and sweeps?
9. Who is the lead and sweep of your group?
10. What’s the procedure if there’s an accident? If you’re behind the accident or you are the accident.
Some things you should be in the habit of bringing:
bottled water – keep yourself hydrated.
snacks – keep yourself fueled.
sun screen – if it’s sunny.
extra clothes – for changes in the weather
tire patch kit – got a flat? nuff said.
small first aid kit.
cash – for those unexpected situations.
a camera – it’s a group ride. you’ll meet new people, make new friends and riding partners. ride your own pace and have fun.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…November 1, 2008 at 1:52 am #14495dcJohnParticipant
Mostly just what Megaspaz wrote. I went on my first group ride a few weeks ago, and here’s what I also thought was helpful:
1. Find out how the group will handle things if it gets separated/split at intersections.
2. Introduce yourself and don’t be bashful about letting an organizer know that it’s your first group ride.
3. Always ride at your own pace. If you start falling back, it’s a message to the folks ahead to slow the pace. If they ignore that, find another group to ride with.
4. Aim to be near the front of the group, not the end. Less chance of getting split from the group and a better chance that your pace (again, ride the pace you’re comfortable at) will be noticed and factored in by the group leader.
5. Bring a map that covers the general route area (just in case you get separated from the group or decide to part ways and would need to know how to navigate your way home).
6. Don’t weave around. You’ll likely follow a staggered formation, so you’ll want to generally stay in your third of the lane. (See the MSF info on group ride formation: http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Group_Ride.pdf )
7. Show up to the start early with an empty bladder and a full tank of gas.
I had a great experience on my first group ride. Hope you do too.November 1, 2008 at 6:10 am #14497eonParticipant
From what I have read it appears a lot of experienced riders avoid going on groups like this because you have no idea who you are with and how they will ride. I have only been on one group ride and it was great fun but there were only 7 of us. Interestingly we did not follow the MSF instructions above and I think it made for a better ride. The faster guys went at the front and the slower ones (including me) stayed at the back. We would inevitably split up but the leaders would always wait at intersections so that nobody got lost. Being at the back meant I could ride at my own pace and not worry about holding anyone up. That certainly made for a better day for me and I’m sure for the others. Also, we kept a 4 second distance between each other, not the 2 recommended.
If you decide to go, I hope you have a great time.November 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm #14518megaspazParticipant
chicken ‘n egg problem… ya gotta ride with people to know how they ride. We get around the msf thing too by breaking up into groups; A, B, C. where A being most experienced/fastest, B middle experience/speed, C noob. And we stop and wait at all major intersections on the route. i’m usually on bigger group rides like around 20+ riders.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…November 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm #14530CandiceParticipant
I will keep all these ideas for future. I didn’t end up going because the forecast called for showers and t-storms but in the end it was sunny and warm. Oh well. My friend said it was probably good I didn’t go anyways because there were hundreds of bikes there and I may have felt overwhelmed due to my inexperience, I agreed with her because I was already feeling nervous about that. My other friend has invited me to go riding with her small group next time they ride, so I’ll definitely do that.
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