To ride in a group, or not to group ride…
September 29, 2010 at 3:14 am #4241madjak30Participant
Over the summer, I went out of my way to join local chat groups and try and organize group rides. I went on a couple of them and have found that I really prefer to ride alone. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the “have some one to talk to at the destination” thing, but I feel confined when riding with someone. Even when I am leading and setting the pace, I am always more concerned about whether I am going too fast, too slow, weaving too much…blah…I think the next group activity/ride I partake in will be a destination ride, not a group ride…meaning that we will start out together, ride our own ride and arrive at an agreed destination for conversation and what ever. I like the group pics and stopping to see the sights with others, but the stick together thing kinda bugs me…
Anyone else finding this, or should I be keeping this to myself?
Later.September 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm #28581briderdtParticipant
You should ALWAYS ride your own ride and not let others dictate your pace (especially anything faster than what you’re comfortable with).
I’ve done 3 group rides. Two of them were MASSIVE memorial rides (80+ bikes), and just took over the roads. Pace was easy, as the goal wasn’t so much fun… The third was one I organized and led myself, and was only 6 bikes. Again, pace was easy, a beginner-friendly ride (though there were some non-beginners there), just a cruise to see some new areas. Otherwise, my rides have been alone, and I really prefer that to the large groups (though those rides were very impactful).
What has worked out well out here is the “bike nights” that have been organized. Essentially, it’s just designating a place to meet up for socializing and food (sometimes it’s the local Krispy Kreme, sometimes a restaurant), and some people like to meet up for group rides before and after. But it’s varied from 10 to 30+ bikes parked in the lot each time.September 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm #28582EddiepowerfmParticipant
I have not experienced a cruiser ride but I ride with a sport bike group in Arlington Texas. it is a lot of fun for me to be with a group but they are quite scarry at times. I have decided to be last or close to last since they like to do like 80 or faster thru twisty country roads. They can just wait for me at the next intersection. A few of them actually enter area races but they don’t push anyone to ride over their limits.September 30, 2010 at 12:49 am #28583TrialsRiderParticipant
… (that’s a joke, not a challenge:) I like to ride in groups on the dirt, it’s not really safe to go big when your riding partner is your dog.
You’ve fallen down, would licking help ?
Any more than 4 riders on the street starts to feel like either a parade or a street race.
If it’s really well organized, as in police escorted; ride for sight or boys riding through town wearing their colors, that pretty much qualifies as a paradeSeptember 30, 2010 at 2:31 am #28584briderdtParticipant
…and want to do something absolutely incredibly wonderful, try hooking up with a local chapter of the Patriot Guard.September 30, 2010 at 4:29 am #28585kirkParticipant
I’m not too crazy about the group rides either. I’ve done a few where they are just going too fast and I just tend to hang back. It is pretty cool when we are together and you see a group of riders in their colorful bikes and gear but I prefer to ride alone.October 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm #28598madjak30Participant
When riding in a group, it makes it harder to stop when ever you decide you want to take a picture or even just to take a break.
Later.October 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm #28600eonParticipant
I almost never ride solo these days and I can’t say I miss it. I have a group of 3 close friends that I ride with all the time and maybe 6 or so others off and on. Riding with friends adds a lot to the experience IMO but it took me a long time to get to this stage. Safe to say there are pros and cons to both but before you dismiss group riding completely be aware there are many different types of riding styles and it may take you some time to find a group that you mesh with.
My first ever group ride was with a maxi scooter group and it set the tone for what makes a good group ride for me. The organizer insists on ATTGATT and does not have a problem kicking people off who do not comply. He uses this as a simple yardstick to weed out folks who are not serious about learning how to ride. He then has the fast folks at the front, slow folks at the back. Optimal spacing is 4 seconds apart, or at least no closer. At any intersection you wait to make sure the person behind you sees which way you turn. Real simple strategy and it means everyone gets to ride at their own pace. In essence you are really riding alone but you meet up with the others every so often. This is still my preferred method of group riding.
I’ve also ridden with several meetup groups. One of them tends to attract large numbers on their rides (20 or 30) and they like to ride in staggered formation (even in corners!). They have slow folks just behind the leader (as recommend by MSF). Having nominated ‘sweep’ riders and even blockers at intersections is the name of the game here. This style is not for me and I no longer ride with them. It obviously works for many people though given the large numbers. But other than not liking the riding style, 30 bikes pulling into a gas station is hell. It even took 2 hours once just to get pizza from a fast food place for us all. Not for me.
My other meetup group tends to attact no more than 10 riders on a ride and about half of them will be my close friends. A more diverse type of bike and rider in this group. I lead many rides here and I set the tone on how the ride will be run. I’ve even converted many folks over to my way of thinking as they simply had not known anything different.
But these days most of my rides tend to be through Facebook with my “inner circle” of riding buddies. Riding with others can cramp your style but it can also enhance the pleasure you get from riding. Nothing beats blasting down some awesome road and then able to talk about and share the fun with your friends. I’m also looking forward to exploring some off road riding with these folks. We are all interested in that and we are all at the same stage (ie. complete beginners). That promises to be a LOT of fun.
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