Group rides or ride alone

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by amegslw16, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. amegslw16

    amegslw16 New Member

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    Hey guys I was wondering what you guys prefer riding alone, with friend or alone. Anyone from the jersey shore looking for a riding buddy let me know.
     
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  2. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I wish I was in the UK... [​IMG] Not in Man... ofcourse... [​IMG] Newcastle would do just fine! [​IMG]
     
  3. amegslw16

    amegslw16 New Member

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    Not in UK USA ny
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Group riding tends to be a lot of fun and a great way to discover new routes and build riding skills and confidence to explore. Solo riding can be good when you want to set your own pace either to keep it mellow to to get focused training at your own best pace, not the group's best pace.

    There's a place for both, but for less experienced riders I strongly recommend group rides, at least several days a week if possible. As folks get more riding experience and particularly for competitive cyclists looking to structure their training some solo days can be really useful.

    FWIW, during the winter I typically do one or two team rides per week and train solo on other days. During race season I might do a group training ride once ever few weeks but mostly just train solo between races.

    -Dave
     
  5. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Oooooh Manchester NJ... Hope you got psych-coverage in your health scheme... [​IMG]
     
  6. ambal

    ambal Active Member

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    Group any day of the week for me, every training ride is like a race!!!
     
  7. Dancer73

    Dancer73 New Member

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    I prefer riding alone on the back roads up here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. At 73 with some titanium joints in my old body group rides leave me in the dust. Plus there are not very many older riders in this area to partner up with. But there is nothing like a quiet 20 mile "moose hunting" ride on a picturesque back road for me.
     
  8. Methodical

    Methodical Member

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    I mainly ride solo in the winter because there's not many who want to ride in the cold weather.

    So far this summer, I've done mainly group rides. Group rides are good for me because: 1) pushes me out of my comfort zone, which forces me to ride harder and longer and therefore making me stronger, 2) they have all kinds of bike routes through nice places, 3) there's safety in numbers 4) great ride leaders 5) well organized and sponsored 6) nice group of folks and 7) get 10% discount at LBS. I love riding in the pace lines. I ride in the B group, but they end up riding at an A group pace - call them the alpha Bs. Then there's the AA group. I can only ride short distances with these jokers though, but again pushing me out of my comfort zone, which helps me with the longer B group rides, which in turn helps me with the AA group rides. I've only gotten back into cycling just over a year ago and just working to get better. So riding with both groups, I have learned a lot and been to many nice riding locations. No racing for me though, just fun riding. I'm in MD and have been riding with the Oxon Hilll Bike Club and a crew called the Road Warriors (the AAs). The Oxon Hill Bike Club has many group ride levels, which makes it possible and fun for anyone at any level of riding to enjoy cycling - just a good organization. The Road Warriors also have group rides of the much, much faster pace, but also have the one day a week leisure ride for those that are new to the sport. Good group of people. I've been fortunate to have found such good folks to ride with, so group is much more enjoyable, but there are times when I can only get in a solo ride.

    Just One Man's Opinion.
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "Group any day of the week for me, every training ride is like a race!!!"

    I can roll with this and I can roll with that!

    Nothing like getting your ass kicked by kids half one third your age!
     
  10. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    Group ride every once in a while. Being hemmed in to a certain time does not bode well for me. I need to get out when I can. The one thing that bothers me about group rides in our area is some of the groups get so big they hog the road and then the motorists get peeved and take their frustrations out on ALL the cyclists on the road. No respect.
     
  11. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Ah no... I recently posted a thread on a local group (I am so [email protected] sceptical about posting locally lately because of all the f^ckin commie anthem rides and the CMR wusses) but I posted as:

    "If there happens to be more then 10 people on the ride, we maybe should split into two or more groups"

    That should work...
     
  12. bbbean

    bbbean New Member

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    I've noticed that I don't notice the distance so much in a group, but I get frustrated not being able to set my own pace. Enjoy both, wouldn't want to do either one exclusively.
     
  13. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    Well, after reading this thread I was inspired to participate on my first group ride, a local ride out of the LBS call the "Average Joe Ride" which is a no-drop ride for beginners, but upon calling them to resolve a time discrepancy, they told me the ride averages 15Mph.

    I expressed some dismay at this. 15Mph is a hard but not quite max pace for me at 50 minutes, much less for 2.5 hours, and when I've gone on a ride with just one person for around the same distance we averaged around 12.7 which includes a 10 minute break and was happy to get home.

    So they asked if I was riding a road bike.

    Uh, no, I'm riding a 35 pound Hybrid because that's what I can afford (still not sure why road bikes are so much more expensive, but I digress).

    While they didn't go so far as to tell me not to show up, I was discouraged from doing so, saying that on a hybrid I'd have to work pretty hard to keep up.

    Given that other threads on this forum state that you'd get around 1Mph improvement from a road bike over a hybrid, I get the feeling the hybrid isn't the real issue here.

    Demoralizing to say the least. Even after 2 years of riding I'm still too slow for the slow group.

    So maybe if I can save up 1,000 dollars or so maybe I can try this group riding thing someday.
     
  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    There is a mix of road racing bikes, road touring bikes, hybrid style bikes, mountain bikes and even a couple of 'city bikes' (townies) of some of the slower club rides. My Cat. 2 training partner brings his daughter on a tag-a-long and rides a fixed gear on some 'B' pace rides just for the extra workout. Not one of the supposedly fast guys bats an eye.

    Most clubs offer a wide variety of speeds and terrains on their group rides. Here is a breakdown of one area club's ride classifications:

    A
    Fast Pace
    (over 19 mph) An "A" ride is designed for the very strong rider in excellent physical condition, who can maintain a 19 mph pace for extended periods, and complete a century (100 miles), even in adverse conditions of weather, traffic and terrain, in under 7 hours. B
    Moderately Fast Pace
    (15 - 19 mph) A "B" ride is designed for the strong rider, who feels comfortable sharing the road with traffic, and can complete a century (100 miles) in under 8 hours. C
    Moderate Pace
    (10 - 14 mph) A "C" ride is designed for competent riders, in good condition, who can handle most traffic conditions and can complete a 50 mile ride in under 6 hours. D
    Slow Pace
    (5 - 9 mph) A "D" ride is designed for steady riders who may not feel comfortable riding in traffic and do not wish to attempt rides in excess of 20 miles. The rider should be able to complete a 20 mile ride in less than 3 hours. O
    Open Pace A Class "O" ride is one in which riders, including the Ride Leader, may ride at whatever pace they choose. NR
    Variable Pace An "NR" ride is specifically intended for new riders, who may be new to group riding. Everyone is encouraged to ride together at the pace determined by those participating. The Ride Leader will attempt to communicate "rules of the road" and will always stay with the slowest rider. STR
    Open Pace An "STR" ride is a designated Spring Training Ride. Starting the first weekend in March, "STR" rides are scheduled on each Saturday and Sunday. Rides start at 25 miles in length and progressively increase each weekend, until reaching the century mark (100 miles) the weekend before Mother's Day. All "STR" rides are Open class. T
    Variable Pace A special designation given to "C" and "D" rides which are designed to appeal to those who may desire to ride long distances but wish to take their time and see places of interest along the way. These rides will generally have a destination of special interest. All riders will be encouraged to ride together in a group with the Ride Leader.
    The various clubs in this part of the state list the ride designation in their published ride schedules. Ride schedules can be picked up at bike shops or club websites.

    I suggest you try and find a club that offers a pace that matches your own. The type of bicycle you ride should not be a barrier and neither should your personal pace preclude you from participating.
     
  15. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    There are usually groups that target 13-15 .. keep looking.

    Two things to keep in mind:
    1) you can usually sustain a 1-2 mph higher overall course speed in a group ride if the group rides "paceline". Often more experienced riders in "Average Joe" rides will take the responsibility for doing the front line work. You can sit in and draft, which helps you to keep pace and grow your legs/lungs. If you can hang, all will probably go well unless there are many hills to climb. In that case no-drop groups usually choose a point to regroup after hills or soft pedals until the group reassembles.

    2)"Hybrid" can mean any number of things when it comes to ability to keep pace. Not being able to see you, the person on the phone has to make a judgement call if you are a "serious" cyclist or not. No guarantees, but if you have made the commitment to the "tool of the trade" (road bike), then maybe you're a little more committed than not. Their objective is to include you without disrupting the ride for everyone else.

    When I started riding it was with a 20yo rigid mtb because it was what I had available. I made many modifications to tires, gearing, hubs, rims, my position on the bike, etc. as I progressed. I rode solo for a while figuring out what my performance level was. When I had a good handle on my abilities regarding pace and distance, then I looked for groups to add variety and find new routes. Showing up at ride groups with a hybrid (or mtb) will always raise eyebrows - who knows what to expect. In my case I made sure I knew the route or area and communicated that to the ride leader before the ride so no one felt uncomfortable dropping me if I couldn't keep pace. Wasn't really an issue, however, because I knew I was riding at an 18-19mph pace and would ride with groups targeting 16-18. When I started jumping in groups targeting 19-20+, I realized that I was breaking my ass to keep up and it was time to make the investment in a road bike. My average speed changed 1-2mph, which made some difference and put me on the never-ending course for personal improvement. A road bike will position you to help with the battle against wind resistance and climbing weight, but will not be a magic bullet.
     
  16. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Pics from local group rides: A pace for everyone.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Everything from flat-bar hybrids to tri-bikes to road racers on this ride:

    [​IMG]

    Ok...if you're on crutches you may not make the ride! But the older gentleman on his hybid sure did!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    The pickins' here are REALLY slim I'm afraid. Just one club without having to drive around 1.5 hours, and their easy ride is way harder than this one (16-17).
     
  18. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Not knowing where you are, can't make any specific suggestions.

    Rural / small towns can be a challenge to organize a group of riders with similar ability, but not impossible. Driving may be a necessary requirement (or a long ride to start). If there is a local or regional cycling club/organization, contact them and let them know you are looking for ride partners. If they have an online presence - web page or facebook - participate and try to make connections. Bicycle shops are also a central point for cyclists to eventually end up - let them know you are looking for ride partners. The LBS is kind of a crapshoot, but one worth investigating.

    If you collect ride data and dump it to an online service - Map My Ride, Garmin Communicator, etc. - search for ride activities starting in your area that have similar pace statistics and send out a friend request to the person who logged the ride. Maybe they are also interested in starting a ride group or know of others who are.

    Keep riding!
     
  19. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    +1. It could very well be that there are others at your riding level looking for the same thing you are. In smaller bike communities, it just takes a bit more effort to find the groups your looking for. If nothing else, putting up a notice on an LBS bulletin board might at least find you another person or two to ride with. A drive to a ride could very well be worth it for the experience in group riding and for the training aspect, i.e. riding in a group that might push you a bit more.
     
  20. amegslw16

    amegslw16 New Member

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    The reason why I started this thread is to find out how to improve my cycling. I have done few group rides and learned a lot shifting keeping eye on the road taking turn etc. when I ride alone I don't think im pushing hard enough and find myself push too hard and end up getting too tired early. so to me the group riding is much for helpful. As far as the bike issue you don't have to spend a 1000 bucks I spend way way less then that even after upgrades done to the bike. the bike and the upgrades I paid 360 bike only had 30 miles on it. look around in local classifieds you will be shock what you can find.
     
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