Riding Etiquette - An Experience for Comment

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Prometheus, Apr 11, 2003.

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  1. Prometheus

    Prometheus Guest

    I rode my second century 2 weeks ago in Dublin, Ga. All in all it was a great ride. I made
    significant improvement from the first century I rode some 7 months ago, and our local riding hero
    finished it in 4 hrs., 15 min. Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I
    picked the third group, and we started a 13 man pace line. I hung on with them for about an hour,
    but lost it because people we were overtaking started trying to hang with our line.

    Basically, we overtake someone. Then, they try to hang on to the end of the line. It may have been
    two or three in their group. For a couple of miles they could keep up. Then, the gaps start opening.
    Of course, they could hang together on flats and down hills, but the gaps start up hills. This
    started breaking our original group. At one point, I decided the gap was getting too big, and I
    passed the outsider on an uphill, but that essentially burned me out. I hung with my group until the
    next hill, but then I lost it. Told the guys behind me to go on when I couldn't hold the gap closed
    on the hill, I had enjoyed being a part of it to that point.

    It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up until that point, and the group
    held that most of the way. I finished slower, but enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have done?
    Do you let people in your lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?
     
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  2. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:
    > It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up until that point, and the
    > group held that most of the way. I finished slower, but enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have
    > done? Do you let people in your lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?

    Century rides are often so crowded that it is hard to not draft the person in front of you. Letting
    people into the middle of group is another matter. I would try to keep my group together and let the
    outsiders draft at the back, or lead the front if they want to.
     
  3. It's hard to get other people to cooperate effectively in a century since skill and experience
    levels vary so much. This is particularly so if your club's riders aren't all wearing the same
    kit. But basically, just tell any outsiders to sit on the back if they can't keep the gaps tight
    and let the riders who're rotating back from the front slot in ahead of them. If they try to mix
    in your group anyway and start fouling up the works, don't wait until they gap you off to let them
    know they're screwing you up. Most probably just think they're supposed to work and will
    appreciate being given a pass, but some folks show up with more ego than strength and you'll just
    have to ride them off.

    SB

    "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I rode my second century 2 weeks ago in Dublin, Ga. All in all it was a great ride. I made
    > significant improvement from the first century I rode some 7 months ago, and our local riding hero
    > finished it in 4 hrs., 15
    min.
    > Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I picked
    the
    > third group, and we started a 13 man pace line. I hung on with them for about an hour, but lost it
    > because people we were overtaking started
    trying
    > to hang with our line.
    >
    > Basically, we overtake someone. Then, they try to hang on to the end of
    the
    > line. It may have been two or three in their group. For a couple of
    miles
    > they could keep up. Then, the gaps start opening. Of course, they could hang together on flats and
    > down hills, but the gaps start up hills. This started breaking our original group. At one point, I
    > decided the gap was getting too big, and I passed the outsider on an uphill, but that essentially
    > burned me out. I hung with my group until the next hill, but then I lost it. Told the guys behind
    > me to go on when I couldn't hold the gap closed on the hill, I had enjoyed being a part of it to
    > that point.
    >
    > It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up
    until
    > that point, and the group held that most of the way. I finished slower,
    but
    > enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have done? Do you let people in
    your
    > lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?
     
  4. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Prometheus" wrote:

    > I rode my second century 2 weeks ago in Dublin, Ga. All in all it was a great ride. I made
    > significant improvement from the first century I rode some 7 months ago, and our local riding hero
    > finished it in 4 hrs., 15
    min.
    > Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I picked
    the
    > third group, and we started a 13 man pace line.

    What, no women?

    > I hung on with them for about an hour, but lost it because people we were overtaking started
    trying
    > to hang with our line.
    >
    > Basically, we overtake someone. Then, they try to hang on to the end of
    the
    > line. It may have been two or three in their group. For a couple of
    miles
    > they could keep up. Then, the gaps start opening. Of course, they could hang together on flats and
    > down hills, but the gaps start up hills. This started breaking our original group. At one point, I
    > decided the gap was getting too big, and I passed the outsider on an uphill, but that essentially
    > burned me out. I hung with my group until the next hill, but then I lost it. Told the guys behind
    > me to go on when I couldn't hold the gap closed on the hill, I had enjoyed being a part of it to
    > that point.
    >
    > It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up
    until
    > that point, and the group held that most of the way. I finished slower,
    but
    > enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have done? Do you let people in
    your
    > lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?

    Sounds like the typical century ride that turns into a race. In any case, if you want to stay with
    the bunch, you should "close up" as soon as you see any gap opening, unless you're certain you can
    bridge it. I suspect you might have been reaching the end of your string anyway. Would your group
    have slowed if some of their own were struggling? Often it's just a matter of soft pedaling a bit
    after a climb to re-group.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of big pacelines anyway, especially with people I haven't ridden with
    before. Sure you can do a faster century by riding in a paceline, but so what? I'd rather be safe
    and enjoy the scenery by leaving a bike length between myself and the rider in front. You can get
    just as good a workout (probably better) by NOT riding a paceline.

    Art Harris
     
  5. On Fri, 11 Apr 2003 10:40:46 +0000, Prometheus wrote:

    > I rode my second century 2 weeks ago in Dublin, Ga. All in all it was a great ride. I made
    > significant improvement from the first century I rode some 7 months ago, and our local riding hero
    > finished it in 4 hrs., 15 min. Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I
    > picked the third group, and we started a 13 man pace line. I hung on with them for about an hour,
    > but lost it because people we were overtaking started trying to hang with our line.

    Sounds typical. If you're talking about the St. Patrick's ride, that's always a hard ride. It's
    early in the season, lots of folks haven't been on their bikes in months, and they're out there
    trying to re-live last season's triumphs.

    A 13 person pace line is a *big* paceline. Unless you're used to riding together, it's going to get
    broken up by those choppy hills and the headwinds on that course.

    Typically, people will join pacelines, work with you for a while, then go off the front or (more
    commonly) off the back.

    I don't have a problem with that, as typically I am a lone rider. I will join a paceline, work at
    the front as needed, and if I fade, I pull out and fade. Lots of people just slow down and let a big
    gap open up.

    I remember pulling a large group for a while in the early part of the ride
    - wasn't yours by any chance? I ended up averaging about 21 for the half century. Not bad for an out
    of shape old guy :)

    What bugs me about these ad-hoc pacelines is that there is always some wanker rubber banding, or (as
    happened in Dublin this year) some tri-geek in the middle of the pack on his aero bars. From what
    I'm told, he took several people with him when he took spill on a water bottle.

    Dublin and Claxton are my favorite rides. A great way to begin and end the season. (BTW, 19.5 is a
    very respectable pace for a century! Way to go.)

    -Dondo
     
  6. Whatever

    Whatever Guest

    my $0.02

    IMHO It's best to limit groups to no more than about 10 in the situation you describe unless
    everyone is absolutely crystal clear of how you have the paceline working and can comfortably handle
    the pace that you have set.

    Hangers on (or catchers up) should be encouraged initially to sit at the back and let things work
    smoothly in front of them, that way they get a rest and can observe which way you are rotating,
    which side the pulls are going off etc etc, when and if they want to then start contributing to the
    group their arrival at the "business end" of the paceline ought to be less disruptive.

    One you're "in" and working don't let gaps form in front of you, FYI a century is not the place to
    learn how to ride in a group, especially if you're at the edge of your ability of comfort, if you
    can't or don't know what to do or how to stay in then do everyone a favour and draft off the back
    and observe things, just make sure that everyone knows where you are and why.

    If you get dropped sit up, recouperate, & wait for the next group when they pass, ask to slip in
    behinfd them. Unless it's a race and there's money and tactics going on for 45th place most people
    won't mind !

    have fun... rubber side down

    how

    s and how if your comfortable in the group size your with then it's better to ask those who tag on
    the back to stay there in the draft "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]...
    > I rode my second century 2 weeks ago in Dublin, Ga. All in all it was a great ride. I made
    > significant improvement from the first century I rode some 7 months ago, and our local riding hero
    > finished it in 4 hrs., 15
    min.
    > Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I picked
    the
    > third group, and we started a 13 man pace line. I hung on with them for about an hour, but lost it
    > because people we were overtaking started
    trying
    > to hang with our line.
    >
    > Basically, we overtake someone. Then, they try to hang on to the end of
    the
    > line. It may have been two or three in their group. For a couple of
    miles
    > they could keep up. Then, the gaps start opening. Of course, they could hang together on flats and
    > down hills, but the gaps start up hills. This started breaking our original group. At one point, I
    > decided the gap was getting too big, and I passed the outsider on an uphill, but that essentially
    > burned me out. I hung with my group until the next hill, but then I lost it. Told the guys behind
    > me to go on when I couldn't hold the gap closed on the hill, I had enjoyed being a part of it to
    > that point.
    >
    > It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up
    until
    > that point, and the group held that most of the way. I finished slower,
    but
    > enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have done? Do you let people in
    your
    > lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?
     
  7. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Steve Blankenship" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > It's hard to get other people to cooperate effectively in
    a century since
    > skill and experience levels vary so much. This is
    particularly so if your
    > club's riders aren't all wearing the same kit. But
    basically, just tell any
    > outsiders to sit on the back if they can't keep the gaps
    tight and let the
    > riders who're rotating back from the front slot in ahead
    of them. If they
    > try to mix in your group anyway and start fouling up the
    works, don't wait
    > until they gap you off to let them know they're screwing
    you up. Most
    > probably just think they're supposed to work and will
    appreciate being given
    > a pass, but some folks show up with more ego than strength
    and you'll just
    > have to ride them off.

    I think this is the best way to look at it, but the point has to be made politely on these social
    rides. Somehow explain to people that they're welcome joining your paceline, but if they can't keep
    the gaps tight they should let others move up and do the pulling. And in that case, they're welcome
    to ride the rear.

    While it's easy to put people down for having more enthusiasm than strength, courtesy in a non-race
    situation dictates giving everyone a chance. Don't let your paceline or peloton become like a junior
    high school in-group, or even leave the impression that it is. Unfortunately, too many are, and it
    puts people off our sport.

    Matt O.
     
  8. On Fri, 11 Apr 2003 10:40:46 +0000, Prometheus wrote:

    > Our local club had about 4 riding groups of different levels. I picked the third group, and we
    > started a 13 man pace line. I hung on with them for about an hour, but lost it because people we
    > were overtaking started trying to hang with our line.
    >
    > Basically, we overtake someone. Then, they try to hang on to the end of the line. It may have been
    > two or three in their group. For a couple of miles they could keep up. Then, the gaps start
    > opening. Of course, they could hang together on flats and down hills, but the gaps start up hills.
    > This started breaking our original group. At one point, I decided the gap was getting too big, and
    > I passed the outsider on an uphill, but that essentially burned me out. I hung with my group until
    > the next hill, but then I lost it. Told the guys behind me to go on when I couldn't hold the gap
    > closed on the hill, I had enjoyed being a part of it to that point.
    >
    > It was a great launch for my century. We had averaged around 19.5 up until that point, and the
    > group held that most of the way. I finished slower, but enjoyed it anyway. What would you all have
    > done? Do you let people in your lines??? When do you decide to dump the outsiders?

    It's a century, not a race. For one thing, a 13-man pace line going through a crowd in a century is
    not particularly safe. If you are at the front of the crowd, that is, if you start early enough,
    then at your pace you will not have stragglers latching on to you, since they will be behind you.
    But you are moving through traffic (see my first sentence), so you can expect to pick up folks who
    can't bear to let a wheel go by without latching on.

    I would say it's no big deal if these riders know how to ride in a paceline. If they don't, then
    gaps are not the only thing to worry about. Telling a rider he can't latch on is kind of rude --
    remember, this is not a race -- unless he proves himself to be unsafe in the group.

    Finally, crossing a small gap to get back into the line should not blow you up. I don't think the
    hangers-on were the cause of your trouble. Either you let a really large gap appear before you did
    anything, which you should be able to control on a climb, or the hangers-on were able to block you
    out (again, doubtful on a climb, besides, these would not be riders who were that experienced, or
    had any reason to block you), -- or the pace was a bit too high for you.

    If these stragglers are hanging on to the end of the line, and if they are just hanging on, they
    would probably be happy to let you in in front of them.

    Best solution would be to let them hang on the back, if they can, but don't put them in the rotation
    unless they are strong enough to help out. The ones who can help, help everyone, and those in the
    back are, after all, behind you.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're _`\(,_ | still a rat. --Lilly
    Tomlin (_)/ (_) |
     
  9. On Fri, 11 Apr 2003 15:28:29 -0400, Matt O'Toole wrote:

    > Don't let your paceline or peloton become like a junior high school in-group, or even leave the
    > impression that it is. Unfortunately, too many are, and it puts people off our sport.

    Also, don't let your paceline:
    - start acting as though the riders think they own the road by
    - hogging the center of the road
    - filling the entire lane, as much as 6 abreast
    - slopping over across the yellow line into the oncoming lane
    - refusing to yield or allow cars pass at all
    - go around people and cut them off in front
    - box people in on the right making it impossible for them to pass slower riders they're gaining on

    I've seen all the above on centuries. I've even had a peleton refuse to let me pass when I was
    driving the century SAG wagon! If they make the SAG wagon driver mad enough to want to give them a
    wee tap on the back wheel in the name of courtesy, can you imagine how they make bike-hating
    locals feel?
     
  10. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >It's a century, not a race.

    This my thinking. Personally I just let the pace lines go and ride along, enjoying the scenery and
    talking to people, and maybe even make a new friend or two.

    If I am feeling ambitious, I will ride by myself at a hard pace.

    But in my view Century's are fun rides. If I want to be competitive, then I believe that the proper
    venue is an organized race where everyone is racing and everyone understands the rules.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  11. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Jon Isaacs wrote:

    > >It's a century, not a race.
    >
    > This my thinking. Personally I just let the pace lines go and ride along, enjoying the scenery and
    > talking to people, and maybe even make a new friend or two.

    It depends on the route and conditions, I guess. It sure was nice to be in a pace line on last
    weekend's Tierra Bella 200K, where there was a 30-40 mile section into a stiff headwind.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  12. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Jon Isaacs" wrote:

    > If I want to be competitive, then I believe that the proper venue is an organized race where
    > everyone is
    racing and
    > everyone understands the rules.

    Well said, Jon. I've been on many club rides that turned into races. When the adrenaline starts
    flowing and a "break" develops, that's when some folks get carried away and start running red
    lights, etc. Yet when I suggest they consider getting a license and trying some organized races,
    most look at me like I'm crazy.

    Art Harris
     
  13. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    > While it's easy to put people down for having more enthusiasm than strength, courtesy in a
    > non-race situation dictates giving everyone a chance. Don't let your paceline or peloton become
    > like a junior high school in-group, or even leave the impression that it is. Unfortunately, too
    > many are, and it puts people off our sport.

    I don't know, I pretty much consider joining a pace line without permission kind of rude. If a group
    wants to do a long ride together, then I think they shouldn't feel anti-social about doing that.
    Riding in a smoothly rotating, evenly matched, pace line is a joy. I'm sure a lot of people don't
    mind "ad hoc" pace lines, but I think the polite thing is to ask, and it shouldn't offend anyone to
    hear a "no, we'd rather you didn't".

    One of our club's weekly rides is organized into small (5-8) pace lines with staggered starts, and
    riders grouped by speed. It works very well. The small groups merge much better with traffic (this
    is a weekday early evening ride), and the rotations are very smooth. Since the faster groups go out
    first, if anyone made a mistake in joining too fast a group, they can drop off and join the
    following one. Other than that, people are asked to stay with their group. If one group meets
    another at a traffic light, the second group just pauses for an extra light cycle. I'd *love* to
    ride in a century organized this way!
     
  14. "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Steve Blankenship" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > It's hard to get other people to cooperate effectively in
    > a century since
    > > skill and experience levels vary so much. This is
    > particularly so if your
    > > club's riders aren't all wearing the same kit. But
    > basically, just tell any
    > > outsiders to sit on the back if they can't keep the gaps
    > tight and let the
    > > riders who're rotating back from the front slot in ahead
    > of them. If they
    > > try to mix in your group anyway and start fouling up the
    > works, don't wait
    > > until they gap you off to let them know they're screwing
    > you up. Most
    > > probably just think they're supposed to work and will
    > appreciate being given
    > > a pass, but some folks show up with more ego than strength
    > and you'll just
    > > have to ride them off.
    >
    > I think this is the best way to look at it, but the point has to be made politely on these social
    > rides. Somehow explain to people that they're welcome joining your paceline, but if they can't
    > keep the gaps tight they should let others move up and do the pulling. And in that case, they're
    > welcome to ride the rear.
    >
    > While it's easy to put people down for having more enthusiasm than strength, courtesy in a
    > non-race situation dictates giving everyone a chance. Don't let your paceline or peloton become
    > like a junior high school in-group, or even leave the impression that it is. Unfortunately, too
    > many are, and it puts people off our sport.
    >
    > Matt O.

    I wasn't putting anyone down for not being strong enough, only pointing out that some folks let
    their egos get a bit out of hand and try to muscle their way into a bunch they have no business in
    due to lack of both fitness and pack skills. All they accomplish is to ruin the flow of a smooth
    working group and annoy everyone around them by riding as if they were heading straight into the
    Arenberg Forest. Comes from watching too many Lance videos... I've had plenty of guys try to ride me
    off a wheel in a group, only to blow sky high on the next bump in the road. By all means, give them
    pointers and/or let them know it's cool to just sit on the back, but if they don't take the hint and
    insist on screwing up your group, ride 'em off...
     
  15. When I hook up with a paceline, and it becomes apparent the pace is too far beyond what I can hold,
    I let them go. Especially if I know I have a lot of miles to cover.

    As you found out, once you've burned up your glycogen reserves (basically, sugars stored in your
    muscle tissue), you can still keep pedalling, but only at a slow pace (especially up hills).

    If you are pushing your muscles too hard for your cardiovascular system to properly supply them with
    energy (read: blood sugar), you are tapping into those reserves.

    Best bet is stay away from groups that are too fast for you. Take a hint from the ones that drop off
    and go with them at a pace you can maintain for the distance required, and save the extra-hard
    pushing for the training rides.

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
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