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The Tip

Group Ride guidelines. Feedback please

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One of my many mottos developed over a lifetime of experiences, both personal and in business, is "Strive for perfection." You're never going to get there, but you should try to get close. As you say, group rides are generally great fun. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to perfect them. I'll say it again, this is definitely a first world problem. Maybe not even a problem. Just an exercise in trying to make things just a teeny weeny bit better.

But I like the last thing I posted because ALL the groups have that person that is in the wrong group. It might be a situation of trying to educate "that guy" as previously discussed. But at least the guidelines are an attempt to enlighten "that gal." (changed to adhere to inclusive standards!)

And yes, the solution is smaller groups. And the solution to having smaller groups is to have good citizens step up to volunteer to lead. And those volunteering take a minute before the ride to understand the route. THAT is a simple solution. 

 

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On 9/25/2019 at 12:06 PM, crazyt said:

thats a lot of rules. I would try to pare them down to be shorter and fewer.

disagree.  scare off the questionables with a wall of text and you will achieve the coveted smaller groups preferred above (ie, your real friends).

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On 9/25/2019 at 4:02 PM, throet said:

This thread reminds me why I like to ride solo or in very small groups :classic_cool:


I was thinking the same thing as I read through the comments... They were stressing me out without even being on my bike.

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How long do these rides go on for... And do you ever stop for a break to regroup, drink water?

If so, then perhaps there can be designated stop points on the set path so that participants can know ahead of time where there will be stops, and then leaders can let riders know when these stops are approaching and encourage riders to maintain their forward progress until they reach the appointed stop.

On the few group rides I've been on over the years, stops were kind of haphazard and could end up breaking up the flow of the ride.

Edited by RidingAgain

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I think the realistic position is that most people aren't going to read the rules just like most people don't read instructions.  The ones that do read them will be better off for it and will improve their group interactions.  That makes it totally worth doing.  However, I bet you could take that monster list and boil it down to a few critical rules that make the ride more fun and more safe for all involved.  Take those rules and put them in the ride call.  Ask the ride leaders to cover one or two rules before each ride.  I think that influencers (like Tip) can change behavior.  

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52 minutes ago, Shinerider said:

Wait,  there are rules to this riding thing?  Shit. 

Don't worry, The Rules are for roadies.

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I'm probably "that person that is in the wrong group". 

I'm trying to push myself a bit more lately so I usually jump onto the tail of the huge fast group.  Notice that I jump on "the tail".  I know my place.  I know I won't keep up the whole time, but I've been keeping up a bit longer each time.

My point is that it is ok to be in the wrong group as long as you don't get in the way of ones that are in the right group.

 

Also...I like Tree Magnet's suggestion.  Just mention a couple of trail etiquette items before each ride.  Not the whole list.  Do it before listing the route.  If others are like me, they get distracted after about the third trail name that sounds familiar but have no idea where it is.

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On 9/25/2019 at 9:15 PM, cxagent said:

How about zero rules - just ride alone.

What? My ear candys are in and if they weren't the wind is too loud from my KOM attempt. Hold on while I bunnyhop this black bag......

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Also, some things that I’ve noticed from group rides that really change the experience for other trail users.

1. Know where you are in the group and tell people you pass stamina on the side of the trail “...there are a few more behind me” or “two back” or even “I’m the last one, thanks!”

2. Ding bells for kids, smile at even the not-so-pretty girls/guys, be someone that you’d want your parents to run into in a strange town. Basically, don’t be a dick. It makes up for the fact that the person you passed was standing in poison ivy for 30 seconds thanks to a mini-motorcycle gang of bikers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The list has been amended:

"Acknowledge other trail users with “thank you” or ‘how’s it going?”  or “pretty dog” etc. as you pass them. Present we mountain bikers as a good community. Groups can be intimidating to hikers. Mitigate that feeling for them. The sweep should say, “I’m the last one” to those being passed."

I don't think each person has to say how many back as the good ride leader will have given the count to the hiker as they pass. 

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6 hours ago, Tree Magnet said:

 I think that influencers (like Tip)

Why do you have to go and call him that?!  (j/k)

 

I do have a suggestion, I've been in a group, over my head, and let people know that I wanted to just ride on my own, but I wasn't allowed to...I mean, the group slowed down but I don't like doing that at all.  I prefer to ride on my own if I can't keep up.

Corollary to that, if you do want to drop off or peel off early to go home, let people know.

Edited by AntonioGG

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Amemded:

"If you can’t see the person in front of you, yell out “which way?!” to alert them that the chain has broken. The person in front of you that hears this can then shout out to the leader, “We’ve lost some” so the leader will slow down to allow a catch up. TELL someone if you are dropping from the group so the group doesn’t wait or look for you."

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Best to go into any group ride on strange trail with at least a rudimentary Plan B, should it inadvertently turn into a solo ride somehow. Unlikely, but sometimes Murphy takes over as ride leader.

With this in mind, load a mapping program on the phone (Trail Forks, MTBProject, etc.) and play with it enough to know how to use it. Download local maps to the phone in case you find yourself without signal.

Have everything you might need for basic survival, i.e.: tube, patches, pump, water, snack, ...

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"Have your bike mechanically ready before the ride. Both to start on time, and to have no preventable problem on the ride. For example, enough sealant in to stop a puncture, or loose saddle, or low tire pressure, etc. Be self-supporting out on the trail. Patches, tube, pump or charges, and a phone app to find your way home."

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Was emphasizing the mental aspects of "Have a Plan B" and "Know how to use your tech" within the scope of any particular rider's "Basic survival" needs that had already been covered.

It doesn't do much good to have the bells and whistles along if you have never successfully made use of them nor put any thought into the possible scenarios that may need to be dealt with.

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Oh, I have a group ride rule!! (and I never group ride)

1. If your group takes up the entire parking lot at the beginning of the ride, and no one can even drive through the parking lot, maybe you all can go somewhere else to stand around and get your Pre-Ride high on???

Just sayin!

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Yosmithy said:

Oh, I have a group ride rule!! (and I never group ride)

1. If your group takes up the entire parking lot at the beginning of the ride, and no one can even drive through the parking lot, maybe you all can go somewhere else to stand around and get your Pre-Ride high on???

Just sayin!

 

 

No one ever does that at CnD! 🙄

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2 minutes ago, mack_turtle said:

No one ever does that at CnD! 🙄

It never happens at BC on the Thursday evening meat market ride (or whatever you kids call it these days) either.

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No really, I have commented multiple times about riders standing around, blocking the driveway behind ATX Bikes, pissing off drivers. There are plenty of places to stand around and get stoked, but they choose the spot the inconveniences our neighbors until the event gets shut down. I am done with trying, just waiting for my chance to say "told ya so." 

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On 9/27/2019 at 5:02 PM, AntonioGG said:

I've been in a group, over my head, and let people know that I wanted to just ride on my own, but I wasn't allowed to

This happened to me once on a no-drop ride around LGT. There was only one group going the full distance, and that was the fast group. I had never ridden LGT before, but had done plenty of 7+ hour Epics in the Cascades, at my own pace. We started at Tejas so the first few miles was flat out sprinting for these guys. By the time we had to start climbing, I was gassed. The sweep asked if I'd be able to keep up and I said not at this pace; so he told me I'd have to go back. I'm like, "hey dude I'm 55 yrs old and I think I'll just continue on at my own pace by myself". I ended up doing a 20mi out-and-back that took everything out of me. Last year at DS and at 60 yrs old, I did a full lap in 3:17, and thought back to that fateful day when I got dropped from a "no drop" ride.  

Edited by throet
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No really, I have commented multiple times about riders standing around, blocking the driveway behind ATX Bikes, pissing off drivers. There are plenty of places to stand around and get stoked, but they choose the spot the inconveniences our neighbors until the event gets shut down. I am done with trying, just waiting for my chance to say "told ya so." 



The Bulldog NICA teams had this same issue and moved to the open parking lot and green space on the southwest corner of Beckett and Slaughter. Someone “in charge” is going to have to be the heavy and just keep reminding people until it reaches a critical mass and just happens on its own. I doubt Frank would ever say anything but maybe if he did, it would carry a bit more weight.
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Got a lot of good feedback so I changed and added several things. Here's the latest version:

Group Mountain Bike Ride Guidelines. Rule #1, Have Fun!

Bring enough water so the group doesn’t worry about you dying! Same goes for having a helmet and eye protection. Bring lights if the ride might go past sundown. Having at least two is good in case one fails.

Have your bike mechanically ready before the ride. Both to start on time, and to have no preventable problem on the ride. For example, enough sealant in to stop a puncture, or loose saddle, or low tire pressure, etc. Be self-supporting out on the trail. Patches, tube, pump or charges, and a phone app to find your way home in an emergency.

Repeat call outs for turns (left, right). Make sure the person behind you is doing it too. Don’t lose the person behind you. The SWEEP should shout out “clear” when making the turn to alert the leader to the positions of the group.

Repeat warning shouts from the riders in front of you. Just because you heard the leader doesn’t mean the person behind you did. “Head!” or “Challenge coming” or “Walkers/Riders up” are things that the entire group need to know. It’s good for the leader to hear the sweep say, “cleared’ when they finally get past the “Challenge” that might have stopped some of the group. The leader will have slowed the pace waiting for that. Repeat the ride leader’s educational shouts too. “This trail’s name is…”

If you can’t see the person in front of you, yell out “which way?!” to alert them that the chain of riders has broken. The person in front of you will then shout out to the leader, “We’ve lost some” so the leader will slow down to allow a catch up.             

TELL someone if you are dropping from the group so the group doesn’t wait or go looking for you.

If you fail to clear a feature, get you and your bike off the trail so people behind you won’t have to stop. Reenter the chain as soon as possible. If you are the only one failing to clear features consider dropping back further in the group.

If you do have to stop for a mechanical problem, send everyone that is not helping you on their way. “I’m good. I have what I need. Go on.”  Of course, be sure you have all that you need before doing so.

When you are the sweep listen for the leader asking, “are we good to go?” so you can respond, “Ride on” or, “good to go.” But if the sweep is actively calling out when things are cleared the leader will never have to ask. That’s better.

If you have to stop for anything, shout out, “stopping!” before you do so. Don’t get rear ended.

Don’t be possessive of your place in line. If there has constantly been a gap in front of you, and there is constantly a rider on your rear wheel, let them pass. This prevents the chain of riders from breaking.  A group stop is an opportunity to let someone get in front of you too, but mostly remain in the same order you stopped in when rolling again.

Acknowledge other trail users with “thank you” or ‘how’s it going?”  or “pretty dog” etc. as you pass them. Present mountain bikers as a good community. Groups can be intimidating to hikers. Mitigate that feeling for them. The sweep will say, “I’m the last one” to those being passed. Remember bikers yield to walkers and horses. Be polite always!

YOU are responsible for crossing roads safely. DO NOT blindly follow someone into a road! Obey all traffic laws.

This is not the time for ear buds. Be social! More importantly, you need to be able to hear what the group is doing.

Be aware of all your bodily functions and know there is someone right on your rear wheel!

-FOR RIDES THAT HAVE MULTIPLE GROUPS:

Try to use a ride app on your solo rides before the group ride so you know what your general speed is out ON THE TRAILS. This helps you know what group you should be in.

When on a multi-group ride, if you are holding up a faster group, drop back to the next fastest group. Don’t be too much of a drag for your group. This takes self-awareness. Don’t be “that guy.”

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Guidelines for writing guidelines: use as few words as possible. Hack words down like ragweed encroaching on the trail. Hack until short!

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