I have my own complaint about people not "singling up" while we were heading down S. Acton Road and later on Liberty Tree Road as the call of "car back" was made. As I ground my teeth, I thought: "If you get hit by car that's your problem, but you are helping to make yet another driver think that we don't belong out here."
Both my and the other individual's gripes could be categorized as "Come ON, guys!" type complaints. We should know better, but sometimes get so wrapped up in how fun/hard/exhilarating a ride is that we do things that have an impact on how the ride is experienced by others.
Granted, we are all grownups and are individually responsible for our conduct, but the purpose of group rides is to have an enjoyable experience TOGETHER and that's hard to do if one or more of us has a different understanding for how things are done. Most of the time, things go off without a hitch, with everyone seeming to know how things are playing out - but once in a while, there are problems when one or more people go off the script...
We can only keep things at a consistently good level by communicating with each other and knowing what the expectations are. And not sorting this stuff out might result in people deciding not to ride with us. I'd rather talk about it and get it right than not talk about it and hope things work on their own. If you have a complaint, speak up - be respectful and polite, but speak up.
That all said, my real purpose in writing this long post is to to throw out the suggestion that we have a pinned topic at the top of the "road" section that lists group ride guidelines. I know this was chewed over a bit last year here in the forum, but that thread has long since been buried. Having a pinned topic at the top with a title like "Group Ride Guidelines" would keep them handy for reference. The guidelines topic should only be a one post thread, only showing the current guidelines - they could be amended and altered by consensus (hashed out in other threads) and a request to change them would be made to a forum admin. This arrangement has worked well for other forums I have participated in (some of which I also admin-ed).
Here's a proposed set of group ride guidelines to get the discussion going, I'm just flinging it out there so don't beat me up too badly if it is kind of a mess:
MRC group rides are conducted in one of two modes, if it is not made clear in the posting for a particular ride which mode will be used, it should be agreed upon before the group starts the ride. The details of how the ride will be conducted should be conveyed again just prior to the start of the ride, especially to fill in non-members who may show up.
The two ride modes:
1) No drop - the lead cyclists will soft-pedal/stop at agreed intervals until everyone catches up. If someone WANTS to be dropped, they MUST let the last person ahead of them know they are dropping out or taking a different route. Otherwise, all cyclists must be accounted for at the re-group point. If it makes sense to break the group into two (or more) sub-groups, the suggestion can certainly be made at the re-group point. If you flat, have a mechanical or crash the expectation is that someone will help. (Would it be necessary to have one person designated/volunteered as "ride leader"?)
2) "Race"/Every-man-for-himself - Pretty much speaks for itself. You may/will be dropped. You should know the route and your way back to the start. You should have means to get help if needed. If you flat, you should be able to repair it on your own. If you have a mechanical or crash in the presence of your group, the expectation is that someone will help.
Ride pace should be announced in forum and start of ride. Possible ways of conveying the pace could be "20 mph avg" or "hill intervals" or "tempo". It could be announced that two groups of differing paces might form depending on who shows up.
General group ride etiquette/guidelines (most of this should be obvious, but needs to be spelled out nonetheless):
- single up when the call of "car back" is made, make room for other cyclists to join the right-side paceline
- point out road hazards
- communicate turns/slowing/stopping/tracks
- keep a 6" gap (is that about right?) from wheel in front of you
- don't half-wheel the bike in front of you
- don't slow down as you begin to climb out-of-saddle
- when taking the lead in the paceline, keep speed consistent with the
- do not ride more than two abreast
- ride through bumps, not around - but call out "rough road" if it's going to be an extended stay in the bumps
- do not ride in the opposing lane of traffic
Again, this is just a proposal - modify it at will, post up your own suggestions.
Does anyone else think this would be a good idea? Is the preference to continue the largely ad-hoc way group rides happen now?
Maybe this could be combined in some way with the "regular ride compendium" that Taudep is currently putting together...