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Monday morning rant(48 posts)

Monday morning rantDog
Nov 19, 2001 9:25 AM
I road with a road racing (good ones and pretenders) Saturday, for the first time in months. They were awful.

First, they left the designated meeting place 20 minutes late. Twenty people waited on one person, standing there getting cold (well, cold for Fresno at 55 degrees).

We go to pull out, and everyone heads diagonally across a 4 way stop intersection, totally violating about 5 traffic laws and traffic nearby in the process. Idiots.

They cannot seem to understand what "car back" means. They keep on riding 2-4 abreast, talking, while well out into the road, blocking cars. Drove me nuts. I almost said "screw it" and took off by myself.

They blew through every stop sign like it wasn't even there. Not even a "California stop." This was with cars around, too. Being an idiot, I went along with the group. This made me madder than them doing it. I, for the most part, do a full but brief stop at nearly every sign. When in a group, though, this of course requires disclipline and patience from everyone, as the rear riders will have to wait while the front ones stop, and vice versa.

On a narrow, winding country road, a car (among many) approached from the rear. I yelled "car back" about 5 times, and this one idiot just keeps staying about 6 feet out into the road, talking to someone. Finally, I shouted, "we are blocking traffic!", and the guy gets a clue. This guy made me even more mad, as he was wearing the stinkiest bike clothes I've ever smelled. I could not bear to ride near or behind him.

What is it with road racers that makes them ride at a snail's pace on the flats, then treat every hill like it's a sprint finish, IN NOVEMBER?!! What a bunch of idiots.

The downhills were no better. I descend fast, but these guys were at the ragged edge on a 2500 foot twisty descent. Recent rains washed some sand and gravel over the road in places. Hit it, and you're down. I backed out, as they were frickin nuts about it.

They stop for water 3 times in 72 miles, and each time turns into a 20 coffee clatch. Stand there, get cold, stiff, and chat for a while. What the heck is this? Then tear out of the parking lot, going anaerobic for 5 minutes.

Well before the end, I veered off and did my own thing for an 88 mile ride. Felt much better after doing so, and I'm sure the blood pressure dropped substantially.

I hate groups like this.

BTW, the owner of my favorite LBS told me that a lady car driver was killed recently when she swerved off the road to miss 4 cyclists riding abreast on a curvy mountain road. Not hard to figure out who some of them might have been.

This group must piss off at least a hundred drivers every ride. I don't know what, if anything, to do about it. You try to say anything, and they'll just act like you're the "wuss" and ignore anything said anyway. How to reform the group, short of putting them in jail?

Doug
re: Monday morning rantDINOSAUR
Nov 19, 2001 9:31 AM
I think this is why I choose to ride solo, lot of advantages...
lonefrontranger rip-off threadOsama
Nov 19, 2001 9:36 AM
yeah, yeah, we've all been there- deal with it
It is not a group, it is a mob.MB1
Nov 19, 2001 9:36 AM
To find the IQ of a mob take the lowest IQ of any single member group and subtrack 1 point for every member of the mob. Sort of the way juries work in DC (no wonder GWBush wants to have a military tribunal try any terrorists caught alive).

You should know that being in a group does not absolve you of being responsible for the results of the groups actions. YOU ran those stop signs and blocked traffic riding with that mob.

Can you tell Miss M and I don't ride with mobs much anymore? Ride your fixte and relax. Also look for a few like minded riders for your group rides.

How about someing ordering a bunch of jerseys for us with the logo "I'm not with them!"
agree--why I don't do group rides anymoregtx
Nov 19, 2001 9:40 AM
blind leading the blind, people aren't smooth, can't hold a line, have attitude, etc. I think the sport has been getting too big too fast. I remember my first group rides with racers in the mid-80s when I was in high school. I went through a total hazing process (in a good way), and learned a lot, fast. That wouldn't happen anymore in most places (I'm sure there are exceptions). Most people don't know what they're doing, and those that do can't be bothered--it's just too big and random now.
Yep, andmickey-mac
Nov 19, 2001 9:57 AM
I had confirmation over the weekend that I made the right decision. Saturday, I was riding the opposite direction of a big, fast group ride that attracts many fast riders and even some Euro-pros on occasion. I was headed toward a steep, winding climb and heard one guy passing the opposite direction laughing and saying "I wonder how many people will eat it on that gravel." About a minute later, I got to the climb where part of the group was descending and it was strewn with gravel in a hard right turn. Two riders hit it and lost traction. They stayed up but came into my lane and one of them missed me by about two feet. He would have been dead if a car had been in my lane. Despite the fact that this was clearly a very dangerous area, nobody from the group went back to the area to warn anyone about the gravel. I did my best to warn passing riders, but I'd be surprised if the entire group made it through without incident. Maybe nobody was in the group was officially "in the wrong" but I don't want to be in a group that is so unconcerned about major hazards that not a single rider will stop to warn others.
re: Monday morning rantgregario
Nov 19, 2001 10:01 AM
I've given up on my local club as well. I "gave them one last chance" a month or so ago. I was really tired of exactly to what you are referring. Seems like some of them ride with their heads up their collective asses. Well, last time they didn't fail to disappoint. At the first intersection 3/4 of a mile from the start of the ride a bunch of guys coasted through a stop sign forcing a car on the cross street to stop. I couldn't believe it, I damn near turned around right then and there. I could go on but that was it for me. You've said it all. Now I'm either solo or with a select few.
Too many for comfort.muncher
Nov 19, 2001 10:05 AM
Seems to be the case that when you get over about 10, perhaps 12, people, it all goes wrong. Below that, individual intelligence seems to prevail over the herd mentality - get to the magic double figure and the a size of the group roughly seems to magically equal twice that of the collective IQ...

With smaller groups people seem to be happy to split into 2s and 4s at junctions etc, then ease off and close up again - bigger group, everyone seems to get tour fever, and picture themselves as part of a long colourful snake going both ways round roundabouts and traffic islands etc to the satisfaction of admirers gasping their appreciation, then they take the opportunity to break off the front when they can and make a magnificant solo ride against all odds to take the coveted nothing whatsoever prize at the end of the ride. Bizzare, but seems to be the way of things...
re: Monday morning rantMe Dot Org
Nov 19, 2001 10:07 AM
Recently I was on a multi-use path, and saw a group ride heading towards me - not 2 abreast or 3 abreast, but 4 abreast. Left me about 3 inches of path to get by.

When I went on Aids Training Rides (Palotta Teamworks - although now there is a sponsorship scism) they were religious about safety and courtesy. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with insurance, but if they weren't the fastest rides, they at least were safe.
re: Monday morning rantmorey
Nov 19, 2001 10:08 AM
I ride with my wife and son, primarily because of what you are talking about. I want to get my hr up because of exercise, not getting pissed off! I'm with you on this.
re: Monday morning rantJon
Nov 19, 2001 10:18 AM
I haven't realized how fortunate we are in my area. The three racing clubs here are excellent with respect to
ride safety and discipline. The only bad group is one organized by one LBS and attended mostly by triathletes
and other assorted idiots looking to be organ donors.
re: Monday morning rantscottfree
Nov 19, 2001 10:15 AM
People who ride this way aren't just a danger to themselves and the motorists they cross -- they're dangers to you, me and everyone else who tries to ride sanely and in more or less peaceful co-existence with cars.

I live in a rural area, and I'm the only regular rider on my little grid of farm-to-market roads. The locals out here are used to me, have learned how to get around me, know that I'm predictable in my actions, know I won't block 'em unless I absolutely have to etc etc. They, in turn, give me respectful room. No snarls on anyone's part. Totally peaceful arrangement.

At least it WAS, till some obnoxious racers from a nearby city decided last summer to come out here (some of the area's last untrafficked roads) to train. Within a week, they managed to piss off every local out here, and I found myself being near-brushed, honked at, cut off etc etc by my formerly perfectly nice neighbors.

Guilt by association. I'm now one of 'them.' And my own riding life is a lot more dangerous than it ever was before, or should ever have to be.
Sorry to hear that!cioccman
Nov 19, 2001 10:17 AM
You obviously found a bad one. They're everywhere. Similarly, there are good ones, at least near me there are. I ride with my team more than once each week. We have great training rides that are standard and you always know what to expect. Also, there are two great ~70 milers down here that are excellent. Good, experienced, and actually nice people. Saturn, Mercury, Simply Fit, Netzero, SBW, Velo Allegro, Lagrange, Helen's, the whole enchilada down here. 75 and sunny. Love it.

Good luck finding better riders!
you need a new groupclimbo
Nov 19, 2001 10:21 AM
I ride with Cat 2's and 3's in our club and one other in our area and they are great about being safe. When our club puts on the ride, the rules are known. Ride leaders need to make sure that new riders etc. know what to do and to make the calls and be at the front of the group for bad intersections etc. Come and join us...it's a long way to NJ for some of you but we're out there every weekend.
you need a new groupwerdna
Nov 19, 2001 3:32 PM
What club do you ride for? I live in South Orange, NJ (when I'm not at college) and I'm starting to get serious about road riding at school. During the summer I would like to find a club to join.

-Andrew
you need a new groupclimbo
Nov 19, 2001 4:54 PM
Beacon down in Northfield, if I remember, isn't Orange North Jersey, you might be better off with Jersey R'n'R or some other club. Tell me where Orange is and I'll see if I know of anything up your way.
Parallel Universe -- Had the Opposite Experience This WeekendGreg Taylor
Nov 19, 2001 10:26 AM
Hmmm...had the polar opposite experience this weekend on a group ride. Our little gruppetto of riders decided do an intentionally mellow no-drop "Pancake Run", taking us down a local rails-to-trails route (the WO&D) into a delightful small town on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Our gang is a nice group of friends from all walks of life who have, in some instances, been riding together for quite a while. Having ridden together for so long we generally know each other's habits and make an effort to keep an eye out for one another. We headed down a virtually empty trail (it was very foggy) about 35 miles into town, we stopped and ate a hearty breakfast at a small diner (how's this for a perfect universe -- it even has a bikerack out front), and we then pushed our now-stuffed carcasses the 35 miles back home. Along the way a group with stronger digestive powers split out from the rest of the pack and tried out a new route home, which proved both beautiful and fun. All in all, a grand time was had.
Actually, Greg Taylor PULLED my sorry-a** stuffed carcass -- onbill
Nov 19, 2001 10:49 AM
his fixed-gear dumpster special no less. My Italian-steel campy chi-chi bike had to be ashamed for me, since I personally obviously was not too ashamed to BE pulled.
I think that the reason why group rides work or don't work is a critical mass of people who just aren't going to put up with nonsense. Maybe at a certain size the zeitgeist no longer can be controlled by a spiritual center, but, with Greg's group, for example, you know that rules are rules and there is some leadership and followship and mutual respect. If there is a core group that believes in anarchy, anarchy will reign. If there is a core group that believes in courtesy and consideration, then, if the rabble can't be led to that, then the rabble also is not going to have that much fun, and there will be two groups soon enough.
I think it also helps that Greg's group is a little bit older, where we have learned that we aren't immortal and that being a jerk is not really all that much fun -- it's pretty much just being a jerk. For Greg's group, courtesy is not an add-on; courtesy is part of the activity, part of the reason for coalescing into a group, and, ultimately, part of the group ritual and identity.
Oh I can see it now. ;-)MB1
Nov 19, 2001 11:46 AM
Dogs group riding on the W&OD with the joggers, dog walkers, bladers and parents teaching their little jewels how to ride. Not to mention all the other assorted nonsense that goes on on MUTs. You don't do that in the Summer do you?

Miss M and I were on the thing late Saturday afternoon coming back from Purceville, to our amazment it wasn't too bad. It is really something to notice how little use the thing gets as soon as the weather cools down.

BTW where did you eat? How was the food?
Fran's. Food was good. Hot cakes, eggs, bacon, variousbill
Nov 19, 2001 11:56 AM
other hog parts, all good. Coffee was fine. There was another place across the street called the White Palace (or something like that) that may have been a tad more decorous which looked happily crowded (but not overcrowded) as well. At the end of the trail, you just kind of head up the road into town and there they'll be.
In the early a.m., no one out but fairly serious types. Couldn't see boo through the fog, including the fog on my glasses. You'd see a shadowy shape through the mist like something out of Washington Irving. The way back was a little more traffic, but visibility was better. Our little line of half-dozen or so was fine -- much more would have been difficult.
We Studiously Avoid The Trails On Most Weekends...Greg Taylor
Nov 19, 2001 12:56 PM
It gets DANGEROUS out there. This Sunday was actually pretty nice...like Bill said, the fog kept most folks away.

By the way, don't believe for a minute that Bill didn't take the opportunity to dish out his own style of "whoop-a**" as we rolled along. There was a section off of the path (a back way into Leesburg) that was nicely rolling. It was mostly downhill, and there were a few sections where my hams were just whacking the hell out of my seat as I bounced along with the RPMs. And there was Bill, up front with the rest of the guys, pushing the pace (it was a beautiful road) just enough to be sure that the idiot on the fixed gear suffered at least a little bit...
We like to go out in MD cross at either Whites Ferry or Point ofMB1
Nov 19, 2001 3:38 PM
Rocks and return on the W&OD in the late afternoon or on rainy days. I don't there is any other bike friendly route out of the city on the Virginia side.

Is there, do you know of another way to get to rural Virginia from DC? Hope, hope, hope.....
One that I know of...Greg Taylor
Nov 20, 2001 6:22 AM
...ties in with the "Adventure Cycling" transcontinental route. It comes into DC via Fredericksburg, heading through Occoquon. Outside of Occoquon the route is very pretty.

One of our favorite "regular" routes leaves the Mt. Vernon area (GW Parkway in the AM is fine) through Belvoir, Telegraph Road, and eventually spitting out on Old Colchester road (Pohick Church). Using Old Colchester, you can head to Occoquon, Mason Neck Park (a wildlife refuge), or Clifton via Lorton. Its not "rural Virginia" in the Loudoun County sense of the word, but it is more than passable. The ride to Clifton is VERY pretty, once you get past Lorton, and the Old Colchester/Gunston Road portion of the ride to Mason Neck is very fine.

You also may want to look at routes over in Indian Head in Maryland. There are some FANTASTIC roads over there...
Thanks, feel like leading a ride???MB1
Nov 20, 2001 7:08 AM
We are looking for 120-140 mile rides we can start/finish from home. I'd like to figure out some way to get to Occoquan from the Mount Vernon trail. Then it would be no problem to get to Nokesville-Warrenton-Leesburg and back home.

We do ride a lot in Southern Maryland but only have one route to get from home to there. We take the Metro to Greenbelt than ride thru Bowie-Davidsonville-Rosehaven-Northbeach etc.

For whatever reason I/we have been getting into riding to ride rather than driving to drive. We want to expand our available routes from home (without riding thru SE-Miss M served on a Grand Jury and NEVER EVER wants to go near SE again).
The Route is Easy....Greg Taylor
Nov 20, 2001 1:22 PM
...but too convoluted to post here. Either e-mail me or show up some Sunday morning for a ride...
You got it!MB1
Nov 20, 2001 2:54 PM
Let us know when and where and which bike and we'll be there. Sundays are good for us.
That's what I thoughtnova
Nov 20, 2001 7:39 AM
>It is really something to notice how little use the thing >gets as soon as the weather cools down.

I thought "It's cold out, (relatively speaking) so all the Summer hazards on the W&OD will be gone." No such luck.

As is usually the case when I ride the trail, a pack of people saw me coming, and then one twerp waited until nearly the last possible moment to JUMP into my path. I mean: these people SAW me coming. I slowed down. I put my hands on the brake levers as a precaution. And then it happens - he jumps, I yell, the twerp doesn't move. I swerve and hit the breaks. Then I'm told to "Slow down".

This happens every 2nd or 3rd time I ride the trail. My favorite is when someone is in my lane, coming toward me. They clearly see me, yet they don't move into their lane. Then of course, I'm a villan for holding my line.

Blech - this is a sore topic for me.

Riding the W&OD isn't worth the trouble. Unfortunately, there aren't many other options in the area for convenient weekday rides. On the weekends, I can head up to Fredrick County MD.
horns?Dog
Nov 20, 2001 7:48 AM
Attach some pointy longhorns to the handlebars and plow through pedestrian traffic. That ought to get their attention. Call it the "running of the bulls" (maybe in Chicago).

Speaking of horns, a loud compressed air horn might be nice, too.

Dog
Walkers and joggers on MUTs can develop a really bad attitudeMB1
Nov 20, 2001 8:12 AM
towards cyclists. It only takes a few rude or clueless cyclists to annoy the other trail users to the point where they will not share the right of way.

Lately on the W&OD we have noticed posted signs with things like "Move off the trail when stopped", "Slow down when passing", "Keep to the right" and such. It is a pretty popular trail with all the problems popularity brings.

Didn't Yogi Berra say "Nobody goes there anymore, it is too crowded."
rules and signsDog
Nov 20, 2001 8:40 AM
Check this out: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/admin/trails.htm

http://www.ibike.org/trail-sharing.htm

http://www.ibike.org/trail-ordinance.htm

http://www.terraworld.net/kansastrails/Trail%20Notes.htm

I see those triangle signs a lot, showing who has to yield; always, cyclist have to yield to everyone else (pedestrians, horses).

Doug
What's the speed limit on the W&OD?Kristin
Nov 20, 2001 1:40 PM
I checked the rules for my counties MUT's and discovered that the max speed limit is 8MPH. If any incident ever occurs on one of these between myself and a non-cyclist, it would be considered my fault (cuz I'll never be going 8 MPH).
No speed limit on our local MUT's that I know about, includingbill
Nov 20, 2001 3:31 PM
the W&OD. In fact, Virginia law specifically provides that, when not on a public road or highway, which has a specific definition, bicycles are no longer considered "vehicles" within the traffic laws. So, I'm not sure that the state or the counties could regulate speed if they wanted to.
I looked into this when I knocked over a roller blader last summer, which sparked a rather colorful debate on this board from which I learned that one of these three statements is correct: (1) I'm an idiot; (2) she's an idiot; or, (3) we both are idiots.
If you watch yourself, you can go stretches in excess of 20 mph. It gets tough, though, with blind corners and blind intersections. Watching out for yourself is about the same as watching out for everyone else; you just have to be aware. Still, I've hit thirty-five on downhills with a clear view, and no one has said that I couldn't.
Who regulates your trails? That would be the biggest issue, I would think.
New signsnova
Nov 21, 2001 6:36 AM
No doubt that there are clueless cyclists out there. The ultimate are the people who stand in the trail when taking a break. This includes people on bikes who use kickstands and deploy them on the asphalt. Egad.

I've even encoutered a photographer with a massive tripod set up over the trail. Just like many other trail users, he just gave me a completely stupified look as I approached him, and did nothing to clear the trail. Oh, and did I mention the early morning commute on the trail through Herndon, during which a woman pulled up alongside of me in HER CAR to ask for directions?

For those of you who don't know this trail; there is a wide, groomed horse trail parallel to much of the paved portion of the trail. Why don't the runners/walkers/photographers/bird-watchers/dog-walkers use that instead!? I guess they don't want to get the soles of their shoes dirty.
re: Monday morning rantmorey
Nov 19, 2001 11:06 AM
As a survivor of a hit-run, I know that some drivers are insensitive to us bikers. However, after riding in these groups, and watching them operate, they would piss me off as a driver. This behavior, which is improper and arrogant rubs off on all of us. We are the VICTIMS of their behavior. I choose to ride alone or with my wife.
One group ride almost ran me off the road...UncleMoe
Nov 19, 2001 11:40 AM
This past summer I was riding thru Camp Pendleton in San Diego. There is virtually zero car traffic, and one weekends it is briming with bike traffic, including many group rides.

I was riding solo down a hill. At the bottom of the hill there is a narrow bridge. The shoulder disappears so you have to pull into the road out of the shoulder to cross.

As I'm coming down this hill, a team ride passes me with about 30 riders. The thing that pissed me off was that they weren't going fast enough to pass me completely before I reached the bridge, nor did they pull out far enough to allow me to got off the shoulder and onto the bridge. Thus, I had to come to a complete stop at the bridge, OR pull into them and risk an accident.

Luckily I was pretty tired (70th mile of a 90 mile ride), just stopped and laughed their lack of consideration off. But if I had been in a different mindset I wouldn've been pissed.

I have a MTB friend who can't stand road cyclists for this very reason. They take up the entire road riding 3-4 aside with no consideration for car traffic.

Umm, sharing the road goes both ways. Glad I'm not the only road cyclist that gets bothered by our comrades behavior.
A growing trend, unfortunatelyTig
Nov 19, 2001 12:46 PM
I get a laugh out of my LBS club's testosterone types, but at least they are relatively safe for idiots. Riding with the road team is much safer. This time of year is for small chain rings or fixed gear spins. We enforce safe and courteous riding and those who don't follow the rules get chastised by the group. The same, sane riding happens when I ride with the recreational riders who are mostly women.

Unfortunately, the bonehead type riders you were with are everywhere, and it looks like their numbers are growing.
agreexyz
Nov 19, 2001 1:13 PM
lots of newbies: strong, but few seasons and less sense
re: riding with hotdogs,guido
Nov 19, 2001 1:34 PM
I didn't ride with the local club yesterday, opting for a little cross training--raking leaves. I've been having exactly the same experience with the club riders here. They chit-chat along the flats, two abreast blocking traffic, attack the hills, and then split apart, as if the main object of the ride is to drop as many riders as possible.

Was it John Forrester who said Americans ride bikes "to get a workout," for fitness, sport, competition, ego-gratification, whereas Europeans ride bikes as transportation? Not enough of us are out there commuting or running errands for cycling to be "cool." So dedicated riders form clubs, eagerly catered to or sponsored by the local pro shop, and go on "training rides" with their cutting edge gear they just bought in the pro shop and want to show off. Every ride is a race.

So how do you turn a race into a training ride, or better yet, just a ride? Whoever has the respect of the majority of riders could lay down some rules and enforce minimal etiquette, like when someone yells "Car back!," everybody regroups into a single line on the right, as a reflex action. The advantage of riding in a group is to get in more miles at higher average speeds than you could alone. Obviously everybody has to stay together, so nobody should be trying to break away or be the first to top a hill. If everybody stayed together and maintained a steady effort, the fast riders wouldn't feel obliged to stop and wait for the slower ones, who arrive tired from chasing.

I'm thinking of joining the local bike club and suggesting doing more riding as a group than simply trying to out-gun each other. They dug the prospect of practicing rotating pacelines, when I mentioned it once on one of their hammerfests, but haven't done anything about it. Does anyone have any stories of how to turn a rag-tag bunch of yahoos into a well-disciplined juggernaut?
wrong groupgrassy knoll
Nov 19, 2001 3:03 PM
here in chicago we are lucky enough to have 3-4 big groups and countless small groups to choose from. each group seems to have its own personallity. the best ones seem to comprise of 35-45 year olds who don't have anything to prove. still plenty fast and they will drop you in a safe and responsible manner. btw it was 55 degrees "warm" here last weekend
Dealing With Idiots 101Elefantino
Nov 19, 2001 3:15 PM
Are these idiots (down here, they call them "id-jits") part of a club? If so, I'd contact the club president. Hopefully, the prez has a clue and can reign in the yahoos, either in the newsletter or through an e-mail blitz.

If not, vote with your feet and don't ride with them.

FYI, to answer your question:

• When I ride with people I haven't ridden with before (although we have a big club in Jax, most everyone knows each other, but there are always newcomers), we go over ground rules before the first pedal stroke.
• I don't mind sounding like a schoolmarm if it means avoiding situations like the one you described. Usually, people are happy to have the discussion for two reasons: a) because it gives the bloated egos a chance to show their knowledge, and b) because they'll want to show how much they know so they don't look like idiots.
• Then again, maybe they are all lunkheads.
So why doesn't everyone here start leading rides?MB1
Nov 19, 2001 3:41 PM
It ain't that hard and can have Big Karma rewards.
The Million Dollar Question,guido
Nov 20, 2001 1:48 PM
That's exactly what these rides need, leadership, someone or a few at the front setting a pace, and example. Beginners are always better off with rules, laid out before the ride. The next question is how to diplomatically introduce these rules, and how to enforce them!
the strongest ridersDog
Nov 20, 2001 1:56 PM
The strongest riders usually set the pace. They aren't necessarily the smartest, most courteous, or mature, though.

Just try to show up with a bunch of cocky racers and tell them "these are the rules, this is how fast we're riding, and follow me." I can't even imagine the reaction. They'd probably just ride off and ignore you.

A social group might be different. I think it depends upon the riders' reason for being there to ride with the group. A social leader might work by agreement; a racing leader better have the legs.

Doug
re: Monday morning rantIseemo
Nov 19, 2001 4:40 PM
Yep, my regular ride buddy and I just had a discussion about this after a particularly painful ride out of our LBS. Safety in traffic seems to be taken care of, but bike handling skills aren't. Double pace lines work nicely to get out of town if the skills are there and people are willing to stick together that long. I just find that now that there are so many more folks in the sport that not too many new folks are willing to put the time in to work on bike handling skills - they only want to work on speed. And no one seems to know how to do an echelon anymore - only the very experienced folks. One would hope that the inexperienced folks could learn through observation - but that doesn't seem to be the case. It would be nice if someone who races for the LBS would provide some instruction/comments. Most folks don't respond to "coaching" unless it's from a well-respected rider (and I wouldn't consider myself to be in that position - skills OK, fitness level a little low!). Some people on the ride have been given some advice, but it hasn't sunk in. So, if you're out there on the perfect club ride with new people to the sport - I'd like to know how your ride's going and what you're doing to make it that perfect. And...I won't even go into the fact that there are weekly experiences similar to Lonefrontranger's post a while back.
re: Monday morning rantmorey
Nov 20, 2001 5:10 AM
I hate to sound stupid, but a hallmark of learning is asking questions. What is an "Echelon"?
A paceline with a side wind.MB1
Nov 20, 2001 5:25 AM
The lead rider moves out into the direction the wind is coming from, the other riders ride to the leeward side and slightly to the rear of the lead rider to get max protection from the wind.

It takes up a lot of room on the road since they are not riding single file (more like a slanted line across the road). The last rider in the echelon is almost in the gutter or the center line. To pull off the lead rider drops straight back rather than to a side and everyone else moves up and over one position. The last rider either lets the former lead rider in (to keep other riders out) or moves up too.

The rear end of an echelon can be a really messy place as too many riders try to draft when there is no road room. Better to form a second echelon but it is hard to get riders organized to do it.
A paceline with a side wind.morey
Nov 20, 2001 6:01 AM
Thanx!!!! Did not know this is what it was called.
Learn from observation??Kristin
Nov 20, 2001 1:51 PM
Perhaps everyone is just working on speed because they're sick of getting dropped and if they work on the other, they do it hopelessly alone. I mean, I'm averaging 16-18 MPH by August and can't keep up with the kind of riders who do echelon's. My word, they drop me in the first 6 miles! So of course my focus is speed. How else will I place myself in a position to observe? And there are not many who are willing to slow down and become a role model. Too bad too.

I did meet a nice group of guys who were willing to ride slower and teach me how to ride in a paceline, but I count myself blessed. From the sounds of things, that's rather rare.