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squirrelly riders(28 posts)

squirrelly riderswarriorcharge
Jun 3, 2002 7:29 AM
excuse my ignorance, but what is a squirrelly rider?
Inconsistent speed, wobbly line, pulls too long,bill
Jun 3, 2002 7:44 AM
can pull but won't, off the front then back in the line then off the front (other than in a race, of course), unreliable communication, blowing through lights, stop signs, etc., etc.
You forgot Braking in a paceline to bleed speed. NMLen J
Jun 3, 2002 8:52 AM
what's wrong with feathering your brakes?ColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2002 1:00 PM
never seen why people get so uptight about braking in a paceline. feather your brakes a bit if you need to to bleed speed...just don't grab em hard. would people rather you crash into their rear end than use the brakes a bit?
I was unclear.Len J
Jun 3, 2002 2:08 PM
I was relating th comment about braking to the previous response about inconsistant speed. The Paceline riders that drive me nuts are the ones that have to accelerate hard to "Catch up" to the wheel in front & then brake because they are going to fast, as opposed to slowly closing the gap & trying to match speed.

Sorry for the confusion.

Len
re: squirrelly ridersgregario
Jun 3, 2002 7:56 AM
Can't ride a straight line, wavers. Puts others at risk by not knowing how to ride in a pack. Inconsistent speed. I think the biggest one is not being able to ride a straight line. We also had a guy in the club i used to belong to that couldn't corner. He nearly took out half the pack because he took a corner way too wide. Definitely a guy to stay away from and he always rides like that and admits it. Funny that his first name is Frederick.
one that will make you crash (nm)ColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2002 8:08 AM
if you hafta ask...(nm)merckx56
Jun 3, 2002 8:30 AM
if you hafta ask...(nm)warriorcharge
Jun 3, 2002 8:59 AM
i'm a recent arrival on these shores,there are a few britsih terms i could through at you
is spellcheck one of them?:)merckx56
Jun 3, 2002 10:40 AM
I was kidding you about the question! sorry! i forget how the UK and the US are separated by a common language!
re Erratic, unpredictable, self-absorbed - nmdzrider
Jun 3, 2002 8:39 AM
re: squirrelly ridersvon flash
Jun 3, 2002 8:54 AM
tries to hit busy-tailed rodents.
A Squirel Hit Me!!!yfoiler
Jun 3, 2002 9:23 AM
I had a bushy tailed little fellow dive into my rear spokes a couple of weeks ago. I looked back and saw him flopping around on the ground and thought I had killed him. But he jumped up and ran up the nearest tree. I'll bet he's glad he didn't jump into the chain side! And so am I !!!!

Marty
A Squirel Hit Me!!!rideslikeagirl
Jun 3, 2002 10:06 AM
Man, I know my days are numbered! We have these little buggers all over the bike path here-

Twice this weekend, they ran out in front of me and froze in the middle of the path! At the last minute they'd run away.

I swear, they're playing chicken with us-
A Squirel Hit Me!!!yfoiler
Jun 3, 2002 10:21 AM
Yea, it was a strange "hit". He was about 15 yards off to my left and in front of me. He litterally had to a run at an angle to intercept me. If it was an attack he miss calculated and ended up bouncing off the rear spokes. It truly was his lucky day. Sometimes I ride with my Rev-X's on. That day I had my Spinergy R2 training wheels on. I wonder what the Rev X's would have done? Sliced squirel anyone?

I think in your case the best defense is to ride right at them. Since they never end up where you think they will be, any deviation on their part (and that's guranteed) will save you and them.

MT
they are: you should try dodging themlonefrontranger
Jun 3, 2002 1:45 PM
at 30-something mph in an adrenaline-crazed pack of bike racers! We had at least a half-dozen squirrels (the furry kind, not the 2-wheeled kind) playing chicken with us at the City Park criterium yesterday.

BTW, I hate to admit that I know this from personal experience, but it IS entirely possible to run over soft obstacles like squirrels, dropped water bottles, large hoses, the rubber base of a traffic pylon, someone's arm... at high speed without crashing.
Good to know! nmrideslikeagirl
Jun 3, 2002 1:57 PM
someone's ARM!?!?!?!?!?!?weiwentg
Jun 3, 2002 2:16 PM
how the heck did that happen?? what happened to the guy's arm??!?!!
crash, natchlonefrontranger
Jun 3, 2002 2:41 PM
A girl slid out right in front of me at the '99 Quad Cities crit, and I wasn't able to do much besides unweight a bit before running over her forearm. She bounced right back and took a free lap, and when I talked to her afterwards she hadn't even realized that I ran over her until she saw the bruise!

I'm a pretty decent crash-avoider. The only natural talents I've brought to cycling are wicked-fast reflexes (I was that kid you NEVER wanted to play "Flinch" with in third grade) and that crazy time-expansion sense some people can achieve under stress. When things go pear-shaped, I enter what I call "the Fourth Dimension" - things slow way down and I get really focused and calm. 1 of 2 outcomes are going to occur when bodies start hitting the deck all around you. You are either going to hit the ground with them or ride away unscathed; I tend to be optimistic and shoot for the latter, and my experience coupled with this talent helps me to avoid "panic-freeze". Panicking doesn't solve anything and merely compromises the handling skills you do have.

I had to bunny-hop some guy's HEAD in a Tuesday night training crit about four years ago. It was that or T-bone him in the face, and I could tell by his expression he REALLY didn't want me to do that.
Same here.JL
Jun 3, 2002 10:34 AM
Just not recently. Came "out of nowhere", jumped up near my right side crank/shoe/downtube/front wheel and jumped off back into the brush. Scared the bejeezes out of me. Luckily, I had just turned after completing an interval and was just coasting. I agree with the earlier post, ride at them and they tend to get out of the way. They're too unpredictable about where they're going next.
Danger..Dangerlongfellow68
Jun 3, 2002 9:49 AM
These guys will wreck you in a race.

They can't hold a straight line.
Turn their heads every which way except forward.
(backseat driver)
Overlap wheels.
Take stupid risks.

Just try a cat 4/5 race/ There will always be one.
re: squirrelly ridersNeedSpeed
Jun 3, 2002 9:56 AM
So this begs the question: where else does one go to learn how to ride in a pack/race environment if not on a club ride? All of you had to learn somewhere. Where did you learn. I'm just curious, because the last place to learn is in an actual race, or during a century or metric ride. Does anyone have tips or reference to a site that offers tips on how to ride in a pack and hold your line? In our sport, there are people of varying degrees of capabilities and fitness levels. We are all trying to improve. But not everyone has Hincapie/Rossner/O'Bee type fitness of cycling knowledge.

And as for the unneccesary Frederick/Fred comment, cycling is just like life: there is always someone who knows a little bit more than you do. What we all share is a love of the sport and that should bind us. I get sick of reading so many elitist, snobbish Fred comments. This forum is for people who love cycling. If all you have is negativity to spread, it's a free country, but we'd prefer you do it elsewhere. Please quit b*tching and help solve the problem. Give people under your skill level a little advice.
Little 500...rtolle
Jun 3, 2002 10:43 AM
pack riding on a single speed with coaster brakes on a cinder track. Its an amazing experience. That track taught me many lessons that have transferred to the road. I really miss it.
That's <I>Frodrick</i> Frankenstien.SnowBlind
Jun 3, 2002 12:46 PM
I learned by reading a few good books, like "Effective Cycling" and applying them in a group. I also had a cycling buddy who coached me through refining my skills. Then I see guys like "Mike" (name changed to protect the guiltly) who are good intentioned, but have no class at all when they ride (or even are not riding) and assume they know what they are doing.
Not taking a pull does not qualify for squirrely. If you want to sit in, go ahead, just don't disrupt the flow.
Finally, not giving advice to some one who doesn't ask for it is a good idea, some people have thin skins and bad attitudes.
It's not about the packmr_spin
Jun 3, 2002 4:09 PM
If you want to learn how to ride in a pack, you need to ride in a pack. There is no substitute. To learn you must become humble (if not already) and you must leave your ego at home. You may get yelled at (hope not) or lectured by other riders. Listen to them, even if they are a-holes.

First of all, pick a ride that is fairly flat. At the start, tell people it's your first group ride and you want to learn how to ride in a pack. Some may not be thrilled, but this is where your lack of ego will come in. Tell them that you want to sit at the back at first and try to get the hang of things. There isn't a lot of damage you can do at the back, so no one should be too upset.

Ride out at the back and work on matching the pace without braking or having to catch up. Work on staying close (not too close) and being smooth and making micro-adjustments. Choose a gear that allows you to spin rather than mash. If you find yourself catching up, slip out to the left or right a bit to catch some wind, or lightly feather your brakes. Never pull your brakes hard unless you know you are the last in line. (Sometimes you may think you are last, but sometimes people you don't know hook on.)

Once you've gotten the hang of riding smoothly, ask if you can start moving up the line. (If the answer is no, the answer is no. Keep observing and try again on the next ride.) Always remember that the person behind you has placed great trust in you not to do anything that will harm them or even make them nervous. If you don't want to be tagged as a squirrelly (is that a word?) rider, this is where you must score points. Be absolutely smooth here. No one will notice if you are, but everyone will notice if you aren't. Riders behind may give you a lot of room, so don't be offended if they do (the ego thing, remember?).

Constantly monitor the speed of the group by giving an ocassional glance at your computer. When your turn to pull comes, keep on being smooth. The transition from one rider to another should be seamless. You will have a strong urge to accelerate, mainly because you now have to put out more power to overcome the wind you weren't getting before. Resist this urge with all your might. Check your computer to see if you are doing the same speed. Everyone hates when a paceline suddenly accelerates, and when it does, often the person who just pulled off is not going to be able to catch back on. That is pretty rude!

Try to match the time or distance of everyone else's pulls, but don't kill yourself on the front. Always have a reserve when you pull off. When it comes time to pull off, glance back to see if cars are coming, or if someone has come up the side. You don't want to get hit or take someone out. Unless you are in Britain, you will generally pull off to the left. You might need that energy reserve you kept to hook on the line as it passes you by. It's not always easy! Always look before swinging back into line. You may know who the last guy in line is and see him go by, but more people might have hooked on. If you blindly swing in, it's not going to be pretty.

Finally, use some common sense when it comes to the terrain. You can easily pull a paceline on shallow rollers, but don't try to pull a paceline up a hill. You'll fry yourself only to look back at the top and see that the line broke up 1/2 mile ago. Wasted effort. Pacelines will naturally break up on hills and naturally reform over the top (wait if necessary). You don't usually run a paceline on a descent, either.

Listen to any comments and criticisms. Take them to heart. Riding in a paceline requires you to be cool, considerate, and kind. Squirrelly riders lack at least one of these traits.
Good job, great summary. nmLen J
Jun 4, 2002 4:11 AM
re: squirrelly ridersCarbon fiber fanatik
Jun 3, 2002 6:15 PM
I totally agree with you. Experience is the best teacher and those with the miles, need to show others the way. But, when you are cruising at 25 or so mph, and the new guy, instead of being six inches off your wheel, is 6 inches inside and swerves to avoid a taco bell wrapper, that is bad news.
Easiest explanation...biknben
Jun 4, 2002 5:33 AM
A squirrelly rider is one who is erratic and unpredictable...like a squirrel.

I've heard racers call the guy with hairy legs a squirrel too. They have hair like a squirrel I guess.

BTW: to add to the "occurances with squirrels" tangent, I watched a squirrel get caught between the rear tire and seat tube of the rider in front of me (near fr. der.). He feel out after a couple of seconds. Bet that hurt him.