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Roadie newbie question :Group ride etiquette.(14 posts)

Roadie newbie question :Group ride etiquette.gakster
Aug 2, 2002 9:39 AM
Hi all

I've been mtn biking for many years and have recently bought a road bike.

Been riding alone for a few times now, just to get use to the road bike. At some point I would like to join a group ride.

Want to make sure that I don't make any major faux pax. Could someone share some road riding etiqutte with me. Things like drafting, passing, getting dropped :)

I get the feeling that mtn biking is more casual and road biking is more 'formal'.

re: Roadie newbie question :Group ride etiquette.No_sprint
Aug 2, 2002 10:00 AM
Put on your speedos and Zoot tri top, get in your aero position on a P-whatever with a dual saddle mount bottle cage, ride up to the group and announce it's your first group ride. They'll take right to ya! LOL

Just kidding. Ride in the back, tell the *leaders* you're new to riding and don't want to mess anybody's plan up, don't overlap wheels, don't worry about getting dropped, don't crash into anyone else, don't slam on the brakes. Have fun.
Be safe and have funDCP
Aug 2, 2002 10:05 AM
Pacelines can be intimidating, but tell the group you join that you are new to this stuff and almost always, they will help you out. Have a look at something like and get a sense of what is expected. Be cautious at first and work in to it.
No snot rockets in the paceline..That's an important one NMtronracer
Aug 2, 2002 10:06 AM
If you were drinking the night before...PaulCL
Aug 2, 2002 10:30 AM
...then only let'em rip when you are last in line.
No snot rockets in the paceline..That's an important one NMBikeViking
Aug 2, 2002 12:26 PM
At least until you are the "Tail-end Charlie" in the line, then Launch Away!!!
re: Roadie newbie question :Group ride etiquette.AaronL
Aug 2, 2002 10:34 AM
If you don't already belong, a great place to learn is to join a local club. Find one that actively helps new riders learn the ropes. You'll find that nearly every club has members that enjoy mentoring new riders.

If that is not an option, then check with your local LBS on rides that are targeted for newer riders. Shops tend to be in-the-know about rides. You'll meet riders of similar abilities and I'll bet you'll make some great friends from it.

best of luck and have fun

Have fun and try to pedal smoothly that wayOld_school_nik
Aug 2, 2002 10:45 AM
your bike isn't all squirely (sic). Have fun - road weenies aren't that bad once you get to know them.
If you can't find a group that will welcome you andMXL02
Aug 2, 2002 11:04 AM
give you a chance to learn, then find another group. Everyone makes a faux pas when they start, jumping, failing to call out bumps, etc., but a good group of riders will be patient and try to teach, rather than giving you a hard time.
Aug 2, 2002 11:14 AM
And always, always, always give at least a few cranks when it's your turn to pull. Nothing infuriates roadies more than people joining a paceline and not taking a turn in front.
just started group riding too...TomS
Aug 2, 2002 11:39 AM
As everyone else said, try to be smooth, let people know you're new and want to learn.

I've only been on a couple of rides with a group at my lbs, it kinda naturally splits into a slow group and a fast group. The fast group has a paceline going, but nobody seems to mind people who sit in the back most of the time. I guess it's better than having someone up front who's nervous or doesn't know where to go.

This week we split up into groups of 3 or so in a hilly area and I took pulls at that point but didn't feel comfortable being at the head of the whole group yet.

My thing now is that I need to get comfortable being so close to the person in front of me. I consistently leave too much of a gap, and when things start to accelerate I'm suddenly off the back and have to sprint to catch up.

It's a nice group though, the first ride I did with them there were a few people who were slower and/or new to group rides like myself, so we stayed separate and one of the ride leaders hung back with us; yesterday I managed to stay with the fast group (juuuust barely!). My big faux-pax was not realizing that the guy in front of me was stopping (someone had a flat), I managed to stop and didn't run into anyone but I also didn't have time to clip out of my pedal so I did a nice 0-mph fall :( doh!
That's typically when jersey privileges are suspended... nm :)No_sprint
Aug 2, 2002 11:41 AM
wasn't entirely my fault! :PTomS
Aug 2, 2002 12:24 PM
I think the guy in front of me was caught off guard too, and he did apologize for stopping suddenly and not signalling; we were both a bit embarassed and just laughed it off.
what I've learnedbluebianchi
Aug 2, 2002 11:48 AM
I started roadbiking recently and have gone on several club rides. Here are a few things I've learned.

Ride predictably, in a straight line. Don't make deviations without looking to the side and behind you first. Ride close behind to get the full effect of the draft. At first you may be a little gunshy about this- just keep your hands on the brakes and try to get within a foot or so. Braking should be very light- try to avoid braking hard or suddenly. On downhills, allow for more space. If you are near the back and realize there is a car behind, announce "car back". Riders frequently call out other information, such as turns, gravel, or slowing or stopping. Riders also point out obstacles such as gravel or potholes by pointing and wiggling their fingers. Pass these signals down the line so riders behind you get the info. If you need to stretch, get water, blow your nose, or anything else that might affect your bike handling, do it at the back of the line. Some groups won't mind if you don't do any pulling (riding out front), others will. When pulling, don't greatly increase your speed, and it's now your responsibility to call out turns, oncoming cars ("car up"), and point out potholes, etc. Don't wear yourself out pulling. Give it a minute or two, then look back to make sure the lane is clear, and steer left to the middle of the lane. This is a clear indication that you are falling back and allowing the next rider to pull through. It's fine to pass on the left, especially on hills where riders' paces tend to vary greatly. Some group rides can be very informal and there may not be a pace line at all- people may prefer riding abreast and chatting.

If you don't know the route, make this clear to the ride leader or other riders. Some rides are "no drop" rides where someone will stay with you if you get dropped. Some routes are painted- ask what the paint marks look like. It does suck to get dropped and be lost at the same time, so talk it over with the other riders beforehand if you don't know the route.

Drafting and pacelines are a lot of fun- you'll enjoy it.