Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

jfwarren
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Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby jfwarren » September 22nd, 2008, 7:21 pm

Been serving as the ride captain for about 10 of us this summer but after this past weekend I’m either retiring altogether or only taking out a select few.

Before every ride I send out the meeting time, location, and the link to the AMA group riding checklist.

I think we all know the standard MSF and AMA checklists/safety precautions for group riding, etc.

Well, I have the opposite problem for half of our guys, as follows:

1. Negligible rider responsibility

a. Timeliness – I have 2 guys that are habitually late. From 30 minutes to 1 hour, which makes everyone else mad but we’ve been leaving without them lately, so hopefully they’ll get the message.

b Bike Inspection/ Pre-Flight Maintenance. Last weekend on the day of the ride and at the time of the rendezvous, one of the habitually late riders called to say he just noticed his license plate was out-of-date and wanted to borrow one of my bikes. Another guy called and said he would be late because he just discovered that one of his turn signals was hanging off and he had to go back home to duct tape it on. Another guy showed up with 15# of pressure in his front tire. And finally yet another rider, 2 miles past our meeting /starting point, signaled the group that he was on empty and had to stop for gas ASAP.

2. “Ride within your own Comfort level”, - this is the standard safety line we've all seen on the AMA site and in the MSF courses.

So what would be someone’s comfort zone? Would it be at a speed that jeopardized everyone else’s life? I’m talking about too slow here not too fast.

One of the guys apparently only rides his motorcycle on the day of our rides, the other guy commutes 1.1 miles to work everyday at 35MPH, and a third guy is somewhere in between (he also habitually “flint stones” for 200 feet or so from a standing start).

So since we had to ride on the interstate for 20 miles, where the posted speed was 65MPH (meaning of course that everyone drives/rides at 75MPH), these 3 idiots had a “comfort zone” of 40MPH!!! This was really bad and very dangerous.

So I pulled the group over and told the slow riders we had a problem and they needed to speed up, “grow a set of balls”, and grab a handful of throttle to maintain the speed limit. All of them told me they would except one who said he wasn’t comfortable riding above 40MPH which was his “comfort zone”. So you get the idea and things didn’t improve much after we got on secondary roads.

So at the end of the ride, I told the 3 clowns that they were no longer welcome. They were jeopardizing everyone else’s safety and that they needed to start riding more often, needed to practicing riding, riding above their comfort zones, riding on interstates, learning to acclerate smartly, and to be courteous of everyone else.

So am I being too harsh here?

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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby Pass » September 22nd, 2008, 7:27 pm

Clearly you are much nicer than I.
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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby Doc » September 22nd, 2008, 7:38 pm

Nope, I don't think you're being too harsh. As ride captain, your goal is to provide as safe a ride as possible for everyone in the group. One thing I've found that is helpful is to keep these kind of riders up front in a group ride. The back of the pack is usually the most difficult place to ride because of the dynamics of starting and stopping causes a sort of slinky effect (especially in larger groups). People in the back often have to play catch-up to stay with the group. When in the front, new riders don't have this to deal with, and also have the weight on their shoulders that everyone behind them is watching them.

Show up late.. be there alone. You can't hold up a group for a straggler. He will get the hint after a few times.

The fact that these guys want to ride in a group may indicate a couple of things. Perhaps they want to improve their skills and think being in a group will help with that, or maybe they just enjoy riding with others. It may be a better idea for them to be in a smaller group for a while to hone their skills before they're ready to ride with the big dogs.

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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby Pink » September 22nd, 2008, 8:51 pm

DocO wrote:Nope, I don't think you're being too harsh. As ride captain, your goal is to provide as safe a ride as possible for everyone in the group. .....

The fact that these guys want to ride in a group may indicate a couple of things. Perhaps they want to improve their skills and think being in a group will help with that, or maybe they just enjoy riding with others. It may be a better idea for them to be in a smaller group for a while to hone their skills before they're ready to ride with the big dogs.


+1 DocO

Even though I usually ride alone, I have captained and tail-gunned in many group rides, and I have been on the Run for the Wall (http://www.rftw.org). Riding to the level of the least experienced rider is great in theory, and usually works, but when the least experienced is not to standard traffic norm, then they need to (re)take the MSF course, get into a safe rider course, and practice either on one's own or in a smaller group.

It sounds like the group in question here is used to riding together. How do the other riders feel about what is going on?

My cousin used to assume leadership when we rode with them in Colorado. He would tear off lights on his Yamaha R1, leaving me on my trike in the dust, then be waiting impatiently ~2 miles up the road. I'm no slow-poke as many here will attest, but I also don't feel the need to lay rubber at every opportunity. When I talked to him about it, he said that he wouldn't ride with a female ride captain - hahahahahahaha. I finally refused to ride with them unless I was leading, and the other riders with us agreed. No one felt we were going too slow at any time, I never lost anyone, and they were all quite impressed at how nimble my trike is on twisty roads.

Keep up the good work, and don't give up being a good road captain. Just make sure everyone knows who you are, your responsibilities - and theirs!
You never know when one act, or one word of encouragement, can change a life forever.
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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby coyoteiowa » September 23rd, 2008, 9:27 am

Pass wrote:Clearly you are much nicer than I.



+1
If you value your life as much as I value this bike dont !@#$ with it.

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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby jfwarren » September 24th, 2008, 9:31 pm

Pink wrote:
DocO wrote:Nope, I don't think you're being too harsh. As ride captain, your goal is to provide as safe a ride as possible for everyone in the group. .....

The fact that these guys want to ride in a group may indicate a couple of things. Perhaps they want to improve their skills and think being in a group will help with that, or maybe they just enjoy riding with others. It may be a better idea for them to be in a smaller group for a while to hone their skills before they're ready to ride with the big dogs.


+1 DocO

Even though I usually ride alone, I have captained and tail-gunned in many group rides, and I have been on the Run for the Wall (http://www.rftw.org). Riding to the level of the least experienced rider is great in theory, and usually works, but when the least experienced is not to standard traffic norm, then they need to (re)take the MSF course, get into a safe rider course, and practice either on one's own or in a smaller group.

It sounds like the group in question here is used to riding together. How do the other riders feel about what is going on?

My cousin used to assume leadership when we rode with them in Colorado. He would tear off lights on his Yamaha R1, leaving me on my trike in the dust, then be waiting impatiently ~2 miles up the road. I'm no slow-poke as many here will attest, but I also don't feel the need to lay rubber at every opportunity. When I talked to him about it, he said that he wouldn't ride with a female ride captain - hahahahahahaha. I finally refused to ride with them unless I was leading, and the other riders with us agreed. No one felt we were going too slow at any time, I never lost anyone, and they were all quite impressed at how nimble my trike is on twisty roads.

Keep up the good work, and don't give up being a good road captain. Just make sure everyone knows who you are, your responsibilities - and theirs!


No, the other riders are mad about the late arrivals, ongoing excuses, extremely slow pace, and obvious lack of riding skills by the aforementioned riders.

You're right. Iin theory they ought to all return to MSF beginner rider training which I also empahsized but the reality is the MSF course costs a lot of money and there really isn't a course offered today to teach beginning riders to be better riders - which is too bad.

As a group we try and subtley coach the less skilled riders (which is difficult because egos come in to play here). We watch their skills and encourage them to keep their feet on the pegs when coming to a stop, put their left foot down first so they can apply their back brake, to slow down for corners, accelerate through the corner, check their tire pressure in advance, etc. but this seems to fall on deaf ears.

Compounding the problem is that 2 of the riders learned on scooters (Piaggio MP3s) which have no equivalent of our back brake pedals and hence they are not comfortable nor familiar with motocycle controls (shift pedals, clutches, back brakes). This is why I now think that riding a scooter first is a really bad idea if you plan to ride a motorcycle later - old habits are hard to break.

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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby Pass » September 24th, 2008, 9:54 pm

If you really want to play nice and teach these guys... speak with some of your like-minded seasoned riders about pairing them with 1 of the noobs. Then let the veteran know where you want them in the formation. Keep the Nooblets apart and directly next to their veteran mentor... Let the noobs know in advance that you are doing that to help them grow as riders and gain more proficient "group riding" skills (not just riding skills -- keeps the ego down). Maybe it helps... if it doesn't.. cut 'em loose and tell them that they can't ride til they learn to ride safely and proficiently enough for your group.

Pairing each guy with a seasoned rider who can critique and give pointers should help them.. especially if they are away from the other noobs. Put them towards the middle of the ride... This way all the noobs have to watch are seasoned riders and can pick up skills via osmosis as well as from the critiquing of the veteran rider. If the noobs stay together in a pack (be it front or back) your whole ride will suffer and they will keep learning more bad habits from each other.

Or you can do it the "Pass certified approved instruction" way... "Tell em to grow dicks and ride... or squat in the bushes and ride b****" You may also add "I know little girls who can out ride you" for extra emphasis if needed.
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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby Pink » September 24th, 2008, 10:13 pm

Pass wrote:...

Or you can do it the "Pass certified approved instruction" way... "Tell em to grow dicks and ride... or squat in the bushes and ride b****" You may also add "I know little girls who can out ride you" for extra emphasis if needed.


My very strong opinion (and I don't often voice it) is that ridicule is definitely NOT the way to go. Ego aside, it can ruin confidence, and will ultimately make things worse.

Pass, your one-on-one suggestion makes the most sense, given the description of the situation. It would let those in question know that they are valued and encouraged to some up-to -par. In the end, one can never have too many riding buddies.
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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby jammie girl » September 26th, 2008, 5:28 pm

Pass wrote:Clearly you are much nicer than I.



Who isn't!! :P

But seriously, if you are late, you are left. But if there is a problem with someone's bike, another rider should try to help them out fixin it. (low tire pressure something that should have been taken care of before hand)

"comfort level" - Well if you can't do the speed limit ANYWHERE (interstate or other roads), well ya probly shouldn't be ridin in a group. Not a big one anyway!!!
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Re: Group Rides - Anyone Have This Experience?

Postby annieh » September 26th, 2008, 5:34 pm

jammie girl wrote:
Pass wrote:Clearly you are much nicer than I.



Who isn't!! :P

But seriously, if you are late, you are left. But if there is a problem with someone's bike, another rider should try to help them out fixin it. (low tire pressure something that should have been taken care of before hand)

"comfort level" - Well if you can't do the speed limit ANYWHERE (interstate or other roads), well ya probly shouldn't be ridin in a group. Not a big one anyway!!!


I try to make sure that I stay around the speed limit when leading group rides - especially when I have new riders in the group.
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