Some thoughts and observations on our rides:
Recently we have had a few rides compromised because a rider came to the ride with a bike which was not properly maintained. It is each riders responsibility to check their bike before a club ride to ensure that it is in the proper condition. If you want to show up with a dirty bike that’s okay. If your tires are bald, your chain is rusty, etc. that is NOT okay. Joining a club ride on a poorly maintained bike is selfish and affects all of the other riders.
The group is larger than in previous years which has caused some logistical problems on the rides. With a large group the ride leader can not be expected to be aware of what is transpiring in the middle or the back of the group. The result is that the group splits and the front group has to wait for the rear group – or worse, we lose riders off the back. Having a sweep does not necessarily solve the problem. When a split occurs it is the primary responsibility of the rider that is losing ground to call out “Gap”. This call should then be relayed to the lead rider who should call “Slowing” and reduce the pace slightly. Once the gap has been bridged the riders who have caught up should make sure that everyone behind them is in the group and the call “All Aboard” should be relayed to the lead rider. He/she should then gradually increase the speed back to the normal pace. If the person who is losing ground fails to call “Gap” this can be done by any of the other riders who see this (keep an eye on your mirror to see this).
When someone gets a flat and the group stops the flat should be changed by the person in the group who is fastest and most proficient at doing so. This is for the good of the ride and the entire group. I CAN change a flat but watching me take 30 minutes to do it doesn’t do anybody any good. This goes for other mechanicals too. Some of us have great mechanical skills and others (like me) have none. The object is to keep the ride flowing – not to punish everyone while waiting for someone to fix something that they are not good at or capable of
When passing another rider ALWAYS call out “on your left” or “on your right”. While the general rule is to not pass on the right, situations do arise (like passing on a climb) where this happens.
If you are in the front call out hazards (“hole left”, “grate right”, etc.). When you hear the call repeat it so that the riders behind you are aware of the hazard.
Know your capabilities. Check the ride schedule before arriving at the lot. If you are strong on hills but very weak on the flats consider whether a ride advertised as “flat and fast” is for you. The same thing goes for very hilly rides.
When the group is stopping for a traffic light, stop sign, lunch, etc., make sure to drop down a few gears before stopping. That way when we start up again you will be in an easier gear and be able to get up to speed faster.
Finally, never ride in a pace line behind someone nicknamed “Crash”.