Friday, March 18, 2011

Ride Disclaimers

I've been leading rides for almost 20 years now and have come to realize a few things in that time. People are basically stupid and inconsiderate beings. They will show up late and expect everyone to wait for them, they will do stupid things on the ride, they will treat a ride like a race, they will wildly overestimate their abilities and level. The list simply goes on and on.

To compensate for this over the years, I've basically pared my ride list down to exactly those that act as expected, in what to me is an acceptable fashion. Needless to say that is a small list. I also love to employ "ride list jail", which is simply that if you do something I disapprove of, I remove your name from my ride list for a certain period of time. This of course is at my discretion as the ride leader.

Here is a list of the types of things that could land you in list jail;

  • Showing up late (not a big issue as I won't wait)
  • Showing up on time with a broken bike that makes you late
  • Coming to a ride with a bike in known disrepair (slow leak for instance)
  • Not showing up at all
  • Inviting others to a closed ride
  • Riding in the middle of the road
  • Intentionally slowing the pace to chat it up
  • Riding off the front and past intersections when unaware of the route
  • Generally acting stupid or inconsiderate

I also have typical reactions for a number of these irritants, beyond removal from "the list". If I hear chatting behind me I assume the pace is too low, so if at all possible, I up the pace. If someone goes off the front without knowing the route and continues past an intersection without questioning directions of the ride leader, I take exception and will typically turn if at all possible forcing said individual to chase back on. This is also a good time to attack.

Below is a message that I sent out to the club about a potential road training ride that I'm thinking about organizing. If any of the 4 people that are reading this have any ride organization and leading experience, you will know what a chore something as simple as coordinating a bicycle ride can be. Too strong?

Anyone up for some training rides this spring? I'm thinking about getting a Tuesday night ride going from the end of the MinuteMan Bikeway in Bedford starting at 5:30PM. These would be solid 2 - 3 hour rides with no stops and solid race level pace. A couple of us did the first of these types of ride this past Tuesday and went out to Harvard and back through Stow.

I would see this as a difficult Cat3/4 level ride. I'm sure that there are strong Cat5's out there who can hang as well. Pace will be hard and breaks will be few. Attacks and sprints will prompt a regroup but falling off the back at tempo would not necessarily. This means left for dead would be the rule. I know that sounds scary and awful but the point is for everyone to get their workout in. Let's just call it tough love, but we have all been there.

As with all of my rides, start time would be prompt, as in we leave when we say we are leaving, period. I realize that things come up and there is traffic or whatever but frankly, that's your problem, not the group's, and they will not be made to suffer from it. Besides, a late start will give you excellent practice in bridging a gap and chasing back on. Also, I'm very mindful of traffic laws, especially riding two abreast in traffic. If you want to ride all over the road and be inconsiderate of others, or ride next to a buddy chatting, this would be a bad ride for you to attend, once. Chatting behind me when I'm at the front makes me think we're not going hard enough. I also don't want to get hit by your flying dead corpse and bike debris when you get clocked by a UPS truck while riding left of the yellow line on a blind corner.

With that disclaimer, anyone interested?

Let me know.

First local MTB ride of the season yesterday in the PR.


gewilli said...

did you get any takers?

And man can I relate.

how about riding two abreast at a talking casual pace down a busy street backing up cars three or four deep such that they can't even hope to pass, DESPITE me (of course it was me) Yelling at the self absorbed asshole riding in the middle of the road insistent on talking to CUT THAT STUFF OUT.

Damn my BP is elevating just thinking about the frustration of inconsiderate jackasses showing up.

Totally not even harsh enough email for me FWIW.

How you you feel about red lights and stop signs?

Colin R said...

This is why I ride alone on the road. Group rides are for the woods.

mkr said...

Yes, some people actually did want to attend. We have a guy in the club who nobody will ride with any longer as he loves to attack through red-lights and stop signs. Why do these people never seem to get flattened by buses?

Speaking of flattened, saw/spoke with Cary out riding last night. Yikes!

FYI, last time Colin made one of my MTB rides he arrived late and with faulty equipment. This was a single speed ride. It takes work to have a non working single speed :)

Trigirlpink said...

Wow Wow Wow...harsh with a capital H. Good luck recruiting new club members with that post and although I am not athletically talented enough to join in a Tuesday night 3/4 "ride by my rules" If I did, I'd have stomach distress for most of the day leading up to it for fear of being: inconsiderate,stupid, slow, not act as expected, being placed on ride list jail,late, dirty bike, mismatched socks, chipped toe nail polish.... Did I miss something?

Jonny Bold said...

Beautiful.....F'n beautiful! Thanks for saying it.

Michele said...

I thought it was awesome.

As for "that guy," maybe we need to have some a conduct clause re: "behavior while wearing a club kit" click-wrapped in the membership form.