Group ride etiquette

I’d say if it’s a road open to traffic then you should never cross the center line. It’s just dangerous and not worth getting pancaked. Especially since you said there are big trucks with trailers and construction vehicles. Not to mention that it’s probably illegal to do that.

Per the fighting for wheels. I don’t think I’ve ever had that on a group ride. I probably wouldn’t be that cool with it if it was anything more than just a bit of crowding.

And I agree with what you’ve said about the hammering on slight declines. It is always super strange to me that it is 100% okay for people to smash up a climb and drop everyone but it’s not okay to do that on descents. If you opened up a gap on a 1% decline then unless you were full on sprinting it was the fault of those behind you. At those speeds you are easily doing 100W more than them if they are in the draft. So they either were coasting or just weren’t paying attention.

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Yup this sounds exactly like most racy rides I’ve been on. Collaborative to get the group going as fast as possible until a predetermined sprint point where everybody starts attacking. But 95% of the ride is like a cooperative break away.

The best rides like that I’ve been on were split into A, B, and C groups with the slower groups going first and working together to not get caught by the faster groups who gave them a 1-3min gap at the start.

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@TRusername When traveling to visit family last year I poked around the internet to find local (to them) group rides I could jump in on. I recall finding two groups and each had a great set of ride rules and etiquette on their website. Perhaps this group has something similar. If not, with 70 riders, it sounds like they should.

In any case, I find there’s always good stuff to learn from ride rules posted by clubs. One thing I picked up from those groups out of my area is the shift away from saying “CLEAR” when entering or crossing an intersection to “GOING”, the point being, you’re communicating what you are doing without absolving those behind you from looking themselves. “CAR” and “STOPPING” etc… still apply.

And echeloning across the yellow line on a group ride?!?! WTF? That’s a great way to ensure area drivers hate cyclists.

On one of my local rides we’ve been pushing to make crossing the yellow line a beer offense (as in cross the yellow line and you’re buying when we get back to the brewery.)

The big problem was crossing the yellow line is that you’re only tempted to do it when the correct lane is full. Which means it’s going to be really difficult to get back over the line if you need to do it quickly. Its not going over that gets you, its tryin to get back . . .

I can’t think of anything worse than a panicked echelon where you have half the people all trying to get back across the yellow line with a car heading at them while the other half tries to get out of the way. Guaranteed crash even if the car doesn’t kill you.

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I’m curious: what’s everyone’s take on double pace lining on less than straight roads? The only major group ride I do every once in a while does a double pace line on a road that I don’t think is suitable.

The last time I did the ride there was zero communication about this either, the group stopped and got coffee after 30-40 miles and back into town it turned into this double pace line, I sorta felt like I got sucked into it and it was too late to get out! After two pulls, I got yelled at because I’m sure I let a gap open up, and after that I excused myself from the group and don’t plan on going back. In the future it’s likely I’d start the ride with them, but when they get to the “flat open” road I’ll let them go and take a different route. The group is fun until that point and as MTB there’s no need or desire to engage with a double pace line.

I’m personally not a fan of double pacelines…anytime. It just often leads to half-wheeling and when the switch happens you have 4 people across the road. That, in turn, just irks drivers to no end.

I haven’t said “clear” on a group ride since the late 80’s…it was ingrained on me very early that what may be 'clear" for one rider is not necessarily clear for another (either because of personal preference / comfort or because of the reducing distance of the approaching car.). Everyone needs to make that decision for themselves, not what someone calls out ahead of them.

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Our club only did double pacelines on canal trail (no cars), and after a few minutes they work well. Can’t imagine trying to do them out on a road.

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What is a double paceline? I’m an experienced group rider and racer but I’ve not heard of this!

I assume it’s not through and off, aka chains. Is it just riding in pairs in a social way so you can chat?

A double paceline is two rotating lines, with a pair of riders at the front and pulling through simultaneously. Group rides like them because you can socialize easier.

image

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Perfect, thanks. Never heard it called that as a paceline is all about speed, which is the opposite of riding in two lines which is about having a chat. Thanks for the diagrams :+1:

When my groups ride socially side by side we rotate after a while. So the front right rider becomes the front left, a new rider becomes front right and the rider who was front left is now second left. Essentially it’s a very slow chain. Means you never go 4 abreast and you get to chat to everyone on the ride. No problem riding that formation on most roads.

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I only knew this because I worked some CTS camps that actually went into how to properly do it, they did it on a very quiet road and the technique was interesting to me. Fast forward many years and I accidentally found myself in the middle of one and… no thank you. A single pace line is intimidating enough for a hairy legged mountain biker.

There was zero thought in traffic behind us. Another reason why I avoid this group on most occasions. I’m fine with two across when there’s no cars but I’m pretty firm on single file, and adequate lane control when there’s traffic behind and eager to pass. I’m eager to have them move on too.

I think small tight groups where everyone is on the same page is the sweet spot for safety/fun factor.

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I think normally it’s impossible to ride that way, because you have to take up at least a full lane. You also can’t really just start peeling off kerbside, unless the group already rides quite far into the road.

I just had to answer this…

  1. Aggressive Riding. As comfortable as you feel, and as aggressive as the other are riding. Sounds like this isn’t a social ride…but possibly a local drop ride that racers organize. We have them in our area too…they are actually a lot of fun, but not social :slight_smile:
  2. Yellow Line…we’ll written in stone…possibly your tombstone if your over the yellow on a climb. It’s not worth it. Even the pro’s run out of road and get dropped in the echelon…they of course have the entire road, but they still get forced to start another echelon and then it breaks up. I remember a race in Dubai like this…the helicopter showed 3-4 groups all about 50meters apart all in a 45 degree angle traveling down the road.
  3. Hammer on descents…we’ll if it’s a race/drop ride, sure, create a gap…make em’ chase. Sounds like he was upset he had to put out more watts…and was afraid of getting dropped. Just be careful, because even though your going hard, they are catching your draft and when you run out of effort, they will slingshot you and you won’t catch back on…um…speaking for a friend of mine :slight_smile:

It all boils down to your experience and desire for the ride. I found myself in a similar position when I started riding the “race/fast/A group” it was a very different experience than the Tuesday night social ride :slight_smile: But I enjoyed that experience and embraced it. Tried to learn and take in the guidance of others when it was meaningful. Every micro culture of cycling might be a bit different in ways… enjoy!

I saw the post about the circular paceline above. I do that but we don’t move continuously, we stay a few minutes in the same position… Here in Spain it would be illegal to have four riders in parallel at any time.

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Yeah, we do exactly that in my club

I find that a group ride can be good training if the pace is such, that when you take turns at the front, you are going at sweet spot or threshold intensity, then you go to the back to recover. That, then hard VOmax climbs, etc… If the other people are the same level as you, group rides can be fun and challenging

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Single filing when cars want to pass is not safer. It makes the pass take longer, and for them to safely pass they need to get completely in the other lane anyways. Single filing and hugging the gutter is asking them to take a bad pass.

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This is an interesting one.

Of course you are right, but most drivers don’t see it that way, and - even though in the UK it is legal to ride 2 abreast - riding in a double line is a pretty sure fire way to p1ss drivers off and encourage tail-gating, horn beeping, etc etc. You might well reply that’s their fault, and it is, but it ends up being the cyclists’ problem. Hell, I nearly got ridden off the road a few weeks back just for holding the 1/3 line…

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The problem is once you’ve given up that space, it’s super dangerous to get back because they are using it for what you gave it to them for… to pass you. So if the conditions change to where they can’t safely pass anymore (hills, corner, oncoming traffic, whatever) you can’t force them to pass you in the other lane anymore. Also if they take a bad pass when you are taking the lane you have space to give up when they’ve messed up.

Yes, if someone decides they want to kill cyclists you are going to have a bad time. Yes, some people may decide needing to go completely in the other lane to pass like normal is worth killing someone over. You can’t fix those people, but optimizing for their pleasure puts you at real risk.

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