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Club cyclists, come and give me advice please?

(15 Posts)
FlaviaAlbia Thu 11-May-17 22:12:33

I've recently joined a cycling club and have been going out with the slow/beginners group.

However, the standard of cycling and ride leadership isn't great and I'm wondering what to do or say or whether to just find a different club.

The last training ride for this group was absolutely chaotic.

The long term members, including the ride leader, kept speeding off at lights and junctions leaving the slower members behind. After one junction it took 6 miles to catch them as they didn't slow and wait until the end of the loop.

There was a new member who was struggling to keep up, the pace was far too fast for them but the pace was kept up and they kept falling behind. Shouting ease up at the front went unheard or ignored.

They don't call out signals and don't change up to move riders around the group.

The faster riders, when they did wait, chose possibly the most dangerous part of the road.

I've only started cycling with groups recently and I'm not going to learn anything as it stands. I've been avoiding going out with them as it just annoys me and just going out by myself or with friends I've made though the club instead.

One of the long term members / ride leaders of this group is a committee member and from what I've seen is rather touchy. I was writing an email to discuss what happened on the ride and realised the only email address I have is one that all the committee will be able to read and I'd put money on this member taking it personally.

What would you do?

TheLongRider Fri 12-May-17 07:25:33

Send the email. That's not acceptable. If the ride is aimed at beginners, then you ride at the pace of the slowest.

Some clubs say that you have to be able to ride 60km at 20 km pace before joining. Where I live, you can ride with a club for three rides before joining.

Are there any other clubs locally?

contortionist Fri 12-May-17 07:36:45

its not unreasonable to stick to a pace if it has been advertised in advance. Otherwise, that sounds rubbish - you should definitely send the email.

FlaviaAlbia Fri 12-May-17 12:54:14

Thanks, for the replies. Yes, there are other clubs, one has a good reputation for teaching though it's a little out of my way and the pace would push me but I'm seriously considering it.

That's the idea here Rider 3 goes to try it out and these rides are where newbies are directed to go, but contortionist you're right, the pace is being advertised as 16mph+.

I'm finding it hard to feel sympathy with the committee member as he's shockingly bad on hills and people end up waiting for him on hill rides but he's not willing to do the same here.

I'll be drummed out anyway if he reads this probably grin

Iwantmoretimetomyself17 Mon 15-May-17 18:37:20

16mph for a beginners / slow ride sounds fast, especially if you have decent hills.

My local club does some rides where the speed is published online and if you can't keep up you get dropped but they also do a "social" group ride with a "no drop" policy.

There's a ladies only group too - to be honest it tends to be pretty slow (last ride averaged 11mph, it included big hills though) but it's meant to be a social group aimed at giving women more confidence and for women getting into the sport. So I go along for the coffee and chat and not the speed. Faster women can join the mixed groups.

Sounds like your group was cycling quite dangerously tbh.

CMOTDibbler Mon 15-May-17 18:56:27

16mph is really fast for the slow group. Our clubs c ride is 13 (also b2, b1 and A). But that is also terrible ride leading - the sort of thing I might expect from the A ride where you just have to keep up

I'm involved in a cycling group who run social rides, and we are running ride leader and tail rider training sessions as well as first aid to make sure everyones experience is as good as possible. Def send that email as if no one says anything it won't get better

FlaviaAlbia Mon 15-May-17 19:40:54

Well, I've sort of an update.

It does sound fast but the 16mph C rides are all flat, on hills it's 12-14.

They posted an update saying they were going to run another ride on a different day aimed at new members. I didn't go to it so I've no idea how it went.

Myself and a couple of friends put up info of a 12-14 paced hill ride and emphasised that the aim was to stay together as a group. We were only expecting a few people but about 16 turned up, all went out together, and then, inevitably, the group split, leaving us and a few others behind. We still had an enjoyable ride but it was a bit confused as to why they'd not just gone on their own ride instead if coming on ours since we'd been clear about the pace. We averaged about 12-13 with a fair bit of climbing so the pace was about right.

I think I'm done with it tbh. I'll continue to ride with friends from the club but the group rides are just frustrating.

Iwantmoretimetomyself17 Mon 15-May-17 19:42:13

Agree with CMOT

If a club ride is advertised as a certain speed I'd expect people who turn up to ensure they can maintain the speed and anyone who can't should voluntarily leave the ride. Otherwise it's no fun for faster riders.

But if a ride is advertised as "beginners" or "slow" I'd expect them to ensure no one is left behind. My group's only requirement for the slow/social ride is that you do need a proper road bike and suitable clothing, need not be flash but a helmet, gloves, suitable clothes i.e. not jeans and flip-flops grin

In any event safe cycling standards should always be maintained, i.e. If you stop choose an appropriate place.

FlaviaAlbia Mon 15-May-17 19:49:26

Oh, all the C and B2 rides, whether hills or flat are advertised as no drop.

Iwantmoretimetomyself17 Mon 15-May-17 19:50:23

You also need to bear in mind that having 16-odd cyclists in one group can be dangerous e.g. can cause difficulty for cars overtaking if the 16 are spread out in a long snake. So in that case smaller groups might be better.

It's different if you have 16 very good cyclists who can all maintain the same speed and pack together in a neat peloton, but 16 not so great cyclists riding together is not always ideal.

FlaviaAlbia Mon 15-May-17 20:10:39

I know, it's even in the clubs rules that groups can't be more than 12 people, 6 pairs, but suggestions we split were just ignored. It was so frustrating.

FlaviaAlbia Mon 15-May-17 20:32:48

Sorry, I'm coming across as a bit defeatist and whiny I suspect.

I did try to get the group to split, as did one of my friends but there were so many people our voices were lost and our other friend who had the route details was away with the first few. So we just went with it to catch up with our friend.

So lesson learned to always learn the route in advance or put it on a garmin.

The club was a bit different when I joined but it's changed as some members have left or become ill and stopped going with rides. They're a big loss and they were the ones who taught me anthing I know about group ride etiquette, signals and group safety.

TheLongRider Mon 15-May-17 23:46:10

You're not coming across as whiney, herding cats would be easier than organising a group cycle. I'd give them one more try and then cut your losses. Life's too short.

paganmolloy Tue 16-May-17 08:52:32

Ah the club cycle. All depends on the Club tbh. My DH is in our local club and it's testosterone fuelled. They have had the odd complaint about being too fast and the committee get quite snotty about it. I get to hear the inside knowledge from my DH and and quite mouthy in my opinions that they are all too up their own arse. If they want to encourage more new members then they need be more welcoming and accept constructive criticism. There are hardly any females in the club but they seem to have enough of a critical mass to keep going the way they are going so it looks like it won't change and they will keep their 'have to be good to join' reputation. The local tri-club are much more friendly and have different groups of cyclists going off at different speeds. All seem to wait on each other. This is only my experience and a lot depends who is on the committee and what their agenda is. For me now, I just go out with a pal or two and enjoy the ride. Can't be arsed with the hassle of extreme group cycling. At the end of the day I've still cycled the same distance and am happy so why put myself through the extra stress.

FlaviaAlbia Tue 16-May-17 10:27:06

Yes, I think you're both right.

It's spoiling my enjoyment of cycling a fair bit though I'm glad I joined just for meeting people. I've made some great friends and I'll be able to keep cycling with them outside the club rides.

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