Where have all the gentlemen gone?

Garmin Gentlemen's Sport

Group Riding Etiquette (Where have all the gentlemen gone?)

This morning the group ride was in full effect. Tons of great riders! From locals pros, to local strong men, and some out-of-towners. I have wanted to write a post like this in the past but never found the voice to do so, considering I’m just an “Average Cyclist”. Though some would say different considering my fitness and profession.

Though we had some strong riders today, the lack of leadership up front was terrible. This lack of leadership cost about $150 today in tubes and one rim if not more. I’m only speculating on the repairs that are going to be needed to fix the guys bikes that were in the middle of the peloton that rely on the eyes of those in front of them. Don’t be a “Blinder*”! I want to take an educational approach to this post as I don’t want to point any fingers. Bottom line is everyone from 3rd wheel back relies on those in front of them, so when you go to the front, BE A LEADER!

There are times to measure up, those are called races! You know when you feel those cold safety pins on your skin? Don’t get me wrong, I love to push the pace in group rides and in training. However, when it comes to putting other riders in danger, I will not! This is wrong and down right disrespectful to the sport and other riders behind you. You may be strong enough to go to the front and pull, but I question are you strong enough to go there and lead?

I know why you go there, I spend plenty of time there as well, but I don’t lose focus on the larger picture. The picture of all the gentlemen/ladies behind me that I have been entrusted with their lives for that 15 seconds or 5 minute short period I’m on the front. I want to make sure they get to their loved ones later in the day, as I do.

I have not made it home before because of some poor choices in the front and let me explain the real world cost. There is the financial hit, last one was over $10K – yes, that’s $10,000 hard earned dollars in medical and a few things bike related. Not to mention the time – the most precious commodity we have. I lost 6-8 months of my life to recovery. These are not little things gentlemen and ladies – these are the facts!

 

Are we living in a world that has forgotten cycling is a “Gentlemen’s” sport?

To top it off, what does this tell the kids in the group? What are we teaching them if we do not lead with integrity? I’m disappointed in today’s ride and rides like this as I have been on the receiving end and know how it feels. I’m going to take a firm stand on this because I think someone should speak up, since I’ve lost my filter to hold back due to my last concussion I may be the right person to educate. If you have a problem with me stating the obvious, by all means let me hear about it!

In addition to the guys in the front, the endless squabbling from the rear with numerous complaints is unnecessary. If you get dropped, accept it and go back to the drawing board with your fitness and training. It’s your choice to put the time in to be stronger, don’t ever hold someone back because you cannot hold on! How about giving thanks for the ability to be in a free country and out riding your bike versus the contrary. I know hundreds of people that would love to just ride a bike, we won’t get into the free part.

In order to not rewrite what has been written, please read the following link 10 Rules for riding in a group.

1. It’s not a race

2. Bar-to-Bar

3. Peeling off

4. Pulling through

5. Too tired to go to front

6. Gaps

7. Moving about in a group

8. Obstacles and hand signals

9. Yelling

10. Slowing and adjusting speed

Let me add some other things not to be tolerated in a group. Rolling up and trying to split two riders that are bar to bar may get you put on the ground. To the guy that dove into me at the light, not sure what you were thinking? However I think you should add a smile to you day and put your little measuring stick away because you are riding in the back, are you not aware of this?

When there are three flats within the first 15 miles on a roll out, stop and help the lad that flatted. You think he wants to ride alone? He showed up to the ride for a reason, to ride with friends and gain a little fitness for the day. Same as you in the front, but guess what? You caused him to lose his “fun day”! You got to experience yours, but failing to lead, caused others to lose; time, money, and the ability to ride with peers! Having 40+ guys just roll on when it takes 2-4 minutes to change a flat is ridiculous! This is far from gentlemanly, isn’t it?

Bottom line read the rules, and put the EGO away for a day and enjoy it! I challenge everyone in a group ride to introduce yourselves to other riders so you can become familiar with who they are. This will make communication so much easier in the many group dynamics that play out! I would love to see the Springs bring a positive feel back to the Saturday/Sunday rides as its always labeled as sketchy for numerous reasons! Take it from me – it can be safe if we take the right steps and it would be nice to have one year, this 2014 EPIC year without someone getting taken to the hospital!

 

SO BE A LEADER, NOT A BLINDER!


*Blinder – One that does not lead while in the front of a peloton! Fails to point out out obstacles that could cause flats, crashes, et cetera to his buddies behind him.

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About Matt Carnal

I love riding my bike, and helping others achieve the goals that they've laid out for themselves.