Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Group Rides 2.0

I am going to start out this post by thanking everyone who has been attending the Tom's Bicycles Group Rides on the weekends.  We have had some huge turnouts for these rides and we are happy to have you ride with us.  (I have noticed that there does seem to be a direct relationship between temperature and number of riders, but I bet that is just a coincidence.)

As the size of the group grows there is, unfortunately, a need to increase structure.  Additionally, as the weather does continue to improve and cyclists who have been hibernating over the winter come out to join the ride, there will be a difference in goals as well as fitness among the attendees.  Acknowledging these facts, we are going to try some small modifications to our group rides.  My hope is that these changes continue to move our group rides into a positive direction and everyone continues to have a good time while elevating their fitness.

Ground Rules
The first thing I want to do is point out some ground rules regarding our group rides that I expect everyone to follow to the best of their ability.  These ground rules are not necessarily new, but some of the newer people might not be aware of them.

  • When on the Rivertrails, please observe a speed limit of 15 MPH, announce your presence to anyone you are going to overtake, and be sure that you have at least 3 feet to safely pass someone.
  • The "peloton" will try to average a pace of 18-21 MPH when on the road.  Wind conditions and elevation changes will mean this is not always possible, but you get the idea.
  • If you want to go faster than the group is traveling, feel free to attack the group and ride ahead.  We only ask that you do not attack (or respond to attacks) from the front of the group.  If you are on the front, your job is to keep the group together.
  • If you do not feel like taking a pull, please stay at the back of the paceline.  If you find yourself near the front of the paceline and you don't want to pull, let the person behind you know that you are going to pull off (so they know to expect it) and wait until you are at the front and immediately pull off.  If you pull off anywhere else, it really messes up the flow of the paceline.  
  • If someone has a mechanical, someone needs to ride to the front of the paceline and let the riders on front know that there is a problem.  The head of the paceline will then look for a safe place for the entire peloton to safely stop and wait for anyone who has stopped.     

The Routes
The second thing I want to do is make some changes to our routes.  I have developed three routes of different lengths.  All three routes follow the same route in the beginning and you will have an option during the ride to take the short (38 mile), medium (50 mile), or long (65 mile) route.  These rides can be ridden in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction so we really have 6 different routes.  In time, I will probably add additional routes, but we are going to stick to these 6 routes for a while (unless I get a lot of negative feedback).  Here are the routes:

Garmin Users
If you are a Garmin user, I have mapped the "counterclockwise" routes in GarminConnect.  You can upload these routes into your Garmin and have the course (with turn-by-turn directions) on hand.  This is especially helpful if you are afraid of getting "dropped" by the group and are not positive how to get back to the shop.  I will create the "clockwise" files before we need them.

I hope you view these slight modifications as improvements to our group rides.  I am always looking for feedback and searching for ways to make our rides better.  Feel free to leave a comment on this post after we try this out for a while so that I will know if the changes are positive or if we need to keep tweaking the recipe.  

1 comment:

  1. Great idea... you're doing good work Jason, much appreciated by a newbie rider.