Bad Form part 2

26 02 2010

A while back, I posted asking what people consider to be bad form. I didn’t get a heap of feedback, but what I did get back was about groups hogging lanes, passing on the left, and offering unsolicited advice a little too freely. I agree with all of these points, but on my ride, here is what happened.

I had planned to do a 130km ride and had organised for a guy from the local Bike Group to come with me. We met up ok, and headed off early morning. I started in the lead and found a good rhythm at around 30kph (I admit here that I wasn’t paying close attention to my speed. I have since been told that I was riding at closer to 35kph). I was aware that he was a few seconds back, but I consider him to be a much stronger rider than me and genuinely thought he was just letting me ride ahead.

Anyway, I guess I slipped to maybe a minute ahead of him and then stopped to wait, but then discovered he had packed up and gone home. I figured he had turned onto a different road, so I texted him, and this was his reply:

“Going home bad form to invite some one along for a ride and ride away from them and not wait for them enjoy your ride”.

I texted back an apology and have just emailed an apology and an explanation.

Basically what it boils down to is this – I thought he was just being polite and letting me ride ahead. I figured he would simply put on a burst of speed and catch me in seconds. He had only recently finished the 200km Audax Alpine Classic, and quite frankly I believe he can ride rings around me. The only time I have ever caught him was a couple of weeks ago when I managed to draft behind a car going into a headwind. And by catch, I mean I managed to get close enough to look like a wasn’t getting my arse kicked.

If I’d known that he was pissed, or annoyed, or struggling, or whatever, I’d have waited, apologised and ridden beside or behind him.

Anyway, my questions are these:

1/ What is your etiquette for riding in pairs/small groups?
2/ If this had happened to you, what would you have done?

I asked these questions of a good friend of mine, and this was his reply.

If this guy that you went riding with was struggling or was a little sore perhaps from the 200k’s (and fair enough), why didn’t he take his skirt off, open his mouth and say “Chris mate, I’m seriously feeling it today, do you reckon we could make it an easy/casual ride today?”…not real difficult… I think people need to take a little bit of responsibility for themselves, and stop blaming others.

Like you said, if he had said anything you would have dropped back and ridden with him….
however…if I was you though and you knew this guy was a good rider, perhaps you should have kept a better eye on how far behind he was falling, as he was obviously struggling if he never caught up…. the thing is though you can’t always be looking behind you on a ride as it gets too dangerous for you

but like I said earlier, my main issue with the situation was the guy bitching that you left him behind, without saying anything….

Bluntly, it’s my fault. I’m taking full responsibility here. As the ride leader/organiser, I should have communicated properly at the beginning – this is the route, this is the plan, these are the designated stops etc. I was simply inexperienced and naive and the blame is on me, but I do agree with my mate. Speak up.

So my questions again:

1/ What is your etiquette for riding in pairs/small groups?
2/ If this had happened to you, what would you have done?




5 responses

26 02 2010

I ride with one mate regularly who is slower than me, and with another group where I struggle to keep up. When riding with my slower mate, I always adjust down and enjoy a social ride.

On Amy’s Ride this year I rode with another running friend who I hadn’t ridden with before. We rode together okay, but lost touchabout 20km into the ride as I sped off down a steep hill. We were about 2km away from a rest stop, so I figured I’d just wait there. Whilst there I got a text saying he’d gotten a puncture hadn’t been able tofix it and was abandoning. I felt so guilty about not being with him. But these things happen.

27 02 2010

I guess it boils down to communication. Before heading off just talk a little about the ride and what you hope to accomplish. I’ve only ridden with a partner twice and both times we stayed together. I was definitely the slower rider both times though. During the course of the ride, if either rider wants to pick it up for a bit just let the other rider know.

27 02 2010

Communication is my weakest link. Always has been always will be.

27 02 2010

I ride a lot with my wife. She rides a heavy steel hybrid, and is not in the kind of cycling shape I’m — not that that’s much. I pull ahead of her regularly, but always stop to wait every couple of miles. She’s often much more than a minute behind. That’s happened with other riders, too. If you were only a minute ahead of him and stopped to wait, your waiting intervals are much shorter than mine. Methinks thy friend doth complain too much.

27 02 2010

The minute is a guess. I am not entirely sure when he turned around, or how far I rode after he did. I may well have been 5 minutes ahead, or only 30 seconds. Can’t be sure.

I have ridden in a pair one other time. I knew I was the faster rider, and to be honest, I was champing at the bit to push on faster, but I didn’t. I stayed with him, and enjoyed the easier ride and less laboured conversation. Except on the hills. I pushed ahead, and waited at the top.

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