Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nice Weather Brings Out The Scary Riders

As I believe I've stated before I ride with a group out of  Scott's Cycle a few times a week (Although a lot less these last couple of weeks just because of the move.). And we have a had a couple great rides that have been relatively (For Oregon anyway.) dry lately. This coupled with the time change so it's light out longer has a pretty serious effect on the group's numbers.

On an average winter ride I would say that we have about 20 people start from the bike shop. This includes the different groups (Fast and slow). But those numbers swell up to 60+ riders in the peak of summer which then gets split into three groups usually (Fast, medium, and slow). And along with the increase in numbers also comes an increase in new riders.

Now there are several types of new riders. There are the one's that are slow and out of shape (That was my category when I first started.). There are the strong experienced riders (Most of these guys start heading off with the fast group either immediately or after only a few rides. And then there are the most dangerous type. The fast and inexperienced riders. This is the group that I'd like to talk about today...

What makes this particular group so dangerous is that they are strong enough to try and pull but they don't know where they are going. They want to mix it up in the sprints for stop ahead or city limits signs but don't have the pack riding skills to do it in a safe manner. They treat it like it's the Tuesday night world championships when it's just a group ride. And they also don't take the time to figure out what the etiquette of the group is before they go bounding around like a bull in a china shop.

Please don't get me wrong. I encourage and want new people to ride with the group. I just don't want anyone (The new person included.) to get hurt in the process of learning all this stuff. In fact, if you've read this blog from the beginning then you already know it was the subject of my first post ever. For those of you who haven't read this epic (poorly written and rambling) blog since then the link is right here~


I don't think it would hurt to have a refresher form time to time (Myself included.).

Riding in a group can be a wonderful experience. In fact we probably had one of the best rides of the year last night. We went on a terrific route, weather was decent, good people were out there, and we even managed to have a functional rotating paceline for a while (Gasp! Choke!). That has only happened a few times that I can recall.

But we also had a couple new riders. One did a pretty good job of being in the group. He made some of the traditional rookie mistakes. But I believe with a few more rides he'll be just fine. It was obvious that he was trying hard to be conscientious.

Another guy on the other hand did every sketchy move in the book. Weaving in and out of people in a aggressive twitchy manner. Trying to pull at the front of the group really hard and then shitting the bed after only a minute or so. Trying to compete in the sprints so far out of his comfort zone that he's bobbing up and down on his bike like a monkey humping a coconut. Going over the center line in the road. I'm always amazed by how empowered people feel when they're in a group. It's like common sense flies out the window. Not to dissimilar to someone when they get behind the wheel of a car. And here's the thing. He seems like a really nice guy. He was friendly, talkative, and very pleasant. So it's hard to come up to him and tell him that if he keeps riding like that he's gonna hurt himself and other people.  It really makes it tough.  I don't want to discourage anyone from the group (Well almost anyone.). But when someone is that inherently dangerous somebody has to say something. And a good portion of the time it's me. I know I can be bossy and and opinionated ( Like you couldn't tell.). But I don't want to be a jerk about it. I just want everyone to have a good time.

Except for this next guy.

Let me tell you a small story....

There is a new fellow that rode with us at the end of last summer and got into an accident with several other riders in the group. One of them being a nice lady who was new to cycling. She was the one who caused the pile up. And evidently he damaged his wheel's in the process. Well when all was said and done he was a real jerk and demanded that she replace his wheels.

What a crock of shit! It's call assumed risk ass hat! We don't start all rides telling everyone that you are going to be perfectly safe, that there will be no accidents and no damage to yourself or your property. To think that someone else is responsible for your equipment is ludicrous. That would be like saying that at a bike race that all medical bills and equipment is covered in case of an emergency. If that were the case we would never have another bike race again. The insurance would be to much.

Sorry, I'm ranting.

 Back to the story.

So after this incident. One of the owner's of the shop gave all of them a ride (In a car.) back to the shop. And he never even thanked them! The new lady was never seen again (Which is a real shame.) And the douche bag left not to long after (Good riddance. As far as I was concerned.) Well, he returned last night. 

This got me thinking. Should I say something? Part of me really, really wants to. I'd don't think a person like that should be welcome in the group. While the other part said just to let it go.  I don't know. I still have to think about that one for a while.

 I can tell you one thing for sure. I wouldn't walk across the street to piss on him if he were on fire.

So I guess when all is said and done, everyone should have a good time. Everyone should get a good workout and enjoy a little friendly competition. And  everyone should be conscientious of themselves and each other. And pay for your own shit if it breaks.

Rubber side down,

Big E


  1. Wow! Your group's dynamics are interesting! I always say something to new, sketchy riders. Groups need rules, and some folks need rules to be explicit. I think I was told a thing or two when I started with the group...which was hard to take at the time but appreciated now. So now, I am just passing on the mentoring:)

  2. Sorry about this, you’ve hit a nerve.

    I was also unsure if I should say anything to him such as, "your an ass, go away" or "you got lucky once, no one else here will be buying your gear" or even "you sir are now known as Capitan Commander Admiral Ass Hat, now piss off sir". But in the end I chose to stay as far away as I could. If he comes back, I believe someone that was there that night (I was not) should inform him of the inherent risk of cycling. Also, that he got lucky getting wrecked by a newbie who did not know she could tell him to piss off and file suit. Regardless the guy should know that we have no respect for him or his antics and it’s not welcome in our group.

    I understand that the best part of the Scott’s group rides is that we’re all equal. Granted some people care more than others; therefore, choose to provide more input. That being said; I believe that it is every cyclist’s responsibility to be a good steward of cycling; my sentiment is definitely not shared. Riding 3-5 wide is asking to have a redneck (quite possibly related to me) in a ¾ ton pick-up put you on the ground. There have been several occasions that I’ve made the decision to take myself out of the group as a result of seeing people do stupid things. If the group is not going to “elect” a hierarchy; which I don’t want to see, we all need to be more willing to piss each other off and call people out for being stupid. Awareness brings enlightenment? What will happen, someone will stop being my friend? I didn’t know most of you before I joined the group (see Earl’s previous blog) and if it comes to me being safe or you liking me (I swear I’m not in junior high), I’ll be safe thanks.

    - Adam

  3. And from the point of view of someone who also hit the deck in that particular crash it never even occurred to me that anyone would be responsible for any damage to my bike, which thankfully was minimal and patched up nicely by you Mr E. Basically when the weather gets nice, these people start showing up and it's like anything else- probably about 3% are the bad seeds, but they are selfish enough to not even consider the injury they may cause or property damage from conducting themselves in this manner- that's really the biggest problem the group faces- selfishness. People in the group do what's best for them without regard for anyone else, be they cyclist or in a car. I'm with Adam 100%, I'd rather ride slower in a group that cares about each other and being a good example to others on the road that not all cyclists behave that way than risk life limb and property trying to stay away from a couple of hacks.

  4. That and I think the guy that made that poor girl buy him new wheels should be beaten with a pillowcase full of doorknobs...