Tuesday Coffee Talk - When is a Group Ride too Big

We ran a poll starting last week and asked the question - When is a group ride too big? I do a large group ride a couple times a week and I have noticed as the ride gets larger basic group riding etiquette and just general safety gets thrown out the window. I believe its a combination of factors that cause this behavior.

As the ride gets larger I think there is a larger percentage of riders that dont always have the large group riding experience so small things get magnified like knowing when to break, over lapping wheels or not pointing out a road hazard. I also think as a group grows basic rules of the road are somewhat ignored. Riders dont ride single file when they should or impede traffic.

So when is a group ride too large and why does the safety of the ride, in my opinion, decrease as the numbers increase?

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11 Comments

You already gave the answer.

You already gave the answer.

"I have noticed as the ride gets larger basic group riding etiquette and just general safety gets thrown out the window"

When this happens, the group is too big. Ambiguous I know, but an acceptable size depends on who's in the group and the purpose of the ride.

Group Ride Rules

I do a group ride once a week. I am always amazed at the lack of riding skills. I really believe that a good portion of the riders should not be riding in a group. There is exactly what you explain (i.e. overlapping wheels, not pointing out hazards etc).

I think a group ride can be large (30+) IF everyone understands basic riding rules.

RARELY does everyone understand or know the pack rules

Rarely is everyone on the same page for pack rules especially when the size is more than 10, even the regular rides where guys and gals rides until their eyes bleed even obey the rules.

Springtime team rides or rides with friends is the only time I see groups working well together.

If you are in a group bigger than 20 pretty much expect an accident or close call, don't be naive.

I agree that group rides here

I agree that group rides here in CO seem to fit your description, at least the ones I've ridden in. I think it's because there are too many people who are strong enough to join in on group rides before they've learned the "rules". Complicating things seems to be a somewhat pervasive view that if someone is strong enough to hang with the pack, they don't want to hear from the old timers. It's been a long time since I've ridden @ Meridian, for example, but after the 4th or 5th time of seeing some young guy with maybe a couple of years riding (likely a triathlete out for a hard group ride) doing something truly stupid, then telling one of the old-timers to go f... himself when they tried to teach them something or even just asked them not to do it again, I realized I couldn't do those rides anymore.

I contrast that with my experience learning to ride in a major southwestern city that will remain unnamed. Things may have changed since I left, but... when I was there in the early 90s the big group ride was just that, big. More importantly, the new folks seemed to want to learn from the old-timers. If you showed the right attitude, the experienced riders would take you under their wing, really helping you learn. It was in some sense selfish on their part, as they didn't want you to endanger others. If you refused to listen, or refused to learn, or heaven forbid you told one of the old timers to f... themselves, you'd be invited not to return.

Out of control 40 and 50 year olds....

It's not just young riders that act stupid on rides, it's the old guys also. People get on the Bustop/Meridian/Wednesday Worlds rides and just act stupid. Going all over the road, into traffic, over into the oncoming lane, blowing stop signs/lights...
I wish the cops would bust them more. Bad PR for the rest of cyclists...

Agreed. Didn't mean to imply

Agreed. Didn't mean to imply an age group, but rather an experience level, by saying old timers. It was just coincidental that many of the old timers were also older. Some were in their mid- to late- 20s. The sorts of behaviors you describe would have gotten you an immediate rejection from that day's ride, not just an invite not to return.

I don't know what gets into some people???

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