Up here in Not-Boulder, we have a few lunch group rides about the area, including one that departs from my own employer every day at lunch time. With the return to spring (sort of..) and the need to ride on the pavement more than I would like to, I have been reminded of what a group of road riders packed into a small space each day can end up being. This little ride runs the gamut from a pleasant chatting ride to a flat out unsanctioned road race. Everything from 3-4 easygoing folks to 15-20 frothing, testosterone charged maniacs can show up, depending on the season, mood, phase of the moon, and cast of characters. Every outcome from smiles and "Wow, great ride!" to angry words and scathing post ride E-Mails, complete with accusations of various infractions of both written & unwritten rules of the road. The post ride mood seems to depend on the number of "group ride rule" infractions and the work stress level of the participants. Not totally sure what it is about riding around at 25 mph three inches from someone else's wheel, with the prospect of hitting the ground hard from another riders mistake that can bring generally friendly people to the boiling point over such perceived wrongs, but boy can it ever.
Like every standing group ride in the world, we have the usual cast of players, such as the following folks.......
Frothing, manic riding new racer Guy - 25 MPH out of the lot (warm-ups are a waste of training time...), 200 RPM pedaling, can almost ride in a straight line.
"Serious" recreational rider, sit on never pull Guy - He'll crash you, track stand, spin circles in the parking lot or road, you name it, anything to not pull. You can tell him by the quizzical looking around if he ever ends up on the front (Purely by accident, of course...).
Clueless ride in traffic any chance he can Guy - What is the right side of the road, or that silly shoulder there for, anyway? The pavement must be better over on the yellow line.
Grumpy old MTB/cross Guy - Would much rather be somewhere else, but uses the ride for motivation & training, while usually bitching about it the whole time.
"Cagey" old Guy - Motto: "old age & treachery beat youth & skill every time". You can find him at the back, sitting on the second half of every ride, then unleashes a sprint to finish (with or without anyone else contesting said sprint...)
Retro-Grouch Guy - Old bike, old clothes, serious fitness. You can rub knuckles for MILES with this guy in complete safely. Rides more miles in a week than you do in a month.
The Nice Guy - pretends not to engage in the drama or tactics, but secretly enjoys the whole show.
Interval Guy - Only joins the group occasionally. Usually out doing "structure". Shows up, rips legs off.
Triathlon Guy - Used to bike race "seriously" now does the odd triathlon. Watch out when he goes to the front on those damn bars....
Even a few "normal" people who just ride bikes
You can have fun guessing which one of these guys your blog-host here is. Maybe I missed one or 2, but I'm sure these folks are on YOUR group road ride too. So here is at least a partial list of "commandments" for you to to follow on your group ride, courtesy of the Good folks up at the Church of the Big Ring. Happy Riding.