One of the key focus points of SPR Club rides is that we will always aim to create an environment where all riders are safe and can be in the best position to have fun on the ride. As the Club has grown and our rides have become more popular, we have had to take steps to ensure that our groups are not too big. We do this for a number of reasons, which may not always be apparent to the casual observer. When the group is of a manageable size (ie: less than 20), we can (generally) achieve the following:
- All riders in the group get to know who they’re riding with; the bigger the group, the less likely you are to have ridden next to someone by the time it gets important (ie: roll throughs).
- Ride leaders can better communicate to the group what their expectations are at important times throughout the ride (eg: approaching lights; roundabouts; turning points)
- Communication generally is enhanced because the back is not too far away from the front
- There is less chance of the group becoming ‘split’ at lights and intersections meaning there isn’t a ‘wait’ and ‘chase’ effect; or worse, riders at the back running red lights for fear of being dropped! This is important on certain rides where there are LOTS of lights!
So, what can YOU do about this? A couple of things:
- Respect the split at the very start. If there is someone that you want to ride with, then be near them when the groups are split in the first place. Don’t jump across to the group leaving because you missed it! Stay put and ride with people you don’t know – you may like them!
- Get to the START! We all like a sleep in, but the start is the start. If you live on the ride route, lucky you. Get to the START!
- IF YOU CATCH THE GROUP IN FRONT….re-form the gap by soft pedalling. You didn’t catch them ‘cos you is hard…you caught them because they caught a bunch of red lights or were being safe at intersections…trust us!!
- Respect the Ride Leader’s call & judgement. If they ask you to ease up and re-form the gap, please do so.
If everyone plays by these simple rules, we will be able to maintain a healthy balance of group size (everyone loves a draft) and safe riding conditions whilst acknowledging we are riding ‘in the wild’ with lots of inherent hazards out on the road.
Like always, if you have any feedback or would like to offer any suggestions, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or catching up with one of our friendly ride leaders at the coffee shop.