a little while back we ran a survey and have since published the results in a previous post. quite a few of the questions had a space for comments. in the interest of transparency all the comments from the survey will be listed below and i will attempt to answer them as best i can. since the survey was anonymous, this is the only way that people can be responded to. on occasion, i may group a number of comments together and answer them together. if you need further clarification on any of the replies, please feel free to send me and email and i can answer you personally.
As there were so many areas to add comments, we have broken it done into 5 main topic groups with posts around each – club & safety, kit, racing & volunteering, social and a final one where the general feedback on any topic was given.
How did you hear about and come to be part of SPR?
Former Perth resident now in Melbourne recommended the club
Significant Other convinced me to join
Colleague at work is member
I live in South Perth and saw the club rides going past often, decided to go along on a few rides and ended up joining the club on the riverloop
Suggested by friend
Saw gathering at Dome
Public holiday rides
Interface with group ride while solo cycling
Word of mouth
Word of mouth
Rode with BikeForce Freo in the old days
Thru a Friend
Recommended by non SPR member
My son was riding with you.
Friends informed me of the hills rides
Friend who was a non member at the time.
I moved from Sydney to Perth. SPR was the closest and most active club I could find.
good to see that there are a few “word of mouth” recommendations out there. that is probably the best advertisement that we can use for the club. i also love the “dad” comment, as it sounds like “dad made me do it”. not sure about the “tinder” comment. i know that spr has a twitter, instagram and facebook account, but not sure we had entered the world of online dating.
If non-member, what are the reasons for not joining as yet?
Moved overseas with work. Hope to come back soon.
Tri WA membership
Not sure, might actually be financial!
I just realised my membership is expired!
Think I’m the $25 one?
Simply need to renew (expired) memebership. Expired membership can easily creep-up on you, as their is no membership renewal prompt: the recreational membership runs 12 months from the last renewal and it’s easy to lose track on when you are required to do the renewal.
Financial insecurity with work
Waiting until I have to buy race licence
finding membership info is not simple
Member of another club
i totally understand that from a financial point of view a membership may not be a high priority. however, it does give you a bit of insurance coverage, so if you do have an accident, it can save you from costing even more. we usually get quite a few people waiting until they are about to do their first race of the year before renewing. however, they are still training and still riding in groups, so the insurance issue is still applicable. as for how to join, there is a membership page on the blog and it till take you to the appropriate cycling australia page where it can all be done online. just remember that spr’s official name is the south perth cycle club.
Why do you ride with SPR?
To develop as a cyclist as I move up SPR ride levels. Pathway to competitive cycling via the club.
I don’t ride with SPR
that is sad
Sunday hills rides work out well for me timing wise usually
Interested in meeting other people to ride with at a similar level and better
Tried several others, SPR has the goods.
Access to racing
Well organised and professional. Safe (usually).
Well organised training rides.
Racing in different places Bintan, Kal, Etc
Good routes & Good groups
Great ride routes, people and club ethos
I actually ride very little with SPR. My main group is Biuke Force Myaree. I have this year returned to masters rowing and will focus on that in the next few years. That said i still wish to ride and probably next year will compete in my 4th 5 Dams. Riding is a good supplement to my rowing program.
The club is so supportive on all levels
Variety of training / fitness challenge
Well organised and safety comes first
To do Stock road
Was close to home but now I’ve moved 🙁
you are welcome back anytime
well organised ride routes, good people
Vigorous racing group – incentive to improve
Friendly and diverse group. Good variety of rides.
Havent ridden with the club for a year
I quickly found an enormous respect for the club, the committee and the members. I’m proud to be part of the club.
found a group that is not competitive but wants to be challenged
Race cyclocross. Needed a club membership
Previously Power lifting and bulged a disc in my lower back,
Damn good bunch of people for the most part
Variety of club rides
Many & varied ride options (days, routes, speeds), excellent leadership on the road hence safety & general standards well looked after, great culture & vibe
It’s a lycra fetish
this is that tinder guy again, isn’t it
Can find suitable (similar) speed and distance.
Wanted a race license
Its fun and a close / supportive community to be a part of, most of my friends are SPR riders/members
It’s a much better workout than riding alone, and therefore many more endorphins 😀
Encouraged by friend
Good safe riding group
I don’t but am a member
Current group doesn’t ride enough
Lots of weekly options
I feel safer with a group to go to the hills
Daily group ride opportunities all week with the exception of Wednesdays. Most members of the club aren’t ‘dickheads’. The rides are generally safe and well lead.
dont ride much but like the club, its people and like to support a good cause
Pete is a legend
Husband rides with SPR
Easy start times. Varied rides, lots of ability groups
Fun group of people
Company of group rides / harder sessions than going solo
Pushes me to be a better, faster rider
Good bunch of people
Safe. Organised. Mates.
Organised rides; Great club ethos; Lots of support;
Good to be pushed harder on rides
Keeping fit, training for races that I don’t enter
Best fast group in Perth
Challenging rides like Thursday and Saturday Fast Group rides and Sunday long hills.
Fast group ride
Fitness, training, it’s fun
Always had scheduled rides
Because out it’s an amazing group of people and supportive of people at all levels of cycling strength and ability
Motivation to keep up my riding
Ride with friends
To meet a group of people similar paced and also socialise
pretty wide and diverse bunch of reasons a to why people are riding with us. i guess it matches the wide and diverse group of people that ride with us. being inclusive is one of our cornerstones and we pride ourselves on catering for as many people as we can.
Based on your experience riding in SPR group rides, please provide comments as to why and what could be done better
I do ride often enough to provide an informed opinion. However, when I have ridden and based on my friends who do ride in your group the organisation is very good.
Never done weekday rides, as I assume they are too fast for me, would like to see rides for trannies level.
there are 2 rides on tuesday and thursday in kings park for the development/transitional level riders. they do intervals around the park, so you don’t get dropped or lost.
Have less rules, push people to improve skills more and take more responsibility for their actions
i think that rules and ride leaders are what make the difference on our group rides. if you ride in other groups that may run out of coffee shops etc, you will find that things may go okay when everything is fine, but as soon as that changes, there isn’t anyone to take responsibility for the group. yes, people should be more responsible, but human nature tells us that they won’t always be the case, so we plan for it.
Ride leader did not look after ride member. Left a member to ride back on her own at Fremantle. Ride leader did not look out for riders. Did not even know riders have been dropped. Comments from ride leader they don’t like to lead transition
this is unacceptable and has been addressed. all ride leaders are taught to look after the group and understand how the group dynamic is playing out. they need to be aware of what is happening in the group, but we realise that they can’t be everywhere at once. we also rely on our other riders to look after each other and make sure that everyone knows if someone is off the back.
Too many riders rate their ability too high and this leaves numbers wanting on Thursday rides. 1st 2 groups left narrows with no 3rd or 4th group
this is always the risk when we ask people to “self assess their abilities”. the thursday ride gives people the best idea of which group as it should be based on previous strava times. however, it is also dependent on who turns up on the day. last week, for example there was a group 1, two group 2’s and enough to split group 3 into two groups as well. we try to cater for everyone, but we are still relying on people turning up and people being in the correct group.
Would like to say I haven’t been riding lots of group ride lately so for the comments/ratings around ride leaders are how I remember them.
Depends on the day (who turns up, who is the leader). Regulars = smooth; race development riders from teams/other clubs = scrappy
this comes up quite a lot and i don’t actually believe that it causes all the issues that people raise. yes we are quite open in allowing pretty much anyone to ride with us, and yes we have a level of expectation that goes along with that. however, as a club ride, you as a club member need to actively “coach” people on what the expectations are on our rides. this does not mean yelling at everyone, but often, if you kindly suggest something to someone, they will take it on board. if not, then let a ride leader or committee member know and it can be dealt with. the safety of the group is the most important thing to us, but everyone is involved in keeping it safe.
Lots of ‘being told off’ and aggressive interaction
no-one likes being told off, but similar to the comment above, if you are continuously being “told off” then maybe it is time for a little self-reflection. in the heat of the moment, people can be a little aggressive, but this can be understandable if they feel that their safety is being threatened. step back and look at the situation. is there anything that could be done differently.
The club organisation it’s generally excellent, however there are often riders who don’t follow direction by organisers pre ride or ride leaders during ride.
we have a group etiquette page that outlines what we expect. everyone that emails the club before they come out on their first ride gets sent the link. maybe it is time for a refresher for some people. these are club training rides organised by the club and fall under club rules. in the past, the committee has been required to act if someone continues to flaunt these rules. worse case is they are asked to not ride with us anymore.
Same problems of poor skills and no ranking type system to prevent poorly skilled riders joining any group they wish. These problems have been unaddressed for years
i think that last comment is a bit harsh and i kind of take offence to it. over the years the club has developed from a single saturday morning ride to multiple groups. these groups allow us to split the riders as best we can on skill and fitness. there is no ranking system but it has been looked at in the past. what makes it hard is for someone to sit and assess a couple of hundred people before we can split them into groups. we treat people as educated, responsible adults who are able to make their own choices about group selection etc – education and communication yes, but the idea of forcing or “preventing” people from joining particular groups is against the club’s ethos and values. to account for that we have installed ride leaders in as many groups as we can especially in the lower skilled groups to help develop people as quickly as possible. skills are developed over time but also when given direction. just blasting someone for not riding straight does not have the same affect as explaining to them why their actions are dangerous. our ranking system is the multiple groups that we have that allows a pathway as riders develop. it is only through time riding with others that people will improve and the ride leaders can also help suggest which group is most suitable.
Based on your experience riding in SPR group rides, please provide comments on our ride leaders as to why and what could be done better.
Wayne Allen was forced off the road by a car on a group ride, he was NOT at the back of the group (I have seen his footage). Only one person stopped. Wayne asked the ride leader for any footage, she said she would ask around, none was provided to him. The ride leader did not see the incident but did at the end of the ride ask if Wayne was ok. Wayne discussed (Did not raise his voice or swear (I would have)) with the ride leader how the ride could have been handled better. Rob Ramsden viewed the footage, didn’t provide a copy to Wayne, didn’t ask Wayne if he was ok. Rob accused Wayne of raising his voice, which he didn’t, Rob accused Wayne of calling the ride leader various things which again he didn’t (I have seen the footage of the conversation). Rob told Wayne that he was wrong, but could not say why other than he should not speak to the ride leader ‘like that’ although he could not define what ‘like that’ was. Further Wayne was upset and shocked that the ride leader, someone we both respect, was offended by his approaching her after the ride.
leaving this in here for transparency sake, but this has been discussed within the committee already. there are two sides to each story and this is one side, although from a third hand and i do not believe that it went exactly as in these comments.
Depends on the ride leaders
Varies significantly from leader to leader
I do ride often enough to provide an informed opinion. However, when I have ridden and based on my friends who do ride in your group the organisation is very good.
Seems that ride leaders are not equipped to deal with crashes ie no first aid kits. This should be a basic requirement in the ride leader training. Also how many senior first aiders are there?
should ride leaders carry first aid kits??? a good question, but not sure that it would always be practical as how much can you fit into something the size of a water bottle. as all of our saturday group rides happen within the perth metropolitan area, an ambulance is usually only a few minutes away. should the ride leaders have first aid training??? possibly, but is that also placing a higher burden on them to be solely responsible for the group. a couple of points to be discussed at the next committee meeting.
They should be training people in group rides how to be better. They should also make it lots of fun and encourage less experienced people to try new things like having a sprint or going off the front. these things are not reserved for just faster riders
thank God I have never been involved or witnessed any accident/incident so far during my Sunday rides.
Ride leader does not looking out for safety of the riders does not know if is single or double riding
sorry but you just made a generalisation that pretty much goes against the whole concept of what a ride leader is there for. they are, however, human and will make mistakes or may assess the risk of the situation differently to you. their view may be that in certain situations, riding two-abreast is safer for the group as it stops cars trying to squeeze past on tight roads.
I think most of the leaders are great. I think it is a little confusing at time why some of senior members get angry on the rides.
Been happy with ride leader JP, love him leading the group. Issue is probably new riders not reading all the rules and yelling when group splits due to too many red lights.
JP is the best
Sometimes it depends on who the ride leaders are
Varies. Some ride leaders excellent in every way. One or two don’t appear to say much
There is always variation between different ride leaders in how they manage a group, some handle different aspects better than others.
as an overall comment, our ride leaders are trained to look after the group. they do an online theory component followed by sessions of skills development. they are then assessed on a couple of rides by other ride leaders while on under normal saturday group riding conditions. they are human, and people make decisions based on their own experience. what you may see as a highly risky situation, may not be assessed the same by the ride leader. they are also looking out for the whole group and trying to make assessments on how the group dynamic is playing out. in this case you, the riders, add another 20-30 variables to the situation that already involves weather, traffic and road conditions. if a ride leader is doing something clearly dangerous, then please let another ride leader or committee member know. if however, you have an opinion that differs from the ride leader, please discuss it with them rather than bitch about them when you get back to the coffee shop. the ride leaders are an integral part of the development of our club, but you must remember that they are volunteers giving up their time to assist in keeping the club safe. the program is currently being looked at by the state association on how it can be standardised, accredited and rolled out to other clubs. it is what makes our club what it is today.
Overall how safe do you feel on SPR ride and in your opinion and/or experience, what could be done to improve the overall safety of SPR rides?
Not often, but sometimes there are some riders whose level of proficiency isn’t quite as good as the rest of the group. Ride leaders and regular group members are good at giving feedback, however some core cycling skills development sessions would also assist in helping people develop, and therein making group rides even better.
Reduce the size of the group, insist on a certain standard of cycling etiquette for new people joining.
Riders keep left on downhills to allow room for those overtaking to come past on the right and then they move left when clear. Occasionally people are blocked and then tempted to go in to the right hand lane (eg Welshpool Rd) and it is hard to make sure it is clear when descending at speed.
More adherence to safety guidelines Consequences for unacceptable ride behaviour
Offering skills training with regards riding in a group, cornering, braking etc.
Larger groups try to run the lights and the last riders are running through reds. Not always stopping at stop signs
Go single file down Leighton Beach section to Port Beach, i always feel we bring adverse reactions from work traffic by taking up the lane and causing often quite dangerous overtaking.
Getting people to listen to and obey start of ride instructions. Keeping groups split to about 20 riders of similar abilities
Continue to reinforce importance of riding skills. Include safety/skills tips in weekly newsletter.
Keep group size small. Lot of communication on safe riding, especially wet roundabouts. More focus on people maintaining their bikes to a safe standard i.e. new grippy tyres, clean running gear etc. Education of cornering.
Chat less, concentrate more
Ride leaders should be able to stop the group and ask people to leave mid ride. Ride leaders should have the final say in who rides in which group. The problem is the riders egos.
I do not think the club can do more than what it has done so far. I think the members are spoilt with the club’s ride leaders.
It’s all about ride leaders. Strong vocal ride leaders impact on the group. A group without a leader is no group at all.
Enforce small group sizes and if riders are consistently creating an unsafe environment for others and unwilling to change them be asked not to attend SPR rides
As has been done recently, reducing/limiting group sizes. Ride leaders being more vocal
it’s mostly due to other road users, so quite difficult for SPR to do more
Random guest riders observing behaviors + more feedback from ride leaders to those whom seem not to understand many basics.
I don’t believe much can be done. There are cyclists amongst us who ‘just don’t get’ the importance of safety or care for others. they purely cycle for themselves – but want to ride in a group. My only area of concern is riding down through Cott and Burke drive on Thursday mornings when the centre median strips comes into play on roll throughs. When its windy – and cyclists stray from the line it makes it dangerous.
Not sure if possible – mainly unsafe feeling is a result of new / newish riders who are over confident or not ready to be riding where they are. Not so big an issue in the Trannies group as thats what its there for, but bigger issue in Main 3/4
Take a stronger line / action to remove / refuse those riders known to be unsafe or who ride illegally (break the SPR Ride Etiquette and/or Road Rules).
The smaller groups are excellent. SPR is very popular yet there is good organisation.
The club can only do so much through ride leadership, announcements, etc., and is doing what it can to keep the rides safe while staying inclusive. It is ultimately down to each individual rider. I think everyone is responsible for keeping the lines of communication open by welcoming new members, not making anyone feel excluded or isolated, and through this culture encouraging both positive and negative peer-to-peer feedback and education.
Provide more feedback to poor and unsafe riders
you can never be 100% safe
smaller groups, going single on bridges and narrow roads, avoiding bunching at circles, being more aware of what is happening behind – rear view mirrors!
I think the size of the groups is sometimes a hazard. Even with extra splitting there are often 20 people riding together in a single paceline. Ride leaders need to explain why splitting is important, and bang the drum about calls and signals at every opportunity.
Some more upfront expectations on the speed of the weekend rides. i.e. the Thursday EBR groups with set pace. The weekend main ride speeds vary and often half of main 1 should simply be left behind to rejoin main 2, but some ride leaders prefer to accommodate the slower speed and issues it causes.
I have found the groups a bit big in the past, I think in the interests of safe passing for cars that size should be limited to eight to ten riders. With the new passing laws leaning to the smaller groups is important in reducing car driver angst.
Keep groups to <20 riders. If you’re thinking about splitting the group, then split it.
Have a “safe rider of the month” award or some similar type of campaign focus. Public Holiday rides can get a bit sketchy, so maybe some extra emphasis there.
When I feel unsafe it is not the fault of the ride leaders or the other riders, like many cyclists I have experienced the inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous driving of Perth drivers
Reduce the size of the group with more leaders.
It’s a hazard of riding in groups where anybody can join. You don’t know the lowest level of skill and erratic riding occurs. This really never happens in fast group, the slower groups are worse
Encouraging a culture that calls people out for unsafe riding
Facilitate club only ride days/times
I sometimes feel unsafe around non SPR members that don’t normally ride with us.
More consistently ensuring that large groups are split, perhaps by having a set maximum number rather than ad hoc judgement calls.
Shoot the f**kers with flashing rear lights, rear lights on helmets, rear lights pointing upwards. And let the air out of the panzerwagons tyres.
Bigger emphasis on trying to ‘control’ those who don’t ride with the groups regularly
let all rider with a non SPR kit go as a group and have some practical code of conduct practices with a SPR group leader before they can join the “SPR kit groups”
Better calling is required and strictly single file on busy roads… Definitely not rolling on busy roads
it depends on the group. Main 3 and 4 show good discipline but Main 2 has some riders who jump lights, weave in and out
I don’t think you can make the rides any safer, but maybe provide advice to all of what to do in the event of an accident (person hurt and/or witness) and what support (if any) is available to the rider.
Being more willing to ban riders with multiple complaints against them. Sometimes a group ends up overtaking another group, this often gets a bit hairy. Not sure how this could be better managed, apart from an understanding that the front group will pull over where safe…
Divide groups further. 10-15 max.
Maybe, in the riders brief, specify as a heads up, what roads are best for single file
On ride communication : Make it clear that people need to call obstacles all the way down the group; whether to wait/regroup after a split later in the ride – lately mix of F2 – M1 riders has led to some confusion
Unsafe behaviours are mostly linked to the individuals. However, it would be better to remind all the riders not to speed in the downhills. I saw a lot of riders taking unreasonable risks especially when riding down Welshpool Road. It would be also worth reminding the riders that the bunch rides are not races. Competition is OK, but I would expect a bit of fairness in sharing the work in the climbs when small bunch of riders manage to ride at the same pace and reduce the risks in the downhills.
Promote bike handling skills
A continence of the strategies already in place (e.g. Ride Leaders, splitting into group of 20 – 30 riders, rider briefings, blogs reinforcing ride etiquette etc.).
Depending who is the ride leader
I think the rides are as safe as can be expected considering the rider numbers.
Ensure that groups are limited to 20 riders
Have the skill level of faster/stronger riders be improved through the club offering regular skills sessions by coaches.
Keep the groups small. Offer different times ie 15min between groups that are paced differently. There is a development group on Saturday- maybe there could be ones on a different days of the week. Short video clip of the way to ride in a group (I read the etiquette piece before joining). Some people don’t do the development ride but Carol was very good. Emphasis about being accountable for your actions but also considering your actions with in the group.
Only issue I’ve seen are randoms jumping on or joining half way through a ride. I ride main one and it’s good because people signal etc. Fast two on the odd occurrence I’ve seen not as much signals or warnings. Everyone just needs to remember to have fun and be patient
If men stopped cutting the ladies off. I swear some guys see I’m a female and they cut in front of me! People with time trial bars should not be allowed on rides or only allowed to sit off the back.
Put all riders through a safety/SPR information ride on their first ride. Irrespective of level of ability.
Briefings to include basic instructions such as making calls of hazards, using hand signals and not crossing/overlapping wheels
At times there are too many inexperienced riders that over estimate their abilities, hard to avoid in such an inclusive club.
Vocal, active ride leaders that keep the group organised and communicate effectively. Only a small problem that occasionally happens around the Fast 2 and Main 1 levels (especially when the leaders have to deal with quite strong riders full of ego), but is already actively dealt with.
People riding within their ability and not trying to tear groups apart.
Riding through red lights is a massive turnoff for me. Riders at the front of the bunch MUST anticipate that the lights might turn red before the last riders pass through the intersection. It is this very poor behaviour that I have experienced too many times that has led me to withdraw from doing saturday morning rides
The only reason I don’t give this top marks is that people ride with the group with no previous group experience and become a danger, particularly on saturdays
It is unsafe to ride bikes. However I feel safer with SPR than with any other group.
Better self-selection by riders (Saturday rides)
Better briefing at the start especially on road position half wheeling etc however unfortunately there are always morons but repeat offenders should be chatted to post ride and if they don’t improve made not welcome
Smaller group sizes, riders in the same group who are of a similar ability, experience of the riders
This is a very difficult one. In my experience small chain ring Tues is the most dangerous ride I do. It seems like every second ride I do there is a crash, thankfully usually only a single rider. Contributing factors seem to be poor handling of wet roads from sprinklers and riders still trying to push at 40 km an hour in the small chain ring which tends to make riders less smooth and more erratic. This ride seems to have the greatest variability in rider ability too. I think keeping group sizes lower is the only viable strategy. The group is split in two often but could be further split in my opinion to groups of 10 or so.
Enforce smaller group sizes more strictly
Sometimes the group sizes are too big, so splitting the groups into smaller sizes would help.
Safety much better since ride leader program. Most of safety issues are now due to riders in non club kit (not members?) who are potentially inexperienced group riders. This could be rectified by leader advising the ride to ride in novice and transitional fora few weeks before returning to a faster group. Where it’s an attitude issue and the person hasn’t responded to advice they should be asked not to return.
Always ride single file on single lane roads.
Due to the size of the club it attracts a lot of more occasional riders who ride in groups beyond their current fitness and experience.
Maintain splitting the group. 15-20 riders much more manageable than 30-40.
Occasionally unsafe due to non regular or non members not riding to conditions. Possibly the ride leaders could take into account the number of non members in a group and use that to influence overall speed of ride group and overall group size.
Ensuring group sizes stay small, ideally <20.
I rode with SPR in 2014 and have started again in 2017. There was a noticeable improvement in the ride safety and organisation since I first rode with SPR. I still feel there are many things that could be done a lot better. Primarily making calls and developing a better protocols amongst riders on how to change lanes in multi-lane roads. I have seen this done very poorly. Other things include understanding when and where not to do a rolling paceline. I think in the slower groups pacelining should be minimised to certain flat sections of road, primarily to develop the skill. With mixed abilities it tends to string out the group and expose weaker riders with undulations. It also seems a but anti-social when it becomes the default mode of riding. I am surprised there doesn’t seem to be an etiquette for rolling off the front once a rider has taken a turn on the front. Pacelines seem to be the norm. Simple things like following wheels and understanding the ‘theory’ of bunch riding need to be explained better to riders who tend to surge forward and backward in the bunch and half-wheel. These are at least my experiences of the Main 2 and Main 3 groups.
wow, there is a lot of stuff in there and some reoccurring themes are definitely popping back up. i will tackle each theme individually.
size of the group – we are the victim of our own success here. as the club grows, we are finding that we need to split into more and more groups. not just on saturday either, but we have seen splits on tues, thurs and sunday. the biggest problem on saturday, is the number of ride leaders needed to look after the group. the feedback suggested anything from 10 – 20 riders in a group. personally, i think that around 20 is a good size as you can usually get through light changes and a roll through is not too long, but not too short. ride leaders and committee members are actively splitting the groups before rides and we even had a post about it recently, explaining why we do it. even so, time and time again, we see people head off with the group in front after a split has been formed. there is this view that the front group is faster and i hate to be called slow. well i hate to call an ambulance, but this may be the outcome if you don’t listen to the ride leaders. you all know we split the groups for safety, everyone needs to help enforce it.
running red lights – this has always been a no no. even before spr was formed, people seen running lights were chastised for their actions by the group in general. most of the groups will call “split” when a group hits the lights and there should be some slowing in the front group. yes there should be some responsibility taken by the front of the group and if they are approaching a light that starts to change, back off and just stop. even worse are those riders that go around a stopped rider to get through the lights. everyone needs to be vocally active so people know what you are doing and can react accordingly. remember, on saturday, there are lots of groups heading on the same route, so if you get split at the lights, you get to make a decision whether you chase hard or sit up and wait.
skills development – people seem to always blame “those other riders” that don’t have the skills to ride in the group. sure there are always going to be people that are not at a particular level, but a lot of group riding skills are gained through experience. experience and direction. there is a lot that cannot be taught in a carpark setting and you really need to experience it yourself to understand it. this is where the club as a whole comes into it. if you see someone doing something that you may find a little sketchy, just have a quiet word to them and help them understand what they were doing and how to align better with the rest of the group. if you take an aggressive stance, then they will take a defensive stance. however, don’t just leave it up to the ride leader, the group’s safety is up to everyone in the group, so help out where you can. there has been discussion at the committee level for running skills sessions. these are more the fundamentals, which will help, but don’t replace firsthand experience of riding in a group.
outside (non-member) riders – again a bit of a victim of success. we are an inclusive club which means that people want to come and ride with us. we are fully aware that having more numbers is not necessarily a good thing, but it does offer us an opportunity to split the groups and not have 3 people on their own. as mentioned above, group riding skills take some time to develop, so lets remember what we were like when we first started riding. also, are you sure that they are not members??? we have people in kit that have let their membership lapse and others that are members that have not got kit yet. we have a responsibility to help develop people’s riding skills and get them to align to the ethos of our club. don’t turn them away too soon.
banning riders – like most things in life, you are always going to meet those people that just don’t really want to conform to a standard. whether it is unintentional or not, it does create friction within the club. the committee has had to deal with a number of issues over the past year, but these have generally been the more serious offences. if a rider does not take some friendly advice, then talk to the ride leader. if they don’t listen to the ride leader, then it moves up to the committee and we can assess what action needs to be taken. banning riders is a last resort and we try to coach them through first.
when to ride single file – as discussed in the ride leader comments, people’s idea of risk perception varies depending on their own experiences. when planning a ride route there are a few things that i look for – condition of road (width, shoulder, islands, etc) and traffic density to name a few. generally it is a trade-off between a double lane road where cars can get around versus the amount of traffic on that road in case someone gets dropped. due to the nominal 50km constraint that we put on the saturday rides, finding our way back to the coffee shop may also require us to go on smaller, less busy roads. again it is a trade-off as the smaller roads should also be less busy. so when should we ride single file??? again it totally depends on the situation and even things like weather conditions, so i don’t think that we should be prescriptive about it. for example, even with the ideal number of 20 riders, the 2.5kms of road between preston point road hill and petra st is not suitable for single file riding. despite our protests, the council took out the shoulder and put in traffic calming devices every 50 metres or so. this means that as a single file group, cars do not have enough time to get around the group before placing someone at risk trying to squeeze past the pinch point. in this case it is better to hold two-abreast and make the car wait. is it annoying for the driver, probably, but it is safer for us in the long run. much like group riding skills, experience plays a big part in deciding when to change from two-abreast into single file. we are all human though, so people make mistakes and there is no right or wrong answer on this one.