10 things you’ll see on every club ride
If you’re a member of a cycling club, or ride as part of a group, you’ll definitely know a thing or two about group riding faux pas. Let our blogging partner Lorna North fill you in on her 10 comical observations. Whether you’re guilty of them or not, they’re sure to make you chuckle.
There is normally the person that is attending the slower group club ride for the first time. “It will be fun,” they said. “You’ll get fit,” they said. Instead – they are clinging onto their handlebars with white knuckles desperate for the ride to end so that they can cancel their membership and promptly sell their brand new bike on eBay. These guys are never to be seen again.
The car hater
In a group ride, taking up most of the road – a car/bike spat is inevitable. The beeping of horns and flicking of the bird out the window is a common scene. As is the one rider in every group that takes slightly more affront to being told off for road-hogging and will go from calm Sunday rider into an enraged potty-mouth as the car zooms off leaving them in a cloud of exhaust fumes and fury.
Obviously in a group ride it’s essential that lead riders remain vigilant and call-out all potential hazards in the road to avoid accidents. But then you also get the over-keen caller who will complete all of the hand-signals within a 30-second loop like a jittery Macarena dance. Watching that being performed is in itself a road hazard.
The ultra-cool kid
There is always one ultra-cool kid on every club ride who seem to opt for a slower group than their ability which makes them look epic in comparison to the rest. They rock up to the meet in a casual and ice cool manner adorned in stylish lycra threads teamed with a splash of club kit to show that they belong here. They’ll run to the aid of a puncture, lead the group when the Garmin takes them the wrong way, fly up the hills and never at any point will they appear tired.
The art of strained conversation is most prevalent on a group ride. One rider will be demonstrating how un-out-of-breath they are and will strike up a chat about careers, children, life, at the very point that the weaker rider is imminently away from bonking and would very much like a giant pothole to swallow them up just so they can escape this harrowing small talk.
They turn up late for roll-out without apology and then at the coffee stop, decide last minute that they will have a cappuccino and carrot cake and order just as everyone else is getting ready to put their helmets back on for round two.
The ‘shall we leave them?’ dilemma
The afore-mentioned first-timer has been taking a really long time and the group is getting antsy. Muttering start to flow among the group – “Does anyone have their number?” – “shall we just put a message on the club Facebook that we’ve gone on?” – “they probably got the train.” To stay and wait in club solidarity or to cut the rope is a common dilemma.
A club mate gets a puncture and everyone’s ready to whip out their hand pump, grab the wheel, lever off the tyre and save the day in record time like a less streamlined version of the Grand Prix pit stop.
Normally when a rider is at their lowest ebb, a wannabe cycling coach will begin to bestow all of their wisdom onto them. “Do you know you’re in a really high gear?” – “make sure you’re getting slightly smoother strokes on the pedal”. It would be helpful – but at this point in the ride, even managing to clip out at traffic lights is a miracle in your eyes.
“Isn’t it Alex’s turn to take the front?” – You’ll hear whispered down the peloton. They eventually get the message, drift up to the front and then gun on ahead into the distance to get a PB on that Strava segment, still adding no value whatsoever.