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Unpossible.
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure where to post this or whether any of you also ride bicycles, but if you do, maybe weigh in on this. I've been getting into cycling for fitness lately, which has meant riding my 919 less. But anyway, several of my friends carry on and on about how much they love group rides. I'm struggling to put my finger on why I don't like them, and I've come to the conclusion that it's because of motorcycle riding.

The reason they love it is because the pack can travel a mph or two faster than solo riders can, because of drafting. Even two riders can travel faster than one. In either case, one person generally "pulls" and everyone else lines up really tightly in a slipstream to cut down on drag.

My take: this requires me to a) stare at the tire of the rider in front of me rather than enjoy the scenery, b) put my own health and safety in someone else's hands, c) stress instead of relax, d) completely give up my line of sight, e) completely give away all my reaction time cushion. So that I can ride 18mph instead of 17?

The reason I blame motorcycles is that what you learn to do on a motorcycle is the complete and total opposite of everything those group riders do. We gear up, they wear spandex. We stagger in formation, they ride directly behind the rider in front. We keep a comfortable distance, they ride 6-12" apart. We insist on sight lines, they apparently don't care. We take ownership of staying safe, they freely give it away to others in the group. Everything about cycling group rides is just wrong. As a result, I can't do it and I miss out on the social aspect of cycling.

Anyone else struggle with this or is it just me?
 

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That's nacho cheese!
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17,650 Posts
Riding in tight bicycle groups is done so everybody can smell each other's farts.
 

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McTavish
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6,340 Posts
I ride a reasonable amount, but mostly solo.
For enjoyment, relaxation, and conditioning.

Recreational group riding is not like you have described.
Serious pack riding is.
Wannabee racer riding is.

BUT if you are not gaining at least 10 mph speed from the pack as compared to riding solo at the speeds you are talking, then the group is putzing, not riding.
If a mere 1 or 2 mph is the only gain, then what's really happening is no one is doing any work except for the lead bike.

See if you can get your group to split up some so it's just pairs and threes with gaps between.
Past that, what you described sounds like a massive pileup waiting to happen, let alone the loss of any real enjoyment.
Why put up with that?
 

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GLG-20
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1,384 Posts
I don't know about for road bikes, but on mountain bikes, group rides can be fun. Having a group of friends to talk with and challenge each other really adds to the experience in my book. I could see the same for road bikes if you weren't trying to maintain a race pace and just enjoy the ride (maybe with some challenges thrown in here and there). Doing the race pack thing would not be appealing to me. Unless you plan to start racing, I don't think you'd enjoy it.

I got back on my bike this year since I've been teleworking. The time saved on commuting gives me time to get a good ride (20-30 miles) a few times a week. Using my Fitbit to track my rides and progress has been very motivating. With the pandemic, I haven't considered riding with anyone yet. Plus, I don't have a road bike; I just put skinny cruiser tires on my 29er MTB to ride on the road to get my endurance back. Yes, it's heavy, but all that much better for building my legs/cardio, right? ;) I hope to get back on the trails this fall (solo for now). Hopefully group rides again next year.



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Unpossible.
Joined
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120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know about for road bikes, but on mountain bikes, group rides can be fun. Having a group of friends to talk with and challenge each other really adds to the experience in my book. I could see the same for road bikes if you weren't trying to maintain a race pace and just enjoy the ride (maybe with some challenges thrown in here and there). Doing the race pack thing would not be appealing to me. Unless you plan to start racing, I don't think you'd enjoy it.

I got back on my bike this year since I've been teleworking. The time saved on commuting gives me time to get a good ride (20-30 miles) a few times a week. Using my Fitbit to track my rides and progress has been very motivating. With the pandemic, I haven't considered riding with anyone yet. Plus, I don't have a road bike; I just put skinny cruiser tires on my 29er MTB to ride on the road to get my endurance back. Yes, it's heavy, but all that much better for building my legs/cardio, right? ;) I hope to get back on the trails this fall (solo for now). Hopefully group rides again next year.
Keep it up Superdog. Yes agreed, group rides that aren't obsessed with pace are more fun. And nothing wrong with slicks on a MTB, great workout.
 

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Pokemon Master
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74 Posts
I rode about 6,000 miles last year, mostly solo. I rode 1,002 miles just in July 2019. I really don't like group road rides. One or two others is pretty chill. Mostly for the reasons you've all covered, also because I'd rather go slow and steady and keep a 15 mph average and actually enjoy myself than kill myself to get an 18 mph average.

I notice a big difference in long motorcycle ride and track day comfort and enjoyability when I've been riding my bicycle quite a bit. Something about the stretching and range of motion exercises I do to make being on a bicycle more enjoyable also helps make riding a sport bike all day a non-issue. I've done multiple 600+ mile days back to back to back on my Buell Firebolt.

Are you guys on Strava? I've been taking it pretty easy so far this year due to COVID, but I'm just now starting to get back on the bike regularly. I think I'll probably slot in around 3,500 miles this year.

https://www.strava.com/athletes/15661782
 

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GLG-20
Joined
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1,384 Posts
I notice a big difference in long motorcycle ride and track day comfort and enjoyability when I've been riding my bicycle quite a bit. Something about the stretching and range of motion exercises I do to make being on a bicycle more enjoyable also helps make riding a sport bike all day a non-issue. I've done multiple 600+ mile days back to back to back on my Buell Firebolt.
I've noticed I generally feel better overall throughout the day if I've had my morning ride. Also, my shoulders/knees tend to not get as stiff. Plus it just seems to clear my head and I'm in a better mood overall.

Are you guys on Strava? I've been taking it pretty easy so far this year due to COVID, but I'm just now starting to get back on the bike regularly. I think I'll probably slot in around 3,500 miles this year.

https://www.strava.com/athletes/15661782
No; I'll check it out.
 

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GLG-20
Joined
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1,384 Posts
Strava is cool; I uploaded my rides. Kind of neat that people in the area have created segments that cover my ride already, though it unfortunately reveals how slow I am, lol. Not trying to race, but thought I was keeping a decent pace. Could be a good way to compete with friends when you can't actually ride together with this COVID crap.
 

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McTavish
Joined
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6,340 Posts
Strava is cool; I uploaded my rides. Kind of neat that people in the area have created segments that cover my ride already, though it unfortunately reveals how slow I am, lol. Not trying to race, but thought I was keeping a decent pace. Could be a good way to compete with friends when you can't actually ride together with this COVID crap.
If you are enjoying it, you are winning the game.
As for pace, if it's doing what you want it to do, it's a double win.
For me, I simply love riding a bike and always have.
I do also use it to get into better shape for the speed skating season, but more so just because I love being on it.
I do almost all my riding on our city's paved cycle path network, of which there is over 600 miles of.
The paths have more hills, and steeper hills.
I love attacking the ups and the downs.
I do lots of 15 mph solo riding, and have better solo roadies go by in the 18-20 range.
But I've yet to see one attack a climb, they all seem to gear down, and spin up, my guessing they attempt to maintain the same effort regardless of terrain.
If there's no red zone in a ride, what's the point?
Unless it's recovery ride or base mileage for endurance.
I'm on Cateye's Atlas software, only because I have a Cateye.
I've never checked out Strava, maybe I should!
 

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GLG-20
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1,384 Posts
I try to keep my heart rate in the cardio and peak zones (as defined on my fitbit app). I probably am not very efficient with my pedaling; I tend to have a slower cadence and use higher gearing. I tried the faster cadence like I've seen some people use on road bikes, but it just seems to make my legs feel tired faster.

I'd love to have a system of trails like that around here. We have some greenways here and there, but they aren't interconnected. We do have some great mountain bike trails, though.

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McTavish
Joined
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6,340 Posts
I try to keep my heart rate in the cardio and peak zones (as defined on my fitbit app). I probably am not very efficient with my pedaling; I tend to have a slower cadence and use higher gearing. I tried the faster cadence like I've seen some people use on road bikes, but it just seems to make my legs feel tired faster.

I'd love to have a system of trails like that around here. We have some greenways here and there, but they aren't interconnected. We do have some great mountain bike trails, though.

Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk
Below an individual's low work level, spinning becomes inefficient to the point that your HR actually goes up a bit.
Eons ago I was a grinder.
But between starting to read, and reduce the strain on a rebuilt knee and an ankle joint that is borderline needing replacement (which I do not want!) I started spinning more.
For me, it's helped everything and bothered nothing.
My sweet spot on my old bike's long crank arms, was 88-92 cadence.
It took a while to get used to it.
My sweet spot on my new bike's shorter arms is 92-96, noting it began a bit lower and just seems to have crept up on its own.
Likely adapting to the very different riding position and arm length of the new bike.
(I've had my oldie for 47 years, it's a Coppi with straight gauge tubing, very sharp handling and the skinny tubulars accentuate it)
I'm finding now that at higher work levels, hi 90s and low 100s work well.
BUT I still like hammering a hill with stiffer gearing - until I blow up that is!

Great mountain bike trails is a delight!
 
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