How many times have you shown up for a group ride and it quickly turn into something like this picture? It seems that the majority of group rides have turned into nothing more than a hammer fest, leaving those who can’t ride as fast, left behind. Or, what about those rides that advertise ‘no-drop’? That’s a good option, right? In reality, the majority of those still are somewhat a hammer fest; the only difference is there are generally designated ‘re-group’ spots, where the fast guys pull over and wait. As soon as the remainder riders pull up, those waiting takes off. Yep, you know what I’m talking about.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in group rides…and it hasn’t been positive, either. For all those who aren’t able to ride as fast as the fastest guys who show up, they seem to have become collateral damage and after a while of being dropped right from the parking lot, they have stopped showing up. Do you blame them? This begs a HUGE question: where did/are these cyclists going? I’m not totally sure but I know where I’d LIKE for them to go…….come join one of metro Atlanta’s newest group ride. No official name yet but it will be on Wednesday nights and launch from the Sandy Springs area.
With that said, ever since I started the Atlanta Winter Bike League 2 years ago, I’ve been asked if I had any summer rides that I do that are similar to the organization of my winter series. Not until now!!! If you are familiar with the Atlanta WBL, then you know it is very organized, with REAL Ride Leaders and has focused on creating an environment where cyclists can actually (learn to) ride together in a group; what a novelty idea!!! The plan is to take the same foundation of the Atlanta WBL and parley that into this new weekly group ride. We will have 3 groups: A, B & C with a Ride Leader in each group. These Ride Leaders will not be there just to make sure you are on the right route, but available to field your questions on group riding dynamics, as well as politely bringing those who would begin to stray from the organization approach, back into the fold…so to speak. Hey, we all are adults here and we are going to assume that we all (including me) are open to a bit of constructive criticism if necessary. Remember, a group ride is NOT about YOU; it’s about the group as a whole.
Be on the lookout for future details, as I have a meeting as soon as tomorrow to discuss this new group ride. Bottom line, I just want to create an environment where all cyclists can come, not be intimidated and just enjoy the incredible fun it is to ride with other cyclists. This year, the Atlanta WBL has averaged almost 80 riders for each ride…and that’s in some pretty cold/windy conditions, too. There’s a reason for that.
Stay tuned right here for all the details….