It should not surprise you (or me) of the recent rise in cycling fatalities last year and this year (in GA), that there is a “buzz amongst the troops” (cyclists, that is) regarding the decline of group rides, how they function and their safety. Of course, this result is a direct reflection of how cyclists are riding in group rides as well as the lack of overall organization…especially during the actual ride. This is not to say that every single group ride has suffered but I can count on one hand (and have plenty of fingers left over) of the group rides that I would consider safe, organized and actually functioning like a group ride SHOULD.
As a cycling coach and cycling advocate, I’ve been approached quite a bit lately about this very subject, by organizers and participants alike. My answer to most of their questions/concerns? “I’m glad you asked. Have you read my eBook that covers every facet of group riding? It’s called It’s Not About Speed: The Lost Art of Group Riding“. I’ve actually enjoyed seeing the different facial expressions and comments. I’ve been really excited about actually speaking to several folks who have read it; their feedback has been very humbling but regarding the content, they began to realize that SO much of the information and ‘tips’ that cyclists are so eager to give others regarding group rides…were in fact not necessarily the best ‘tips’.
From my experience, way too many cyclists fall into this same general information/learning trap perspective: we tend to view those who can ride fast, especially those who race and just about anyone who can ride in a typical “A” group, to be very knowledgeable and know the right way to do things. In other words, we tend to assume that the faster (and longer) one can ride their bikes, that they must know more than us…and it ‘has’ to be correct, since they can ride so fast. WRONG!!! This lead me to one of my most famous sayings:
“Just because you can ride fast, doesn’t make you a great (safe) cyclist; it just makes you fast”
If you want to learn about how a group ride SHOULD function and WHY, then all you have to do is read the eBook. The content was compiled from riding in every type of group ride you can think of, from a true beginner ride to advanced rides that averaged up to 25mph, and from riding over 200,000 miles on my bike. I’ve seen it all. I’ve done most of it. From a safety perspective, I’ve learned from being an incredibly observant cyclist over the past 19 years of riding what works and why. I’ve also been very blessed to have ridden with several legitimate pro racing teams and gained valuable insight into the functionality and strategy of riding together.
Yes, you can read all kinds of segmented articles on different aspects of group riding, but I challenge you to find everything you need to know about riding in a group, in one ‘plain English’, easy-to-read resource….oh, that also incorporates embedded video to further illustrate certain aspects. Not only will you learn ‘what’ you need to do (or don’t), but you will also learn the WHY behind each aspect.
Are you a part of some group ride? Then you need to read this eBook. I can guarantee you that you will learn aspects of group riding that you will never learn anywhere else.
Happy reading (and watching). Oh, big shout out to Sorella Ladies Cycling Club for their sacrifice on a cold day to help us shoot some great video.
One final note: since Apple is the only one to offer eBook support with embedded video, you have to have either an Apple computer, iPad or iPhone to purchase/read It’s Not About Speed: The Lost Art of Group Riding I am sure in the very near future, other eBook companies will be offering video support; it’s just not now.