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Your preference: Cycling alone or in a group

hotspurhotspur Posts: 92
edited May 2009 in Road beginners
It seems that I'm the odd one. I have been cycling for a number of years, mainly a hybrid and my Bianchi Mountain Bike, and I have never enjoyed cycling in a group.

I really like to get out and just do what I want to do, it's almost a get away, after a tough day in the office for example.

Am I really the only one, or do others prefer cycling alone. What am I missing out on, by keeping away from the group scene. Admittedly I've never been part of a club, but have cycled with reasonably fit/enthusiastic cyclists - still doesn't do anything for me.

It was the same for me when running a few years back, before my shin splints!
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  • Frank the tankFrank the tank Posts: 6,553
    I do the vast amount of my cycling alone. But group riding is very enjoyable and it does bring you on 'cos it takes you out of your comfort zone and you find yourself working that much harder.

    I recomend you give it a go.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • FlasheartFlasheart Posts: 1,278
    I've only just recently found a cycling buddy and I have to say that I prefer having the the company on a ride. I don't know if this is because I'm the only male in an office full of women (no, this is NOT a desirable position to be in guys) :roll:
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  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    Flasheart wrote:
    I've only just recently found a cycling buddy and I have to say that I prefer having the the company on a ride.
    Me too - much prefer it.

    As funny, charming and erudite as I find myself, the banter's much better with two. It's great to find a mate with a shared hobby too.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I also love going out in a group. I only ever really ride with my local cycle group, partly because my sense of direction is horrible and in a group you can just put your head down and go without having to think about whether or not you need to turn left to x village or right to y village and how you're going to get back to London..... I also love the social aspect, we all meet at a cafe and then go back there after and in the summer sit out in the sun having a chinwag, good place to get advice on bike stuff and if you need help with anything you can get it. I only go out on my own if I can't make a club ride and haven't been out in ages.
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  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    I've only just recently found a cycling buddy and I have to say that I prefer having the the company on a ride.

    Me too - The miles just fly by with a bit of banter. I've made a new mate and I've learned a bit of bike maintenance as well!
  • ademortademort Posts: 1,924
    I ride almost always on my own. I ride to work in the morning alone, but i also pass the same people and they are also alone. Sometimes in the evening i have a colleague who rides part of the way with me but in the winter i am alone again. When i get home in the evening i change my kit and go straight back out on my good bike for a thirty miler. am usually home and showered by 18.45. Sometimes on the way home i meet a club or two but the problem is they always meet at 18.30 and are home around 20.30 which is to late for me.I would dearly like to join a club but as most clubs have there main run on a sunday again i cannot take part as i am divorced and have my kids every sunday. Riding in a club would be much better but i have got to the stage where i am used to it
    Ademort :)
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  • fatbloke8fatbloke8 Posts: 36
    Being almost completely new and green I wanted to find a local group to show me the best roads and stops. I joined the CTC who have a social ride every sunday, which is great for all the points that Headhunter says, however I also ride on my own. I do not yet have a local cycling buddy :cry:

    What I do find is that go by going out in a group whether that be one companion or twenty, your motivation is always going to be higher and I find it easier to ride for longer. It is all to easy for me to not go out on the bike on a solo ride (esp. if it is raining) but if you have a cycling buddy (or a group though to a lesser extent), you feel that you do not want to let them down once arrangements have been made, then there is always the competition. The CTC does not race and takes it steady circa 12.5-15mph but come a hill or the cake stop (first to order) some people do up the pace.

    It is a very personal thing however for me for the reasons above I always prefer group to solo action oooerr.
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    I've only just recently found a cycling buddy and I have to say that I prefer having the the company on a ride.

    Me too - The miles just fly by with a bit of banter. I've made a new mate and I've learned a bit of bike maintenance as well!
    It's like the mutual appreciation society! :D
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I cycle with an average of about 20 people; that's the Etape C and about 150 solo rides a year.
    I find the same with running or almost anything else - everyone is either too feeble, and that's frustrating, or too fit, and that's just really annoying. Add to that the fact that almost all my rides are commuting (stretched to make longer training runs) and I have other priorities for weekends, plus I guess my temperament inclines me more to solo cycling.
    The limited experience I have of group riding I have enjoyed, particularly the EC: this year, as I finished fixing my last puncture and knowing that the race had been stopped not far behind me, I thought I was on for a long, hard, upwind struggle on my own for the last 20 miles or so - when along came a bunch of about a dozen; I leapt on & pedalled like stink to catch up, then managed to stay with them for half the way home - even found myself at the front a few times when they all seemed to slow up. First bit of a hill I managed to get dropped though, still not sure how I let them go but I was just knackered, the catch-up had cost a lot.
    Which is one thing I find about group rides - there are plenty of people who go at the same average pace as me, but nobody matches me exactly; having a high gravitational response factor and compact form factor (i.e. short and fat), I can plug into the wind quite well and I frequently overtake people who are pedalling while I am freewheeling downhill, but as the above shows, anyone serious is going to drop me every time on the hills.
  • LittleB0bLittleB0b Posts: 416
    I really like going out by myself - you can go at your own pace - and spend time thinking.

    i usually ride with my partner which is cool to - and a nice way to spend time together (although less together on the hills).

    I find the idea of riding with other people quite intimidating - to many things to crash into and other cyclists seem quite scary (too cool, too fast)
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Both. Group rides are good to go a bit longer than I might otherwise do and maybe at a harder pace than I might on my own, as well as a chance for a bit of banter etc. Also I often get to do a new route without having to mess about routefinding. That said, you can't beat a good ride on a nice day on your own, with nobody to please but yourself.
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I prefer being alone on my roadie

    The guys I cycle with all ride MTBs, so I liking hitting the trails as a group and road, I am the solitary cyclist!

    The only problem get bored and go home, covering about 30 miles

    Cycling alone clears the brain, it's a good thing for yopur stste of mind

    Giving it Large
  • OceanblueOceanblue Posts: 158
    I usually cycle alone (and enjoy it) simply cause I don't think I'm fit enough to ride with a club.

    My question is how do you know you are fit enough to join a club? What sort of distances should I be covering per week and at what average speed?
  • penugentpenugent Posts: 913
    I always cycle alone.

    I just meander around the Ards peninsula in NI and cover 35-50 miles per day.

    I enjoy the solitude of man and machine on quite quiet roads.
  • fire_munkifire_munki Posts: 95
    I ride alone, mainly cos I don't know any one to ride with!
    Now if I could find some I would ride at weekend in a group but the extended ride home is quiet time, if you can ignore the noisy smelly lorries.
    Mountain biking: happily breaking me since 1994
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Either solo or in a group, they both have their merits as others have said. What I'm not keen onis riding in pairs if I don't know the rider or their ability, I am not keen as you're never sure of what pace to set.
  • BunnehBunneh Posts: 1,329
    Tis odd, I tend to ride so much faster in a group than I do on my own. I think it's the fact that you're with so many people and the pace just goes up and up. You can draft a little and that gets the speed up some more. Solo is fun, but a group is fun too and more rewarding; you get to meet some lovely people.
  • Stone GliderStone Glider Posts: 1,227
    I did a group ride today, leisurely and sociable; on thursday i did 100K+ solo. Each enjoyable in their own way. Solo rides do help to clear my mind, while group rides tend to point out the failings of my cycling ability.
    The older I get the faster I was
  • i'm a member of a club, but i still do around 75% of my cycling alone.

    the biggest problem with group rides is that you have to ride at the pace of the group and that may not suit what you want or need to do that day for your training plan.

    in addition to that, with groups i find that the stops are more frequent and longer, when all i usually want to do is ride and get back and make the most of the rest of the day. this is particularly so in winter, when on one ride 5 of our group had punctures, which added over an hour onto the ride. on top of that, club rides have set start times and that may not always suit, particularly as after the working week i often like a lie in.

    the advantage of club rides is the company of course, which makes the miles go by a lot quicker and sometimes it's good to measure yourself against other riders to see how you are doing, or ride with a fast club ride to really push yourself.
  • peanut1978peanut1978 Posts: 1,031
    Prefer solo cycling,

    find clubs quite snooty, vey elitist too, just an opinion though
  • AMcDAMcD Posts: 236
    Oceanblue wrote:
    I usually cycle alone (and enjoy it) simply cause I don't think I'm fit enough to ride with a club.

    My question is how do you know you are fit enough to join a club? What sort of distances should I be covering per week and at what average speed?

    Like Oceanblue I'm simply not fit enough to join a club yet but it's my big ambition. I used to be a member of a running club and enjoyed the social aspect just as much (our club had a bar and regular 'discos' - well it was the 80's and early 90's when I ran :lol: ).

    At the moment I'm cycling alone (hubby would usually join me but he's been undergoing treatment and I'm taking the chance to catch him up fitness wise :D ) and I must admit really enjoying it. I set my own pace - slow :oops: and take time to admire the great views (plenty in Fife) and watch the wildlife (yesterday made a call to the SPCA about an injured ewe). I shouted "morning handsome" to a young bull and he got so excited that I thought he was going to jump the fence :P. Think I got up to 15mph in my panic to escape :lol: . Yesterday I stopped at a cyclists' cafe but no-one else was there - think I set off too late for the regulars :( .

    So yes, I enjoy cycling alone for the moment but am looking forward to one day riding with a group. Don't worry, with a bit of luck it won't be your club I'll try and join................... :lol:
  • rollinrollin Posts: 26
    I prefer to road ride alone. It helps clear my mind. Great therapy.

    Mountain biking I prefer in groups.
  • Barrie_GBarrie_G Posts: 479
    I'd sometimes like to ride with someone else but mostly I'm happy riding on my own, that way I get to pick (make up) my route, and set my own pace.

    Though it would be nice to have a little company every now and then.
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    First time I rode in a group was with people training for the Cycle to Cannes. I have commuted for years, but maximum on a road bike (only started in September) was about 20 slow miles. So a peleton of 24 blasting off from Richmond Park to the Surrey Hills for 57 miles came as a shock. It was great fun, so now I ride alone and in groups when I can.
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