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Reluctant to keep up?

jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
edited June 2013 in Road beginners
I took a few novice riders out yesterday evening.
I had one 'unfit' roadie on the comeback, to keep a very sensible pace at the front for me.. I mean very sensible as well.
I gave a few pointers about group riding but main aim was to keep things chilled and enjoyable.

Issue is... and I am advanced in years so I have never gone through this modern process of being an adult and taking up cycling... so I am struggling to understand why new riders fail to even try to keep up?
Huge gaps appeared and I was falling back and chasing up trying to tie things together.
Is it:
fitness.. but the pace was really gentle,emphasis again
fear
or something else in the mindset?
They are all keen, but if they actually did venture on a club run, they'd be a liability at the moment.
So, new riders, tell me why you dont like following wheels when you are perfectly entitled to do so in this scenario.
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  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    edited May 2013
    When you reach a certain age (presuming you have not grown up doing lots of sport) if things get tough there is a tendancy to say mentally 'this is hard work and hurting far too much for my liking, so I will just slow down'.

    It is not as if they are doing it to make money or anything - it is supposed to be fun.

    When I re-started 18 months ago (after a 20 year absence) it was all I could do to turn the pedals when it was anything other than pan flat. They may have been giving it all they had.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I'm a new roadie, but been cycling all my life - plus racing in other sports.... so I'm not really your newbie ... especially as I'm happy tucking in behind a wheel with a single rider in front.

    However, the first group ride I did I wasn't happy tucking in close behind when further back in the group - I could keep the pace, but being used to solo riding meant I was unsure about not seeing what's in front. But I "only" dropped off a bike length or so.

    I know one riders attitude to sucking my back wheel is that if they sit there then I'll speed up (even if I dont) and if they drop off and I slow down to allow them to catch up, they'll make no attempt to close the gap as the pace will increase as soon as they're back on.

    Btw - your idea of a gentle pace may not be theirs ...
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    I am thinking it is a 'head' thing.
    These guys... both sexes, have done a lot of Spinning classes and they realised soon enough the gulf between that and actual road work is actually wider than the Gulf of Mexico.
    My aim is for them to , yes enjoy it, but at the same time, to improve, as that is also their stated aim.

    I again - emphasis on the gentle pace... 10mph gentle enough?
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    Depends on the terrain I suppose.

    As I said I know only too well that even places you think of as flat are far from it when it involves hauling yourself up and over the damn stuff.

    I regularly see speeds in single figures when going up hills.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    smidsy wrote:
    Depends on the terrain I suppose.

    As I said I know only too well that even places you think of as flat are far from it when it involves hauling yourself up and over the damn stuff.

    I regularly see speeds in single figures when going up hills.

    It aint called the Cheshire Plain for nothing ,guys! honest :wink:
  • gllewellyngllewellyn Posts: 113
    Are they just leaving big gaps, or are they actually dropping off the back altogether?

    Could it be a combination of not understanding the benefits of keeping on someones wheel and a bit of fear of it? I remember my first group rides years ago I started off leaving a good bike length of space as that 'felt safe' (visibility, change of pace, etc), but then one of the experienced guys would drop back beside me and encourage me to get right on the wheel of the guy in front.
    It can be the sort of thing, that especially as an adult, can feel a little un-nerving at first, and maybe they don't want to show their fear?
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    I've ridden around cheshire and this was the low route due to bad weather. Not exactly flat. I can only imagine the effort required for the Cat and Fiddle.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/46811990
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,914
    JGSI wrote:
    So, new riders, tell me why you dont like following wheels when you are perfectly entitled to do so in this scenario.
    I'm a fairly new rider - done a little over 2000 miles since getting my first road bike last October. Prior to that I hadn't ridden anything for 25 years when I had a hybrid at uni.

    So in January, I went on my first club run, just to see what it was like.

    I didn't have any particular difficulty keeping up (it was the easy group), but I did feel distinctly unsafe close behind a wheel above about 15mph or thereabouts. Below that I was happy but as the speed picked up I would drop back to a bike length or two.

    There were two reasons for feeling unsafe that I could identify. One was just proximity at speed - I don't like tailgating people in a car since it's basically dangerous, and I couldn't shake the same feeling on the bike.

    The other was the fact that I couldn't see ahead, and I didn't like that either.

    I expect it's a familiarity thing, but in all honesty, although it was great meeting the other riders and chatting at the cake stop, I didn't enjoy the group riding all that much.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    JGSI wrote:
    I took a few novice riders out yesterday evening.
    I had one 'unfit' roadie on the comeback, to keep a very sensible pace at the front for me.. I mean very sensible as well.
    I gave a few pointers about group riding but main aim was to keep things chilled and enjoyable.

    Issue is... and I am advanced in years so I have never gone through this modern process of being an adult and taking up cycling... so I am struggling to understand why new riders fail to even try to keep up?
    Huge gaps appeared and I was falling back and chasing up trying to tie things together.
    Is it:
    fitness.. but the pace was really gentle,emphasis again
    fear
    or something else in the mindset?
    They are all keen, but if they actually did venture on a club run, they'd be a liability at the moment.
    So, new riders, tell me why you dont like following wheels when you are perfectly entitled to do so in this scenario.

    So it was one of those "gentle paced" rides, which was banging along at 16mph and wondering why people can't keep up?
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    TBF he did later state it was 10mph.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    smidsy wrote:
    TBF he did later state it was 10mph.

    On an unsuitable bike, on very hilly terrain, 10mph can be unachievable by many. That being said if I couldn't keep 10mph I wouldn't go on a group ride.
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    On a recreational (non-training) ride, having a gap of 2 yards/meters between riders should be fine. Wheel touching wouldn't be a concern, and riders can enjoy a view other than the rear wheel in front of them.

    Either the pace should be adjusted so everyone can stay together, or slower riders should form their own group, or adult individuals can choose to drop back alone.
    The advertising / description of the ride should be explicit about what to expect for pace & hills.

    A 'training ride' should also explain the pace and that drafting is expected.

    Some people just like to go slowly, like a leisurely walk, but on a bike.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    smidsy wrote:
    I've ridden around cheshire and this was the low route due to bad weather. Not exactly flat. I can only imagine the effort required for the Cat and Fiddle.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/46811990

    Never mind average speed, how did you manage to do 115.4 mi/h max speed? :shock:
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    With all due respect, what are you asking us for? Why not ask them?

    I returned to road riding at 50 after quite a long absence. That was over 5 years ago and for a solo ride in undulating terrain my average speed remains stubbornly fixed at 14.6 mph. In April I joined a local sportive, hopeful of a speed increase from drafting. Instead I seemed to spend the entire event being overtaken. Average speed for 86 miles? You guessed it; 14.6 mph :D
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Keef - are you sure you're not on an old dial speedo that's rusted up ... ? ;)

    A few years your junior - last year I had an average speed of 15mph ... short/long ride, flat or hilly didn't matter ... same avg speed ... fortunately I've broken that now ... sometimes it's slower! :o
  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    Pituophis wrote:
    smidsy wrote:
    I've ridden around cheshire and this was the low route due to bad weather. Not exactly flat. I can only imagine the effort required for the Cat and Fiddle.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/46811990

    Never mind average speed, how did you manage to do 115.4 mi/h max speed? :shock:

    Indeed - a definite glitch on that ride which I am told may be due to using navigation and recording on the Bryton.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Slowbike wrote:
    Keef - are you sure you're not on an old dial speedo that's rusted up ... ? ;)

    A few years your junior - last year I had an average speed of 15mph ... short/long ride, flat or hilly didn't matter ... same avg speed ... fortunately I've broken that now ... sometimes it's slower! :o

    It's a basic Halfords wireless jobbie, but sadly accurate. I suspect it's me that's rusted up!

    The local club does a circular TT which goes past the house and is just over 11 miles. I've looked at their results online and some of them do it in 25 minutes. I take 45. Which, you've guessed already, is 14.6 mph :D
  • elderoneelderone Posts: 1,410
    As a newbie whose never ridden in a group I can imagine from my own thoughts, that if like me trying to absorb as much info as possible and and fill your head with rules and etiquette etc then trying to apply it on a first ride can be a tad confusing or maybe over whelming so people maybe act more cautiously than normal and hold back.
    Has as been said,ask the riders about there ride and how they feel about it.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • danlikesbikesdanlikesbikes Posts: 3,898
    elderone wrote:
    As a newbie whose never ridden in a group I can imagine from my own thoughts, that if like me trying to absorb as much info as possible and and fill your head with rules and etiquette etc then trying to apply it on a first ride can be a tad confusing or maybe over whelming so people maybe act more cautiously than normal and hold back.
    Has as been said,ask the riders about there ride and how they feel about it.

    Is a very good point.

    I have only been road riding for about 4 years now (but another 15 MTB'ing prior) & sometimes its hard to get your head around pack riding & also getting used to the trust needed to ride on someones wheel.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
    Maybe the pace was a little too slow making people reluctant to try in case they went too fast and into the back of someone. Probably not but an alternate thought.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    Cheers .. couple of interesting points.

    Firstly, I have to admit that basic fitness is the overriding factor in the capacity to 'keep up' on faster rides.
    However, I was very very focussed on keeping a totally mixed ability group within their comfort zone.
    These guys like the idea of road training rides and actually the feedback given to me afterwards was very positive.

    It is just this 'allowing gaps' to happen that I'd like to address - we are NOT talking about being dropped!

    I need to give them a mental magnet to keep latched on - again I am not talking super 'chaingang' close either, but enough to take some respite and relax about it all.
    They have all signed up for the following week, so something is making a connection somewhere.
    I have still a few other people who have road bikes gathering dust in garages.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Have had some experiences of group riding with my rather large local ish club which advertises itself as newbie friendly and they have all been pretty negative... So have decided that I can't really be that bothered and quite happy to bumble along at my own pace
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,508
    were they chatting? A lot of people still chat with their hands and they slow down in doing so.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • cyco2cyco2 Posts: 593
    I have found on occasions that that getting a well co-ordinated group is made difficult because some riders still want to ride as individuals. I found one rider trying to form another group off the back of the main group because he thought it was too big. It was only 10 riders. The leader of the group on this training ride was doing his best to keep control but when mavericks interfer its confusing for riders. Unfortunately sometimes when a group of riders get together the sum of all their brains is less than one!!
    ...................................................................................................

    If you want to be a strong rider you have to do strong things.
    However if you train like a cart horse you'll race like one.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    were they chatting? A lot of people still chat with their hands and they slow down in doing so.

    Goddamit..I will pay more attention next time :wink:
  • bill57bill57 Posts: 454
    JGSI wrote:
    These guys... both sexes, have done a lot of Spinning classes

    Plenty people cheat at spinning classes. Can't hide on the road.
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,543
    I've looked at the online rules for local cubs, but have never joined as the idea of group riding really puts me off. Partly it's needing to be on someones wheel, but it's more having someone I can't see on my wheel, and not having the freedom to brake if I need to. It's a lot of control that I would have to surrender to a group that I feel, rightly or wrongly, will resent the newbies that slow them down.

    The OP actually backs this up. 10mph over a long ride is not a slow pace for a real newbie.
  • andytee87andytee87 Posts: 364
    edited June 2013
    My dad wants to lose some weight and get some fitness, so has asked me to take him out on a few rides recently on my winter bike. The route was as flat about as flat as we can do around here, 300m of climbing over 28km, and we averaged 13 mph. He has done some work on the home trainer over the winter, nothing serious though. There were plenty of times when I ended up far ahead (50 metres or so) without really thinking about it.

    From talking to him during and after the rides we've done and my own thoughts, I think regular cyclists, whilst meaning to keep a slow pace, struggle to do this, especially on a long drag of a km or so at 2%- factor in the affect of headwind and beginners not being comfortable on the drops and it's easy to see why people do drop off. Trying to coax that it of extra effort out of someone is hard when they are not confident in their fitness is difficult as they can be very concerned about pushing and not making it back easily, so they purposely keep a bit in reserve. My dad has said at the end of the rides how he feels like he could've gone further/faster.

    Ultimately, if someone doesn't have a sporty background then it's a case of giving them confidence in their fitness so they will put more effort into going faster, or further

    edit: average speed 13 mph not kph
  • gubber12345gubber12345 Posts: 489
    Slowbike wrote:

    A few years your junior - last year I had an average speed of 15mph ... short/long ride, flat or hilly didn't matter ... same avg speed ... fortunately I've broken that now ... sometimes it's slower! :o
    that made me chuckle :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
    Lapierre Aircode 300
    Merida
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    @andytee87.. Good point well made. It does seem to be a lack of confidence and competence. This is how I have felt on the few group rides I have attended and I have actually been quite scared in being made to go further and faster than I am comfortable ... Better now but it has taken time and several thousand miles
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