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Chain Gangs

AllezAllezAllezAllezAllezAllez Posts: 207
Hi All,

I've been riding on the road for the passed five years (MTB before that), with last year my first full year of Sunday Club runs and the odd TT. In 2016 I'd like to push on my cycling fitness and thought a local chain gang would be a good starting point.

Generally I find the Club run more social and when it does push on I can keep the pace and often take turns at the front. I do find when I ride solo I find it hard to push as hard as when you are chasing a wheel so I thought a chain gang would be a good next step.

Locally there seems to be a number of Chain Gangs, especially in the Summer months. From what what I've heard from Club Riders there are chain gangs on Tuesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday. I think there is also a Tuesday morning run, although this seems to be mainly local Pro's/Ex Pros and semi Pro riders (well out of my league).

What do I need to know about CG's? Is it just a case of turning up and riding? From what I've seen CG's can range from 10 to 30+ riders.

Depending on the mix of the riders it can be a case of just hanging on the best you can to a well organised through and off.

Any advice on trying a CG?

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Generally you'll have all the skills you need from a year of club runs.
    Three things I would say:
    - You'll be riding harder and faster, so need to be clear with calling and giving signals, particularly in the dark.
    - When you come through to take the front, make sure you then ease off a touch to ensure that you match their pace as surging off the front can be frustrating for the rest of the group.
    - It is possible that you may get dropped so make sure you know the route home and/or start with the slower group to get your bearings and check you have the skills.
    Some clubs throw in a sprint here and there as well so stay alert!
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,847
    If you can do one which is APR style (Aussie Pursuit Rules I think it stands for) that might be good to start with as you get put in groups. Usually fast, medium and slow groups at the one I've been to, and at that one they do laps of 10km each. Slow group starts off first, then medium, then fast, with the aim of the groups coming back together at the end of two laps, and then have a quick break and do it again (so 4x10km laps total).

    I was able to ride with the fast guys on the club runs without much issue but was definitely in the slow group at the chaingang! The fast group seems to be 1st/2nd cats and higher (few riders who I assume are semi-pro from their kits), the slow group I was in was 4ths and some non-racers.

    Was a sobering experience as I thought I was going quite well at the time... It is a bloody good workout though :D
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    That sounds fun! We sort of did that a few years back when there was a big turnout but now nobody wants to chaingang at all!
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,847
    It is fun - by the time you're getting caught in the slow group the medium and fast groups are usually already together, and trying to hold them off while they're breathing down your neck is quite exhilarating! They always caught us though :(

    It's a while since I've been and I'm moving cities soon so I doubt I'll get to go again.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,034
    Notwithstanding the good advice given above best thing is turn up and see how they work it, get there a bit early and ask or ask someone you know before you go. Not all chaingangs operate the classic through and off all the way round so best to know the expectations if you can, otherwise just do as they do.

    Whereabouts in the country is this someone may have some local knowledge?
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • MikeWWMikeWW Posts: 723
    Generally you'll have all the skills you need from a year of club runs.
    Three things I would say:
    - You'll be riding harder and faster, so need to be clear with calling and giving signals, particularly in the dark.
    - When you come through to take the front, make sure you then ease off a touch to ensure that you match their pace as surging off the front can be frustrating for the rest of the group.
    - It is possible that you may get dropped so make sure you know the route home and/or start with the slower group to get your bearings and check you have the skills.
    Some clubs throw in a sprint here and there as well so stay alert!
    Your second point is my pet hate. Sooo many people forget that if you're second in line you're the freshest riders in the group so surging as you take the lead makes it very hard for the guys that just pulled off the front to catch the back of the train. Especially in a small bunch. In a group of ten the back off the line comes up very fast if you're not careful and if you've just had your turn you don't really feel like sprinting to get back on.
    I would maybe add that you need to be careful you don't lead for too long. No one cares if your turn is shorter than theirs but if you get dropped because you lead for too long that's a problem.

    In all of our chain gangs we ride onto the front and then ease back to drop onto the front of the wheel of the guy that is now 2nd wheel. Its only if we were doing a team time trial that we would drop off the front and then catch the back of the group. Just make sure you do your turns as its the pull on the front (followed by the recovery) that gives you the work out
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