Established Riding Practices
Group Pacing, Dropping Back and Stepping Up
This is a group ride*, not a race.
That said, there are likely as many preferred paces as there are riders. The reality is, we’re all managing the tension between getting a workout and rolling together in groups. If you want to drop everyone, this isn’t the ride for you.
What happens if you can’t keep up with the group you’re in? No worries. Either we’re having a bad day or we’ve just misjudged our capabilities, it happens. We usually have all the groups ride predominantly the same route. The A’s and B’s are given the same longer route and travel at different paces while the C’s have a shorter route that shares the beginning section of the A/B ride.
In essence, because A and B group riders follow the same route, A’s can easily drop back to the B’s. The B route will be a no-drop ride led by a designated ride captain. The ride captain will ride the FULL A/B route (no short-cut) so no one is dropped.
Stepping up from the C’s to B’s or B’s to A’s. We encourage this – hurrah.
If you’re considering the longer A/B route keep in mind:
1. You’ll need to maintain a faster pace – 24+km/hr average (B’s) or 30+km/hr average (A’s)
2. You have the B’s to drop back to and/or,
3. You have the option to take a shorter route back
If you are planning to drop back or are struggling with the pace, communicate your situation with your group. This is a JOINT responsibility between the riders at the back watching for others AND the rider falling off to communicate their situation. The spirit of this is to have us all looking out for each other, ensure everyone stays safe, has the capacity and a plan to make it back safely.
*C Group riders are often newer to riding, have a very diverse skill level and are less comfortable riding in larger groups. They will often ride side-by-side in pairs or smaller groups with ample space between riders. They are encouraged to ride with at least one other. Because the distances are shorter and much closer to home, there will be no sweep for this group.
Every group ride has to have a degree of compromise. One person’s hammer-fest is another person’s recovery ride. We try to accommodate everyone’s wishes by offering different opportunities along the route for some hard efforts. Almost all our routes involve sections where the option exists for the riders to break from the group and go as fast as they wish. We call these the Hot Spots.
At a Hot Spot groups are permitted to break formation and regroup at the pre-designated locations. Many of these Hot Spots involve hills. We do ask you to stay to the right and not scatter across the hill when the group breaks apart. Slower riders stay right and make room for the faster riders to get by without forcing them too far out. We still want to stay ‘Tight and to the Right’.
Four common denominators to a Hot Spot:
1. It is pre-designated*, not impromptu.
2. A quiet section of road
3. No traffic lights or stop signs
4. A safe regrouping location at the end of the section
*Ask a senior member if you’re unsure of the Hot Spot locations before and during each ride.
Some rules about Hot Spots:
1. Going hard is optional, not compulsory. Those that choose to cruise at the regular group pace can rest assured that the group will wait for them at the regrouping point.
2. All riders must wait at the regrouping spot. Under no circumstances can anybody soft pedal down the road. This causes confusion for the late arrivers.
3. They think the group is leaving them behind. If you feel the need to keep moving come back toward the late arrivers and then ride back with them.
4. Never regroup in a manner that would obstruct traffic in any way. All of our regrouping spots offer plenty of space to pull over safely. No excuses for blocking traffic.
These are less challenging than most Hot Spots but are predominant in the Uxbridge area. People’s tendency is to ramp up the effort up the hills and coast on the downhills. This drives fellow riders crazy and breaks up or bunches up the groups.
Instead, to keep a group together on rolling terrain use a ‘Social Paceline’ (below) and then as a group, climb slightly easier but descend harder. The group speed will be more consistent and the group will more likely remain intact.
When you are at the front of the group on a short descents pedal to keep the pace up. Remember there are riders drafting behind you who will have to brake if you don’t do this.
Steep Assents and Descents (Hot Spot, or not)
There are occasional sections of road where there are steep (but short) grades. In particular:
- 7th Concession, 1 Km South of Elgin Drive.
- Zephyr Road from 6th concession à Zephyr
- 6th concession just south of Zephyr Road
On these and similar roads, we recommend the group take the following actions.
1. Riders ride in single fileand as far to the right as possible. This will allow faster riders to pass and at most be two abreast.
2. If you have become the lead rider, move to the right so others may pass
3. Never ride more than two abreast
4. If it’s not a hot spot, consider just riding easier to help the group stay together
1. Due to high speeds, sometimes unpredictable road conditions and lack of time and ability to communicate, riders should open up gaps of at least 2m between each rider front to back and side to side.
2. Riders should move 1-2 m from the right edge of the road. It is not safe to ride close to the edge of the road at high speeds due to wind gusts.
3. Send the heaviest and presumably the fastest riders down first to avoid bottlenecks. The goal is to reduce the amount of passing on the descent.
4. If you’ve become the lead rider, move to the right so others can pass.
4. All passing must happen on the left and be accompanied with a clear “PASSING ON YOUR LEFT” warning. Never pass on the right.
5. Do NOT cross the yellow dividing line in the center of the road.
The Final 20% (of the Ride)
The final 20% of the ride is up for grabs. Some riders are beat, some still have gas in the tank. It’s time for you to sharpen your strategy skills and show us what you’ve got. Can you break away? How long can you hang-in for? Can you bridge back up? Let’s find out.
Primary designated Final 20% effort sections:
- From the north (southbound): 6th Con/Zephyr Rd à 6th Con/Davis Dr
- From the south (northbound): Townline Rd/Ashburn Rd à Brookdale Rd/7th Con
- From the west (eastbound): Wagg/Durham 30 à Wagg/7th Con
Like Hot Spots, the Final 20% is entirely optional.
As a courtesy, loop back and collect your group before the final warm-down kms. For those that can stay, we invite you to hang out for a cuppa at the Tin Cup.