Every group ride is different, and most have various rules that make the ride either odious or fun. Some rides are #leavemethefuckalone rides, and no matter who you are, you aren’t welcome. Please go away, now.
Other rides are #nodrop rides, and anyone who pedals faster than the leader gets excommunicated or yelled at, not in that order.
The rides I like are ones where anyone is welcome and where you are mostly left to do your own thing, i.e. you can hammer if you want, lollygag if you want, alternate between the two, or do something in between. I like rides where the dominant law is the law of physics.
But regardless of the ride etiquette, smart riders all have one thing in common: They do a lot of looking and listening when it’s their first time on a ride.
Today some dude named Brad showed up on the revitalized Wheatgrass Ride. He took stock of the lay of the land before each and every climb, and even though he was obviously an experienced rider, he said little.
At one point when things started getting sporty on the rollers by the Glass Church he rolled up next to me. “Was that an elbow?” he asked. “You want me to pull through?”
I was pinned and muttered something like “Doesn’t matter.” He didn’t know if this was one of those rides where it’s bad form to come blazing by after sitting on. In fact I love it when people rip things up, even when I’m the first casualty, but he didn’t know that, and so he just slid back to second wheel.
When things got even sportier, he didn’t lead out the hostilities, taking stock and figuring that it was better to watch things unfold than commit a faux pas.
Afterwards we were standing in line at the Starbucks. “Thanks for having me on the ride,” he said. “Coffee’s on me.” Then he paid for everyone.
Pretty darned nice table manners, if you ask me.