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Group Ride Etiquette - Mid-season Reminder

Since four of our weekly group rides originate in Simsbury, I thought I would share a sample of what has become a constant stream of social media bashing of cyclists, especially group rides. The first post is taken from Simsbury Police Facebook page, and the other from the Simsbury Moms Unite FB page. We all know that there are motorists that don't like us being on the roads, but I have been a little surprised by the outright hatred for cyclists that has been expressed on some of the local Facebook pages. It is constant, and has been really ramping up in the past month or two.

Our club has put an increased emphasis on group ride safety and etiquette this year. It was the focus of our winter ride leader meeting, and also emphasized at our Spring Dinner. There are a lot of groups that ride through town, and I hope the above comments were not directed at our club rides. That said, I had the opportunity to sweep last Monday's SP ride (the "A" group), as well as portions of the Tuesday CP ride. Overall, I thought the groups behaved pretty well. The Monday ride did a terrific job of keeping single file and to the right while going through a busy Granby center. The Tuesday ride started with two groups, regrouped in East Hartland, then stayed pretty spread out for the rest of the ride, so there wasn't a lot of clogging the road.

That said, I would like to point out two small quibbles: (1) We still need to be careful at intersections. At Day Street and Rt 20, we had a couple of cars come up behind the group while we were stopped at the intersection, and we waived them through (excellent!). The only problem was that we had a few people stop on the opposite (left) side of the road, creating a confusing situation for the motorists. Please stay to the right. (2) On the steep climb up Silkey, we were 3 and 4 abreast, with one person completely in the oncoming lane, and another "tacking" back and forth across both lanes. As Coleman used to tell us, there is NO reason to ever be out at (or over) the yellow line. This seems to be a continuing problem on steep climbs. Screw the KOMs. If there is traffic, suck it up and tuck in behind the fat, slowpoke in front of you.

But, other than those two items, I thought we did pretty well. However, just keep in mind that as a group, we are under the microscope and our behavior really needs to be exemplary.

My 2 cents....

Groups larger than about 8-10 people are just too big on narrow, winding roads. It's virtually impossible to safely pass a group that large even when they're in perfect single file. I know because I've encountered groups like that while I was driving and I can see why motorists get pissed about it. Picture a road like Hedgehog; there is nowhere in its entire length you can pass 12+ riders safely, so drivers are left with the option of hanging back and waiting (while getting mad about it) or flooring it and hoping for the best (while getting mad about it). We know which option they usually choose.

I think a club rule limiting group size should be considered.