On the subject of group rides
There’s this map of the U.S. showing average high temperatures for the month of March. It’s mostly bright red. The Pacific Northwest, OTOH, is bright blue. While most of the country has skipped spring and gone directly to summer, we here in the upper left corner are still trying to shake off winter. But warmth will come, we tell ourselves, as we prepare for group riding.
Alan Hearnshaw has posted a terrific article about group riding on ScootSafely.com. This should be required reading, whether one is leading a group, or “Tail-End Charlie.”
He brings up an idea to which most of us probably haven’t given much thought: “Riders of widely varying abilities and experience levels (are) all riding the same ride.”
While I’ve always said riding in a group can ratchet up your skill level in a hurry, you shouldn’t ride so far beyond your comfort zone you make a serious mistake, with unpleasant consequences. (Of course, good ride leaders take into account their group’s relative skill level, and adjust the pace accordingly.)
He makes a lot of other good points, including not fixating on the bike directly in front of you. In racing, this was called not driving the other guy’s car; it’s not unusual at club events to see a novice racer follow a car in front straight off the track when that leading car’s driver misjudges a corner.
Likewise, race drivers are obligated to give their competitors “racing room.” On a scooter (or motorcycle, or bike), this means leaving room to maneuver, or slow down, if the group encounters an obstacle. In this case, you’re not racing.
If you’re going on a group ride this weekend, here’s hoping the weather gods smile on you. Ride safe!