It seems to be that there’s always that one guy who thinks he’s too good to follow basic group ride etiquette. And I do say ‘guy’, because this seems to be an affliction affecting men far more frequently than women. You’ve probably seen this guy on your local rides: everyone is riding two-up and he pops in here and there as a 3rd, when he’s on the front he charges off solo, he doesn’t signal moves around road debris, he pulls for 10 minutes straight then won’t rotate to the front again, and he gets mad when cars honk at him but he rolls stops and rides wide in the lane.
The whole point of a group ride is to have fun riding with good company (or, if you’re like us, to get to the coffee shop with the best cinnamon buns on earth). It’s amazing how quickly you can switch from the zen of the ride to a bar-clenching, butt-clenching anxiety train when someone is doing something different than the usual or not helping the group ride safe. Proper group ride technique allows you to forget about the fact that you’re riding 28 km/h shoulder-to-shoulder wearing nothing but lycra, with cars whizzing by, and pot hole riddled roads. You can focus on conversations, scenery, sunshine, and the fact that you feel 40% fresher than usual since you’re drafting in a pack.
For those who are new to group riding, don’t worry, we’re not talking about you. Novice riders are relatively easy to identify and we don’t mind when you don’t follow etiquette you don’t know. We will gently encourage and correct, we’re just happy to have new faces in the bunch and all recall the anxiety of our own first group ride. Rather, the group ride cowboy is a fairly experienced rider who would know better if they cared to think of anyone other than themselves.
So please, don’t be that guy. If you want to ride free of constraints of group etiquette then by all means ride solo. But if you show up at a group ride then try not to ruin it for everyone else.