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  1. #1
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    Solo or Group Riding

    I recently started riding with a group - MTB club, that is. Its great. Nothing like riding in a pack. The feeling you get when your in your element with your own kind is almost unexplainable.

    But this weekend, there are no group rides scheduled in my area. I am actually looking forward to riding solo this weekend. I don't know if its because its at my own pace or the exploration factor - I can stop and smell the sulfur if I want to.

    So, what do you think? How do you like it?

    Group or Solo?

  2. #2
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    It depends...

    on how big the group is I guess. If it is any more than three people then I rather ride alone.

  3. #3
    bob
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    What okkra said

    I ride solo most of the time just because it's convenient and I enjoy being alone. Maybe it's a reflection of growing up as an only child? I have four other friends who I also enjoy riding with because we all ride the same stuff, are in about the same condition, and all have a great sense of humor. There's a ton of heckling on those rides.

    But, as far as riding with a large group or club.......no way. People always show up late to the trail head, have to talk for a 1/2 hour before the ride starts, and the ride is always stopping and starting. It's just not for me.

  4. #4
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    i usually ride alone on the weekdays - on the weekends i will head out with a friend or two. i like riding alone - its really quiet, i can work at my own pace, and it gives me the time to figure out the technical stuff i need to figure out on my own. there are a bunch of spots that hang me up on some local trails here, and being alone, i get a chance to work them out by stopping, and trying again and again until i get too beat up or i figure out how to get over the stuff... i like being able to do that. its also nice to be out in the woods when you stop, and there is no one immediately around. in comparison to riding with friends, right now i prefer riding alone.

    however there are some group rides around here (NJ) that seem really cool, so i am planning on joining up real soon (once i finish up grad-school - LAST FINAL THIS TUESDAY!!!), and when i get my bike back from my LBS (new rear shock) next week.

  5. #5
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    Quote Originally Posted by SabbathU71
    I recently started riding with a group - MTB club, that is. Its great. Nothing like riding in a pack. The feeling you get when your in your element with your own kind is almost unexplainable.

    But this weekend, there are no group rides scheduled in my area. I am actually looking forward to riding solo this weekend. I don't know if its because its at my own pace or the exploration factor - I can stop and smell the sulfur if I want to.

    So, what do you think? How do you like it?

    Group or Solo?
    I like both. Solo lets me rerun technical sections, ride at my pace, see, listen and smell the trail, try different mechanical adjustments. Group rides let me meet and visit with people of common interest, improve my skills trying to hang with the "A" group, renew the joys of mountain biking with the "B" group, encourage and help skill the "C" group.
    .

    I may not have the best of everything, but I have the best everything that matters.

  6. #6
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    Depends on the situation but i generally enjoy riding with a small group of friends (3 people max). i love to talk and just enjoy the time... only time i rather ride alone is when i need time to think
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SabbathU71
    I recently started riding with a group - MTB club, that is. Its great. Nothing like riding in a pack. The feeling you get when your in your element with your own kind is almost unexplainable.

    But this weekend, there are no group rides scheduled in my area. I am actually looking forward to riding solo this weekend. I don't know if its because its at my own pace or the exploration factor - I can stop and smell the sulfur if I want to.

    So, what do you think? How do you like it?

    Group or Solo?
    Like others have said, both. Group rides are fun. You get to share experiences and as someone else said, it's fin be with others that are like you and enjoy what you enjoy.

    I still like riding alone, too.....setting my own pace...not having someone else watch while I crash. It's all good.

  8. #8
    Silence! I kill you!
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    It depends on my mood whether I ride solo or in a group. Whenever I go nite riding I'm always in a group. On my afterwork rides, my buddies are usually still working so I normaly go alone. When I go solo, I usually hammer pretty hard and riding pretty much the same training loop I try to beat my old times or push myself harder at a section that I might have missed the last time. On group rides, I'm usually in the middle of the group just having fun, enjoying the ride.
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  9. #9
    Cheezy Rider
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    I did group rides for years, then started doing solo rides this winter. I really like going my own pace, the time to think. See a lot more wildlife when I'm solo.

    Still enjoy the groups though. I'll clean sections in a group ride that I chicken out on when I'm alone....with no one to pick up the pieces if I crash. And solo night riding freaks me out...though I'll probably keep doing it, just for the rush.

  10. #10
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    I like the company when I pedal up the hill. Especially if there's faster people than me. I helps me to stay motivated to keep pedaling.

    I like solo when I go downhill. I don't like having to slow down for people in front of me, or having to wait for people to come down the hill.

  11. #11
    hari kari
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    Quote Originally Posted by SabbathU71
    So, what do you think? How do you like it? Group or Solo?
    Mostly solo. I hate stopping. And loath trail chit chat. My philosophy: You can rest and talk after the freaking ride. The ride's about chemistry, rhythm; and after you've dialed in both, seeing God. When riders share these preferences, then I prefer to ride with them. When they don't, I prefer to ride alone.

  12. #12
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    eh

    I grew up alone too. And am pretty much of a loner---or so I always thought. Now as I grow older I recognize it's just that I need to be around someone a bunch of times before I feel comfortable. Biking in a group has helped with that way more than a team oriented culture such as the Army even.

    It's to the point now where I'd prefer NOT to ride solo---especially if it's a trail I'mnot exceedingly familiar with. Although recently I have had excellent solo rides on the Big Island and on Oahu.

    Just depends on the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob
    I ride solo most of the time just because it's convenient and I enjoy being alone. Maybe it's a reflection of growing up as an only child? I have four other friends who I also enjoy riding with because we all ride the same stuff, are in about the same condition, and all have a great sense of humor. There's a ton of heckling on those rides.

    But, as far as riding with a large group or club.......no way. People always show up late to the trail head, have to talk for a 1/2 hour before the ride starts, and the ride is always stopping and starting. It's just not for me.

  13. #13
    jrm
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    purely situational

    Quote Originally Posted by SabbathU71
    I recently started riding with a group - MTB club, that is. Its great. Nothing like riding in a pack. The feeling you get when your in your element with your own kind is almost unexplainable.

    But this weekend, there are no group rides scheduled in my area. I am actually looking forward to riding solo this weekend. I don't know if its because its at my own pace or the exploration factor - I can stop and smell the sulfur if I want to.

    So, what do you think? How do you like it?

    Group or Solo?
    sometimes schdules dont work out and sometimes they do..

  14. #14
    No. Just No.
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    Why limit yourself? As with some other posters, I can put myself in the right mindspace to enjoy both types of rides equally, whether it is an 8hr epic with the pedals turning 99.9% of the time, or a group ride of diverse abilities and fitness where it looks more like a slinky on the trail.

    However, if you've found a certain type of ride (solo or group) that is most enjoyable for then all the more power to you.
    Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  15. #15
    MTB B'dos
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    Sometimes Solo, sometimes group all deoends on how I feel and what type of ride I want and if I can find people to ride with.
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  16. #16
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    Nowdays I prefer to ride alone, because I use this time to 'not think'.

    When I ride I 'zen' out. No thought...just reactions.

    This helps me to cope with the rest of my life.

    I don't need to 'chatter' or listen to others on the trail, I just need the quiet and peacefullness.

    I used to ride with a small group, but most of them stopped / moved away / are into other sports.


    R.

  17. #17
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    Solo for me

    Many years ago, I was a "Road Captain" for a local motorcycle group. Every weekend we hosted a group ride (anywhere from 10 to 100) to where ever. Now I know motorcycles are vastly different from mountain bicycles, but my point is, I had my share of large group rides, looking after newbies, blocking traffic, road side breakdowns, etc,..etc.

    I got into mountain biking to have another activity to share with my two children, we ride as a family just the three of us, and on the weekends I don't have my kids, I ride solo.

    I like the peace and quiet, to rely on my skills and preparedness, to take my time and enjoy the sights, smells and being one with my bike.

    If I want to be around other MTB people, I will hang out at a local trail head, swap stories and tall tails, praise and admire others bikes and relax after a nice ride.

    Then again,...after a nice solo ride, i'll gather a few MTB friends and head down to the local pub and enjoy a few brews.

    I enjoy the company of others, but I also very much enjoy my solo time on a nice XC or single track.

    "nuff said"

    LIve long,...Ride hard

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  18. #18
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    Both

    As others have mentioned, both are great for me. The social aspect of group rides is the attraction to that type of ride for me. I particularly enjoy the post-ride beers and talk. Solo rides are great too. I'm riding more solo now than group and find that I push myself harder on solo rides for some reason and find myself cleaning things I never have on group rides. I feel like I'm more in touch with nature when I'm solo. I notice a lot more wildlife.

    C

  19. #19
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    Solo with Others!

    Usually starts as a group ride, but i end up solo which is cool... i dig riding solo and once i get into groove i don't like talking much anyway (besides half the time i can't breathe let alone talk to someone) so i'm only with the group at the start, at the top and at the trailhead parking lot!

  20. #20
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    Both have their merits

    For me personally, I enjoy both for different reasons. On a solo ride, I like the peace and tranquility it provides, and it also affords me the opportunity to just do what I want to do, go where I want to go, and make the ride as long or short as I like.

    On the other hand, I find that I don't challenge myself enough on solo rides. I do make a point of trying something new each ride, be it conquering an obstacle I typically walk around, or making it 10 feet further up a hill.

    When I group ride, my confidence seems to get a boost. I typically ride towards the back of the pack, and in doing so, can see those ahead of me and the techniques they use in clearing technical sections. Logs over 12 ", "build ups" (what I call large logs with smaller logs cascading both sides to make a ramp over them) and downhills are my nemesis. If I see others clear these obstacles (even though I've walked my bike over the obstacle, or down the hill in the past, and it's obvious I have the clearance) it gives me that much more a boost in confidence in attempting to clear that obstacle. This is where I challenge my abilities and become a better rider. It also helps in that I come away assured that the bike is made to do these things and to trust more in the bike's capabilities.

    All in all, I guess I just like to ride my bike in the woods.

    Clyde
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  21. #21
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    Riding with a training partner can be the best. You ride at the same pace and share the ride. The rides flow well that way for me than with a larger group.

    I did the SART early April as a solo and it was kind of freaking out in the woods. If I ride in the backcountry, I like having a partner.

  22. #22
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    I used to ride 1/2 of the time alone, and 1/2 the time with friends.

    That for me is ideal, because sometimes I enjoy the company, and sharing the excitement of a fast downhill with others. Feeding off of each others energy on long challenging climbs is nice too. And then other times I like the solitude of being alone in the woods, doing long adventure rides deep into the mountains. Going where I want at exactly what pace I want.

    I had 2 small groups I rode with. One was cross country racing oriented, one was more downhill technical oriented. I like both aspects. The problem began with both groups went very deep into their domains. The racers have stopped riding anything but 100% smooth, easy trails. They only "train" and never do the great trail rides in the area.
    The other group used to ride uphill (slowly, but it never was a problem to wait at the top), now they have bigger bikes and ONLY shuttle.

    I don't like shuttling, and I don't like easy, boring "training" rides. So therefore I have only ridden alone for the past 6 months. I can't seem to find people who enjoy a long challenging climb, as well as descending fast, and seeking out the technical trails.

    Where are all the well rounded mountain bikers?

  23. #23
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    Eather way

    I ride group rides on the weakends and solo during the week because I have unusual days off but both can be fun. The worst part of group rides is that there are usually people who can't ride as often as I can and or they just don't or can't push themselves to improve and then you're stuck waiting for 45 min at the top of the mountain in the heat or cold or you're stuck riding at the weakest links pace every week. I have the leave no one behind airborne attitude but on a 3 hr climb letting the body cool down for that long sucks. on shorter rides it's no big deal. And of course sometimes I'm the weakest link so I know how that is too.

  24. #24
    Glad to Be Alive
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    for safety isn't it better to ride w/at least one other person....
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  25. #25
    avg. joe
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    Mostly solo

    Due to working the graveyard shift, most of my riding is done solo, while others are working. From time to time, I hook up with others, whether it is planned or just by chance.

    My favorite riding partners are my kids. I have submitted a few posts showing them with my youngest on a trail-a-bike and her older sister on her mini-mtb. Now that my youngest has ditched her training wheels, she is ready to try the local trails on her own. Watching them learn the ways of the trail is just amazing.

    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

  26. #26
    paintbucket
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    I don't mind group rides, its the chit chat and whooping it up that agravate me. I generally prefer to be alone or with others who are just out there to enjoy the ride. I lke how Hello Kitty put it above.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  27. #27
    pewpewpew Moderator
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    I like both kinds of riding for different reasons.

    Solo: my own pace, my own grooove

    With people faster than I: I pick up the pace, push myself harder

    With people slower than I: I enjoy the leisure of taking my time, not pushing, playing around on stuff while they catch up, often have the time to try tricky stuff over

    Some of my riding friends are chatty and some aren't. Some like to stop and some don't.

    I pick my rides depending on my desires for the day. If I hammered the day before I might choose a long social ride

    It's all good! I especially like the company on the off-the-beathen-path-penalty-for-failure-trails.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyoncreek
    I don't like shuttling, and I don't like easy, boring "training" rides. So therefore I have only ridden alone for the past 6 months. I can't seem to find people who enjoy a long challenging climb, as well as descending fast, and seeking out the technical trails.

    Where are all the well rounded mountain bikers?
    In So Cal.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    for safety isn't it better to ride w/at least one other person....
    Yes but that doesn't stop me from doing big trail rides deep in the woods.

    Most of my riding now i ride with people, and for after work weekday rides we're pretty lucky to have many decent XC/and one mountain ride close to the city that are either very close to a road or houses or are pretty well populated with other trail users. So an occasional after work ride alone just doesn't hold too much danger.

    But the longer ones do high up in the mountains away from the city do. For me personally i find i actually tune in better to the trail. i really focus in on my riding and mostly don't take unnecessary chances. But still there is danger and that's really part of the appeal of riding solo. Also there is a comfort and peace and accomplishment all entwined in completing a challenging solo ride.
    Two related opinions on this topic, as far as riding with confidence it's no secret that if you are fatigued you are more prone to crash. When riding with others you not only have a tendency to push yourself you are also pushing to keep up with faster riders as well, increasing your fatigue, and many times your focus is on pushing, not staying within yourself within your own pace of riding.
    And finally i personally find that riding alone, like leading rides, enhances your technical ability and enable you to be faster since you learn to find your own lines. Just like reading a book, you learn to react to the trail faster, than with depending on following someone else's line.

    Yet there is definately something to be said with riding with groups. If you find like minded riders to share the trails with it's a great gift. i've been blessed to ride with many great people, and i really feel mt. biking is has an incredible ratio of cool people. And i've had help from a bunch of riders, some of them i had not met or known until that day, get me off of a mountain with a broken leg. i wouldn't have made it off without their help.

    So as with anything, you have to calculate the risk and make decisions.
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  30. #30
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    Both

    I crave both group rides and solo rides.;

    <i>Fast group</i>
    I joined a buddy's company riding group a few years back. They hammer 100% of the ride. At first i was dying, they were insane but they got me over the "hump" and next thing I knew i went from being spit out the back of the peleton to staying with the leaders in the final sprint to the parking lot. I would have never improved without them but i only can handle them once a week.

    <i>Social group</i>
    Its great to hang with friends at a leisurely pace and shoot the breeze. I like watching less experienced riders catch the bug and improve. And its a bit of an ego boost to take credit for teaching them the best line or handling technique for a tech section, even if its just a curb hop. The pace can be sloooow and I sometimes feel like i am losing fitness. I can only handle them twice a week.

    I like solo riding because I can pick the trail, start time, pace, and if i want to repeat that 3 mile grind i can do it without asking or looking foolish. I can only handle me about three times in a row.

  31. #31
    Dazed and Confused
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    I always ride better...
    When there's someone there to drag my carcass off the mountain before the coyotes get it.
    Is ibuprofen considered a recreational drug?

  32. #32
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    One of the best things about riding... is if someone hassles you... you can just ride away..

  33. #33
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    Well said Fred a Trog I was looking for a way to say what you said .But I might add sometimes I need to ride alone just to be alone.

  34. #34
    Lopen is sneller....
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    It all depends........

    Solo is good if I want to ride at my own pace and for longer distances. It also gives me time to think about things.......I have thought up some pretty good solutions while riding solo. Group rides are fun and a great opportunity to see other people.....my work is pretty solo.....so it's the social thing why I like group rides.......

    But best are the rides with my better half or riding buddy.......because I like riding stuff that's just stupid to ride on your own or to hard to ride in a group……

  35. #35
    Trail rider and racer
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    I love a good group ride. As long as we are all similar fitness riders its great. Been on rides of 20+ riders but all the stopping and starting can be annoying if the moods on me.

    Love a solo ride though, but I think a small group is always great.

    Riding with a group is where its all sometimes.
    Trev!

  36. #36
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    Mostly Solo

    I'd rather not be a member of the pack. Never have liked groups, still don't. Guess I did not play well with others as a child.

    Seriously, group rides mean commitments to be at a certain place at a certain time and that puts a crimp on my freedom. I don't always know when or where I will ride but have ridden every day for the past ten days and might ride again tonight.

    When solo, I do not hold up others nor have to wait for them (usually I hold them up which makes me feel guilty).

    I can always find time to ride but not always enough time to justify a group so solo just makes sense for me. My favorite group is just me and my wife.

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