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  1. #1
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    New question here. Group Ride Trail Etiquette

    What are your thoughts on group ride trail etiquette?

    In two of our last three trail rides, we (the wife & I) have encountered the same group of ~30 riders on singletrack. Their group usually rides one lap/circuit. We usually ride 2+ laps and will encounter them twice. I believe the group is managed by a local LBS. It has riders of all levels -racers, enthuisasts, kids, and newbies. All-in-all, its quite cool until you encounter them on the trail.

    Because of their diverse capabilities they'll be strung out on non-passable single track for .5m-1+mi. For whatever reason, most will not yield or acknowledge you when you try an pass them from behind. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, part of me thinks they believe you are with their group when you encounter them. Yes, we do announce ourselves and it takes mulitple attempts to get their attention.

    If you ride the circuit in reverse (to encounter them head-on), they are broken up in 7+ different groups and typically do not yield the trail regardless of uphill/downhill right away. On the rare occassion they do yield the trail, they yield by yelling "come on thru" however they do not stop riding. Instead they ride their bikes off trail thereby yielding the singletrack to you.

    The tone I get from them is "we have the numbers, the trail is OURS, there's only 2 of you, MOVE out of the way". They are polite. They do talk.

    I think there are ways to improve this situation both as the rider who encounters the group (me--not part of their group) and also as the organizer of the group. On this note--we do occassionally ride with groups. However, the big difference with the other groups is they break their group into A, B, & if needed a C group. We stagger the start by 5min between each group to avoid bottlenecks. Because the group we ride with is sponsored by both a LBS and mtb club, we yield to EVERYONE regardless of rightaway.

    My thoughts are to join the group, find out their ride schedule and ride somewhere else! LOL. Sometimes I do enjoy a casual pace with everyone. But sometimes you want to ride solo at your own pace and just clear your head.

    Also, I have ridden in some very high traffic trails recently and really haven't had this type of frustration before. Moab and Fruita during "season" its to be expected, but its never anything close to this (even with the Jeepers & side-by-sides)--bottle necking a trail. We've ridden Buff Creek and LOTB a few times last year, and again, completely different trail etiquette from 3(?) times as many riders.

    Any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    If you come up on someone slower than you on the flats or on a climb, it is fine to just ask to pass. I’ll say something like “Good afternoon! Mind if I play through?”

    Never had someone say no.

    The people you are trying to pass likely assume you are with their group.

    As far as them not yielding at all when riding in the opposite direction when they are supposed to... It may take making a pass on their part difficult. They should really know better, and if they give you a hard time, explain the rules.

    As far as them yielding by riding off the trail... just let it go.
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  3. #3
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    If there is really that diverse of a range, there most likely are riders who don't necessarily understand normal trail etiquette. You are probably also correct that initially they think you are part of the group.

    Your options are tolerate, educate or avoid.

  4. #4
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    They probably are neophytes and don't yet know the etiquette. Do you feel like sending a polite letter or email to the LBS expressing your thoughts?

  5. #5
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    I usually shout in a high-pitched voice, "my top fell off a few miles back and my boobs kind of ache. Do you mind if I pass?"

    When they pull over to ogle what they think is a topless female, I whiz on by.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post

    My thoughts are to join the group, find out their ride schedule and ride somewhere else! LOL.

    That would work. Or you could talk to someone at the lbs about the issue, it's possible they're not aware of it and a little pre-ride education on passing etiquette might solve the problem.
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  7. #7
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    Group rides should never be more than 5-6 people. Groups the size the OP mentioned is ridiculous - they monopolize the trail and force everyone to yield to their huge group. Another problem with large groups is it will inevitably frustrate the slowest and fastest riders in the group.

    One of the few things that can ruin a ride is an overcrowded trail. Keep riding groups small for everyone's sake.
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    I'd contact the organizer. I can only imagine what a less reasonable person (Mike V. type god forbid) would think encountering that group.

    That said, I'd definitely learn their schedule and avoid them as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Group rides should never be more than 5-6 people. Groups the size the OP mentioned is ridiculous - they monopolize the trail and force everyone to yield to their huge group. Another problem with large groups is it will inevitably frustrate the slowest and fastest riders in the group.

    That depends on the situation. I go on group rides that sometimes have a dozen or more riders and we don't negatively affect anyone because the trails here are pretty low on traffic. Also we don't seem to have any problems with frustrated fast or slow riders because everyone finds their place and we frequently regroup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Group rides should never be more than 5-6 people. Groups the size the OP mentioned is ridiculous - they monopolize the trail and force everyone to yield to their huge group. Another problem with large groups is it will inevitably frustrate the slowest and fastest riders in the group.

    One of the few things that can ruin a ride is an overcrowded trail. Keep riding groups small for everyone's sake.
    Leave no trace suggests groups of ten or less to limit environmental impact as well (not necessarily bikes but I think it can apply to all users). I don't see it as a hard and fast rule, but it's definitely a good guideline. Two groups of ten are just generally less intrusive than one group of twenty.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That depends on the situation. I go on group rides that sometimes have a dozen or more riders and we don't negatively affect anyone because the trails here are pretty low on traffic. Also we don't seem to have any problems with frustrated fast or slow riders because everyone finds their place and we frequently regroup.
    Despite the above, I do think there are times when it's perfectly fine. I rode with a group of 55 a few weeks ago for a holiday ride and it was nearly the whole riding community for that area. The only people we saw were aware of us and had planned to intersect us specifically. It was a novelty thing, I wouldn't want to do it every weekend or even month but it was cool for once a year.

  11. #11
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    Sounds like a pretty poorly managed group, IMO. I would have doubts that it's managed by a shop, but I guess it's not impossible. The shop rides I've encountered typically really drive home trail and ride etiquette because it reflects on their shop.

    I HAVE encountered the odd group over the years who takes the "we're the bigger group, so we won't yield to anyone else" point of view. It's always been because the people who organize it have never made it a point to tell the attendees that the reality of the situation is often very different. If the attendees think you're just part of the group, it's likely that the group organizers never drove home the point that other people use the trails, too. When I've managed groups (especially of kids or beginners), I've always made it a point to be even MORE prone to yield the trail (regardless of situation) the bigger the group. If the bigger group stops to let the smaller one by, it minimizes the duration of the encounter. If the big group keeps riding, it extends the duration. So it's better for everyone (especially if there are kids and beginners involved) to shorten the duration of the encounter as much as possible.

    If this was a regular occurrence for me, I'd be looking at figuring out who runs this group and take the education tactic, explaining the above. Avoidance is a good method, too, except that it doesn't actually solve the problem for anyone else.

    If it really is a shop running this, shame on them. Someone needs some lessons in guiding (ICP and PMBIA offer such things with a specific mtb context).

  12. #12
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    If it's routinely ruining your trail time, speak to the organizer.

    I'm surprised they don't get out the way when you call out your pass. I'd lose my patience and just keep yelling it out until they GTFOTW. I can't stand inconsiderate folks and can't imagine I'm the only one. I mean, I get it if they're new riders and maybe not totally comfortable on the trails, but just tell them to pull off when it's safe.
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  13. #13
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    Sounds like the time I ran into the Yeti Tribe on Kennebec to Durango on the Colorado Trail. I should have just taken a nap for a couple of hours and let the dust settle.

  14. #14
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    this is where i9 torch hubs pay off...you can ride their tail and ratchet out morse code from the pawls... G-T-F-O
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  15. #15
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    This could go either way to me.

    I could sound selfish and say "how dare the group hold me up". I mean seriously, the lesser the number of riders indicates the higher importance of their life. LOL

    I would not want to get passed by 20 riders. However I don't know if I've been where a group that large is all top speed riders.
    If I am climbing and see 15 riders coming down the hill I would definitely wave them by. The few seconds it takes for them to clear on the descent is far better than my 'holier than though' person MAKE them wait 3 minutes to climb while breathing deeply.
    Plus, it makes me look so inadequate to work so hard to climb a hill.


    I'd say just go rider your bike.

    Or bitch to the founding LBS that the group rides they host are crap and they should have a meeting prior to the ride forcing them as to how to ride as a group.

    On the other hand, they are all individuals and if none of them wishes to yield, then they are all dumb.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Leave no trace suggests groups of ten or less to limit environmental impact as well ...
    It would seem to me to go by the number of riders, not the size of the groups they ride in. Wouldn't 5 groups of 2, 2 groups of 5, and 1 group of 10 all have the same impact?
    Do the math.

  17. #17
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    Sounds like the local high school teams in my area. Good luck
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Group rides should never be more than 5-6 people. Groups the size the OP mentioned is ridiculous - they monopolize the trail and force everyone to yield to their huge group. Another problem with large groups is it will inevitably frustrate the slowest and fastest riders in the group.

    One of the few things that can ruin a ride is an overcrowded trail. Keep riding groups small for everyone's sake.
    Imagine the chaos on our trails if the group I ride with has 5 or 6 riders show up along with the other group that rides the same day which has usually 6 minimum. We rarely encounter the other group, however it has happened. I feel sorry for the lonely individual that rides that day. Their day must be totally ruined to have had 10-15 riders on the trail with them. Ugh.

  19. #19
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    I have very little positive things to say about many group rides down here in Austin. There are good ones that are well organized, usually by good shops and clubs, who strive to be role models of how to properly ride in groups and take care of the slower riders, but there's tons that are unmanageable messes with a complete lack of ethics much of the time IME. I've compared it to road pelatons or something, there's no slowing down, it's all can't lose cadence or strava times at any cost.
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  20. #20
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    Aren't ALL riders going to have issues the day the parking lot is overflowing?

    A few weeks ago we had a break in the weather. I parked on the dirt shoulder of the access route hundreds of feet away.

    As an individual, which most were that day, we ALL suffered the same crap of having to 'deal' with other people on our trail, I mean my trail.
    Some would show up for 2 or 3 buddies to ride. Or they came by themselves. There is passing to be had all day in that situation.

    What desires does a rider have to even ride if they show up to a parking area that is full. Why even bother starting if the ride is already going to come with drama?

    Just saying that regardless of the situation, there will always be the time when somebody was treated unfairly. I could be angry that there were too many people on the trails, or people taking their kids with them that are learning. Why should I have to go slow because you kid hasn't learned to ride well? I'm sure I made somebody mad as well from picking a questionable line or went too fast, or slow.

    For the record, I love seeing parents with their kids. Couple months back I saw a young girl in front of her dad coming down the trail towards me. I stopped well in advance (because they were going slowly). I told the girl she was doing a great job and told the dad how amazing it must be. He commented how she is just learning, as he approached and thanking me for giving way.

    Also for the record, I ride my bike for fun and pretty sure I haven't left the parking area in anger that the ride was ruined because of others. I've ruined plenty of my own rides from feeling week or awkward, but it's never been the fault of others.
    I guess being on the bike for me is um..... a lot of fun.

  21. #21
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    I've taken part in a couple of large group rides before (30-50 people) and I don't particularly care to do it again. It was kind of stressful, with the faster riders wanting to go super fast then getting annoyed while waiting for the slower riders. The slower riders felt bad about holding people up. I stopped to help someone with a flat get rolling again then got barked at for holding everyone up. F that.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    It was kind of stressful, with the faster riders wanting to go super fast then getting annoyed while waiting for the slower riders.
    I've been on several like that. And what I don't understand is why are the super fast riders on these rides at all. They all have similarly-fast buddies and can stomp the crap out of group riders, it's like they're just doing it to show off and be the fastest ones on the ride or something.
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  23. #23
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    Put a bell on your bike so it’s constantly ringing behind them. Also, yell “STRAVA!” every 100’ or so.
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  24. #24
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    To me this sound like more of an issue of there being too many riders for the trail system. Easy to put the blame on the group but rider volume is probably the issue.

    Locally we have a couple of big group rides. The "Dirt Chicks" ride has some times a 100 riders out. We also have a huge amount of trails. I have the luxury of choosing to ride somewhere else on group ride nights. And when I do run into a large groups I just choose a different route.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    I've been on several like that. And what I don't understand is why are the super fast riders on these rides at all. They all have similarly-fast buddies and can stomp the crap out of group riders, it's like they're just doing it to show off and be the fastest ones on the ride or something.


    Sometimes fast riders and slow riders are all just friends having a good time. I've been on a lot of group rides with riders of diverse abilities and no one gets bent out of shape.
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  26. #26
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    I think it is poor form to ride in such large groups, even with perfect etiquette.

    The local Wilder-nazis would have a field day with that.

  27. #27
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    That's a crazy amount of riders to be on a trail at one time. I don't see that many riders on shuttle days.

  28. #28
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    I haven't been on a group/social ride in over ten years. I thought we were riding, not chit chatting and stopping every ten minutes to talk shop. That's for the parking lot. I quietly slipped away.
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  29. #29
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    Join the group find out when and where they ride. Turn up for a few rides, get to know them. Them you will become part of the group and they will more readily yield when your on you own ride.

    Then schedule your rides at other days, times, locations to this ride so they dont impact your fun.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Aren't ALL riders going to have issues the day the parking lot is overflowing?

    I guess being on the bike for me is um..... a lot of fun.
    It is entirely up to the individual to choose how they will react or respond to any situation that contradicts their pre-conceived notions of how the event should be happening.

    No one you encounter anywhere on any trail has set out on their bike with the sole intent of ruining your ride.

    The choice is between allowing a situation out of your control to ruin your ride or to remind yourself that life is full of meaningless inconveniences that are better attributed to ignorance than malice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    For the record, I love seeing parents with their kids. Couple months back I saw a young girl in front of her dad coming down the trail towards me. I stopped well in advance (because they were going slowly). I told the girl she was doing a great job and told the dad how amazing it must be. He commented how she is just learning, as he approached and thanking me for giving way.
    Almost verbatim of what happened to me/us, but I was the dad. Are you in the Wake Forest area? Either way, thanks or thanks again!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    It would seem to me to go by the number of riders, not the size of the groups they ride in. Wouldn't 5 groups of 2, 2 groups of 5, and 1 group of 10 all have the same impact?
    It actually comes from backpacking, where two groups of ten camping in one site each will have less impact than 20 camping in the same site - the idea being to spread that impact around more evenly. I think that still applies to us though.

    Imagine a group of ten stopped on the trail hanging out, versus a group of 20 stopped and hanging out. Who is walking off trail more? I'll agree it's a very subtle distinction but I do believe it exists and when we extrapolate to the entirety of the mountain bike community it could make a difference. I did note that there are definitely exceptions, but in general I think it's a good thing to consider.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Sometimes fast riders and slow riders are all just friends having a good time. I've been on a lot of group rides with riders of diverse abilities and no one gets bent out of shape.
    Totally, I'm just referring to when you get fast riders on casual group rides who are noticeably put out or complaining about having to constantly wait.
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Join the group find out when and where they ride. Turn up for a few rides, get to know them. Them you will become part of the group and they will more readily yield when your on you own ride.

    Then schedule your rides at other days, times, locations to this ride so they dont impact your fun.
    They still won't move.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Sometimes fast riders and slow riders are all just friends having a good time. I've been on a lot of group rides with riders of diverse abilities and no one gets bent out of shape.
    sure, that can happen in a well run group intended to accommodate diverse riders. That means setting expectations of behavior for the faster riders so they don't get bent over waiting for the slower riders at the prearranged spots or when a couple of riders need to stop to address a mechanical issue. On rides like that, the slowest rider controls the group pace. So the wider the abilities, the better the organizer needs to be and the clearer the expectations need to be. On the well run diverse abilities rides I've done, the faster riders either show up early and ride hard to start with and use the social ride as a cool down, or they use the social ride as a warmup and ride hard after.

    I've also tried doing social rides with people who are unable to dial it back to ride with people who are slower. Even just trying to ride with them as friends, and not in a group. They have two settings: fast and off. I've ridden with those people exactly once. They just cannot do group rides with diverse abilities. They're the ones getting upset about waiting for slower riders and grumbling about their heart rate and crap like that. So long as I don't try to ride with them and they don't try to show up to diverse abilities group rides, all is well, though.

    Everybody on the trail needs to understand that there's likely to be other people on the trail. Being oblivious on the trail is bad news period. Oftentimes beginners need to be taught this, but it's simply unacceptable for any group to be operating this way on public trails.

  36. #36
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    My experience is that larger groups of riders usually do not yield where required, even though I do see some of those same riders yield when alone on in groups of 2 or 3. Basically, if the lead rider doesn't pull off, no one else does.

    There are certain group rides that occur in my area that I stopped riding with after one or two rides based upon seeing how they conduct things.

    A train blowing down the trail is kinda fun - I get it - but not ok, IMO.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    Totally, I'm just referring to when you get fast riders on casual group rides who are noticeably put out or complaining about having to constantly wait.


    Yeah that's weird.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I've also tried doing social rides with people who are unable to dial it back to ride with people who are slower. Even just trying to ride with them as friends, and not in a group. They have two settings: fast and off. I've ridden with those people exactly once. They just cannot do group rides with diverse abilities. They're the ones getting upset about waiting for slower riders and grumbling about their heart rate and crap like that. So long as I don't try to ride with them and they don't try to show up to diverse abilities group rides, all is well, though.

    Depends on the situation of course but most of the group rides I'm familiar with don't discourage fast riders or whine about slow ones. Everyone seems to find their own pace and we meet up periodically, and amiably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody special View Post
    Almost verbatim of what happened to me/us, but I was the dad. Are you in the Wake Forest area? Either way, thanks or thanks again!
    I don't know where Wake Forest is.

    I'm a California rider.

    I'm an odd duck anyway -if I see a rider descending I'll usually stop well in advance.
    Trails aren't especially steep, why ruin their fun for my selfishness. LOL

    A few of the trails are super steep though. I've stopped on them before to allow people to come down, usually because I actually wanted a rest. If it's that steep and I can maintain my climb I will. But I'll also not be 'entitled' and mess up their line due to them "riding too fast for safety" because we all ride too fast for safety.

  39. #39
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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Phillbo again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Also for the record, I ride my bike for fun and pretty sure I haven't left the parking area in anger that the ride was ruined because of others. I've ruined plenty of my own rides from feeling week or awkward, but it's never been the fault of others.
    I guess being on the bike for me is um..... a lot of fun.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: if I come away from a ride not in a better mood than when I started, then I'm doing it wrong.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Depends on the situation of course but most of the group rides I'm familiar with don't discourage fast riders or whine about slow ones. Everyone seems to find their own pace and we meet up periodically, and amiably.
    I've been on plenty of those, and they've been some of the best group rides I've ever done, but I have also been in the situations where it's very, very different.

    I've been on "beginner" rides where beginners and other slower riders were made to feel like a burden on the group. I've been on "intermediate" rides that probably ought to have been labeled as something faster, and while the other riders were friendly enough, the way the ride was advertised did not set my expectations accurately about what the ride actually was like. The size of the group makes a difference, too. Smaller groups can be a bit less forgiving at times because the gaps between individuals can be massive if there are large discrepancies in ability. Large groups SHOULD be able to meet everyone's needs, but that's not always the case. The worst group ride I went on was the aforementioned "beginner" ride. I was pretty out of shape, so I knew I was slow. I figured a beginner ride would be safe, but I was not an actual beginner at that point. I'd been riding for years, but due to life circumstances I'd had a lull in riding frequency that resulted in reduced fitness. I was notably slower than the group (the majority of the group were NOT actual beginners), and the group made no effort to engage with me. As soon as I'd meet up with them on the trails, they'd take off again because they were already waiting "too long" for me to get there. I ended up pushing myself far too hard for my fitness level to try to keep up, and the sweeper just pointed me (dazed, bewildered, and dehydrated after puking on the trail due to overexertion and overheating) back to the trailhead at an intersection, rather than escorting me back to my car and hanging with me to make sure I recovered and was safely able to drive home.

    Poorly organized group rides absolutely suck, and if those were my first experiences with group rides, I'd also want to avoid them at all costs in the future, too. But considering that my first group ride experiences were some of the best I've ever had, I still look for a really positive group dynamic and I can be scathing when the group is so poorly organized that it becomes a shitshow. I currently have a small group of riding friends that has a really great dynamic when we get together. At most, our groups will get up to half a dozen, though. And typically, they're more like 3-4 people (not everyone can make every ride, of course). But we do have a variety of speeds/abilities and we meet up together where it makes sense (intersections and summits) and nobody complains. But we also know each other's abilities so our expectations are pretty clear when we set out. The hammerheads know it's going to be a "party pace" ride and the slower riders know they're not going to be abandoned on the trail. Sometimes the more skilled members will do backcountry masochism death march hike-a-bike rides, and sometimes our rides will focus on mellower trails more friendly to the less skilled and less fit members of the group.

    Knowing how much variation there might possibly be with the organization of ride groups, I can believe that some group somewhere will screw up things that most will think are some of the most basic tenets/aspects of good group rides. Nothing is off the table in that regard. Somebody will do it wrong.

  43. #43
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    Some people just need a good ass kicking.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

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    And now you have ebikes getting more people out there who wouldn't normally be. Last week I saw a mother and father duo riding their ebikes and the son came rolling slowly behind them on an electric one wheel board.

    Won't be long now...
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  45. #45
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    Easy way to avoid the plebs. Ride the black trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post

    I've been on "beginner" rides where beginners and other slower riders were made to feel like a burden on the group. I've been on "intermediate" rides that probably ought to have been labeled as something faster, and while the other riders were friendly enough, the way the ride was advertised did not set my expectations accurately about what the ride actually was like. The size of the group makes a difference, too. Smaller groups can be a bit less forgiving at times because the gaps between individuals can be massive if there are large discrepancies in ability. Large groups SHOULD be able to meet everyone's needs, but that's not always the case. The worst group ride I went on was the aforementioned "beginner" ride. I was pretty out of shape, so I knew I was slow. I figured a beginner ride would be safe, but I was not an actual beginner at that point. I'd been riding for years, but due to life circumstances I'd had a lull in riding frequency that resulted in reduced fitness. I was notably slower than the group (the majority of the group were NOT actual beginners), and the group made no effort to engage with me. As soon as I'd meet up with them on the trails, they'd take off again because they were already waiting "too long" for me to get there. I ended up pushing myself far too hard for my fitness level to try to keep up, and the sweeper just pointed me (dazed, bewildered, and dehydrated after puking on the trail due to overexertion and overheating) back to the trailhead at an intersection, rather than escorting me back to my car and hanging with me to make sure I recovered and was safely able to drive home.
    I’ve had a similar experience on some group rides locally that are sponsored by one of the LBSs that are advertised as “Beginner” rides. I too was not a new rider, but had been away from the bike long enough for my fitness/endurance to fade. Same issue with lagging behind and when I would catch up to the group waiting at an intersection they would usually take off again as I am catching up. On one of the rides, the leader was great and ended up staying back with me and letting the group go ahead. Of course I kinda felt like a special needs rider lol. On another “beginner” group ride on some trails that I had never been on, I got left behind and lost after the group failed to wait at an intersection. Thankfully a very kind solo rider ended up passing and showed me how to get back to the trailhead. Needless to say I haven’t been back to any group rides in a while.

    It sucks, because I do like some of the social aspects of riding with a group and I know riding with people better than me will help me get better/faster. It just really can feel awkward if you’re made to feel like you’re holding everyone up. I think the biggest cause with these particular “beginner” rides is that most of the riders are regulars that have been doing the rides for a long time and they have advanced in their skill and endurance levels. Because of this the group ride has really evolved into an intermediate/borderline advanced ride. Some riders need to “graduate” to a more advanced ride so that the beginner ride can actually be a ride for actual beginners.

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    I ran into a really big group at China Camp a few years ago. They were inner city kids trying mountain bikes for the first time. I was lucky enough to get to help one kid fix his flat tire. A shout out to the volunteers even if I can't remember the name of the group anymore.
    My mantra: Hike, Bike, Paddle, Ski

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Some people just need a good ass kicking.
    Based on this post I'm betting you're one of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Group rides should never be more than 5-6 people. Groups the size the OP mentioned is ridiculous - they monopolize the trail and force everyone to yield to their huge group. Another problem with large groups is it will inevitably frustrate the slowest and fastest riders in the group.

    One of the few things that can ruin a ride is an overcrowded trail. Keep riding groups small for everyone's sake.
    5-6? Hmm. We are more like 10-20. That said, yield to walkers, be aware of non group riders, ya know, common sense and courtesy.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericridebike View Post
    I think the biggest cause with these particular “beginner” rides is that most of the riders are regulars that have been doing the rides for a long time and they have advanced in their skill and endurance levels. Because of this the group ride has really evolved into an intermediate/borderline advanced ride. Some riders need to “graduate” to a more advanced ride so that the beginner ride can actually be a ride for actual beginners.
    I can certainly see that. There's no telling with the ride I showed up to. I didn't live in that area for very long in the end, so I never made local riding friends. But in the end, it all comes down to the ride organizer(s) and the expectations they set. Leaving the rest/gathering spots as soon as the last rider shows up is the WRONG way to handle a supposed beginner ride. Abandoning a rider because the group failed to stop at an intersection is the WRONG way to handle a supposed beginner ride.

    I had some words with the other coaches on the NICA team I volunteered with last year. I was riding sweep and had a rider near the end of the ride who had a slight mechanical that slowed us down. We got to an area that was a knot of intersections and had no indication of where the group went. We waited for awhile to see if they'd come looking, and when that didn't happen, we just went back to the trailhead (we were pretty close). The success of a group ride 100% comes down to the people organizing it. Good organization deals with a LOT of scenarios (and potential scenarios) before they become a problem, so that when they do, the attendees barely notice. If the organization is slapdash, then things are going to happen that aren't dealt with adequately. Some of which will affect the group (or members of the group) directly, affecting their experience, or they will happen to other people on the trails as a result of the group (such as in OP's scenario) that affect others' perceptions of the group.

    It's one thing if your group is a very informal thing to begin with. But the more formally-backed it is, whether there's a club or a shop or some other group behind it, the more organization it needs. I used to work for a shop that did massive road rides on Tues and Thurs nights. They did a pretty impressive level of organization, and they had to, because on a busy Thursday (all levels night), they could get up to 300 riders. Problems happened, but the shop owner who organized things had done a lot of planning work beforehand and had mechanisms to deal with them. There were rules, and those rules were enforced.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericridebike View Post
    I’ve had a similar experience on some group rides locally that are sponsored by one of the LBSs that are advertised as “Beginner” rides. I too was not a new rider, but had been away from the bike long enough for my fitness/endurance to fade. Same issue with lagging behind and when I would catch up to the group waiting at an intersection they would usually take off again as I am catching up. On one of the rides, the leader was great and ended up staying back with me and letting the group go ahead. Of course I kinda felt like a special needs rider lol. On another “beginner” group ride on some trails that I had never been on, I got left behind and lost after the group failed to wait at an intersection. Thankfully a very kind solo rider ended up passing and showed me how to get back to the trailhead. Needless to say I haven’t been back to any group rides in a while.

    It sucks, because I do like some of the social aspects of riding with a group and I know riding with people better than me will help me get better/faster. It just really can feel awkward if you’re made to feel like you’re holding everyone up. I think the biggest cause with these particular “beginner” rides is that most of the riders are regulars that have been doing the rides for a long time and they have advanced in their skill and endurance levels. Because of this the group ride has really evolved into an intermediate/borderline advanced ride. Some riders need to “graduate” to a more advanced ride so that the beginner ride can actually be a ride for actual beginners.
    Lots of way to do good group rides. Some of our thursday evening ride have 40-60 riders. Separate into 5-6 groups, hammer race pace all the way down to very beginner. Have a ride leader and a sweeper. Easy. Or do a drop 2. Have a ride leader, the person behind them waits at the next intersection. All the other riders go by, that person then jumps in front of the sweeper, and doesn't stop until they catch up to the leader again. Works great with larger groups of say 10-20.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Sounds like a pretty poorly managed group, IMO. I would have doubts that it's managed by a shop,

    If it really is a shop running this, shame on them. Someone needs some lessons in guiding (ICP and PMBIA offer such things with a specific mtb context).
    Yes. It is really managed and coordinated by a shop and shop employees "lead" the ride.

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    If the shop is organizing and leading a ride, do they make you sign a liability waiver to join?
    Kind of like playing an electric drum kit

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Lots of way to do good group rides. Some of our thursday evening ride have 40-60 riders. Separate into 5-6 groups, hammer race pace all the way down to very beginner. Have a ride leader and a sweeper. Easy. Or do a drop 2. Have a ride leader, the person behind them waits at the next intersection. All the other riders go by, that person then jumps in front of the sweeper, and doesn't stop until they catch up to the leader again. Works great with larger groups of say 10-20.
    Yup

    On the 100% inclusive group rides I am a part of, it's mandatory to have multiple ride leaders/support riders. The large group (usually 30-50) naturally fractures on the first long double track moderate climb, which is intentionally ridden. At the top, the hammerheads go off to do their thing, the middle group theirs, and the back of the pack riders theirs. All groups have support riders who are specifically there to cater to the group with a lead and sweep. They keep track of everyone, no one is ever dropped and all groups meet up a taproom after. They are not training rides, they are social rides and with the groups split up, they are smaller and we often don't even encounter the other groups.

    I'm sure the group riders thought the OP was one of them, and it's doubtful the LBS is aware they're creating an issue. They either need to do what we do, or have multiple group rides catering to different riding abilites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    If the shop is organizing and leading a ride, do they make you sign a liability waiver to join?
    I can't say but doubt it. Right now, my intent is to get on the shops ride-call list (text, email or FB; however they are coordinating) and avoid the group when I want to ride in solitary.

    The shop/clubs I've ridden with do not have you sign any liability waivers.

    Just to be clear, I have nothing against group rides or large groups. Its just on certain times, I'd like to avoid them. Encountering 40 riders in groups of 2-4 in one 2 hour ride is fairly typical for a weeked trail ride in these parts. My issue is a group of 30+ riders bottle necking a trail all at one point which as previously stated can be .5-1mi+.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Aren't ALL riders going to have issues the day the parking lot is overflowing?

    A few weeks ago we had a break in the weather. I parked on the dirt shoulder of the access route hundreds of feet away.

    As an individual, which most were that day, we ALL suffered the same crap of having to 'deal' with other people on our trail, I mean my trail.
    Some would show up for 2 or 3 buddies to ride. Or they came by themselves. There is passing to be had all day in that situation.

    What desires does a rider have to even ride if they show up to a parking area that is full. Why even bother starting if the ride is already going to come with drama?

    Just saying that regardless of the situation, there will always be the time when somebody was treated unfairly. I could be angry that there were too many people on the trails, or people taking their kids with them that are learning. Why should I have to go slow because you kid hasn't learned to ride well? I'm sure I made somebody mad as well from picking a questionable line or went too fast, or slow.

    For the record, I love seeing parents with their kids. Couple months back I saw a young girl in front of her dad coming down the trail towards me. I stopped well in advance (because they were going slowly). I told the girl she was doing a great job and told the dad how amazing it must be. He commented how she is just learning, as he approached and thanking me for giving way.

    Also for the record, I ride my bike for fun and pretty sure I haven't left the parking area in anger that the ride was ruined because of others. I've ruined plenty of my own rides from feeling week or awkward, but it's never been the fault of others.
    I guess being on the bike for me is um..... a lot of fun.
    I think this is a very different topic than what the OP brought up. Lot's of people on the trail just mean more interactions. Most mountain bikers are cool with that and let each other pass. It's not uncommon to see one side encourage the other through a difficult situation. When it's a large organized group that won't yield no matter what it's different.

    I've encountered what seems to the local organized teen-age group rides recently a few times and finally came to the same feeling as the OP. Just because you're in a large group doesn't mean you get to keep going no matter what. I'm perfectly fine yielding to other folks, but when you get 30 kids in a row that can't get up a feature holding you up, then it gets to the point where it's obvious they should let others through. In my case it's an education thing. The kids don't know better it seems, but the adults supervising sure should.

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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrallen View Post
    I think this is a very different topic than what the OP brought up.
    You are correct. This is why Buff Creek and LOTB (Lair of the Bear) are mentioned in the original post. Both of those Denver/Front Range trails are FLOODED with trail users. Trail users frequently have to get creative with parking. Encountering 2-4 other users at a time is the norm.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    Yes. It is really managed and coordinated by a shop and shop employees "lead" the ride.
    damn shame. I'm curious what the land manager would say if the group's behavior was brought to their attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    If the shop is organizing and leading a ride, do they make you sign a liability waiver to join?
    they'd better. if they aren't, they're asking for trouble.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    Just to be clear, I have nothing against group rides or large groups. Its just on certain times, I'd like to avoid them. Encountering 40 riders in groups of 2-4 in one 2 hour ride is fairly typical for a weeked trail ride in these parts. My issue is a group of 30+ riders bottle necking a trail all at one point which as previously stated can be .5-1mi+.
    Damn...that's nuts. 30 riders in one group??
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    Damn...that's nuts. 30 riders in one group??
    Yes. One long bottle neck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    Yes. One long bottle neck.
    The only time I encounter a mass like that is at big races! That would be frustrating.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Easy way to avoid the plebs. Ride the black trails.
    You would think so. There is a group that rides every Wednesday night at my local trail. They do what the OP mentioned, not letting other people through. Then they take it farther by stopping in the middle of the trail. When one stops, they all stop and they're all on the trail. At junctions, they spread out and cover every angle. I've had to go way off trail to get around them when they were stopped. They always act surprised as if they didn't know you were behind them, no matter how many times you say something about passing.

    To top it all off, there is a steep section at the end of a black trail, and at the end of the slope there is a bridge. One day I came down the slope, and they were at the end right before the bridge, hanging out all over the trail.

    I simply don't go on Wednesdays or whenever I see one of their vehicles. They're also obnoxious at the trailhead, mostly littering when there is a trash can 10 feet away. You can also hear them riding, it sounds like a bunch of gibbons on bikes.

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