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What should happen when a BikeManawatu recreational bunch ride gets too tough?


We’ve all been there… a group ride gets into trouble because one or more in the riders can’t sustain the pace of the bunch.

In a race, the slower riders drop off and the bunch carries on.  But what should happen on a club recreational ride?

Should the bunch slow and protect the slower riders?  Should the slower riders recognise that they probably chose the wrong group and drop off to find their own way home?

The club’s historical policy is outlined here.

We would very much like to hear club members views on this issue, and encourage discussion on the clubs facebook page.

Recently this issue has become a discussion point with the following letter received.


Rider Etiquette – Yeah Right!

I promise that this will be the last time I write an article in this newsletter, 1) because I am moving to another part of the country to live and 2) cycling attitudes are near on impossible to change (attitudes or arrogance?). I do however feel compelled to write again today to vent frustrations in how we struggle to support our fellow cyclists.

I was hoping to do a good long ride this Sunday (16/11), a ride out to Hunterville and back via Stormy Point, a distance of approximately 135kms. Leaving town and biking into a very strong wind made it very challenging for all riders in the group, a group of approximately thirty (30). Assuming it was going to be an endurance ride and that everyone would be looking after each other, I was excited about doing this ride again.

Alas not to be, no looking after each other, no dropping back to help slower riders, no shelter to weaker riders, as I was dropped going up Campbells Road, straight into a head wind and never to see the group again. A ride for me today involved approximately 80kms, 70kms by myself and not really a lot of fun. Again I am continually frustrated and annoyed that there are not designated riders allocated to look after slower/weaker riders, this enabling all riders to partake in the ride and enjoy the so called camaraderie there is with riding as a group.

After today’s fiasco and with great reluctance, I have now decided that in future I will not drop back and help slower riders (yes there are slower riders than me) within a group, as with previous experiences, I am one of only a few cyclists that is prepared to do this while the majority continue to ride away. I know of several riders who now no longer ride on Sunday’s, purely for this reason, they get dropped, lose heart and give up. That is very sad indeed.

If Bike Manawatu is serious about growing the sport of cycling in this region, then in my opinion they need to look very carefully at how they organise Sunday rides, how large the groups are (approximately 50 in one group last Sunday), who is the leader on each group and who is delegated to be a “Tail-end Charlie”. Manawatu is very fortunate to have a large number of very strong cyclists within the region, both at junior and senior level and I wouldn’t think it unfair to expect that some of these riders could assist in this area?

For those cyclists that know me, you will know that I value the friendship gained from riding in a group and that I will never leave a rider to struggle on their own and/or be isolated. For those riders that don’t know me you may think I’m a “whinger” and should harden up. If I hardened up and didn’t care about my fellow cyclists then yes I probably would get stronger and be able to keep up, that unfortunately is a very arrogant and selfish approach to take however.

To all the newbies out there, don’t get disheartened like me, I hope you are encouraged to come along and ride and be looked after as you should be.

I certainly welcome feedback in regard my comments, however I would be astonished if there were people who disagreed with such comments.

Steve Loversuch