Cam MTB - the Cambridge Mountain Bikers' Forum

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DISCLAIMER. MOUNTAIN BIKING CAN BE DANGEROUS. YOU JOIN US AT YOUR OWN RISK.

SAFETY BRIEFING.

  • Wear a helmet. Despite recent advances in medical science, brains still cannot be mended nor replaced.
  • Wear gloves or mitts. Hands often hit the ground first. Cuts and grazes invite infection and a hospital visit.
  • Wear eye protection, it only takes a twig or thorn to lose an eye. Crud catchers are a good idea in mucky weather.
  • When downhilling, for your own protection, allow plenty of space behind the rider in front.
  • Bring a bare minimum emergency tool kit and a spare inner tube.
  • Breakdowns are a bore. Plan not to have any by ensuring your bike is in perfect working order.
  • Punctures are also tedious. You can minimise them by fitting latex tubes, slime tubes or running tubeless tyres.

Photo: CAMMTB rides have restarted with social distancing - bring a beer and or join us for our virtual pub sessions afterwards.

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How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

So, last night's ride then, what can I say that hasn't been said before!?! Maybe it hasn't been said on the forum before, I don't know, but to be honest I wasn't sure what words I would search for to drag up old messages from previously disgruntled riders. As a group, we don't seem to like talking about it but we all know it happens far too often and some riders have stopped coming out with us because of it.

The leadership of last night's ride was completely unacceptable and totally selfish on the part of those at the front. I should have said something when I finally made it to the pub, probably even earlier in the ride really, but I didn't, so there you go... If I have to be specific, not once did I stop for more than 10 seconds at a time, from leaving Brookside at 7:30pm to arriving at the pub sometime after 10pm. Whenever those at the front deemed it appropriate for us to re-group (maybe they got bored and fancied a rest... now wouldn't that be nice!), the question 'Are we all here?' is frankly, irrelevant. Once the last rider has caught up, the question should be 'Are we all ready to go now?'. If that rider, or anyone else for that matter, wants a breather or a drink or a bit of time to dig out a snack, then they should have time to do that without feeling like they're holding up the whole group because they're not 'man' enough to ride all night without a pitstop.

The icing on the cake last night, or should I say, the final punch to the kidneys, was the climb up to Rowley's Hill. As I came up the last stretch towards the top, I could see everyone's lights in the distance gathered together. Then what happened? Someone set off down the hill towards Newton and a few others, not everyone, followed. The group gathers at the top of a hill before the last leg to the pub and you don't even have the courtesy to wait for everyone to catch up. That is quite simply out of order! I won't name names, mainly because I was out of site of the leaders most of the evening anyway, but I've got a pretty good idea who was at the front.

So, what next? I've already spent far too long typing this message and I've got plenty of other things I'd rather be doing, not least of all, riding my bike. I could have spent just as long writing about how I enjoy my CamMTB rides but that would not help to make my point. What happened during last night's ride was not an isolated incident. In my opinion, something has to change. When we gather at Brookside, as well as considering the route, we should discuss whether it would be appropriate to split into two groups: those that want to push themselves at race-pace (or whatever) for the evening, and those that don't.

Personally, either we as a group do something different to accommadate all our riders, current and future, or I stop riding with CamMTB. It's that simple. I'm not on a personal crusade, I just want to enjoy the CamMTB rides the way I used to. If this message is met with a stony silence, so be it, I've said my piece.

Finally, if you've read this far without switching off, thank you, I hope I've made my point.

Richard

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

I often feel the same as this. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the company and cameraderie of ALL those in the group. (Well, most of you )

It does feel spoiled when you're one of those left behind, whether it's because of general speed, tiredness, mechanicals and punctures. Minor case in point? Last Thursday, Tony and I hung back to pull the thorns out of our tyres not far from Nine Wells. When Tony's tyre went flat I yelled "Puncture!" to the rapidly disappearing group.

Tony and I thought that everyone else would be waiting for us at the end of the concrete road, but it turns out that we weren't missed until everyone else was about a mile away and Duncan was thoughtful enough to call me.

It's not the fact that people are different and enjoy their riding at different speeds - I mean, that's only natural. It's one thing being left behind for a while, as long as you get the opportunity to catch up and rejoin the group. But it's quite another if the group doesn't wait or moves on straight away, without the thought that those arriving from the back might want to hang on for a bit.

After all, you fast guys have had your rest - just give the rest of us a chance, eh? It is a group isn't it?

It's not always like this. On Tuesday evening, seven of us had a great ride with relatively short stops, no real mechanicals and, most of the time, Riaan and me didn't feel terribly left behind at the back. In fact, we made a bit of a feature of being slower at times. I even lead the pack the 7 miles back into the city, with the five of us chatting and laughing while caning our bikes up and down the trails.

Yes - it's up to each rider to assert their wish to hang on for a breather, drink, bike check, route check or to suggest a different (shorter) route. But, if we are a group of cycling friends, it would help if the question on readiness to continue were, well, consistently asked.

I know that the idea of a slower/faster group has been tried before - notably by me, Pete T, Richard and Uncle Tom. When it was tried, the rest of group collectively got the point and harmony was restored. And we discovered that we weren't THAT much slower. But since most of us are grown-ups and understand these things, we could perhaps be prepared to keep such things flexible and informal and try them when we need to.

Put it another way, we should be more prepared to split up into separate groups, before or during a ride and accept that there are no ill feelings in doing so, just that it's the most suitable thing.

Richard's hit on what has been the elephant in the room for a few of us. Time to go, Jumbo.

PT

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

I'm confused. Did you go to Stapleford (as advertised) or Newton?

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

I agree with Richard that when we stop we should wait for everyone to catch up and to check that everyone is ready to move on. The last person to catch up may well be the last person because they are the most knackered, in which case a bit of a rest would not be unreasonable. They may also have a mechanical problem that needs sorting or even want a piss stop. Let's move on when we're all ready to move on and then we can do it in good humour.

Incidentally I had another puncture this morning. I think that is 5 in 6 rides. Puncture Twat mark II ?

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Oh no, that's not good! If it's becoming a real problem I agree we should split into two groups either before or during the ride.

I am always the slowest and I ride at a pace that I don't need a rest at deliberately! So when I arrive I have enough puff to keep going immediately. But probably means people have to wait longer!!

I definitely remember from when i was faster you guys doing this though - I remember one time telling everyone I was tired and needed a rest as the new guy looked so knackered when he caught you up - and someone just said "All here? Shall we go then?" I felt sorry for him being pressurised into going immediately.

You're all always just hanging around talking about tyres anyway while waiting for the slowest, maybe you can just wait a bit longer....in fact maybe if the slowest got some new tyres they might speed up a bit....

Basically you need me out as I have no shame in being slow. I seem to have finally conquered my insomnia after kids started sleeping properly so may have enough energy soon....saw Paul L yesterday, he says maybe a slower partners ride on Tuesday?

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Hummm, well slags can I put my penny's worth in? well im gonna anyway. I feel a slower pace group would be a good idea despite of it being tried before as Tom mentioned, going at a fast pace isn't for everyone and also could put newbies off. As most of you would have noticed I hardly ride with the group, and you would of noticed how quiet it is. My reasons are it seems it's a competion in who can ride the fastest and also on show me yours, a certain individual takes over the leadership of someone elses ride and believe it or not I find that so rude...nuff said?.

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Who took over your ride Shelton ?

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Nicely put one and all.

So, how about this for a way forward on group decorum:-
A) Smaller number of folks out? Not a good idea to split the group up for safety reasons? Keep the group together, come Helen Highwater. No one left behind, faster guys wait until everyone accounted for an ready;
B) Bigger group that might benefit from a split? Either (i) make the decision at the start or (ii) during the ride when it seems most apt to those concerned. No hard feelings, see you at the pub.

Agreed?

NTTT

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

"The wonder of the world the beauty and the power the shapes of things their colours light and shades these I saw look ye also while life lasts" .in other words pedal your bloody bike make the most of it while you can .and if you can't keep up .don't keep up or try harder

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Good. Thanks 4 letting me know it wasnt me.

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

Well it seems everyone has a voice and all views are justified in their own right. Pardon me for saying it but did God not give us all a voice as well as fingers to type strop o grams. If any one needs to stop for any reason let them speak up or forever hold their peace. Love thi neighbour and never loose sight of or leave a man behind. There is no shame in wanting a short ride as I know we all need them from time to time so we can be grown up it seems and discuss splitting mid ride and re joining for some good ol fashioned banter at the end. Drink this in remembrance of me. May the peace of the Landlord always be with you. Here endeth the lesson.

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

If your not happy dont ride with the group pal. No love lost Tin Man

Re: How to spoil a good ride... Enough is enough!

This is fun isn't it? I love this group!

NTTT

Re: How to spoil a good ride... My 2p

Richard's original post is very valid, and I have felt his pain on more than a few occasions.
For what it's worth, here are some views and observations from my experience:

I've been playing 5-a-side football for nearly 20 years with pretty much the same group of people. Each week, although the same 10 people turn up, the teams are always different. The game is never the same twice. Sometimes the dynamic of each team, and the game, is influenced by certain personalities playing with, or against, each other. Also, individual performances tend to fluctuate due to fitness, enthusiasm, or whatever.
I have never been able to figure out why one week we can play like Brazil, then the next we're playing like Barnsley. However, what I do know is, each week it will be different, and the last game is forgotten. While I'm physically able, I'll never give it up, because I enjoy it too much, even if some weeks I go home disappointed and frustrated.

The same can be said for our rides.

The next ride is guaranteed to be different, regardless of whether any great decision to change is reached.

I'm not in favour of splitting the group, this will only weaken it.

I am in favour of collective decision-making.

It is the responsibility of the individual to speak up if he/she wants something to change during the course of a ride. Don't suffer in silence.

And finally, if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger.

Stick with it. The alternative is unthinkable...

My 2p

Mark T


Re: How to spoil a good ride... My 2p

Well, I started this, so perhaps I should attempt to draw it to a close?

As suggested by MarkT and discussed on the phone with Duncan, I (we) should not 'suffer in silence' during a ride. That's the mistake I've made a number of times before, including last Thursday and has ultimately led to me not enjoying some rides as much as I should have done.

Anything further on this is probably best left for discussion over a post-ride beer in the pub

Richard

Re: How to spoil a good ride... My 2p

Hi all
Long time no speak/see.
Well done Richard for raising this issue.
The reason I haven't been out is because the last time I rode with the group I spent all night in various fields trying to follow the rear lights in the distance, at one point I had no idea where anyone was or where I was, so I got my TomTom out, stumbled across a road and decided to just go home, UNTIL, a majical figure (Geordie Nige) appeared like a knight in shining armour to rescue me, Cheers Buddy.
Not everyone knows the Cambridge fields, bridal ways, footpaths, mud tracks etc like the back of their hand!
I am guilty of not saying anything at the time, but, you are made to feel guilty for holding everybody up.
As soon as you do catch up you hear that immortal saying "IS EVERYONE READY!!!!"
Please post if a slower group want to go out on Thursdays.
Cheers
Rob

Foxton or Focked

Ma bitch is letting me out, so im planning to show on Thurs. If anyone else fancy's a medium pace, with p*ss taking and banter along the way then post up. Shelton Xxxx

Re: How to spoil a good ride... My 2p

I am surprised that's the reason you haven't been with us after you did the half marathon cycling with us should have been a dodle

I have missed you a bit, thought you were dead.Put some
Fast tyres on and get your arse back into action, anyway think it's your round
Regards Bowes

Re: How to spoil a good ride... My 2p

My view for what it's worth.

Being a senior (in years only) member of the group for a good few years now the dynamic of the group has changed considerably. There have always been fit whippets around and members have come & gone but the difference now is that the rides are generally longer & cetainly more competitive. I'm struggling for words here but "intimidating" keeps coming to mind. Once upon a time I would just come out & ride, knowing I and most people would cope & have a pleasant evening of good riding & cheery pub banter. Now it seems we arrive much later to our stop & the group more often than not immediately loses a few bodies who need to get home at a reasonable time. Nowadays, although probably as fit as I have ever been, I think twice-especially after a bit of a layoff and will go out on my own until I feel confident I can at least keep up. For new members, more often than not, we never see them again. Most people can only put so many miles in a week so their fitness plateaus'-I include myself in that number. My normal docking time at home is now regularly after midnight, previously it would be 11.15-11.30
I don't know what the answer is I'm afraid-more honesty perhaps but then that can be misconstrued as throwing the toys out of the pram.
2 groups may be an answer-it has worked before.
There is nothing wrong with being fit & fast but consideration needs to be shown to the poor sap who has an off night.once again, I include myself in that number!
CAMMTB is a GREAT bunch of Guys & Gals, please let's keep it that way.