YGR Stamp Logo BlackYGR’s intern, Grant VanHoose voices his displeasure with some of the antics that have been taking place on some of the local group rides as of late. 


To start, let’s review some definitions of group rides for both A and B paces.

A’s: For the competitive cyclist in a training race-like environment looking for the challenge to ride at the upper end of their abilities that will push the pace; however, group rides are not races.


B’s: For the cyclist who enjoys riding at an average pace, likes a challenge but is not interested in race-like training conditions where the pace is challenged by different paces or top-end speeds.


I do disagree to an extent with the definition of a B group when it comes to the Wednesday World’s B group.


Before starting a rant, I’ve brought up a few findings of Fort Collins based cyclists. I randomly selected ten races from the BRAC website to see how many racers from the Fort were in attendance on average this road season.


DU City Park Crit: 4
CSU Oval Crit: 30
Air Force Road Race: 10
Stazio Crit: 10
Deer Trail Road Race: 13
Ridge at 38 Crit: 17
Longmont Crit: 10
Salida Classic Road Race: 11
Bannocks Street Crit: 15
Sonic Boom Crit: 26


I randomly selected these ten races to show a spread from the start of the road season up until now. After taking out the outliers of 4 and 30, the average number of racers from Fort Collins is 14. 14 racers…


Okay let’s begin the rant!


Congratulations to everyone who attends the TTH ride, you caused a shop who has sponsored this ride for years to withdraw from wanting anything to do with it. Congratulations to everyone who attends WOR and SOR, you caused a shop who has sponsored these rides for years to withdraw from wanting anything to do with it. But because there is an endless number of companies lining up to support cycling, who cares, right?


The number of riders representing Fort Collins in BRAC events appears to have drastically gone down over the last few years; Most likely because riders have felt they can get their competitive edge completed at TTH or Worlds. However, the last time I checked, group rides don’t have road closures, signs up to alert motor vehicles of cyclists on the road, or volunteers at intersections doing whatever it is they do with those orange flags. So what happens when riders are treating a group ride like it is their race they have been building up for?


Here we go…

We have riders spitting on one another, yelling homophobic slurs, threatening physical altercation, and taking up the entire road (not lane) for echelons. Let’s change the welcome sign at I25 and Harmony to say “cycling paradise if you want to put yourself at risk of being hit by a car by showing up to a group ride”. If you want to get your competitive fix in and enjoy the privilege of having road closures and sometimes even forgiven opportunities to curse at a fellow rider, then start showing up to races on the weekends. It’s that simple. Spending $40 to race is a lot less than the cost of an ambulance ride and surgery.


Stop using group rides as your sole opportunity to be competitive, you are putting the rest of our lives at risk, I’m calling all of you idiots out as selfish that have been putting the rest of us at jeopardy because your testosterone can only kick in when you are on your bike. Go see a doctor if you are struggling with this, it’ll probably make you happier in your marriage and keep the rest of us safer on a weekly basis.


Group rides are supposed to be a fun, respectful way of getting your butt kicked and growing as a cyclist. Group rides are not races, if you are not in the perfect drafting position while sitting in an echelon this would actually mean you are gaining more fitness. At the end of the day, don’t we all ride because cycling is a much more fun way to gain fitness and lead a healthy lifestyle? If the echelon is two abreast, we are all going to have a much higher chance of making it home every night to our loved ones. Yes, this means you might not be able to gutter your buddy by moving the echelon over to the yellow line. But this also means that you’ll be able to have another chance of getting a beer with that buddy rather than putting them, yourself, or everyone in the hospital.


You all should know where I stand on World’s specifically after writing a rather lengthy article. I love it. I don’t always make it out there but nevertheless, Worlds is one of the most enjoyable ways to suffer on your bike. You have wind, hills, and strong riders everywhere. But something I hit on a bit in that article is how safe that ride has always been. Up until now. Same is to be said about TTH. I’m not one to complain and not offer solutions. Because when you complain without offering a solution, then you are just an entitled whiner. So, as suggested by a couple of people on a recent YGR Forum thread, it’s time to self police. Yes that means even if you are a reserved person who doesn’t like confrontation, you’re going to have to speak up. It’s now everyone’s responsibility to call one another out for being dumb and giving motorists a reason to hate us. That’s something I’ve always loved about Fort Collins cycling, especially compared to Boulder, we yell at each other, learn from it, then move on. End of story. The first time I rode with Zack Allison, I got an earful. Those mistakes have probably never happened again or at least not as often. Zack and I are pretty good buddies today in case you were worried that he scared me off.


So to summarize, let’s be smart and make sure that we can all make it home every night after riding. Otherwise we are all at fault. If one cyclists messes up, we all mess up. We are a community that must look after one another. Even if you don’t like someone on a personal level, you still have a responsibility as a fellow lycra wearing, leg shaver, to assure that person’s family they will make it home safely.


Good day.