when is a ride a "group ride"?

Mostly nonsense. Also riding bicycles inappropriate for off road terrain, off road; GIFs

Moderator: mfarnham

Post Reply
Posts: 189
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:36 am

when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by mashby » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:30 pm

Things are changing really fast on the Covid front. Sad (but not bad) to see Tripleshot aligning with the majority of organizers in suspending activities with the word "group" in them. Things are serious; people who know actual stuff keep telling me that and I believe them. These are not normal times.

Like most of you, I am avoiding unnecessary contact with other humans outside my immediate family, working from home and avoiding public modes of travel. I am still riding regularly and am of the mind that outdoor activities that don't involve close contact are generally safe (provided they don't end in a hospital). I'm also of the opinion that social distance is not the same as social isolation and that, with a little care, trails can be shared without also sharing germs.

With utmost respect for Tripleshot's duty to protect members, it seems inappropriate to hang out a route plan or to undermine the seriousness of the situation. I will say that I'll be riding on "regular" days, will include a fly-by of regular start locations and won't immediately drop other riders who follow the same path (without symptoms and at a recommended minimum distance of 2m). I'll be skipping the faffing, coffee and customary eyeball-licking but will be friendly to company. If you don't see me, I'm either sick with one-nine, or I slept in. Keep calm and carry on.

Posts: 534
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:12 pm

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by schouten » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:32 am

And watch the Snot Rockets!!

Posts: 802
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:56 am

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by mfarnham » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:14 pm

These are my thoughts as a member. Nothing coming down from the Exec (though these discussions are happening). I'm not strongly disagreeing with what Mark has posted, but I'm suggesting some stuff to consider.

I don't think we should be planning rides together on the forum, as it undermines the club's decision to avoid such rides for the sake of public safety. Doing the right thing by our community has--as long as we've been Tripleshot--been part of who we are as a club. It's important.

At this point, there probably are safe ways to interact on bikes. But it's not totally simple. Two people riding side by side with careful distancing is very low risk. But what happens when a car comes and you have to single up? Or you hit a narrowing in a gravel trail? The person behind is breathing in what the person in front just breathed out. The latest research suggests that droplets in the air are an important mode of transmission. And we know that people can transmit the disease while asymptomatic. As long as the incidence in the local population is low, it's a small risk. But we know that risk is growing exponentially and we know (due to lack of widespread testing) that the risk is higher than daily case reports suggest. How much higher is a mystery.

The idea of turning our rides into individual time trials with significant spacing has been suggested. That presents a new potential problem though--reasonably sized tight groups are easier to pass than the same number of individual cyclists spread out. So at a time of already heightened anxiety, we risk further alienating drivers between 6:00 and 7:30am with what some of them already consider to be a gratuitous activity. And sending 20-40 riders out spaced appropriately makes for a tedious emptying of the parking lot. If it's a handful of people doing what Mark proposes--well spaced out--it's not a big deal. But if lots of people were to turn up, it would be a problem.

Personally, I think people should keep riding their bikes for now. Do keep in mind that it's a risky time to break a collarbone, given that the ER waiting room is probably not a safe place to hang out right now. And any risk you take could also take a hospital bed away from someone else at a time of stretched resources. But we rarely crash and there are huge health benefits (mental and physical) from exercise. So, get it while you can (safely). I just think the days of getting it in a group have really passed. Even if someone could guarantee that the benefits outweigh the costs today, in a week we'll be reassessing and likely making the opposite decision. Better to start thinking up creative ways to connect online about the rides we've taken solo. Buy a smart trianer. Set treasure hunts for each other that require photo documentation on Strava; get on Zwift; etc.

Oh, and group rides with your family are probably totally fine, because you're all exposed to each other 24/7 anyway.

My two cents.

User avatar
Posts: 2380
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:27 am

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by Rolf » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:38 pm

Good stuff, Martin and Mark!

Like JT said elsewhere, I'm restricting myself to small (ideally ≤4 rider) trail-rides. Riding trails already stretches everyone out, and we tend to resemble an unruly flock of seagulls, rather than a bunch of geese with their beaks up each other's tail-feathers. So long as we're careful not to clump too tightly when re-grouping, our sharing of airspace is significantly minimized, if not eliminated, compared to road riding.

As I discovered this morning when navigating road connectors between trails, the drafting habit is fiendishly difficult to break. But from now on I will only ride front-to-back with others who agree to stay a couple of car lengths apart when we're at speed on the pavement. Otherwise, we're almost certainly still sharing air.

Other unsolicited ideas to responsibly ride "solo in parallel" (recognizing this echoes a lot of what M&M said above):
  • stay off roads whenever possible! 8) ;
  • when riding side-by-side, stay two outstretched arms apart (if you're on the road, own the complete lane);
  • if you have to single up while riding as a small group on the road, drop way back and allow a few car lengths between you and the rider in front of you;
  • at all times—but especially when selecting and riding off-road routes—make cautious and conservative decisions that reduce your risk of suffering an injury that may require medical attention (I would be mortified to show up at Emergency with a weekend-warrior-type affliction right now! :oops: );
  • be extra-conscious of snotting, spitting, and sharing bottles and food; and
  • if your fellow solo riders want to emulate a post-ride "coffee", grab something to go (likely the only option anyway) and hit a park/beach/public area where you can spread out and not touch each other's things. (Shush, Alan!)
I think we should all respect the Club's decision to cancel Club activities, and this should forestall organizing rides here on the forum. But here's a final thought: as some of us go off and enjoy private riding experiences somewhat near each other—even rides that resemble regular Tripleshot rides in where they start/finish or travel—these rides are no longer Club-endorsed activities. These rides are therefore unlikely to be covered by the Cycling BC insurance policy that we pay for through Cycling BC and Tripleshot membership. No insurance means an even greater imperative to keep your distance from others and ensure that any risks you take, or accidents you may have, affect you and you alone.

This final observation on insurance is mine alone; I'd welcome Martin's (or anyone's!) further comments. Also, it hopefully goes without saying that this is not a legal opinion, nor is it intended to be relied on by anyone, for any purpose.

Posts: 762
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:41 pm

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by JTyre » Thu Mar 19, 2020 9:14 am

Thanks for all of the great advice, peeps.

Regarding gravel riding, I agree with everything Wolf Rarburton said. I'll just add that for safety's sake, it's probably a good idea to have a riding buddy or two (subject to the conditions above). Alan, for example, falls a lot, and sometimes on pointy things.


Posts: 802
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:56 am

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by mfarnham » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 am

Hey Rolf,

On the insurance question, rides that weren't on the official list of Tripleshot Rides, were not covered by Cycling BC insurance anyway. Now, that list was fairly long and permissive and included things like "Saturday Cross Ride". But my understanding is that now that we've suspended group rides, those would no longer be covered. So basically, I would assume that nothing is covered by Cycling BC insurance at the moment.

I've sought clarification from Cycling BC, but I gather they're a bit swamped.


User avatar
Posts: 2380
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:27 am

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by Rolf » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:25 am

Amid admonitions from the Prime Minister to "Go home and stay home!" and the increasing propensity of people (especially in cars) to give runners and cyclists stink-eye for moving about freely in the open, there's been a lot of confusion about what shelter-in-place or social distancing may mean for outdoor exercise.

For those of you for whom riding is about much more than moving your legs in your basement while staring at a screen, here is some encouraging support for continuing to ride outside (even with another human!) from this CBC article, published today:
Basic recommendations

Under social distancing guidelines, you can go out for groceries and other necessities. You may also go out for some exercise.

But there are no clear guidelines across every province around where you can go, what you can do, or for how long.

"We know what we're not supposed to do," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Toronto.

"We wouldn't get into a group of people to go for a jog together." But he says with one other person, be it the person you live with or even a friend, as long as you keep that two-metre distance from each other, you're OK.

"As long as there is no contact, as long as you maintain a two metre distance... I don't see why that would be an issue."

But that distance is crucial, says Dr. Zain Chagla, another infectious diseases specialist, from St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

"Even friends who live in different houses are exposed to different people," he said. "And so their risk of having the infection is going to be very different than someone who's living at home with you." So, it's safer to exercise with someone you live with.

How far can you go?

In the past week, France tightened its rules around going out for exercise, ordering people to go out alone, within one kilometre of home, for a maximum of one hour, once a day. [Can you imagine this? It's akin to segregation status in correctional facilities, and pretty much rules out cycling—in France!]

Chagla doesn't believe such a strict order is necessary in Canada, but he understands the thinking behind it.

"I don't think there should be a limit on physically how many times you need to be outdoors," he said, "But I think, you know, being close to home or at least knowing the routes you're going [to take] is probably reasonable."

He says if you are going for a run, for example, map out the route in your head. Make sure you will be able to keep that distance between yourself and others — maybe be able to cross over to the other side of the street, or run on someone's lawn to avoid being too close with a stranger.

It's the same with other activities like cycling.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: when is a ride a "group ride"?

Post by Magnus » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:22 pm

The article linked below provides sensible guidance on how far to stay away from others when on a bike - short version is farther than you would think! And I’m talking about when you encounter others out there, not group rides (which I view as currently verboten, and not just because I am in quarantine and spitefully want everyone to suffer with me)...

How much distance should you leave to the cyclist ahead in a time of pandemic?

https://road.cc/content/news/how-much-d ... ead-272229

Post Reply