Author Topic: Elephant in the room  (Read 5495 times)

Kim

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #25 on: 14 April, 2024, 08:11:13 pm »
I don't think I could average 14mph over a reasonable distance other than on a race track...

Pedal Castro

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #26 on: 15 April, 2024, 05:05:09 am »
When I ran a "beginners/social" group I specifically said speed of the slowest and for those that asked I said expect 12-14mph depending on who turns up. The group was usually 4-5 and the distance around 20-30 miles.

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #27 on: 15 April, 2024, 09:21:21 am »
The name '14 mph' is just a name, aspirational, but nothing more. I suppose we generally achieve an average of between 12 - 14.  The club could revert back to the naming convention of the early 2000s; A, B, C, D, etc, etc, but that is for the committe to decide.



citoyen

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #28 on: 15 April, 2024, 09:47:00 am »
I don't think I could average 14mph over a reasonable distance other than on a race track...

But for a racing club, it’s a fairly relaxed pace.

It sounds like the root of the problem is these women not understanding the nature of the club. And their insensitivity to the problem they are causing to other members.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #29 on: 15 April, 2024, 09:57:21 am »
The other thing is how good people are at drafting and sitting in groups. If you can do that well then you are more comfortable in a group that's going faster than you can go on your own.

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #30 on: 15 April, 2024, 10:06:09 am »
Many other activity clubs will have a range of categories of ability, which will usually go right down to a beginners or social level.  In that last group the emphasis will be on participating, and there being a space for everyone pretty much regardless of ability.

Road cycling is possibly unusual in having clubs which don't maintain that "bottom rung".  It would be very very unusual for a running group for example, to not support this social / beginner run. 

I fully understand how you ended up in the situation but with 20/20 hindsight the best time to clarify would have been much sooner after they first joined in?

Kim

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #31 on: 15 April, 2024, 10:55:10 am »
The name '14 mph' is just a name, aspirational, but nothing more.

Well that's just stupid, isn't it?

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #32 on: 15 April, 2024, 12:13:33 pm »
I fully understand how you ended up in the situation but with 20/20 hindsight the best time to clarify would have been much sooner after they first joined in?
Yes, that is very true. I was just trying to be helpful in encouraging them to experience club cycling.

redshift

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #33 on: 16 April, 2024, 01:16:59 pm »
...I was just trying to be helpful in encouraging them to experience club cycling.

Frankly, it's why I ride alone 99% of the time.  I choose to ride at my own pace for my own reasons and don't expect anyone else to match it regardless of whether I'm faster or slower.  "Club cycling," for me, is everything I don't want in a ride.  I'm not competitive, or racing, and I rarely want to talk to anyone.  In fact I recall an incident written about in the ACF days where a club 'chased down' and laughed at a solo cyclist that they didn't know simply because he'd had the temerity to ride past them wearing a team kit, which was all considered great fun by the group.  That's appalling, and another reason I don't like clubs.

You did the right thing.  If they want social bimbles, they need to find a group that accommodates that.  If they want to join a road club, and the club says "Here are our criteria" then they should meet them, or they could start their own club.*  They clearly don't wish to accommodate your established criteria so frankly they're not compatible with your group, and if they're incapable of understanding that I wouldn't see their 'disapproval' as a loss at all.  They need to work out what they want from their cycling and do that.



*Which would be another club I wouldn't join.  See, it's easy!
L
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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #34 on: 16 April, 2024, 02:00:50 pm »
Many other activity clubs will have a range of categories of ability, which will usually go right down to a beginners or social level.  In that last group the emphasis will be on participating, and there being a space for everyone pretty much regardless of ability.

Road cycling is possibly unusual in having clubs which don't maintain that "bottom rung".  It would be very very unusual for a running group for example, to not support this social / beginner run. 

I fully understand how you ended up in the situation but with 20/20 hindsight the best time to clarify would have been much sooner after they first joined in?

ERm, it was a few years ago (heck, more than 20, pre Park Run), but I went out for a run with a York club. Carefully checked with them that they accommodated new/returning slow runners. Me and a guy recovering from knee surgery were new.

Set off together. After a couple of km, the leader asked if person X would mind accompanying the two newbies on a gentler run.

9km (total) later, we got back. Knee man was reduced to walking multiple times, I kept having to call our lead back. Never joined them again.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #35 on: 16 April, 2024, 02:06:32 pm »
@Redshift, thank your for your comments. Two of the three ladies have written to the club, complaining that they weren't being catered for (in terms at riding at their pace  :jurek: . The third sent me a text, wanting to "clear the air". She wanted to know if she was still able to ride with the group. I told her that nobody said she could not  ::-) .

She said her first joy was still running and with her full-time job, she didn't have the time for
more cycling and that some members in our group (the slowest) had electric-assist bike*. I said that is fine and that they were using them on the hilly ride. I also pointed out that cycle club members have cycling as their first joy, have full-time jobs and are more likely to be a stronger cyclist than she was.

Fair enough, she took it on board and said she'd learn from the points myself and the club road captain put to her.

As I previously mentioned, my act of trying to get these ladies into our cycling club (after they expressed an interest back in May 2023 has backfired and slapped me in the face).

* None of her business, as it doesn't affect her.

citoyen

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #36 on: 16 April, 2024, 04:19:13 pm »
As I previously mentioned, my act of trying to get these ladies into our cycling club (after they expressed an interest back in May 2023 has backfired and slapped me in the face).

Well, at least one of them has shown an interest in clearing the air, which is positive.

I hope you get the backing of the club over this in their response to the complaints. You need them to take this out of your hands, wouldn't be fair to leave you to deal with it single-handedly.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #37 on: 16 April, 2024, 06:31:29 pm »

As I previously mentioned, my act of trying to get these ladies into our cycling club (after they expressed an interest back in May 2023 has backfired and slapped me in the face).


Well, at least one of them has shown an interest in clearing the air, which is positive.

I hope you get the backing of the club over this in their response to the complaints. You need them to take this out of your hands, wouldn't be fair to leave you to deal with it single-handedly.

The thing is, I mentioned it to members of the committee several weeks ago. But I think it was
up to me to sort it out.

The wife of the road captain rides is in our slowest group and she has (I discovered on Saturday)
previously mentioned it to him, but he and other members of the committee did not realise the
severity of the issue.

I think the problem goes back a few years. The slower end of the club was struggling; trying
to find someone to lead that ride was always problematic. It was seen as a "poison chalice" when
one of the faster riders was asked to sacrifice a ride to lead the slower group.

During a committee meeting they came up with the idea of having one person lead on a regular
basis, who would be a focal point for newer riders and would have the autonomy to choose a route
and cafe destination that did not have to align with the other other faster rider groups.
The name was changed to "Social Group", to make it more appealing to newer riders and help
boost the slower end.

In the opinion of everyone at the club it has has been a success. But with different road captains
since then, the latest one decided that 'Social' was implying that the slowest group was being
seen as a separate entity to the rest of the road scene, so a name change was appropriate,
hence the (aspirational) speed moniker being adopted.

The committee members are now in the process of replying to the two disgruntled ladies and professionally rebutting their criticisms.

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #38 on: 16 April, 2024, 07:30:24 pm »
Our 'social ride' is advertised as for those who can maintain 14mph.  Given that basic requirement, it's no-drop in that we'll stop for any mechanicals or other problems.  If the mechanicals are too frequent, a word might be had.

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #39 on: 17 April, 2024, 07:57:26 am »
I’ve never been a member of a cycling club* (here isn’t the same!). But it seems to me that “x mph” is a better name than “social”. The latter implies being able to have a conversation, but that’s very dependent on fitness and comfort with group riding. In running “easy” runs are much more of a thing than I perceive in cycling clubs, but I’ve certainly been running with colleagues where the pace was easy for them and my fastest run of the week. I’d also expect some mingling in a social event, but that apparently wasn’t happening.

I’m glad there’s some bridge building and not just you sorting it out alone going on.

* the uniforms and emphasis on competition aren’t really my thing

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #40 on: 17 April, 2024, 08:35:45 am »
The third sent me a text, wanting [/size]to "clear the air". She wanted to know if she was still able to ride with the group. I told her that nobody said she could not  ::-) .

Interesting.  there's obviously a slight difference of feeling amongst the three riders. After the dust has settled, this lady has gone away and thought, 'maybe I could keep up if I wanted too', either that or she fancies the idea of trying too. The carrot of a challenge.

Very difficult to please everybody. You have to have some kind of framework. It's easier up the chain of course as the less capable riders in the faster groups simply drop down to the next group, no problem......until you get to the 'social' group, then there's nowhere to go, other than to drop out! The same works in reverse of course. Faster riders ascend through the groups until they get to the top, then get hacked off because other riders are not quick enough to ride at their pace...and so leave!

I've never been part part of a cycling club, never liked the idea, it doesn't really suit my 'loner' nature, although I'm sure my riding would have improved a lot had I allowed myself to be.
Garry Broad

rogerzilla

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #41 on: 17 April, 2024, 09:11:44 am »
14mph probably qualifies as social, although it's not hanging about.  Our weekend cafe rides vary between 12-15mph depending on season, and include psyclepaths and a bit of pootling.  The "normal" club runs I went on in the 90s, which were a bit of a stretch for the first few weeks, almost always averaged 15.5mph.  However, 15.5mph means about 18mph on a flat clear road.  This is slow enough that you can sit sheltered at the back and eat, but fast enough that you need to put in a bit of effort if you're at the front.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

ravenbait

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #42 on: 17 April, 2024, 09:58:29 am »
1. Running fitness isn't the same as cycling fitness. I say that as a triathlete. I'm shit at running. Super slow. I hate it. The bike is my best part. No amount of training can turn someone who has a natural facility for one but not the other into someone who excels at both. If you do excel at both, may I recommend a trial with one of the national multisport teams.

2. This sounds a lot like a mismatch between expectations and reality, compounded by reality being altered to meet expectations for a period.

3. The way you say ladies throughout makes me wonder what the gender balance of the club is. Were you going out of your way to be welcoming because the club is heavily skewed towards male and you were trying to address an imbalance? Might that have led you to persevere with them longer than you would have done had they been men? It really jumped out to me that you refer to your existing club members in a way that makes it impossible to determine the gender (other than the chairman's wife, whose identity is given in relation to the chairman, presumably her husband, rather than being "an existing female club member" or even just "an existing member" who also rides in the slow group, and the chairman is her husband so she would have had opportunity to mention it to him).

4. The ride was previously called the Social? Was it called that when they joined? If so, that comes with an expectation it's about pootling along having a chat, rather than trying to achieve a particular speed. It also suggests it's a group that even the racing snakes could join if they didn't want to beast themselves but wanted to focus more on the social aspect of club membership for a change. If the ride is a social ride, it shouldn't be about keeping up. Or, if it requires keeping up, then expectations should be set at the start. "Yes, we have a social ride, but this is a racing club, so even our social rides average around 14-16mph (23-25kph), which is not slow, and you would need to keep up with that. We might wait for you the first time so you don't get lost on your come and try, but if that's too fast for you, may I recommend joining a local Breeze ride? I can give you the details."

5. Of course they objected to the name change. If I joined a club that had a social ride, where the group waited for me, where the focus was apparently on spending time together, and then changed the group to having a target speed, which wasn't what I signed up for and which I knew I wouldn't be able to meet, I'd be upset about not being asked my opinion as well. It sounds to me like they thought they were part of the club but the rest of the club always treated them as the newbies and not proper members.

6. Cycling clubs have a reputation for being aggressive and niche-ridden, and unwelcoming to women. This won't have helped. However, if you have a club website, I think you could probably help yourselves a lot by having a comprehensive FAQ that explains what all the different groups are, what the expectations are for each, and clearly setting out the drop policy. Base this on what the various rides actually do, rather than what they are expected to do, or what they might be prepared to do until they get fed up.

7. I don't think this is your fault, but it's not the women's fault, either. They appear to have developed a misunderstanding of the club based on their initial experience. It is most likely not the club for them. At that age, they are either menopausal or post-menopausal, and that really affects your ability to get fit for speed and hills. Most women don't know how to maintain their fitness through that time of their life, never mind increase it. Even if those run times are accurate, cycling is a whole different kettle of haddock (see 1), and it would take concentrated effort, decent nutrition, focused cross-training, and determination to go from being an easy pootler to keeping pace with a faster group, particularly if group riding skills are also lacking. I feel for them. They need to join a club that is specifically geared towards people like them, and that means finding one that matches what they want to get out of it -- I suspect for the two who are most upset, this was really about safety in numbers, not having to think of their own routes, not having to think about navigation, and having something to get them on their bikes at a specific time rather than doing something else instead.

"Could I join your club?" should always be answered with, "Well, what are your goals in joining a club? We may or may not be the club for you."

Sam
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Flâneur

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #43 on: 17 April, 2024, 10:23:43 am »
Some people are just inveterate pootlers on a bike, regardless of other athletic abilities, and it sounds like for at least 2 of the 3 concerned here, that's the case. Given the stated aims of the group (and the aims of the other group members), it's the wrong milieu for them.

It sounds like they value the spade work of someone else choosing a route etc. If this is in the UK, maybe direct them to a CTC social group or one of the British Cycling Breeze rides?

Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #44 on: 17 April, 2024, 10:48:38 am »
My use of the term "ladies" was in no way derogatory and was just a discriptor to identify them
(erhaps my O-level standard English should have been better). Our club has a healthy percentage
of female riders who all ride strongly within their respective groups.

Upon joing our club, all new members are provided with a link to our website, which outlines expections and repsponsibilites for everyone who rides with us. We hope that they will take the time to read it.


I'll drop out of this thread now as I'm becoming stressed having to justify the way I acted.


ravenbait

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #45 on: 17 April, 2024, 11:01:58 am »
You don't have to justify your actions. I assumed the point of posting was to see if there was a way to avoid such situations in future. Apologies for contributing to any stress you have felt arising from this difficult situation.

Sam
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Kim

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #46 on: 17 April, 2024, 11:15:36 am »
But it seems to me that “x mph” is a better name than “social”.

Agreed, as long as it actually goes at x mph, rather than being 'aspirational' or 'self-deprecating'.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #47 on: 17 April, 2024, 12:01:29 pm »
As long as it makes clear how that speed is measured (cruising on the flat? average over the whole ride? does it include breaks, audax style, or only moving time?), maybe so. But even then, the same group of cyclists are likely achieve different speeds on a hilly ride than a flat one (and noting De Sisti lives in Cheltenham, between the Cotswolds and the Vale of Gloucester) and at different times of year. So if a a ride is actually social, stopping at the top of every hill, letting people have a breather, plenty of cafe breaks, etc) then social might be a better name than x mph. They're indicative of different attitudes, rather than different speeds necessarily.
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citoyen

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #48 on: 17 April, 2024, 12:56:00 pm »
4. The ride was previously called the Social? Was it called that when they joined? If so, that comes with an expectation it's about pootling along having a chat, rather than trying to achieve a particular speed.

My understanding is that in cycling club terms, "social" simply means riding in a group with no specific training focus. Usually with a cafe stop. As opposed to "training" rides, which are often solo and usually purposeful (eg built around intervals, hill reps etc).

A group training ride will focus on aspects of group riding like echelons and through-and-off, whereas a social ride will have no expectations of anyone being obliged to take their turn on the front, for example.

There's no reason why you couldn't have a 20mph+ social ride.

Quote
Or, if it requires keeping up, then expectations should be set at the start. "Yes, we have a social ride, but this is a racing club, so even our social rides average around 14-16mph (23-25kph), which is not slow, and you would need to keep up with that. We might wait for you the first time so you don't get lost on your come and try, but if that's too fast for you, may I recommend joining a local Breeze ride? I can give you the details."

Agreed. The root of the problem is a misunderstanding of terms. Changing the name of the ride to 14mph might have been an attempt to realign perceptions of the nature of the ride but I'm not sure it is genuinely a more helpful designation because it doesn't address the ride's purpose - a 14mph could be a training ride (depending on riders' ability, ride structure and distance). There are probably better ways to address this issue.

Quote
It sounds to me like they thought they were part of the club but the rest of the club always treated them as the newbies and not proper members...
7. I don't think this is your fault, but it's not the women's fault, either. They appear to have developed a misunderstanding of the club based on their initial experience.

If the three of them were perpetually off the back of the group as De Sisti says, they really should have worked it out for themselves a bit sooner.

Quote
"Could I join your club?" should always be answered with, "Well, what are your goals in joining a club? We may or may not be the club for you."

Agreed.

Unfortunately, De Sisti has become a victim of his good intentions.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

T42

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Re: Elephant in the room
« Reply #49 on: 17 April, 2024, 01:23:47 pm »
And if you do join a club and find it too fast, either bugger off or speed up but don't expect groups to slow down just for you.

We have two kinds of club here, BTW: clubs that aim at races, sportifs & so forth, and touring clubs.  The rides the latter put on usually have short, medium and long options and you do whichever one you like at your own speed. Strikes me the three elephants ladies in question would do better in such a club.
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