Author Topic: Riding Solo or Teaming UP  (Read 2778 times)

Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« on: August 28, 2018, 10:20:03 pm »
This will, hopefully, be my first time entering PBP. I generally prefer riding in company and think it offers some benefits. However on some of my more recent rides I've started to see potential drawbacks as well.

I'd be interested to hear other riders views on riding PBP solo, or as a group with one or more other riders.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 10:30:23 pm »
It was an issue before mobile phones, but you can have a loose association with a group or an individual, and be able to find them. It helps to carry a route sheet, to understand what it means, and to know where you are.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 10:40:44 pm »
Loose association is a good option, ride with each other when it suits, keep an eye on each other but with the understanding that you'll ride separately when your speeds differ.

Riding in lockstep means going slower than you want some of the time but provides additional moral support. You tend not to interact so much with strangers.

Riding solo (actually hooking up with folk on the road as it suits) is a good way to make new friends. I've collected lifelong memories at a lot of long brevets that way.

PBP has over 6000 entrants. There are lots of opportunities to ride with others.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 11:42:54 pm »
I've ridden PBP and LEL solo - and met a range of people along the way. When it's been with others you go at the pace of the slowest, which can be frustrating.

As long as you're welcome to interact, and even in my catastrophic French I'll try, then you'll be fine. A tag on your bike at the back with the British flag on (YACF did a good one with real and user names as well last PBP) helps.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2018, 12:20:56 am »
I've done PBP and LEL once and never entered them with an intention of riding with anyone in particular.

On LEL I ended up riding with a YACFer within 20km of the start and we rode the entire rest of the thing together. There were a few times when I waiting for him whilst he slept and I could of continued and there were (certainly more) times when he had to deal with me messing up my sleep and having to wait for me whilst he could have continued. If at any time I'd thought I was really holding him back (especially if it could have jeopardised his ride) I would have told him to go on, I probably did make that offer several times and he stuck with me and helped pull me through my bad patches.

On PBP I rode most of the first 24h on my own (although a few hours with one YACFer), then hooked up with one fellow Brit for 36h or so, then another YACFer for 24h or so, plus a couple of other YACFers between two controls later on, but did a good day and a bit completely on my own. Most of the arrangements fell apart at a control where we'd have different expectations and plans ("I'm going to bounce it", "I've got to sleep", "OK, thanks and good luck, enjoy the rest of the ride", etc). There's so many people around on PBP that you can find a group (and some words in a common language) to see you through to the next control or beyond.

Planning on riding in a specific group from the start could easily go wrong for so many reasons, but it depends on the people, I've known groups who've done it successfully with no problems. An understanding of what happens if people do start to really lag behind and jeopardise the rides of the others needs to be discussed in advance.

I know I've "accidentally" lost someone I was supposed to be riding with in order to save my own ride.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2018, 08:25:28 am »
If you do find yourself riding with someone along the way, make sure you check what time they started. In 2015 I hooked up with someone whose company I have enjoyed on several rides before but found his pace unusually relaxed. It took a while (I blame sleep deprivation) for me to clock that he had started a few hours after me and so had more time in hand.  I had to pedal hard to get back on to my own schedule.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2018, 12:54:45 pm »
I've always ridden PBP solo.  I tend to do that anyway as (a) I ride better in hilly terrain than flat terrain and that tends to stress a partnership and (b) over 1200km I have periods where I'm not going very well which rarely coincide with a fellow rider's bad patch - which also stresses a partnership.  However, on PBP, I've rarely ridden on my own for long periods, I've always found myself in groups or meeting a fellow AUK, which has met my needs for company.  More so on this ride with 5000 starters than any other.  And half the starters have reasonable English, once they've recognised my linguistic limitations.  So echo DC Lane's point above.
Eddington Numbers 123 (imperial), 168 (metric) 516 (furlongs)  110 (nautical miles)

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2018, 01:09:28 pm »
It really does depend on your riding partner. I have ridden most of my long brevets with Will, but I am sure frustrations have arisen on both sides. (like LEL 2017 when he didn't see that I had stopped for a wee and carried on up the road trying to chase me down, while I was behind seeing him disappear up the road thinking he was happy to drop me! 20km later when he phoned to see where I was, he was surprised to learn I was only just passing the bus shelter with the library in it!).  Fortunately, these frustrations have not enough to be a real problem. However, frustrations are multiplied massively when you are tired and could reach breaking point easily. The benefit of riding with a partner is that there is someone to pull/push you through your inevitable bad patches.

The advantage of riding solo is that you are always going to be moving at your preferred rate, but the mental fortitude required is greater as you don't have anyone to tell you 'It's not a good idea to stop now'!. You also have to be comfortable in your own company for long periods.

The big brevets have the advantage of many riders making and then dropping loose on-the-road partnerships without any offence being taken.

YMMV
The older you get, the better you get, unless you are a banana.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2018, 01:47:33 pm »
the mental fortitude required is greater as you don't have anyone to tell you 'It's not a good idea to stop now'!.

Beware the contagion can go the other way "I feel rubbish, let's both stop for a bit."

There's also the potential for multiplication of faffing at stops - as each of you alternately remembers one more thing you wanted to do/fettle/eat before you set off.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2018, 03:54:13 pm »
Is it also fair to say - without being maudlin - that as long as there is sufficient time in hand, a ride - even the PBP - is just a ride and soon forgotten whereas friendships are enduring?

I also find I am faster riding with others than going solo.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2018, 10:20:09 am »
I've travelled down and ridden with friends a few times but went solo in 2015 for a variety of reasons.

Might just be me but it felt like a real sense of freedom as I travelled at my own pace and moved in and out of groups stopping for as little or as much as I wanted.   You also talk to so many more people that way.   On the last afternoon I was in a small group with a Canadian, an Australian and a US rider.   Later on in the day I was chainganging with 4 French riders and tearing along.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2018, 01:24:13 pm »
Train & plan to do it all alone but take advantage of any company you find along the way.  Long climbs and dark nights go by faster if you've got someone to natter with. Easier to stay awake, too.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2018, 06:10:55 pm »
I have done half of my 1000km rides with awheel man and if you pick the right one it works, i find the biggest problem is when you try to ride as a group for the event.

So i did waw 2100km with a rider( you can probably guess from the next bit) his job was to find the pubs and mine was to make sure we left!
Just done two 1500km more or less back to back no problem with Veloboy  :thumbsup:

On the flip side i have gone through a few wheelmen :facepalm: mrs postie only remarked on this. The other day.
Currently i am going into pbp with no wheelman :'(

Conclusion,  its like sex much better with a partner,  but you can get by on your own  :demon:

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2018, 06:30:27 pm »
We did it on a tandem, which is another level of commitment.

Thankfully, the good times outnumbered the domestics.

"Good Times" = Pretty much everything that wasn't:
"Domestics" = When fboab couldn't speak because she had the event lurgy, and we couldn't get into our hotel in Fougeres, and when I stopped to do bike maintenance in the middle of the road in downtown Mamers.

mattc

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Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2018, 08:30:09 pm »
Easier to stay awake, too.
I'd say that's the No1 benefit of company.


(although it can be a massive downer when you're riding with a mono-syllabic zombie whose speed is graaaaaaaadually decreasing hour-by-hour, and who has nothing +ve to say about anything at all ... )
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2018, 12:28:37 am »
Improving your French would double your conversational opportunities. It's one of the ironies of PBP that the main groups that might have some French, other than half the Belgians, and a third of the Swiss, are the British and the Canadians.

The French have increasingly better English, but many nationalities can't understand their accent when speaking English. We can, as we are their neighbours. So you might find yourself translating French English into Indian English. Which I'd put down as a great experience, and a good reason not to stick with your mates for the the whole time. 

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2018, 11:44:07 am »
Only you know if it will work or not. I have ridden the last 3 PBPs (and most of my other long distance rides) with a partner. we have known each other for many years and all our quirks, strengths and weaknesses. On all 3, I either of us could have done it quicker on our own but equally, without support one or other of us may not have finished at all. I will be riding this one on my own so will see. 
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2018, 12:01:38 pm »
(although it can be a massive downer when you're riding with a mono-syllabic zombie whose speed is graaaaaaaadually decreasing hour-by-hour, and who has nothing +ve to say about anything at all ... )

I didn't make you.  You could have pressed on by yourself.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2018, 05:20:34 pm »
Great feedback,

Some of these thoughts echo my own slowly forming conclusions & there are other angles I hadn't considered.

I think I'm erring towards a solo/loose association approach.

My French vocabulary comprises ordering beer and asking for the door to be shut - I doubt I'll be fluent by next year ::-)

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2018, 08:57:06 pm »
I can say: "Avec vous une garage" because when motorcycling through France to Spain on my honeymoon I needed to park my bike in Chateauroux for the night at the hotel.  I felt pretty fluent then, so I'm all prepared for 2019.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2018, 10:06:55 pm »
A US friend remarked at Brest in 2011 that he found my English accent difficult, and interpreted it as French. It's easy to erect a protective barrier against the incomprehensible when you're too tired to take things in.

Some people can cope, and some can't. It's difficult to say which type you are before the experience. It's great to feel that you can cope with the culture shock, but having access to the familiar can be a lifesaver if you feel overcome.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2018, 11:27:20 pm »
I can say: "Avec vous une garage" because when motorcycling through France to Spain on my honeymoon I needed to park my bike in Chateauroux for the night at the hotel.  I felt pretty fluent then, so I'm all prepared for 2019.

"With you, a garage."

Blimey, that's romantic.

Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2018, 09:34:42 am »
I'm able to speak French, albeit comme un vache espagnol so am OK on that score, but not being someone who makes friends easily, I may pretend to not speak any. I'll more than likely do my own thing, dipping into company when I feel like it.  When the derealisation kicks in, I'll suddenly start wanting to bore to pants off some unsuspecting Randonneur.

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2018, 09:38:33 am »
like a spanish cow?  ??? ;D
I do find that slightly bizarre, I must admit.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Riding Solo or Teaming UP
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2018, 12:33:56 pm »
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!