It was great to see approximately 30 safety conscious RBCC members on the Waterfall “B” vehicle escorted ride today. Thanks to Anna Fortuna for being the tail safety car driver for us complete with Track pump, spare tubes etc. A very solid, safe, well behaved and much enjoyed ride. The ride will only get better but can I make these observations which will I hope will assist in that regard:
Nothing causes more dummy spits than delays from multiple punctures. Riders will start saying, “I have to get home – I have a such and such appointment to get to”, etc etc and ride off and leave the bunch. This happened on our inaugural outing plagued with 4 punctures. Punctures are inevitable but they can be significantly decreased if certain procedures are adopted. Firstly DO NOT use patched tubes. If you are doing a 90km ride with your mates, make sure you have new tubes in your tyres. Our sponsor Bike Bug has them from about $5. Surely that is not going to break the bank. Secondly, studies have shown that 80% of punctures happen in the final 20% wear of a tyre. It is false economy riding your tyres to the canvas. You will spend more on tubes than if you had thrown the tyre away and bought a new one. Leave your old scrubber tyres at home too and buy a couple of decent tyres for the Waterfall ride. Again Rocky has decent tyres under $50, perhaps even $40?? Waterfall is a fast ride, especially the sprint at the end. Think about your own safety and that of your club mates. You don’t want to be having blow outs at 70kph down the highway. Finally, check your tyre pressure before you go. You are going to get “Snake eye” punctures from underinflated tyres.
That was a general observation, now from some specific ones, some of which resulting from todays ride. Front riders wait till you are called over. The escort car will beep twice when they have secured the lane. Rear riders then call riders in front across. ALL riders should communicate “Wait” or “Over” to the riders in front of them so that the information is conveyed through the entire bunch.
Lead riders, when you overtake another bunch, DO NOT hook back in. Keep going in lane 2 and increase speed a little so that the overtaking maneuver is accomplished as quickly as possible. You should not move back to lane 1 until the rear riders of the bunch have passed the bunch that you are overtaking. Don’t forget also that we have a tail car that has to get in there as well.
DO NOT go through an amber light at the intersection near Waratah Park. If you are approaching and it is amber start slowing and stop at red. This intersection has a very short phasing and the lights had turned green for vehicles on the highway who then had to wait whilst half the bunch came through. Not only is this a possible source of angst for motorists, it is very dangerous.
If you are tired GET TO THE LEFT and wave following riders through. We had a situation today whereby some riders struggled on the hill as we turned right out of the aforementioned intersection. Admittedly, there was another cyclist (not in our group) who decided to stop right in the middle of the bike lane half way up the hill which caused pandemonium towards the back of our bunch. However the front of our bunch powered up that hill completely oblivious and weaker riders soft pedaled and completely blocked stronger riders trying to get through to the front bunch. I know that numerous riders including Gary Brouwer, Chris Wooldridge and myself had to chase for about half a kilometres before we got back in contact with the lead bunch. You will recall that I said, from Waratah Park onwards if you get dropped, the bunch does not stop and wait. You can turn around further down towards Waterfall and pick the bunch up on the way back to the service station, but please don’t make yourself an obstacle for stronger riders trying to stay in contact with the front riders.
The paceline on the way back was good. Things to remember: Don’t crash through, when the rider in front of you rolls to the left. Keep the speed constant or increasing ever so slightly. When you roll to the left, immediately back off (start to soft pedal) to allow the rider coming through to actually get passed you and roll to the left himself. If you are the last rider coming through, tell the rider on your left that you are, so that he can jump on your wheel and not have to close some huge gap after having waited for a rider who isn’t there.
Finally, by all means keep the pace solid on the way home (from 7-11 servo to Supa Centre) but be mindful that you may have to back off a touch if you get calls that riders are starting to drop off the back of the bunch. This is especially the case when we get through the Boeing Tunnel and have to negotiate the dangerous section of Southern Cross Drive. We are essentially at the end of the ride so speed should be backed off here to ensure that the bunch is all nice and tight with the escort car protecting them immediately behind from the Airport Tunnel right up to the Supa Centre.
Other than that, thanks for a fabulous ride. Can’t wait to do it again next week.