Joined: 03 May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
So I have read a recent "discussion" on the Events side of the board and thought some comments here may be more appropriate. First off, I want to say I am truly not trying to be an instigator for a heated debate. I am just trying to give my opinion for what it is worth (maybe nothing).
I have ridden and lead in a number of group riding situations since finding the Minnescoota scene in 2001 (note that includes pretty much anyone who posts here not just "Regulars"). I have found that as a rule most riders are very competent and respect the safety of both themselves and others when riding in a group. However, there are one or two that stand out as consistently riding in manner that puts them and others in the group at risk by riding in an unsafe manner. Note that I am not saying they have poor riding skills necessarily, rather that they have poor riding manners.
As someone participating in a group ride, I expect others to not put me in danger. If I feel that someone is, I see that I have three main options.
1) I can end my participaton in the ride at any time. Although this is always an option, it is not very appealing. If I wanted to ride alone, I wouldnít have gone for a group ride to begin with. If I find myself in this situation very often, I may not participate in any more group rides.
2) I can continue to ride and hope someone else speaks up or takes action to make things less dangerous. Unfortunately, this happens far too often. Few people speak up about this kind of stuff. However, if somone doesn't, the problem tends to only get worse.
3) I can ask the offender(s) to stop said unsafe thing and let them know why I am asking. If they choose not to comply, they are not only putting me at risk, but everyone else riding with them as well. At this point the "group" does have some collective say in my opinion. If others agree that the offender(s) are putting the group at risk, the offender(s) should not be allowed to continue. If they wonít bow out gracefully, the best thing to do may be to just end the ride and continue another day. It sucks to have to have it come to that, but I don't advocate either the offender(s) refusal or whatever physical action may be used to prevent them from continuing.
If someone has had the #3 option exercised on them as an offender, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are "evil." It also doesn't have to mean that they are banished for life from whatever "group" there is. I can think of 2 such riders that have gotten into that situaton and later made amends. They have sincerely apologized, committed to group ride safely in the future and have delivered. However, if someone doesn't acknowledge their behavior has put others at risk and ride in a safe manner (or worse yet they revel in the fact that they are seen as a dangerous rider) they have no business being allowed by anyone in the group to participate.
This year there has been a particularly high number of accidents on group rides compared to previous years. Honestly, that scares the shit out of me every time I am on one. The last thing I need is someone trying to tag along who gets a thrill out of being "evil." Either they need to work (really hard) on understanding/addressing the concerns about them and gaining the trust of the people they claim they want to ride with, or they shouldn't bother showing up. Nothing good can come of it.
Joined: 23 Jan 2005
Location: NE Minneapolis
Thanks, Grant, for publicly saying what needed to be said. I suspect most of us feel this way but didn't speak up for whatever reason.
This year there has been a particularly high number of accidents on group rides compared to previous years.
I too have seen what I feel is an alarming increase in dangerous riding on the group rides this year. For me, it makes them no fun at all and I have participated less as a result. We seem to have a contingent of riders who enjoy displays of stupidity and revel in their ability to crash. While I fully support their choice to ride any way they choose when alone, I feel that as a community we need to adhere to standards for group rides.
Vintage car racers often participate under a (usually unwritten) "13 13" rule. One display of stupidity or contact with anything and you are on probation for the next 13 months. Another during probation and you are prohibited from participating for 13 months. This kind of approach keeps the incidents down.
yes. that was an ugly scene. Mostly accidental, but definitley not the habits of skilled riders.
I hope that my riding has not spooked anyone from going to group rides. I don't think it would, but i noticed that i've been doing a lot of leading the last few months...and the number of people at regulars rides is WAY DOWN from last year.
As far as reveling in crashing abilities. yeah, i do. i'm not dead and neither is anyone else because i "KNOW HOW" to crash.
If I have offended anyone with my "riding manners" or otherwise, please talk to me at the next group ride to my face and PLEASE DON'T talk shit on the internet.
I'm not pointing any fingers, i just want honest clarification to avoid this shit happening again.
thanks and i hope some of you are still riding...
Really well said, Grant. I think you speak for many of us, certainly me.
I'm amazed at the artful manner in which Matt, Trish, (the) Jeremy(s), Derrick, John, Nate, Jeff, Brooke, and others I'm forgetting (sorry!) have gently guided this group into existence and breathed life and beauty into it.
They have managed to find a path that is both light-hearted and yet purposeful. It's a thankless job and one that (unfalrly) only gets comments when someone feels slighted. Perhaps the only value in an unsavory episode like we are now experiencing is that it makes us VALUE what has been laid down for us by the generosity and vision of others.
Local poet Roert Bly has commented that in group dynamics, "One 'NO' can be more powerful than 100 'YES'es" This is a sad and stupid thing when it happens. I'm all for making it galvanizing instead.
Three Cheers for the real REGULARS, strength to the NEW REGULARS
Joined: 03 May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Hmmm. The Silverwing incident seems to be in a class by itself. Although it ended up being not such a good idea, I also felt like the main person being put at risk was the rider. Yes, there were scores of innocent bystanders that could have been taken out if things went awry, but they were not on scooters for the most part and were probably in a position to get out of the way if need be.
As far as group rides; for the record there have not yet been any rides I skipped this year due to riding styles I felt were overly dangerous. (One partial exception being the midnight ride on Skooter Du which I did cut short after someone wedged themselves between a parked van and the curb. Somehow it caught up with me that hours of drinking followed by a group ride at night maybe isnít where my personal level of riding comfort is.) What I have done on a number of group rides is cringe at what I consider not necessarily dangerous riding, but what I will just call sloppy. It didnít make me bail, but it did cause me to want to be at either the very front or the very back of the group. I guess I just need my space more than some.
Donít get me wrong, I am not claiming to be a perfect rider by any means. But, what seems to work best in my book is staggered riding; something I have not seen much of this year. Staggered riding provides the most personal space for each rider to avoid hazards, etc. while also maintaining the fun of riding in a group. Riding ďCHiPsĒ style (side by side) may be fine for some, but it probably isnít a safe way to ride; especially when you may not know the skill and style of the rider who sidles up next to you. I also donít think that just because a ride is going at slower parkway speeds that there is any reason to be any less cautious. Yeah, admittedly I am more cautious than most. Even still I think staggered riding for a group is really the only reasonable way to go. Again, this is all just my opinion.
Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Longfellow, Minneapolis
I definitely agree that riding responsibly in a group is important. Many of us, myself included, are new riders who are still figuring things out, and that sometimes means we make stupid mistakes: like when I locked up my rear wheel when a cop tried to cut off Robert (the cop didn't hit us, I didn't hit the cop, and it all worked out okay). I've got 2800 accident-free miles now (knock on wood) and the MSF training behind me, but it takes a long time to know how to react well in bad situations - and things can get really bad really quick in a group environment.
That said, I've only seen a couple isolated incidents of something stupid being done that put people at risk - maybe I've just got a less keen eye than Grant, but I've found the people of Minnescoota to be, by and large, good, safe, competent riders and it's been a pleasure becoming active in "the scene". And I think that all the riders who went to Duluth, for example, executed excellent group manners and made for a really great group riding environment.
The thread was started while I've been away (I'm in Barcelona right now); is this thread in reference to a specific event, or just a general thought?
Thanks all! I have some exciting scooter sightings to tell about - in my other thread, when I have the time...
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