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Destroyer of Motorcycles
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On a 47 mile group ride Saturday, a few folks spent some time in their aero bars. We had about 100 riders show up and after the first stop at the 10mile point, we broke into smaller groups of 15-20.

I spent most of the ride with 3 other riders when we split from the main body when a rider flatted (twice!). The group we were originally in had a nasty crash a few minutes after we dropped.

According to secondhand information, a rider near the front was in the aero bars and the road narrowed unexpectedly. He collided with the rider following. The crash resulted in concussion and broken collarbone for the aero bar rider.

Post-ride, it was a hot topic of discussion. I exchanged a few comments with an aero bars at-any-time-cause-I-can-handle-it rider.

My view: Aero bars have no place in group rides (exception being if it's a small group that regularly rides together, know each other and riding styles, etc).

His view: if a rider demonstrates they can handle their bike when in the aero bars, then it's no difference vs. riding on the bars (tops, drops, hoods).

My counterpoint: who judges whether a rider can handle their bike when in the aero bars?

The conversation quickly devolved at that point.

Previously, the group leader has specified that riding in the aero bars is not allowed. But hasn't been mentioned on the last few rides I've been on.

I reckon this conversation will be much like a chain lube thread or what seat is the best.

Still, I'm interested in views from other riders.
 

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dolomoto said:
His view: if a rider demonstrates they can handle their bike when in the aero bars, then it's no difference vs. riding on the bars (tops, drops, hoods).

Bikes don't handle as well in the aero bars and I don't want to be riding with someone with a self inflicted disadvantage. I'm willing to cut the person who needs to work on his bike handling some slack. So in my mind they are not the same at all.

Seeing as though any real aero bar riding doesn't allow drafting anyway it's not like they're getting any benefit from being there either so it just sounds selfish and lazy to want to use them in the middle of a group ride.
 

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I know a few guys who keep aero bars on their road bike and they know to stay out of the aeros during a group ride.

Bring a tri/TT bike to a group ride is usually a n00b move. I generally try to get away from them. Last time I had a guy with a TT bike in my group ride, he was more than a little twitchy and he was in front of me in the pace line. Taking double pulls was not fun.
 

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dolomoto said:
According to secondhand information, a rider near the front was in the aero bars and the road narrowed unexpectedly. He collided with the rider following.
How exactly did that happen? If the aerobar rider needlessly grabbed a handful of brakes and the rider behind ran into him, the crash might have had nothing to do with aerobars.
 

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It is my opinion, based on what I've seen, that those that complain the loudest about being able to ride aero bars on a group ride seldom can.
I've always given them a wide berth...stay away from me.
 

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Kai Winters said:
It is my opinion, based on what I've seen, that those that complain the loudest about being able to ride aero bars on a group ride seldom can.
I've always given them a wide berth...stay away from me.
Even the pros struggle on courses with a lot of cornering in a TTT, in case we forgot last year's TdF TTT, which seemed to be more of a blooper reel than a race. :p
 

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Destroyer of Motorcycles
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
FatTireFred said:
the aerobar rider was hit from behind?

No, well...sort of. AFAIK, when the road narrowed unexpectedly (his head was down when in the aero bars), he applied too much steering input (all too easy when in aero bars), swerved and slowed unexpectedly and collided with the rider behind him.

I think the discussion would be better served less by trying to dissect this mishap and more by viewpoints of group riding in aerobars.

Who's successul (no crashing!) when riding in a group using aero bars?
 

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I have a set of Syntace XXC aero bars I put on one of my bikes from time to time and I have used them on group rides occasionally. I usually only use them when I'm off the back on an extra fast ride and use them to "cheat" my way back to the pack. I've ridden and raced for over 30 years and I consider them to be somewhat of an "equalizer" when I'm riding with a pack of roadies half my age. If you choose to ride on them when you're 6 inches off the wheel in front of you, you're riding at your own peril. Although personally I don't think the brakes are any less accessible then they'd be if you were riding on the tops of your bars.
 

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Most every group ride has the same rule - stay off the extensions when you're with the group - for good reason.

Very few tt bars have brake levers, so it's just plain stupid to be on them when following a wheel, or in a group.

Funny thing, the riders that I personally know to be "good enough" on aero bars... won't ride them in a group ride. If they want TT practice they go out solo.
 

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dolomoto said:
My view: Aero bars have no place in group rides (exception being if it's a small group that regularly rides together, know each other and riding styles, etc).
When riding in a group you have a responsibility to keep the group safe. Aero boy is wrong and you are right.

If there is someone constantly on the areo bars who will not listen to the group leader I will simply leave the group.

I can only think of two people who I would ride with in a group that have aero bars on their bike. They are very good and they also know that aero bars are not to be used in a group so they stay out of the aero bars unless it is a small, intimate group of good riders that know each other.
 

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spastook said:
If you choose to ride on them when you're 6 inches off the wheel in front of you, you're riding at your own peril.Although personally I don't think the brakes are any less accessible then they'd be if you were riding on the tops of your bars.
Unfortunately, if you fall in the middle or front of the pack, it becomes our peril. I really don't care if someone makes mistakes and falls, but the problem becomes the fac that they have the potential for taking out other riders.
 

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dolomoto said:
I think the discussion would be better served less by trying to dissect this mishap and more by viewpoints of group riding in aerobars.
I disagree. Your crash description introduced this discussion about aero bars, but left it open if the rider on the aerobars was at fault or not.
 

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You can't use aero bars on our group rides. If anyone does they'll get yelled at immediately.
Aero bars are for riding alone.
 

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dolomoto said:
No, well...sort of. AFAIK, when the road narrowed unexpectedly (his head was down when in the aero bars), he applied too much steering input (all too easy when in aero bars), swerved and slowed unexpectedly and collided with the rider behind him.

I think the discussion would be better served less by trying to dissect this mishap and more by viewpoints of group riding in aerobars.

Who's successul (no crashing!) when riding in a group using aero bars?


Who's successful??? were you the guy on aerobars?

in most cases, aerobars in a peloton = chump move
but riding in group w/ head down = chump move as well
and who knows what was more the cause of the crash
 

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spastook said:
I have a set of Syntace XXC aero bars I put on one of my bikes from time to time and I have used them on group rides occasionally. I usually only use them when I'm off the back on an extra fast ride and use them to "cheat" my way back to the pack. I've ridden and raced for over 30 years and I consider them to be somewhat of an "equalizer" when I'm riding with a pack of roadies half my age. If you choose to ride on them when you're 6 inches off the wheel in front of you, you're riding at your own peril. Although personally I don't think the brakes are any less accessible then they'd be if you were riding on the tops of your bars.
as spade said, it definitely becomes the groups problem as well...

and who rides on the tops in the middle of a group? gimme a break...
 

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I've shown up for group rides with my TT bike...generally the day before a big event and I'm mostly on a recovery ride and will only ride for a while with the group. Other times it's because I'm doing nothing but riding my TT bike to be used to the position for big events (I'll ride nothing but my TT bike for a month or so leading up to the Championship races).

From the sound of the incident...it wasn't the rider with the aero bars fault...it was the guy behind him crossing wheels...which is big "No-No" when riding in a group. That rider wasn't looking ahead at the road conditions otherwise they would have known the road was narrowing and backed off before it narrowed.

From your description...the following rider was clearly at fault, not the lead rider in the aero bars.

For a total newb or a recreational rider, I wouldn't suggest having them use aero bars in a group ride...but if somebody races multiple TT's a year, races in TTT's with pacelines at 28+ mph and is very comfortable while on there TT bike and has "A Lot" of experience on it...I don't see a huge problem with them in a group ride.

If everybody else complains...then it's another issue though.

However, would anybody really complain if a local pro, Levi, L.A. etc. showed up to a group ride on their TT bike? I highly doubt it. Most would be jumping their wheel trying to catch a draft and it's this desire to hold the wheel of the rider on the TT bike that creates dangerous riding in most cases.
 

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cxwrench said:
and who rides on the tops in the middle of a group? gimme a break...
LOL...about half the pack on a regular basis...even in road races :blush2:
 

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When I've ridden with my local tri store group ride there are a number of riders with aero bars, but they tend to go off to the side by themselves when using the bars.

I've wondered about being in the drops. There are times with high wind or a sketchy group with small gaps opening up that I ride in my drops. If I felt that the advantage was minimal from a drafting perspective, I would stay on the hoods, but I really have no problem operating my brakes or shifters in the drops. And there are times when I go into the drops just to have a change in position (sometimes I'm more comforable in the drops) and wonder if this is considered an absolute no-no.
 
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