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This is one of those "didn't think it would be a problem" things, but: I did a group ride recently with a couple of thousand people who apparently ride once a year. The course is pretty easy by cyclist standards, but it does have two significant hills. On the longest one ("Heart Attack Hill," of course), probably half the riders were struggling in the big chainring, across the driveline or otherwise working a lot harder than they had to, cursing the hill and the event and the sport. In another spot, five or six miles of a narrow, rolling MUT, they were wobbling and crashing into each other and standing on the pedals while they tried to shift . . . just a horrible spectacle.
At a few points, riding next to people who were obviously hurting, I offered polite and reserved comments ("If you don't mind a suggestion, this would be easier if you shift down to the middle gear in front").
To a person, the lucky recipients of my advice were rude to a degree you rarely see except from people in Serious Cycling Jerseys and riding carbon frames: "If I knew how to ****ing shift, I'd do it" or "Who asked you?" or the always-popular, "**** you, ***hole."
My only interest is that they not hate cycling, because the more people out there, the safer it is for all of us. Anybody found a way to offer advice that doesn't piss off more people than it helps?
 

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perhaps...

"can I pass on a tip? My coach advises me to spin faster easier gears up to avoid muscle fatiuge, heck, it works for Lance..."

"cross gearing can wear out your cassette and chainrings really fast..."
of course fred has no idea what the hell you're talking about
 

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Deliciously Ironic
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That's a tough one...

sorry that your best intentions were so rudely rebuffed. Seems like this crowd of people aren't interesting in listening or learning, unfortunatley the sort of therapy they need has little to do with cycling. It's a no-win situation for you, primarily because it is not the environment for someone like you who is eager to help and share the joy of the sport.

A good read that may help you feel better: http://sheldonbrown.com/thons.html

Events like these are run on emotion; safety and sanity often take a backseat. Sounds like this one in particular is of that ilk, and the audience/riders are not there to become better cyclists but mere martyrs.

Avoid this ride and others like it.
 

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I rarely offer advice unless asked. If I'm asked, I tell folks what I'd do, not what they should do.

If I see riders struggling up a hill, and they see me riding up relatively easily, maybe they'll ask me how to do it. If they do, I'll tell'em. If not, I smile pleasantly, exchange a friendly greeting, and keep going.
 

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Safety Only

Mr. Versatile said:
I rarely offer advice unless asked...
On the rare occassions when I do T-Shirt rides I only offer advice when there is a safety issue such as a QR flopping around loosely.
 

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It's like teaching a pig to dance....

All it does is frustrate you and annoy the pig.

Riding a bike ain't that damn complicated. Anybody even vaguely interested in your advice would have already figgurd it out by watching any one of the few hundred people that passed them. There's nothing quite so uncommon as common sense.

Then again, there are likely a bunch of folks reading this who regularly ride their 52x12 at 30 rpm and wondering why they're always getting dusted. Just need those new titanium stem bolts - that'll do it.

Unsolicited advice is almost never taken well, particularly when (in the eyes of the recipient) the giver is a know-it-all poseur, which is how anyone with clipless pedals looks to this crowd.

The only thing to do is to provide a good example. Ride past swiftly and with pleasure. It's not until they figure out for themselves that it's not the sport, not the bike, and not the hill, but only their outlook that makes them miserable, that they can accept advice well. Until then, "the sport" is as well off without them.
 

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Just Riding Along
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I've had a little luck ...

beginning by the casual comment - "Hey: how's it going?"

If the response is encouraging, then "You look like you're sweating, struggling, working hard, etc..."

Then, if encouraged, "Would you like a suggestion that might help you out?

etc.

This kind of thing is not possible when the newbie is sweating up Heart Attack Hill in the big ring.

It's a lot of work and kind of time consuming, too much so to do very often. You've got to pick your situations carefully, or just take a pass, as others have mentioned.

The key is a low key approach. No one likes being publically humiliated, even though the humiliation is only in the eye of the newbie and not intended by the roadie.
 

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I just tell other riders that I don't know crap.. Then they never bother to ask me, and I never feel obligated to offer suggestions... Then they watch me ride, and become fully aware that I dont' know crap.
 

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I think Keepon has the right idea, and it begins with the fact that he actually has empathy for the newbies. I do rides all the time in which there are very new, and often overmatched, riders participating. I always engage them in conversation first, which takes away they're perception that I'm a poseur who's just trying to show them up. Then I ask them if they want a tip that will make getting up the hill far more easy. I've helped people learn to shift, to raise their seats, to put more air in their tires, and countless other things -- all without a trace of rudeness from them. It can be done. Just remember: you were a newbie once.
 

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It's like teaching a pig to dance....
All it does is frustrate you and annoy the pig.
No no no no:

"Never wrestle with a pig in the mud- you get dirty and the pig likes it"

Charity rides- unless asked stay well away from folks. Group rides, local events- the "how is it going?" "Great day for a ride" openers usually will let me know the receptiveness for knowledge transfer.

:)
 

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Coolhand said:
No no no no:

"Never wrestle with a pig in the mud- you get dirty and the pig likes it"

Charity rides- unless asked stay well away from folks. Group rides, local events- the "how is it going?" "Great day for a ride" openers usually will let me know the receptiveness for knowledge transfer.

:)
hmmm
at my last charity ride, the habitat 500 (www.habitat.org) i didnt know like half the stuff i know now (ie cadence, i knew what the right cadence felt like, but i thought i was doing sub 60, till i was riding next to a woman with cadence and she was like "wow you spin really well, i'm doing 100 up this hill and your legs are going like 10rpm faster")

every time you passed someone, you said hi, and they'd offer suggestions, or you'd offer suggestions, it was really constructive... the only time i ever got snapped at was by my ride partner when he was riding behind me up a 12% or so grade, and after a mile i decided to drop into granny gear, and hit the wrong lever, taking it up to 3rd ring... "WHAT THE [email protected]!% ARE YOU DOING?!"... then again i was thinking the same thing :p

maybe the longer charity rides are more friendly about htat? (534 miles, 7 days, last day being 27 miles)

i have no idea, ive never been on a one day charity ride, i'm just offering my insight on the charity rides.

also this raises a question for me: was my ride an exception? like, one person total was wearing bike shorts... for the multi-day events is that unusual? or is it only the single day ~20 milers that have people out in jeans?

btw sorry for not using capitals et al, my arm got messed up running, its in a soft cast, and i scream every time i reach for the shift button...
 

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Constructive criticism is usually best led off with a complement such as " That was some nice bike handling to dodge that hole but next time try to point it out and avoid hitting the brakes and swerving into the rest of the paceline"
 

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I have the same problem when I give advice on the road. Of course, I usually start out with " Hey, Dil-head".
 

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Advice to novices.

I usually try to ignore, but if the newbie is really struggling and a disgrace to watch, for the sake of preserving dignity in road cycling, I will approach the victim and demonstrate the correct gear or technique, after trying to mimic their lack of proper technique, along with a dash of hyperbolic humor. Of course, I get some rejection and vulgar expressions.
Cory said:
This is one of those "didn't think it would be a problem" things, but: I did a group ride recently with a couple of thousand people who apparently ride once a year. The course is pretty easy by cyclist standards, but it does have two significant hills. On the longest one ("Heart Attack Hill," of course), probably half the riders were struggling in the big chainring, across the driveline or otherwise working a lot harder than they had to, cursing the hill and the event and the sport. In another spot, five or six miles of a narrow, rolling MUT, they were wobbling and crashing into each other and standing on the pedals while they tried to shift . . . just a horrible spectacle.
At a few points, riding next to people who were obviously hurting, I offered polite and reserved comments ("If you don't mind a suggestion, this would be easier if you shift down to the middle gear in front").
To a person, the lucky recipients of my advice were rude to a degree you rarely see except from people in Serious Cycling Jerseys and riding carbon frames: "If I knew how to ****ing shift, I'd do it" or "Who asked you?" or the always-popular, "**** you, ***hole."
My only interest is that they not hate cycling, because the more people out there, the safer it is for all of us. Anybody found a way to offer advice that doesn't piss off more people than it helps?
 

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gotta be oblique

Struggling rider to Eric as he's passing up hill: "boy, you sure make that look easy" (usually said with more than a tinge of envy).
Eric: "yea, low gears are cool. bye!"
 

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I've found it helpful not to offer advise.

Instead, I work up a conversation with some kinda compliment, like "hey nice bike", then sneak in the thing I want to "offer" advise on and the conversation continues...


....the newbs wont know what hit em. When they do, you've dropped em already (jk)
 

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your advise may not be necessary.

Newbies may not be comfortable spinning at high rpm. Spinning takes training to get used to, or one could rock uncomfortably. It might suit them better to pedal at a cadence they are used to, even though it means more physical exertion.



Cory said:
This is one of those "didn't think it would be a problem" things, but: I did a group ride recently with a couple of thousand people who apparently ride once a year. The course is pretty easy by cyclist standards, but it does have two significant hills. On the longest one ("Heart Attack Hill," of course), probably half the riders were struggling in the big chainring, across the driveline or otherwise working a lot harder than they had to, cursing the hill and the event and the sport. In another spot, five or six miles of a narrow, rolling MUT, they were wobbling and crashing into each other and standing on the pedals while they tried to shift . . . just a horrible spectacle.
At a few points, riding next to people who were obviously hurting, I offered polite and reserved comments ("If you don't mind a suggestion, this would be easier if you shift down to the middle gear in front").
To a person, the lucky recipients of my advice were rude to a degree you rarely see except from people in Serious Cycling Jerseys and riding carbon frames: "If I knew how to ****ing shift, I'd do it" or "Who asked you?" or the always-popular, "**** you, ***hole."
My only interest is that they not hate cycling, because the more people out there, the safer it is for all of us. Anybody found a way to offer advice that doesn't piss off more people than it helps?
 
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