Friday Group Ride #413

Friday Group Ride #413

We sat at the bench and listened to the church bells chime, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 times. As the seventh struck and slowly faded, I turned to Mike and said, “OK, roll out?” I was joking really. You have to know the characters you ride with. You show up on time, because you show up on time, but they say, “Yeah, 7 o’clock,” and mean 7-ish.

We sat there for a minute more and Matty rolled up, whereupon we launched into a cloudy conversation about when Brad might be here, if he was even coming. “Last night he said he was 50/50,” says Mike. Matty adds, “This morning he said he was in, but then he said he couldn’t find his shoes.” So…

At 7:08 we roll out, and at first we go fast, because we always go fast when we first roll out. It’s excitement. It’s nerves. We need to pound those out, before we can settle into a pace. Brad is fast, and he catches up. It doesn’t matter how fast we’re going. We don’t have any fast that Brad can’t catch. We don’t worry about him. In a few minutes he’s with us, smiling, and not breathing particularly hard.

I am painfully punctual. My father did that to me, instilled a sense of time shame. Intellectually, I am a late person, but in actual practice some rat-in-a-maze conditioning has made me nearly incapable of keeping people waiting.

Despite that, I have children, young chaos makers, who have made me late for the ride a few times. I am not like Brad. I do not catch up easily. I bury myself to make time, and I have vivid memories of being able to see the guys, floating effortlessly ahead of me for more than a mile, in sight but out of touch. When I do catch on, I sit on a wheel until my heart leaves my throat. I make breathy jokes to cover my exhaustion. No one laughs.

This week’s Group Ride asks, how long do you wait? Or are you the one that gets waited for? And what do we think a reasonable buffer is? In other words, what is a good standard I’ll-wait-for-you-this-long before we leave time? Is it 5 minutes? 10?

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  1. Clayton

    I’m on time to the rides that are close to me, but often when I have to travel to a ride (mountain biking, gravel riding) the drive can be 30 minutes or so to get where we start. I’m always there and getting ready, but the people there are unfortunately usually waiting on me. Thankfully, they understand since they all live close to where we start and I have to drive quite a ways to get with the group. Gotta love living in sprawling metros.

  2. Kayce

    10 minutes is the hard number, never more. But if its only the serial late person, or the serial say they’re in, but don’t show up they do not get the grace period.

    There is one person in my riding group who would show up right on time, but want to buy their espresso and take the time to enjoy it before we rolled out. That idea never lasted, but he tried for years.

  3. Andrew

    I’m getting increasingly antisocial in my old age, I think. Waiting for people who can’t be bothered to be on time aggravates me. Rather than getting pissed off, I just ride solo.

  4. Neil Winkelmann

    I’m usually the first there. I arrive 30 minutes before the ride, and enjoy a coffee and second breakfast. I love the time spent relaxing in the cafe on Saturday mornings before the ride. I’m also relaxed about when the ride actually starts, often 15 minutes after the planned time.

  5. Les.B.

    I’m a solo rider. One time I decided to try a group ride. The group’s website said 8:00 a.m. sharp. I showed up a little early and no one was there so I rode around to keep warm. About 8:15 people started showing up.

    I still ride solo.

  6. Aar

    I’m on time and I only wait when the ride leader waits. I find it quite revealing that chronically late people are punctual to events that they know will start on time regardless of their presence. Currently, I’m choosing rides that start on time and don’t mind leaving somebody in the parking lot with shoes off.

  7. Neil Winkelmann

    Wow, I’m a bit shocked by the proportion of commentators here that are so insistent that group rides start on time that they’ve given up on them.

    1. Neil Winkelmann

      But, you know, it likely suits everybody that the people who won’t wait 10 or 15 minutes ride by themselves.

  8. Ev

    The shop ride we join is an 0700 ride time that starts at 0705 in the summer. In the winter the time moves to 0730 and rolls at 0730.
    The smaller women’s ride I help lead has a roll time of 6pm but we will wait if someone let’s us know she’s on her way.
    Accepting the variability of start times and occasionally waiting is worth the camaraderie for us.

  9. James

    i’m on time, or at least give it my best effort. With that said, my wife is always running late. She doesn’t do this on purpose, it’s just the way she is. This has helped me to become very tolerant of other folks shortcomings (only shortcomings to the folks noticing). We are all people and people have issues. Relax a bit and enjoy the moment and the folks you spend it with…they might not be here tomorrow.

    1. Neil Winkelmann

      I’m very punctual. But I ride with a group every Saturday. I’m also patient, and I ride for enjoyment, not to a schedule.

  10. Fausto

    Highly organized club and most people drive to the rides since we are in Jersey and commute a little to get to the great farm roads. We only wait if you are in the parking lot getting prepped when it is time to go and you would get no more than 5 minutes. People will sometimes volunteer to stay behind and help late guy catch. Like anything else in life, if you are late for a group activity you are disrespecting those who take the time and are organized enough to get there on time. We all put in the effort and thank the ride leader for putting the ride up so we can enjoy the company. I run a business in which employee tardiness costs me money, can’t stand it in my private life as well.

  11. Moe Hamhead

    Five minutes, no more. It’d not that hard really. If you want an approximate time then go to the rides that are approximate.

  12. mendip5000

    MTB – the time stated is ARRIVAL time.
    Road – the time stated is DEPARTURE time.
    You have been warned.

  13. Tominalbany

    It’s been so long since I’ve done group rides. I typically arrived early so I could roll out on time. Since it was an after-work ride, we gave some grace but, since it was after work, it was limited grace because darkness falls…

    We’d leave an extra map (remember those?) under a wiperblade for stragglers and they’d catch up or short-cut to catch up.

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