The Spectrum Ride: March 12th, 2011

The Spectrum Ride is my regular Saturday spin. Leaving from Cupertino and heading north on Foothill Expressway, the ride winds it’s way through Portola Valley and out Canada Road to the turnaround point at Hwy 92. It’s as fun and sketchy as any large weekend Group Ride but yesterday morning was more interesting and sketchier than usual…before I go on, here’s video posted on YouTube by CyclistAndre to give you a brief overview of this institution of a ride:

Thanks for posting CyclistAndre. Don’t know who you are but cool video bro.

Interesting and chaotic notes from yesterday’s Spectrum Ride:

  1. It was strung-out most of the time. Usually, like many Group Rides, the Spectrum Ride vacillates between surges and regrouping but not today. Even with my slow meandering out and back from the ride, I averaged just over 21 mph for 3 hours (the actual ride is about 2 hours) which means the ride probably averaged in the upper-20’s.
  2. Cops were everywhere. They were pulling over cyclists at virtually every stop from four corners in Woodside, out Canada, and even at Alpine/Portola in the valley. Tough to get a group of 75 riders to all stop and put a foot down but when a $400 citation is at stake, we’d all rather stop and chase like maniacs than take the hit.
  3. Road rage was all the rage. I swear, it seemed like every car or truck that came up behind us laid on the horn for minutes. At one point on Portola Rd, a Ford F-150 brushed my elbow as I was in the bike lane and revved his engine at the front of the group while laying on his horn…and then…
  4. A rider tried to throw his bottle at the truck. I say “tried” because he completely whiffed and hit the rider next to me in the side of the head with his bottle. Don’t throw your bottle, dude. Even if the Ford is the most obnoxious driver on the planet (which he was), throwing bottles sucks. Especially if you hit a fellow rider in the side of the head.
  5. After the F-150 passed the middle part of the group, it swerved in the direction of the front of the group then drove off. This created a major split in the group as those of us behind the incident slowed down to see what Mr. Insane Maniac Driver would do. When he drove off, we had to chase back on to the front group. As we got down to work, 6 of us started a nice, even, fast paceline and then a few riders unfamiliar with how to work in a paceline would pull through and wreck it. Surging, not pulling off, not holding wheels, not pulling through, it was all frustrating. It still surprises me that so many riders still don’t know how to ride in a paceline properly. But we eventually caught back on.

I should probably post on proper paceline etiquette soon.

Anyone else out there on yesterday’s Spectrum Ride? Hope your Saturday Group Ride was super fun and less harrowing than mine!

Ride on…

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3 responses

  1. Andy Wilson

    Matt,

    I’m not sure if the ride you mention is like the video shown, but If this video is any indication, I can understand motorists being upset. Cyclists are 3- wide and out in to the road. I’ve joined a few large group rides in my day and this is one of the things that drives me crazy. Stay out of the road as much as possible! No 3 -wide riding! be respectful to motorists and do not hinder their ability to pass safely. This kind of riding endangers everyone on the road and gives cyclists a bad rep! We don’t have bike lanes out here in New Hampshire, so it is even more critical to ride wisely and safely.

    March 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

  2. The Art of the Group Ride

    I hear ya. There are a few sections on the video (Page Mill) where we’re all over the place but that’s a single lane road closed to traffic. I’m not sure what the solution is for the larger roads – when a group ride gets over 60 riders, squeezing onto the shoulder seems impossible. I’ve heard different takes on the law – one of my lawyer buddies says that bikes have a right to the right lane just like every other vehicle but I’ve also heard if a car hits you and you’re not in the bike lane then you’re at fault. Either way, there’s a lot of “car back” calls when a car needs to pass and for the most part we’re on lightly traveled country roads with little traffic. On the story above, we moved over for the truck and he was still pissed so not sure what to do on that one. It’s a highly polarized issue that’s for sure!

    March 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm

  3. Andy Wilson

    Ya, very difficult with that big of a group. BTW, loved the crazy motorcycle post you put on Facebook…now that’s insane!

    March 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

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