We have a cyclist who regularly shows up for Tuesday night (the club ride) who is about as considerate as that beam you get stuck behind when you buy an “obstructed view” ticket to a concert or sporting event. Worse, he has absolutely no clue that he’s even a problem – or, let us simply say that when he’s confronted about his behavior in the group, which is atrocious, he attempts to deflect, stating that others in the group are far worse than he (this is absolutely not true).
For instance, he cannot hold a line, does not pull through (take his turn at the front), regularly rides in the middle of a double pace line, and allows gaps to form… often. Worse, he tends to blow snot rockets from the middle of those two pace lines, with others behind him, thus drenching other cyclists with his snot. If that wasn’t enough, and it is, he rides a triathlon (time trial) bike poorly with the group (for those who don’t know, you have to be one of the strongest, best cyclists in a group to get away with riding a triathlon or time trial bike because triathlon bikes are exceptionally dangerous in a group… those who are good enough to ride them know they have two places in a group: Pulling up front or at the very back to help stragglers back to the group).
My friends, I am not exaggerating.
So last night, before the ride, I quietly mentioned just before we pulled out (because he always shows up just in the nick of time), “Okay, you managed to snot on two people and almost crashed two just last week. Let’s try to do a little better this week.” Now, I’ll give you; My tact needs work. In fact, it sucks. However, he carted out the old, “You need to lay off of me, there are others in this group who cause problems too”.
I explained calmly, because his point is not entirely invalid, that we’ve had discussions with those others and are currently working with them to help them be better cyclists. “This is your turn”. He loosed some other excuse that I didn’t bother paying attention to and we rolled out.
Eight miles into the 30 mile ride and immediately after the second time he left a gap because he didn’t pull through, I put the hammer down and dropped him. I also managed to bring all of our group with, except one. He’s a new guy too so he probably has no idea what happened and I didn’t see him before I had to split for a Club meeting… That part really sucks and I’ll have to pull him aside next week and let him know what was going on so he can be ready in the future. I just hope I can mend any hurt feelings if there were any.
Now, to the real question: How do you handle “Fun Killers”? This guy is such a pain in the ass, he can literally suck the fun out of a ride. If you aren’t aware; riding in a group requires all members operate in a fairly coordinated effort for everything to operate smoothly and efficiently – without, preferably, leaving any blood or skin on the road. One guy doing the wrong thing at the wrong time can discombooberate a group to a point where the other participants simply can’t work together, let alone do so efficiently.
Here’s my problem: I know I made some mistakes when I started riding with the group so I’m not averse to eating my fair share of humble pie. On the other hand, I was actually willing to listen when people criticized me for making a mistake (and still do listen on the rare occasion). Where I get crossed up is when we have a guy who is just obnoxiously bad but refuses to see just how bad he is to the group.
How do you handle this situation?!