We had a 14-person deep pace-line going on a quiet country road. We were crushing it at about 23-mph when we passed a decent cyclist riding with a friend. Those of us who have put in tens of thousands of miles riding in groups know a legit cyclist from a noob, usually, with just a quick glance.
In this case, the fella may have been a decent cyclist, but he showed himself to be, unquestionably, an @$$hole. All of a sudden the yahoo starts passing up the right side of the pace-line, on the white line with barely enough room to operate. He’d work up the line a few cyclists, then fall back a little, then work up a few more in the line. I saw enough of that crap and decided I’d put an end to it. I signaled and pulled out of the group and headed up on the left (where normal American cyclists pass – right for those in left lane driving countries). I passed the lead cyclist and told him to keep the pace steady as I passed him. I then went to his right as if I’d completed a turn up front. I effectively flushed the jerk out the back. Thinking my job was done and that he’d gotten the message, I got back in the draft of the pace-line.
At which time he announced, “passing on the right”.
I moved right and said, “Like hell, you pass on the left like a normal cyclist, or did you just learn how to ride this year?” He started complaining and I cut him off. Whether he was butt hurt that we passed him or he was just looking to be a jerk, I can’t tell you. I can tell you this, you don’t pass on the inside of a pace-line… and everyone worth their clipless pedals knows this.
Later, same tour, same day, another guy decided he’d join our group. He started at the back but started leap-frogging up a few riders, squeezing into a gap less than a foot between wheels by “pushing” the rider behind him to the right. He did it again. And again. Three people complained to me about what I’d just watched.
I rode up along side him and asked, “You don’t ride in a group very much, do you?”
He replied, “Actually I do.”
I said, “Well if you do, then you know better than to do what you’re doing. You don’t leapfrog the group like that, and you certainly don’t cut off other riders to do it. If you want to get to the front to take a pull, get up there and do it. If not, get back to your place in the pace-line and wait your turn”.
He went to the front and took a pull. We rode his wheel for something like five to seven miles before we wore him out completely. Then, the next guy in line hit the gas and we dropped him off the back of the group.
Later on that evening at dinner, the guy’s dad (the son was just a few years younger than me) complained to a friend of ours in the group that I bullied the guy and made him feel unwelcome. We had a fair chuckle over that – because who would welcome someone who cuts off other riders at 23+mph to leapfrog up the group?!. In truth, he wasn’t exactly wrong… though I was the only one to speak to him, the whole group dropped him.
Now, here’s the point; if you’re in the group for your own selfish aims and you don’t know how to look out for the rest of the people you’re riding with, you’re the problem.
That’s a period at the end of that last sentence. Don’t be that person.