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Chaingang 15th August - 3 groups first off 625pm- change of format

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I know this won't be a universally popular decision but after what happened last week (and reading the messages on here and talking to a few of you) then for the next couple of weeks we are going to experiment with splitting the chaingang into smaller groups.

The reason for this is to try and improve rider safety and make things calmer, manageable and more controlled. Groups of about 8-10 should maximise safety, are most efficient for a chaingang while also giving a decent work out. If the numbers don't allow for three groups then will try two. It is important to remember however it is still a chaingang and training ride, it is not a social ride. The pace in the earlier groups will be a little slower but the idea stays the same - if you get dropped you still get dropped so know the route and be self sufficient. You can choose what group you are in however i'll give some guidelines for this.

First group. If you take the short cut regularly then this is the one for you. If you get dropped on the west ferry or Bishy Hill then take this one. If you are a strong rider but feel relatively inexperiened and want practice riding in a chaingang then take this one. If you tried the chainy earlier in the season and were put off due to not feeling quite fit enough, then now is the time to give it another go.  I will be leading this group.

Second group. If you are capable of hanging on in the chaingang but find yourself regularly missing turns or find it difficult to move up without stalling in the line then you may have more benefit going in the second group and working rather than just sitting on in the third. Are there any volunteers to lead this group?

Third group. Are you strong enough to spell through for all of chaingang and do you find parts of it relatively easy? Are you able to bridge gaps if the bunch splits and do you usually find yourself on the right side of these splits when they happen? Then third group for you.  Paul will be leading.

Be honest and realistic with yourself and (more importantly) to the other riders when choosing a group. It isn't a sign of weakness joining a slower group and nothing is set in stone, if you find one group too easy then you can move up the next week.

Group 1 will leave at 6.25 and will take Heggies. Group 2 leaves at 6.30 and group 3 at 6.35 and both take the Clune. If Group 1 is caught by the top of Clune then they wait and restart behind the next group.

Paul is going to post a few guidelines on good practice.

 

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After speaking to some worthies (Charlie and Jan!) I thought I would take the initiative to post up a code of conduct for the JWCC Thursday night run. If those of us on the forum commit to this then it will happen. 

I would also propose to do a brief at start next week so our guests will understand if they are dangling out front alone for a bit !

This was written before Jan's post to try more than one group so it not quite as relevant now but principles still apply. My view is that it is maybe time to try more than one group – my personal view would be to try two groups first.

Going to keep it simple

,

1)      We ride tempo on Bishy hill – not slow – but we don’t increase the power output

2)      At the approach to roundabouts we have a 10 second period before and after when the outside line does not ride through and off. Ie. two parallel lines going at same speed as slower line. Purpose is to roll into and roll out of roundabout. Once 10 seconds out, the front guy on the outside line rolls through again and folks can put the hammer down as normal. This applies at Westferry on ramp (which is technically a roundabout anyway), Langbank, Woodhall and Houston roundabouts.

3)      If bunch gets split at any roundabout or traffic light, the front group rides below tempo until regroup happens.

 

If anyone has a constructive feedback then please post up, or post up to support this initiative to keep it safe but hard.

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Think you have to increase the group size from 8 , as you won’t get any real recovery, 10 seconds at 27mph would be close to 100m so maybe shorten or just don’t accelerate through as you exit the roundabouts, are all groups riding back together?

What does this achieve imo it manages group size, if that makes it safer then it’s achieved it’s objective, however does it stop riders going through roundabouts in front of cars or on the wrong lane; no it doesn’t the same riders will do the same things because they don’t understand the risk 

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There is a Couriers WhatsApp Saturday group that is winding me up. The change in the Thursday format has been posted up but it seems there are some people (John Craig and Garry Dunn) who want the ride to be a social ride operating at about 32kph (20mph for the old timers).

The joy for me in the chain gang is cooperating to go faster than you can on your own. In a low grade Cat 3/4 race the average speed for 2hrs+ of an un-cooperative bunch of cyclists is 38-40kph. If we can't cooperate and achieve 40kph for one hour we aren't cooperating! Gregg O Malley has won races on long solo breaks averaging this speed on his own. And no way should Gregg beat our determined chain gang who are working for each other.

Smooth and fast. When a chain gang is in full flow there is nothing finer! 45kph down the Westferry should be a breeze.

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The fast group wasn't fast but it was smoother and safer. When you see the big variation in speeds up the Clune it should be obvious that some riders need to sit in at times for the sake of the overall bunch speed. The main benefit I guess was the bunch size. Twelve was perfect - not too long soft pedaling on the wheels between efforts.

I'd be for keeping the split groups for a few weeks and see how it goes. I think it would encourage weaker riders to join this session and enjoy the fun!

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I can only comment on run out to just after the top of Bishy hill , and second half of run, I thought it was a bit on and off , and slow in bits think there may be a need for three groups , don’t think all that started finished 

 

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Thought that was a gid grind last night:)

Group 2 were 5% faster (35 secs) on the clear run on the 8km of Westferry to bottom of Clune. (And slower from Red Smiddy to Clune due to 3 traffic light stops).

I have 3 suggestions based on feedback and making the assumption that we want to try again with smooth rolling hard working groups which include more people working and with a bit of the fun of the APR chase.

1) Go through Erskine, one set of lights much better than 3, allows smoother rolling (gap setting impossible otherwise)

2) 1.1/2 min gap at Houston and bunches should combine about bottom of Clune with good chase on Westferry.

3) Both groups regroup at top of Clune (they both fall to pieces anyway on Clune) and 1 min gap after which should have both combining at end of Georgetown but will be subject to BOW lights which cannot be avoided and Alan McLean will love the uncontrolled variable :)

What you reckon ?

 

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I love the uncontrolled variable.😀

Thanks to Iain and Paul for sticking their heads above the parapet.

Amazing how much difference a tiny drop in speed made, that extra 35secs along westferry. Several people in Group 1 told me that they were just on their limit but were delighted to stay on rather than getting dropped. 

Paul, Make it two minutes to be sporting.

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With 2 new roundabouts and fast cars approaching the Bishopton Rd from the M8 new slip road I’d argue the Erskine route is a no brainer. Erskine much better. Not interested in a weekly APR myself but would enjoy a hard training session and trying to keep groups to 12 or less.

 

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Like Paul's suggestions. The whole idea IMO is for all members of each group to contribute to the pace, regardless of what that pace may be. (with the exception of the Clune). Liked the steady through and off. This provides good training benefit, even if some riders find it easier than others !

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