Guidelines for Joining the Club and Moving through Riding Groups
1. Because we focus on safety, we insist that potential new members start by riding with one of our B groups, and that they ride all of the routes before they will be considered for invitation to ride with a higher-level group and join the club. We do not know who the new folks are; they may be strong, but the odds are that they do not know how to ride in a group the same way we prefer to. Just because someone raced previously does not give them the skills to ride in a structured group. We want to train potential new members to ride the way we do. We do not assume they have the needed skills. We also want to make sure that a new person knows our routes. We ride fast and tight in a group, and one person who does not know the route can cause disaster for everyone.
2. No one rides with the first A group unless you have been invited to move into that group. The first group is not an instructional group, nor is it a “no-drop” group. Just because you are strong does not make you safe to ride with the first group. If you are not happy with this, then Veloce Santiago is not for you. A good rider knows his/her limitations. Riding at the edge of your ability at 28 MPH does not make you safe; one small mistake can mean broken bones for many people. That is why your skill level is assessed before you are invited to move up. If the invitation turns out to be premature, based on your riding, you may be dis-invited, and asked to go back to the next slower group. This is not a clique thing, it is for your own, and everyone else’s safety.
3. We have different levels of groups and often split the B group into two or more groups. This is for safety on the road. Big groups can be a problem when crossing intersections. For example, we have found that a group size of 12-15 is perfect to ensure that should a light turn yellow, and the leader or leaders of the pace line yell “rolling” then all of the group gets through safely. Any bigger than that, and the pace line may still be going through the intersection when the light turns red. The groups are often split according to capability, that is, how fast you can go for the entire route. Do not sandbag, and if you do, ride to the speed of the others around you. Do not get in the fast group if you know you are not up to it. If you are not sure, then ride at the back, and stay at the back so if and when you fall off, you do not disrupt the group.
4. Use your common sense. Some days you will be a great rider, and other days you may be so-so. You know when those days occur and if you are not on your game, please ride with a slower group. Do not endanger your friends by riding over your head.
5. Unless someone is invited to become a member, which occurs only after successfully riding all the routes, that person will not automatically become a club member. Some people may be required to ride in the slower B group for a longer period of time, or may even be asked to ride somewhere else. Decisions like these are made with the safety of all club members in mind. “Vouching” for a rider is only allowed in very specific cases, such as where someone has ridden with the group previously, but for some reason, has not ridden with us for a while.
6. Know the routes, and know the riders you are riding with.
7. We stop for mechanicals and flat tires. This means the whole group, and we wait until the problem is fixed. We wait at regroup points (except the A group) a reasonable amount of time, say five minutes, for stragglers.
8. We take short pulls at the front. Sitting on the front for mile after mile does not prove you are a badass; it only shows you do not know how to ride efficiently in a pace line.
9. Each group should warm up at an appropriate pace when we leave the shop. If you are in the second B group, and you are capable of warming up at 23 MPH, then you are in the wrong group. If you leave with the A group and cannot warm up at 23-25 MPH, then you are in the wrong group.
10. Know and practice all the club Rules of the Road (see below).
11. Please be open to feedback from other members. Members are trying to help you assimilate to our style of riding and want to help you be successful. Find someone after your ride and openly ask for feedback. Every rider has something that they could be working on.