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Leader of the pack?

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In your riding group, where do you fit? In front leading? Pulling up the rear? Somewhere in the middle laying low? How about your roll when it comes to other riders, example being do you help them or is it every man for themselves? 

For me I prefer to be at that back. Easier to kinda keep a eye on things, as well as help when a slower rider might struggle on a section. Doing this also allows me to improve my riding as I can practice small things I might not get a chance to do. I actually prefer to ride with a slower group as the risk of getting hurt goes down as well as the overall speed. Some of my faster friends ride at an unbelievable pace all the time which I find quite dangerous. 

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I too, like riding at or near the back when riding for fun in a group. Leading, I feel pressured and that takes the relaxation of a fun ride out. Following, I can see others avoiding or dealing with obstacles instead of being surprised by them. It also lets me pace better, slowing whe I want, catching up when I want. Though it is fun to lead and roost those that 'tailgate'.

As far as riding and dealing with a group, I am a team player. No attitude here.

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We all help each other out no matter what and if we have less experienced riders we'll have a good rider pulling up the rear.  I'll take the lead maybe a third of the time, nobody really wants to lead honestly but a few of us will take turns.  All in all the order will sort itself out within the first 5 miles.

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My buddies always want me to lead. That's fine with me, as I'm a natural leader. My father instilled that in me at a early age and helped alot in the military.  I'm faster than the fella's I ride with and I always make sure if something difficult is coming up, to slow up so they can see what I do and how I do it. Lead by example is the only way I know. We're all in our late 40s and early 50s , so I do try to take it easy when I'm leading.  Sometimes I will try to get in the back  but it doesn't take long before they want me back up front. 

Edited by Edgecombe

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Whats a riding group? All my riding friends either moved or gave up riding. It sucks but that’s how it is. Years ago when we had group rides I was either in the middle or at the back, I wasn’t a very good rider back then so I didn’t want to hold up the fast guys.

 

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54 minutes ago, dittohead said:

Whats a riding group? All my riding friends either moved or gave up riding. It sucks but that’s how it is. Years ago when we had group rides I was either in the middle or at the back, I wasn’t a very good rider back then so I didn’t want to hold up the fast guys.

 

Yep, me too. I mostly rode with younger guys, they got married and such. I was 40-50 then, 60 now.

Usually whoever knew the territory the best led, the rest followed in no particular order. Small groups, 2-4.

I now ride alone, it has it's pluses and minuses.  

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I'm usually at the pack of the pack on a mx track...mostly cause I'm too slow, and D is the lowest class in my area..lol. or I'd go to a lower class just to not be at the back of the pack!

When I ride trails, I prefer the back for the same reasons as the OP, and we always help one another on rides. Even riding others bikes up some gnarly terrain. 

 

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I primarily ride with my one dedicated riding buddy. When it’s just two of us we usually discuss where we are going to before hand. Both of us use gps to leave bread crumbs. We are at a similar level so we will switch up who’s in front. Same goes for river crossings and huge mud holes. We take turns. When there is more of us we do the same thing. Only put the slower guys up front. I’m with Hans on that one, I like staying behind a less experienced guy. That way I can help him if he’s hung up, passs on a pointer or two and generally enjoy myself by taking in the scenery. 

One thing to note. What we do have is excellent ‘convoy discipline’. We are mostly ex army. What I mean by that is it’s very important to do a shoulder check periodically to ensure the guy behind you is still there. Everyone in the line has to do this or it breaks. As I’m sure you all know it’s easy for someone to go the wrong way, or worst case down a ravine and hurt and the group is still moving. 

This is the one time to be THAT GUY and be anal about looking out for one another. Just my 2 cents. 

Cheers.

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Usually ride in pairs. We take turns.

But in groups I dont mind being sweep, actually prefer it especially if it's not dusty and I am patient enough for the slowest rider that day.

Sometimes on the group rides the guys in front are pushing. Some days its beneficial for me to play chase, other days it isnt,

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3 minutes ago, Pipester said:

I primarily ride with my one dedicated riding buddy. When it’s just two of us we usually discuss where we are going to before hand. Both of us use gps to leave bread crumbs. We are at a similar level so we will switch up who’s in front. Same goes for river crossings and huge mud holes. We take turns. When there is more of us we do the same thing. Only put the slower guys up front. I’m with Hans on that one, I like staying behind a less experienced guy. That way I can help him if he’s hung up, passs on a pointer or two and generally enjoy myself by taking in the scenery. 

One thing to note. What we do have is excellent ‘convoy discipline’. We are mostly ex army. What I mean by that is it’s very important to do a shoulder check periodically to ensure the guy behind you is still there. Everyone in the line has to do this or it breaks. As I’m sure you all know it’s easy for someone to go the wrong way, or worst case down a ravine and hurt and the group is still moving. 

This is the one time to be THAT GUY and be anal about looking out for one another. Just my 2 cents. 

Cheers.

Convoy discipline.

Wish it was more common.

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I also prefer riding at or near the back. Being newer to off-road riding it gives me the opportunity to watch and learn from better riders. That makes me a better rider too. There are things I have done riding in a group and watching someone in front of me do that I likely wouldn’t have attempted solo. I also feel that by riding in back, I don’t slow down anyone that might want to go faster.

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19 minutes ago, ericridebike said:

I also prefer riding at or near the back. Being newer to off-road riding it gives me the opportunity to watch and learn from better riders. That makes me a better rider too. There are things I have done riding in a group and watching someone in front of me do that I likely wouldn’t have attempted solo. I also feel that by riding in back, I don’t slow down anyone that might want to go faster.

That’s a good point. If I’m riding with anyone slower than me they sometimes want me to go in front of them for that reason. It’s paramount everyone in the group feels comfortable and is having fun with no pressure to keep up. That’s when accidents happen. 

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I prefer to be upfront and out of the dust. But I too slow down for obstacles and technical spots because I don’t like to split from the pack. What’s the point of group riding if your just going to leave the pack.

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Depends on the group, and who initiated the ride. We've got lots of two way trails with multi-use, so riding up front has the added responsibility of keeping an eye out for moving as well as stationary hazards. Typically though the fastest guy on the particular terrain will lead, with a decent rider in the back to ride sweep without falling behind.

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The guys I ride with are my sons, age 27 and 30 and a good friend age 40. They're all A level or better riders.  I'm 63, C level at best.  They keep me in the middle so they can keep an eye on me.  I'm not sure if its so I don't get hurt or if its the entertainment value.  But, they take good care of me. ;)

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I like riding in the front half with some of the more skilled riders, but not leading. I like to "watch and learn"
But when I'm out riding with my Mom I'm always following, old ladies and deep mud/steep climbs dont mix

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Depends on the rider.  Some people are better leaders from the front, other people lead better from the rear.

I do best riding sweep.  Been told by many pro riders/guides that I'm a really good sweep, good at keeping a group together and leading from the back. 

Put me up front, and I'll start falling back.  I have to work real hard at staying in the lead.

Buddy I teach with is a solid lead rider.  Like me, but backwards - put him in back, and he'll work his way up to the front.

Two of us together make a real good instructor team.  He gets the group where we need to go, gets us there on time - I keep the group together and "herd the cats". 

 

Lead/sweep is less about rider skills and much more about your group management and leadership skills.

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I am the navigator and trail Yoda of the group so it depends on where we are going.  If its unfamiliar trails then lots of the time I lead.  I am nowhere near the best nor fastest rider in the group so often the better, faster riders go ahead and just stop at trail intersections.  Most of the time we just constantly switch it up depending on who made the obstacle or hill first.  

My primary riding partner loves to help others out and he is physically stronger than me so he tends to help the most but whoever is closest will hop off to help if need be.

 

Honestly we don't seem to spend much effort on deciding a riding order.

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