- Be Courteous - "Let people in" when needed you are an amateur and this is not a race show courtesy when interacting with others or giving feedback. Overcommunication is ok this inlcudes phrases like "on your right", "inside", "outside", "hole", etc. Talk to your fellow rider it's OK.
- Point Out Objects - Manholes, potholes, sticks, debris, boxes - to name a few - the person(s) behind you depends on you making them aware of obstacles that can affect their ride and safety. Call out and point out more severe hazards. This is a common group riding practice.
- Don't Overlap Wheels - This is very basic important group riding advice - if you have an overlapped wheel correct it carefully and as soon as possible to avoid having someone swerve and catch your front wheel possibly sending you and others flying (See picture below to see what overlapped wheels like like)
- Use Hand Signals - Here is a link to the most common hand signals that help you communicate with fellow riders but the most common point out hazards, direction, and slowing / stopping. Please get to know them and use them. (See graphic below with a summary).
- No Riding in Tri Bars or Praying Mantis Mode - While tri bikes are not completely banned on most group riders do get uncomfortable when they see them - so the riding in the aerobar position while in the group is generally banned. That goes for "Praying Mantis" style riding as well. Unless you have an active signed pro contract and are off the front of the ride - these maneuvers are generally not welcomed or allowed as, in the group, you can't take evasive measures or get to the brakes fast enough to be safe. (See picture below where a rider demonstrates the Praying Mantis riding style).
- Stop at Red Lights - Obey all traffic laws and stop for red lights. Even in the early morning hours. Make sure to communicate so others can safely stop as well.
- Use Only One Lane - Cars find group bike rides confusing when riders leak five or six wide into more than one lane it gets worse and can affect the safety of the whole group so don't do it - use only one lane at most.
- Left Turns Suck - This is true on any ride - except in Ireland - be careful, look back and front for clear, communicate with your fellow riders. Traffic from behind and the cutting in front of bikes/cars to make "your" turn can make it extremely dangerous for the next riders behind you. Be careful and think about how your move could affect the safety of others.
- Be On-Time - riders that join the ride while underway create additional hazards for other riders and they can also miss important safety announcements at the start of the ride and can affect the flow of the ride - if you must join on the route do so carefully from the back
- What else did we miss? Let us know in the comments and we can include it in the next post or on the website.
Getting a great ride in is important but not as important as rider safety. Most of the items below apply to just about any group ride but always check with ride leaders on the ride you are on if you have any questions.
New to group biking? Need an entry-level group ride and route? Consider the “Pint” ride at Unknown Brewery every Saturday at 2:30pm.
Not new to group biking? Maybe you haven’t had the time to dig the bike out of the back of the shed in a while. If you are looking to improve your fitness, looking for a new hobby, looking to meet a few people, or looking to share your love of biking with your family, look no further.
Rick Pryll brought his wife, Holly, and their two kids, Edie and Jack, ages 11 and 9, to the “Pint” ride last Saturday:
“I was not sure what to expect. My son was riding a BMX bike. My daughter was riding an extra small mountain bike. My wife was riding a beach cruiser. We’ve done some greenway rides before. Would we make it?”
“Yes. We not only finished the ride, we each learned a little something along the way. The “Pint” course is challenging – let’s not beat around the bush - there are more than a few hills to get up. But in terms of contending with car traffic, navigating left hand turns, and communicating within the group, we could not have been in better hands. The ride features both a leader* and a sweeper**, and as long as you stay between them, you are good to go.”
“We had a blast. Back at the brewery, there was a food truck parked outside, so I was able to get the kids something to eat while Holly and I enjoyed a few beers with the crew. The kids are already asking when we can do it again.”
As a way to get the family outside participating in an activity that is free, challenging and rewarding, cycling is a great option for a Saturday afternoon. The Unknown Bike & Brew “Pint” is an entry-level introduction to the art of group riding in an urban environment. If you are looking for a way to bridge up to the 25-mile route, or if you are looking for a more social way to learn how to get around the city on two wheels, the Unknown Bike & Brew “Pint” ride is friendly, supportive and educational. Come on out and join us. You’ll be glad you did.
*Thank you, Liz!
Sometimes it's just best to let others tell a story. In the case of Liz that is what we are doing here. Thanks for supporting the Unknown Bike and Brew and making it great and everything else you do in the community.
"Liz and her teal helmet are a regular sight at cycling events in and around Charlotte – from 24 Hours of Booty to the Bike MS: Greater Carolinas rides to the Free Wheelin Fridays - Bike Commute bike commuting breakfasts. Through her leadership of the Bank of America Bike MS teams, she is always seeking out new riders to join her in the fight against MS.
She is a dedicated mentor to new triathletes through the Tri It For Life program, and a patient and kind route leader on the Unknown Bike & Brew Pint ride. You can easily see how much she enjoys helping new cyclists become confident and comfortable on the bike… and her genuine kindness is contagious.
If you look for Liz in group photos, she’s often sporting the 'Selfie Steve' smile – a recent tradition born out of the silliness and camaraderie within our cycling community. She’s always up for a ride so keep an eye out for that teal helmet, wave hello and follow along to learn from a savvy cyclist." - Christine Weber
"Liz is strong in every sense of the word.She is physically strong as she participates in all 3 Carolina MS Bike events and completed a MS Challenge Walk (50 miles).
Liz is strong mentally, pushing through barriers that most people would just quit.
Liz is strong emotionally, supporting friends and family and always keeps an ear open to give a kind word, jump in to assist with a job or give a hug.
Liz has a strong sense of humor and is quick with a smile and a joke.
I'm blessed to have her as a friend." - Stephen Fox
"Hey!!! I know her! That's my bike mentor!!! She's the best!!! She'll even laugh with you when running your bike into her's and pushing her over!!! Pint group forever, Liz!!! I'll always remember my first ride at Unknown and how welcoming you were!" - Tracey Ann Stone
"Stephen Fox (AKA Foxy) is an amazing man, his love of people and his willingness to share his heart is contagious. Starting the Unknown Ride with the help of The Unknown Brewing Company owners and cyclist friend Chris Guella, their passion to help Bike MS: Greater Carolinas quickly took off after finding out that the brewery owners wife has MS affecting her family. Under Foxy the team has grown and grown with cyclist of every ability being welcomed and loved no matter what. Foxy wears his heart on his sleeve in all the right ways, taking his passion for cycling and using it for all the good he can leverage in this world. Wanting to help those who need it most, Unknown-Dornier cycling has taken on 24 Hours of Booty this year to help make an even larger impact on those here in our community who have needs. His constant concern for team mates, the sharing of his love with others and his enthusiasm for cycling has created the perfect storm for making a real difference in the lives of others. That's my Foxy!" - Randy Fulp
A great day Jan 30, 2016 at the Unknown Bike & Brew. The short video below shows how a typical day with B&B goes... It also highlights the great views of Charlotte on the most scenic bike return in Charlotte.
Come join us Saturdays at 2:30PM...
It's summer in Charlotte and the Bike & Brew rolls. On this day a 10 mile Pint route and a few cold beers after the ride.
Let's face it - it has been a tough couple of months for the police. Which is what made the Bike2DC ride this year particularly special. The four day 500 mile ride honors fallen policemen and starts in Charlotte NC and ends in a Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. The ride has gone on for a number of years and raises money for a high school scholarship fund. It started at the request of the families of Officer Clark and Shelton who were killed in the line of duty in 2007. Each year it raises about $20,000 for the cause.
The ride starts at CMPD headquarters in downtown Charlotte. A small set of instructions and then we are on our way. About 150 riders led out by a 10 motorcycle police escort. Riding out of Charlotte they closed all of the intersections just like they had done for President Obama a few weeks ago. In the picture above you can see the escort as well as the large American flag that the Charlotte Fire Department put out to show #respect for the event and police. Police and firemen may notoriously compete and fight when playing hockey or at other times but not on this day.
Officer Joe Scalise - in the right side picture - chose to ride all four days wearing his full CMPD uniform on a mountain bike that he uses patrolling downtown Charlotte. It was very hot and there was a 10-20 mph headwind - but Joe persisted rode through the day. I later picked up just his police belt and it weighed about 20 pounds with tasers, gun, and radio (more than my 16 pound bike) then add the vest and other clothing and I realized what a disadvantage he had in the same conditions that hurt me in my light spandex and on my aero-designed Italian racing bike.
During the first few miles we also had CMPD police helicopter flying about 100 feet over us also looking out. It was our first ever helicopter escort. I really enjoy rides that have police escorts closing intersections. You feel safe and special if only for a few moments - maybe because they go to that trouble for me, the regular person, in the same professional manner they do for a president. I get chills I have to admit. You keep saying to yourself - "boy I wish they had escorts on all of my training rides."
The day one ride itself was windy and covered 95 miles and 5,000 vertical feet to Asheboro NC with most of the climbing at the end. We found a great group of police officers and friends to cover the wind in rotating pace lines to make it bearable to each rest stop. The volunteers and people supporting this ride were exceptional and riders especially friendly. We lingered at each rest stop and took it all in while we waited for slower riders, riders with kids, and the tandem blind rider. Except for our muscles shutting down the rest stops were a great part of the day.
The Highlight of my Day
At the end of the ride I had the pleasure to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. In particular - Trisha Norket shown in the picture above. Ms. Norket is the mother of John Burnette who was killed in an end of watch incident in 1993. Her chilling story of how a multiple felon bad guy, who has confessed to his crime, is still on death row 21 years later. On Mother's Day today it is particularly hard to contemplate the loss of her child in the manner he was taken. On that day in 1993 Officer John Burnette and Officer Andy Nobles were shot by a thug who was very much wanted for his long list of assault crimes. The story is well-known in the news so I won't get into the details. While hearing the story and then reflecting on it - it helped me realize that meeting Trisha was exactly why I was on this ride.
Unfortunately, There are other stories like hers and including more this month in New York and now Mississippi.
I have a lot of respect for the police and what they do. It is not easy. Taking the time yesterday to support a cause for them and reflect on these issues was very good. Riding our bikes and then drinking Unknown beer on a perfect Sping day made it even better.
The Bike & Brew was great today with the Bike Luck and Beer Bike Ride in attendance. Bike Luck is a popular well-run charitable ride May 2, 2015 that supports Camp Luck - a camp that provides a healthy worry-free (medically supervised) camp environment for kids with cardiac-related issues. Unknown Bike & Brew is becoming a favorite training ride for big event rides. This year Bike2DC, Bike Luck, 24 Hours of Booty, and MS Breakaway to the Beach will be training with Unknown Bike & Brew. These event rides are able to reach new riders as well as support the excitement leading up to the larger event ride. Bike & Brew is free but riders that ride and train with Unknown Bike & Brew help support the fight against MS as the Unknown Brewing Company makes a donation each time a rider attends the Bike & Brew ride. So come out and ride with us Saturdays at 2:30PM.
The 42nd Annual Dilworth Criterium took place Saturday April 11, 2015. In that event Unknown Brewery, Unknown Bike & Brew and Craft Tap Room sponsored the Primes and Podium prizes. It was a great day on so many levels. Thanks to Neal Boyd of Charlotte Sports Timing, Kerry Humphries and the Carolina Cycling Team for putting together a great event.
Unknown Bullets were given ad Podium Prizes to the top three contestants in all races where they were 21+. This was an exciting prize and many started enjoying their craft beer in celebration even if at 10AM. Other Primes, awards for fastest lap, were given gift certificates to use at the Unknown Tap Room and to Craft Tap Room and Growler Shop in the Charlotte Southend.
After the Dilworth Crit the weekly Bike & Brew ride was held on schedule at 2:30PM. A short video of that ride is below. This ride benefits MS by donating money for each rider that attends. Come join us every Saturday at 2:30PM from the Unknown Brewing Company.
What a windy great day on the Unknown Bike & Brew April 4 2015. Fifty people took to 10, 25, and 35 mile routes with 30 mph winds to enjoy the Spring day in Charlotte NC and help fight MS - just by showing up. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a great day.