What we're about
We are the Mid-Peninsula Bicycling Group (MPBG)! We are a clean fun group - no drugs, alcohol, or flouting of California vehicle code on these rides. We do not welcome cross-posts or suggested rides with other groups, which do not follow these guidelines.
We are not a racing group ... there are plenty to choose among though, and noon rides available - definitely check those out INSTEAD if you are interested in racing, competition, STRAVA results top-ten kind of stuff. That does not mix well with the less ambitious riders here.
This group is for experienced adult group-riding road-bike riders. Owning a road-bike is a requirement to join the group, (as opposed to mtn bikes, hybrids, cross, or folding bikes). This is for group pace and ride flow considerations. They are really fast, light and fun to ride!
If you are joining a group-riding Meetup group for the first time, this actually might not be the best fit for you. If you are female, Velo Girls is a way better place to start (slower, gentler pace). For either gender, the Western Wheelers is a great starting point (many slower or faster options) The reason is that they identify the pace and difficulty level in their ride plans well, and it's easy to see when a beginner type ride is happening. MPBG, in contrast, typically has a fairly brisk, but not racing pace ... think about that as a goal - want to ride like that? Read on!
MPBG consists predominantly of very active, strong young to-middle-aged adults, fairly frequent riders, who like going at a brisk pace, include hills on most rides, and it is just not an easy place for someone to start out, without prior group riding experience, and a fairly strong current ability in terms of speed and hills. Lots of people joined in the past, and either never attended a ride even once, and dropped out or were removed, or they rode once and never came back. Not fun for anyone really. For safety sake though - a real plus for us to think about this - we don't race.
If you still think this might be the right group for you ... read on.
Ride pace is occasionally 14mph+ on the very slowest rides, but way more typically we see 15mph+ avg pace
Most of of us use clip-less pedals - like SPD-SL - and special shoes that link your shoe to the pedal, to give an advantage on up-stroke as well as a secure connection for down-stroke, They're not "required", but almost every rider has them, and it adds a group-pace homogeneity to the rides. They are best for any ride in this group.
On the faster rides, we have been riding 18-30 mi, fairly fast 22-24 mph on flats, and with hills, though of course as slow as you need to on hill climbs. Weekend rides are typically twice (or more) as long, and have more elevation gain ... they are harder.
There is a big bikeworld out there, and not all of it fits into this group. We enjoy group "registered" rides together, like Sequoia Century, Strawberry Fields, Surf City 100, Tour de Cure, but want the focus to remain on one-start-loc one-continuous ride type road-bike rides.
If you want to try racing, velodrome, cross, mtn biking, randonneuring ... please jump into another group to do it. We also want a small geographic focus on the rides posted in this group, when they are not registered/supported rides - please stay in the immediate mid-peninsula Bay Area (Ride starts in Los Altos, Woodside, Portola Valley predominate). MEETUP groups are geographically focused, and that helps safety. Riding in your familiar area you are safer, know the closest hospital, have relatives and support fairly nearby ... good reasons to ride close to home, unless the ride is supported and has EMT staff on call.
It is not fun if a total beginner joins and holds up a group ride for lack of strength or speed ... way better to join a ride at your pace / strength level to start, then work your way up if you are motivated to do so.
Target time for people in this group is Old La Honda Rd climb, from lower bridge (150 yds in from Portola Rd) to Skyline Blvd stop sign, is 35 minutes without working WAY HARD. If you could do that as a 4 mi section within part of a 25 mi ride, you'd probably have a lot of fun in this group.
Guests of an existing member are welcome to attend the MPBG rides, with the exception of banned ex-members, who are not welcome to attend. The expectation is that if you as a guest are off-pace, your escort will accompany you, and get you back to the start safely, so everyone has fun.
Event hosts will post a liability waiver at the bottom of each ride description, and ask a mandatory RSVP YES question - verifying that you, and as a representative for your guest(s), have read and agree to the liability waiver.
This group is your "more fun" group biking activity alternative to spin class or solo riding. It's all outdoor riding, and never solo. We simply share the common interest: we love riding a bicycle, outside, and enjoy group exercise.
To join this group, please post and maintain a real photo of yourself, and use your real name for the Meetup account, in the profile area:
This means 1 or more recognizable face photos of yourself in the profile area, not a cartoon or landscape ... something close enough, with no mask on so people can see it's you, and use your real first name, as a minimum, as your Meetup account name, not a "handle" like "Viper" or "Wingman" An avatar photo or handle may work great in a movie or a virtual environment or FaceBook, but we are RL people and deserve a RL connection - i.e. your name and face - to relate to you and welcome you to the group.
Justification for the photo requirement: we need any existing member to easily, and surely, rule you out as an ex-husband/ex-wife/ex-BF/ex-GF for example, if they do not want to RSVP into the same ride with you. If you are in WITPRO and photos of you would be a problem, this is not the bike group for you.
We often photograph rides, particularly a starting line-up, kind of like what might happen at a kid's birthday party - for FB-like memories in a MEETUP gallery - so if you are shy about your photo being taken, this is definitely NOT a good bike group to join. Photos are intended to be consensual, only. If you find that any photo of you gets posted and you wish it had not been posted, please contact the person who posted it, or the group organizer, and just let us know, and we will delete it from the web-site for you. If photo-removal requests are a common request from you, this may not be the right Meetup group for you after all.
Here are some group riding etiquette guidelines we suggest, to help ride flow, group harmony, and a good experience for the riders and the event hosts:
MOST IMPORTANTLY: RSVP YES into the ride that you plan to attend. Please leave yourself time to do this, and don't get caught on the way to a Meetup, try to RSVP late, and find that you can't RSVP from your cell phone. RSVP YES requires a mandatory answer YES, or equivalent, to the LIABILITY WAIVER question - did you read it and agree to it, and without this, we do not want anyone attending a ride. Your early RSVP is important and helpful to the ride event host, to help the event-host plan strategy to accommodate the intended head-count for the ride.
1. Please show up on time. Before most rides, the host will pull the group together and explain the route and planned first re-group point, and briefly review safety protocol, hand-signals, "car back" - stuff like that.
2. RSVP YES or NO, but please show up healthy if you have RSVPed YES. No-shows are discouraged, as is showing up with a health / injury issue that might prevent you from completing the ride. Let the ride leader know BEFORE the ride if you simply must attend injured / unhealthy - so you two can work out some kind of deal, and not surprise the group with a partial ride. An explanatory e-mail or txt is great if you need to no-show, but could not change your RSVP. A certain number of no-shows (no specific number), or attendances without the RSVP YES, will self-limit your membership.
3. Visit the proposed route URL and respect the ride-leader and group's right to follow it.
4. Please respect the privilege and responsibility of the event host to maintain the group on the posted ride route. We once upon a time had a contentionus rider or two - people who got angry at the ride leader, other riders, tried to change the route mid-ride - stuff like that - some friction ... they're gone. It did not help, and we hope to not see this kind of thing going on in the future.
5. Maintain personal pace - so group flow is not disrupted. If you want to go slower, please move to the back of the group. Please don't pass another rider and then slow in a way that makes them slow too, when you are in a pace-line.
6. When people call "car back" for safety please, get in line at the right side of the road and maintain single-file until the car has passed. We had a person or two who liked to own the road, ignore car-back calls ... they also yelled at car drivers ... yeah, this happens. Bike riders behaving badly. Again - they're gone, and we don't encourage that kind of mis-behavior.
7. Please be patient when passing a slower rider. Look behind you to make sure the road is clear, and politely call out "on your left" and then pass the rider on their left side. If there is a car back at the time, wait until the car has passed before you start the pass. Why do we even mention stuff like this? Yes - some time in the past, some people needed this kind of feedback. I am sure it's not you! :D
8. If you are new to pace-line riding, please check out this cool link by a local bike group:
9. Please do not suggest or post a cross-post where people of this ride group are basically being invited to join another group's ride, without working out a deal with the organizer about that first. It's hard to maintain group etiquette and liability exposure otherwise.
10. Guests are welcome to a first ride, no question! If they want to attend regularly, please encourage them to become members. If they are off-pace, please consider yourself responsible for them, separate from the group if necessary, and maintain escort to get them back to the start loc, if they need that. Your leadership in this regard will maintain group fun, and make your guest feel welcome to return.
Doing all these things may seem like common sense, but it helps to call out expectations so we are all on the same page.
Sometimes of our rides will mention terrain and pace descriptions in the descriptions:
Terrain description categories
1 Essentially Flat
2 A few low hills
3 Moderately hilly
4 Hilly - with a few steep ones
5 Very hilly, considerable climbing
! An exclamation point (!) after the terrain rating indicates surprisingly hard hills in view
of the overall terrain
Pace description categories
L Leisurely: easy pace, frequent stops, good for new riders. 10 - 12 mph on flat road
T Touring: steady pace, fewer stops, for experienced riders. 13 - 15 mph on flat road
M Moderately fast pace: few stops, for strong experienced riders. 16 - 18 mph on flat road
B Brisk: very strong riders; tight, fast packs and pacelines. 18+ mph on flat road
Attending a fast-paced road-bike ride with a hybrid or mountain bike, for example, is NOT RECOMMENDED due to group pace considerations.
GROUP SAFETY - RAIN RIDES:
New in 2013 we put in decision guidelines for event hosts to help them follow a common group policy on rain rides - they are fully discouraged. It is not as safe riding on a wet road, for you, for cars, for reduction in visibility in active rain or severe weather. That's why. The what is a set of new decision guidelines. Using www.weather.com or any more conservative web-site, event hosts will watch weather forecast in the area (e.g. start loc, far end point, perhaps a spot in the middle) for rain/severe weather on a posted Meetup route, and will cancel the ride if within 2 hrs of the Meetup start time, rain/severe weather has has a 50% prediction. You could still ride, as a private ride, not MPBG-Meetup-sanctioned, and ride at your own risk. We discourage ride in wet or rainy weather because we've had some bad weather-related accidents in the past years, and are taking steps entering the new 2013 Fall/Winter ride season, to ride more safely. We hope you will too! When a ride is cancelled due to rain, extreme wind, extreme heat - you get to ride safely some other day.
Getting dropped from the group: This can happen. Meetup automatically removes group members if they are unable to reach you (bounced e-mail) for 6 months, and if you are inactive in the group. Our own screening may remove you too, if you are inactive during the first 3 months, or within a 6-month consecutive period after that, So the way to stay in the group is simple - remain active! :D If you want to stay in and be inactive ... please let the organizer know why (like I broke my hip and will ride again in a year - please don't drop me!)
Sounds like a lot, huh? Why even try joining? Heck it all seems common sense and natural for any experienced group rider and we have a blast. If you are an experienced group rider just looking for more fun people to join riding, come on down!
Click here to see the list of our group organizers
Lastly ... please do not SPAM the group mailing list for any reason. The MAILING LIST is for use by the organizer and EVENT HOST team only. Please use the DISCUSSIONS area MESSAGE BOARD to post on topics relevant to the activities of this group, not to sell or broadcast sales information, surveys, or other information like that to the entire group.