Tips for Sportives please, Overtaking riders

by bikeboy76   June 20, 2013  

So the Great Manchester Cycle is a week on Sunday. I am doing the 52miles, a meaty distance for me, but a stepping stone to full length sportives. Last year I did the 26m two lap event and started in the middle of a thousand riders really of mix abilities. I spend the first lap overtaking people starting in front of me and the second overtaking lapped riders. There was a lot of times I would approach on the right just for the rider to decide now was the time to drift across in front of me. I had to shout out odd things like 'curb' or 'keep left.' Well I didn't have a crash but I did get balked several time and have to apply the brakes, sapping my energy and increasing my time.

This year I hope there will be less problems on the longer event with more people going at a similar speed. If I can survive the sprint down to the Mancunian Way the road should open out and I can keep my own pace. I did the laps in 40min last year and if I can match (or improve) that over double distance I will be happy. Looking at last years results all bar half a dozen finished in 4 hours with 60min laps. My maths says I should not have to lap anyone until I've done 3 laps and they have done 2 (or am I missing something?) So now the Question: what is the best technique/etiquette to get past people efficiently without having to brake, slow, crash, shout, etc?

PS: bonus tip I hope you can reply; what is the best way of avoiding safety pin damage to lycra from race numbers?

26 user comments

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Isn't the traditional passing shout "on your right!"?

As for the numbers, I favour those little clips which are sometimes used to clip conference badges to shirt pockets and use four to clip my numbers onto my jersey pockets, but I expect tiny bulldog clips or some 3m sticky product would work as well and be faster to obtain enough of them.

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:11

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Shouting, "Passing on your right" normally works.

As for race numbers. Either a belt

http://www.triuk.com/products/tri-uk/tri-uk-race-belt-number-belt#.UcMbr...

OR

Sellotape where you are going to put the pins through, you know like the balloon trick??

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posted by Gkam84 [8680 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:13

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Is it a sportive?

I honestly think that the onus should be on you to be aware and more vigilant of what slower and less experienced riders are doing for this one rather than tear arsing it through. Many people are doing this event because they want to ride in an environment where they feel safe due to traffic. What's the point if that "danger" is replaced by someone hooning it through them and shouting at them?

An innocent call of "On your left" is going to confuse someone who hasn't ridden in any way seriously.

Probably a boring answer and one you didn't really want.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:13

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I always try and overtake on the right hand side, cautiously and give an 'on your right' call first if I can't leave an arm's length gap... And a 'morning' or 'afternoon' on the way past strikes me as a polite and less aggressive way to overtake Smile

posted by nicstevenson [30 posts]
20th June 2013 - 16:18

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No need to rush when you'll have to get off and walk at the Salford Quays pinch point Sad

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posted by Crosshouses [169 posts]
20th June 2013 - 19:54

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It's a mass participation ride for all ages and abilities - everyone is out for a fun traffic-free bike ride in the city so don't spoil it for them. Patience and politeness win in all circumstances. A courteous "Excuse me" should be fine.

The participant info states there are different start times for each distance. However, if you're riding for a fast time perhaps this event isn't ideal for you.

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posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
20th June 2013 - 21:26

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It is a sportive and the fastest time last years was one Mr. Andrew Steel who did 56miles in 2:12 or 38kph. I did 26m in 1:20 or a pedestrian 31.4kph. The longer distance is supposed to be more competitive, however the looped course means whatever you do you will be coming up behind slower riders.
The Salford Quays section has been changed, it still has hairpins but they are on the road so there should not be queues to get over a footbridge like last year.
I am not aiming to be 'tear arsing' anyone whatever that is. I want to avoid trouble to go as smooth and fast as I can and get as true a time as I can. You can't say we will close this motorway for a big cycling event but then people not to go fast.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
20th June 2013 - 22:02

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I did the 52 last year (in 2h 31m) and I never had to shout, or excuse myself once. I did find my way on to a group of about 20 riders for a while and found the roads wide enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, with the exception of the Salford Quays bottleneck. Looking forward to it again this year. #362

posted by darren13366 [52 posts]
20th June 2013 - 22:41

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The bike paramedics (green uniforms, 60kg panniers, bikes like tanks) are somewhere around the Salford area. Met one the other day, very nice chaps indeed. Give 'em a wave.

posted by Argos74 [261 posts]
21st June 2013 - 6:43

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bikeboy76 wrote:
however the looped course means whatever you do you will be coming up behind slower riders.

bikeboy76 wrote:
You can't say we will close this motorway for a big cycling event but then people not to go fast.

bikeboy76 wrote:
however the looped course means whatever you do you will be coming up behind slower riders.

bikeboy76 wrote:
You can't say we will close this motorway for a big cycling event but then people not to go fast.

bikeboy76 wrote:
however the looped course means whatever you do you will be coming up behind slower riders.

bikeboy76 wrote:
You can't say we will close this motorway for a big cycling event but then people not to go fast.

bikeboy76 wrote:
however the looped course means whatever you do you will be coming up behind slower riders.

bikeboy76 wrote:
You can't say we will close this motorway for a big cycling event but then people not to go fast.

But you can always do what you like.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
21st June 2013 - 11:55

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farrell wrote:
I honestly think that the onus should be on you to be aware and more vigilant of what slower and less experienced riders are doing for this one rather than tear arsing it through. [...] An innocent call of "On your left" is going to confuse someone who hasn't ridden in any way seriously.

Quite right! If you're going to ride any non-race mass start event, you should be happy to be there and enjoy the experience of riding your carbon aero road bike at 10mph top speed behind someone who wobbles all over the road. How dare you want to overtake and how foolish to expect the organisers to tell people of the standard calls used by almost every group ride I've met, including the slowest beginners rides!

Seriously, the nervous riders won't be any happier if they feel they're causing a tailback of riders. Give them as much room as you can, but please keep on overtaking.

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:15

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If you want to ride fast then enter a race, not a mass participation family event in a big city.

If you want to get a 'true' time then enter a time trial. It's a lot cheaper and you can go as fast as you like. But lots of people are too insecure (even though no-one else cares what time you do).

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posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
21st June 2013 - 14:46

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a.jumper wrote:
farrell wrote:
I honestly think that the onus should be on you to be aware and more vigilant of what slower and less experienced riders are doing for this one rather than tear arsing it through. [...] An innocent call of "On your left" is going to confuse someone who hasn't ridden in any way seriously.

Quite right! If you're going to ride any non-race mass start event, you should be happy to be there and enjoy the experience of riding your carbon aero road bike at 10mph top speed behind someone who wobbles all over the road. How dare you want to overtake and how foolish to expect the organisers to tell people of the standard calls used by almost every group ride I've met, including the slowest beginners rides!

I'm glad you have got that sarcasm out of your system perhaps we can now crack on with talking sensibly.

I've no problem with people riding fast in the same way I have no problem with people driving cars. However, don't be a dick about it. You know when a car comes barging past you at a traffic island and you avoid getting wiped out due to luck rather than judgement and you think to yourself "He could have just slowed down, waited a few seconds and passed when it was safe". Well hooning it past someone who doesn't ride in any way frequently or a young kid having a potter with their family and shouting at them to move because you want to set a personal best is going to be intimidating in a very similar way and is the same complete lack of courtesy.

By all means give it some hammer when you can but be prepared to scrub the speed off at many points on the ride, because it isn't a race and I have my doubts over calling it a sportive.

I'll refer you back to my original point, which was quoted but apparently not read:

"I honestly think that the onus should be on you to be aware and more vigilant of what slower and less experienced riders are doing for this one"

You know, a bit like on the road when cyclists and pedestrians ask that the onus should be on the least vulnerable road users to make sure of the safety of the most vulnerable road users.

Or you can do what you want.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
21st June 2013 - 15:05

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farrell wrote:

I'll refer you back to my original point, which was quoted but apparently not read:

While you cut my point because you seem to hate the idea that fast riders should be allowed to overtake and that beingfaster doesn't make them aany less vulnerable as road users. Also, I'm definitelya slow old fart by the standards of this site. It would take me 5h to do that distance. I don't want you stuck behind me. Go past, please.

Share the road. Leave space if you're slow. Overtake witha helpful call if you're fast.

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 8:09

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There is one fundamental rule when cycling - you are responsible for your own front wheel.

Nothing else, nobody else and none of the shit they do or don't do trumps this rule.

Think about that in the context of getting your front wheel past thousands of other people in an effort to get a 'good' time.

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posted by abudhabiChris [499 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 10:42

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The amount of self righteousness that has appeared on this thread is ridiculous, especially from the board's Misinterpreter-in-Chief. I have already told you what speed I will be going and it isn't excessive. Ask for advise and get condescension. You are telling me I shouldn't be doing a road cycling event because I don't want to do it at the speed of the slowest rider, what would be the point, shame on you. Should we have an egg-and-spoon race instead? I shall be at the front with other BC members to avoid these issues, but the problem is more with the route layout than my intentions.

Thanks to a dose of sanity from a.jumper and darren who went fast than me already.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 11:58

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a.jumper wrote:
farrell wrote:

I'll refer you back to my original point, which was quoted but apparently not read:

While you cut my point because you seem to hate the idea that fast riders should be allowed to overtake and that beingfaster doesn't make them aany less vulnerable as road users. Also, I'm definitelya slow old fart by the standards of this site. It would take me 5h to do that distance. I don't want you stuck behind me. Go past, please.

Share the road. Leave space if you're slow. Overtake witha helpful call if you're fast.

Just so we can stop banging our heads against walls here, are you aware that this course is open to young kids? As in kids from the age of 3?

I'm not talking about getting held up above some bodger having a pootle, I'm talking about young children. I'm also not saying that you cant over take, I'm saying that at certain points, if you get stuck behind a group of children and families you are just going to have bite the bullet, slow right down and pass safely and take the hit on your time.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 14:46

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Seems to me you weren't asking for advice, you were asking for people to agree with you.

Edit: P.S. This would be a good time to repeat the line about sportives and audaxes.

Sportives are for people who pretend they are racing, audaxes are for people who pretend they're not.

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posted by abudhabiChris [499 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 15:42

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farrell wrote:
Just so we can stop banging our heads against walls here, are you aware that this course is open to young kids? As in kids from the age of 3?

Just so you can stop banging on off topic I am entered in the 52 miles event:

08:00 start on Sunday 30 June 2013

Who should enter this event? This is for the serious cyclists, who want to challenge themselves to a fast undulating route with some tight technical sections.

- See more at: http://www.greatcycle.org/about/52-miles#sthash.QnUelqBF.dpuf

In no way will I be running over 3 year olds. There is a 26m and 13m event later. My original post makes this clear. Why are you trying to read something between the lines and imply I will be inappropriately spoiling a 'family day out.'

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 20:54

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I did this last year and make no mistake, the 52 mile route is a 'fast' event. The front few groups were at race pace for much of it. I was about 15-18 minutes further back, finishing in 2:30 (38min laps IIRC). The roads are closed and they are plenty wide enough for everyone. The cut-off requires an average speed of 14-ish mph anyway, so everyone is making an effort to the best of their own ability, no-ones pootling along with 3-year-olds in tow.

Bikeboy, look out for Chorlton Velo, and give us a wave!

#714, and looking to go quicker than 2:30:52.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
22nd June 2013 - 23:34

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The 12 miler, the one for kids and families etc, starts at 2, I was under the impression it was much earlier (actually given the incorrect start times by someone involved in organising it, which doesn't fill me with confidence), which I thought meant there was an overlap with the various groupings.

If you come up behind the 26 or 13 milers you probably wont have been going that fast at all and wont be troubling them a bit.

I got it wrong, I hope you have a good ride and a good day out.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 0:59

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On the plus side, the later start time means I can do the 26 miler with some mates and go on the piss after.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 1:03

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I'm doing the Great Manchester Cycle also (my first event ever), and while I hope to set a time that I am proud of (and lay down a target for next year perhaps), I also fully expect that it's not going to be a balls to the wall sportive event. If I get held up, then I get held up and ... well, so what?

I expect that cycling the Mancunian Way with a bunch of other cyclists will be the biggest buzz for me.

posted by dawguk [4 posts]
24th June 2013 - 15:46

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I have been using this forum now for (i think) almost a year. There are some really cool people on here with infinite knowledge of all things cycling and at times it is a right good laugh. The flip side to that is there are also some really sanctimonious, judgemental bell ends who like to leap on to a thread, completely misinterpret the sentiment in it and start an argument.

This rather friendly chap, is asking for some advice from more experienced riders on the correct etiquette for overtaking slower riders on a sportive. A fair question you would have thought. But we now have him "tear arsing" through greater manchester like some lunatic running down 3 year olds.

I despair sometimes Smile

posted by stepho [102 posts]
24th June 2013 - 18:32

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Call out early in a friendly manor to let people know you are passing. Simple.

What I think it is fair to say is that events like this attract inexperienced people who are not totally confident or competent (in the nicest sense). Therefore it is always likely that you will have to slow and brake for people and that you should give people a sensible amount of room.

It is fine to try and do your best, but in the event of getting held up, that is when you should remember it is not a race... call out in a friendly manor and wait for people to move over.

I do think people are missing a trick by not trying a few club timetrials. A lot of guys here seem to want to test their abilities and tts are a lot better than these sort of events. Not that I have a problem with audaxes or sportives, but they are more of a nice day out with food stops.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
25th June 2013 - 9:09

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I second (third? fourth?) the TT suggestions. Always a friendly atmosphere and you won't get looked down on for not having a specialist TT bike/aero helmet/skin suit/rollers to warm up on - even though many do have all of this.

Or give a Hill Climb a go. Did my first one last night which Horwich CC had organised. Actually finished further from the bottom of the timesheet than I did on the TTs I have entered!

As far as overtaking riders on Sportives/Mass rides is concerned I think you just need to be considerate and polite and treat others as you would wish to be treated. If people haven't seen you then communicate with them. And be prepared for the fact that there will be less experience riders there and many who may do a fair few miles on their own or with a couple of mates but are unused to riding in a larger group.

posted by Bhachgen [85 posts]
27th June 2013 - 18:13

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