B-STS: Frequently Asked Questions & Good Advice

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* Don't try to do anything drastically different or new in your cycling routine on the B-STS rides. 

* Eat a full breakfast before every ride. Breakfast tastes better than gravel or dust mid-ride.

* Be prepared to ride on time every week. Be at the start point early if you can. 

* Don't chase someone who's breaking the pace. Note your cyclecomputer readings and stick to what you think is reasonable, not what someone up-front can do.

* These are B-level rides. Organized groups break up and fully regroup at the tops of hills. As noted in the policies, no in-line passing except where the roadway is flat, straight, and has light traffic. 

* Always bring 2 spare tubes and a pump, and bring any additional tools enabling you to fix common mid-ride mechanical issues. 


(Note: you don't need to read ALL of these, but if you have a question that isn't answered in the Policies, look here!)

Who's leading the rides?

These rides are self-led rides, with B-STS Captains maintaining the pace speeds if you want to stick with a group riding at a certain pace.

Where is the schedule of upcoming rides?


Can I ride at B17?

If you feel that you want to ride at a 17mph pace, email [email protected]. We're looking for volunteers for that. 

Can I leave my mobile phone at home?

While you could, we strongly suggest you take a fully-charged mobile phone with you at the beginning of the day.

I have a non-standard bicycle. Is it going to work for this?

Just email the coordinators and let us know what you have. It may be acceptable. But do be sensible about this. 

Can I skip a ride if it's too cold?

For the early rides, yes! See our policies

I'm going to miss two of the first three rides for a business trip. Should I drop the program?

As long as you can complete an equivalent ride, you can restore your standing early in the program + replace the conditioning you'll miss. See our policies

What's an equivalent ride?

Let's assume that something comes up and you have to miss one of the first three B-STS rides. If you're doing a club ride early in the season (after February 1st) that is at least 35+ miles at a 16mph pace, we will give you credit for that. A spinning class also earns credit. Finally, if you complete one of our early rides on a different date from the B-STS program's scheduled ride, we will also give you credit for that, too. We recommend that you be present for as many rides as possible so it's better to be at our rides than to go-it-alone, but we realize some people have crazy schedules or get waylaid by family, illness, etc.

I'm definitely going to miss 6 weeks of B-STS. Should I drop the program?

Um, yeah.

What does it take to get removed from B-STS?

Any of these:

  • You are absent at the beginning of the program and fail to contact the program coordinator at [email protected]
  • You fail to listen to directions from a coordinator or captain
  • You volunteer to be a captain and then fail to be present at your assignment
  • You're way, way behind the rest of the group in fitness
  • You are not a rider who can handle safely riding in a group on a B-level ride
  • Any behavior that isn't allowed on club rides in general. Prohibited behavior includes mobile device usage while riding, wearing headphones, using aerobars, and not wearing a helmet.

I don't want to stop for lunch, do I really have to?

No, you don't! Let others stop, and keep riding the course. There are likely others like you who wish to minimize stops for the day - stick with them. 

The B18 group is going too fast. Can you have them slow down?

Only if they're riding faster than 18mph. (Do let us know if that's the case) If you're not keeping up with them for the whole ride, take a break, have some water, and wait for other cyclists to come along. There are probably people riding at B17 or B16 right behind you, on the same course.

Can you print me a cue sheet for the ride?

For everyone's own good, get used to printing your cue sheets at a FedEx Office, Staples, Internet cafe, etc. if you do not have a home or office printer. Do not rely on the program coordinators to print cue sheets for you.

I'm going to be riding a new bike and a new saddle and a new set of cleats for Week 5. Think I'll be ok?

This is not a good idea. These rides will test your fitness. Don't throw extra obstacles in your way, or you'll be bailing out somewhere.

Can I bail out at lunch?

Yes. Just make sure no one's specifically expecting your presence down the line... let a captain know that you're departing the ride if you've been with one of them the whole time. The captains are not keeping a roster on each ride, though. 

Why are there so many stops on this cue sheet? It's ridiculous!

You don't need to stop at every stop on a cue sheet unless it's noted that you really have to stop there. We sometimes put extra stop locations in as extra navigational aids. The captains will be briefed (on a per-week basis) as to which rest stops are recommended and which ones may simply be useful if people are tired/hungry/needing a pit stop.

I haven't passed the SIG, should I do B-STS?

With some exceptions for people who have a LOT of experience, you really should register for B-SIG instead.

I saw that there is a no-passing rule. But I really have to pass people, especially on hills!

To break down our policy on this:

* The groups should split and re-gather at the top of steep hills, and yes, in this situation, you can pass a cyclist.

* In most situations there will be plenty of chances to pass around cyclists if they are going too slowly - wait for level roads where it is safe to do so.

Most of these courses level out frequently, and if you really feel as if you are trapped behind someone, make your move on flat ground and don't take a chance on an incline, where your speed (or their speed) might vary from moment-to-moment during a lagging/passing situation. 

Do I have to stop to help someone fix their flat tire?

We personally recommend that you do, but no, it's not a requirement.

I'm a captain, I want to stop and help riders in distress. I insist upon it.

Okay, that's fine with me. 

I have most of the basic tools but I can't fix a popped chain or broken spoke on a ride. And I don't have spare cables for brakes or shifters. Am I ok?

We think that's ok. Some people do carry chainbreaker tools on these rides, but otherwise consider a popped chain or a broken spoke a day-ending mechanical issue. Same for a blown tire (not tube). Same for any other serious drivetrain issues. 

Do I need cash AND a credit card for lunch on each ride?

We think it's a good idea. Keep in mind: no money, no food. (Unless you brought some) We'll try to give you a heads-up about cash-only lunch stops.

Do I need my MTA "bike pass" all the time?

Rather than write details about when you may not need it, we suggest that you just get used to carrying it on all your rides.

What else do I need to bring? 

Anything you'd bring on a normal club ride. Guidelines here. And, it's also a good idea to re-read this

I'm going to miss the last week of the series, do I get to graduate?

Actually, there is no graduation so feel free to miss it penalty-free. But do let us know. And we like that ride a lot!

I see there's a chance of rain... are we still having the ride?

Assume we are always having a ride unless you hear otherwise!
NOTE: Rides that involve significant close-calls with inclement weather are always OPTIONAL - this will be announced when it applies.

It says it's going to rain during tomorrow's ride. You haven't called the ride yet. What are you waiting for?

Before every ride, the weather is monitored to make sure we're not riding in unbearable conditions. In some cases, we have insight about a weather pattern that indicates that we can take a chance, or that we can implement a "play-it-by-ear" plan. (For example: a ride may be truncated to a half-day ride, if afternoon rain is predicted) 

We will always work to keep a ride scheduled during the original scheduled time, and we do not require riders to jump with us to Sunday reschedules. Sunday "bumped" rides are always OPTIONAL.

One more thing: It doesn't help anyone for ride leaders to send a barrage of updates whenever the weekend weather has a chance of being unrideable. So you should expect as few updates as possible during these periods. In the meantime, it may not be possible for the coordinators to respond to individual inquiries about weather reschedules. You'll know when we know. 

How close to a ride might you decide to call it off?

Two hours.

Can you send updates sooner than two hours before the ride?

Continuing on the "you'll know when we know" concept... we'll try to react decisively to terrible weather forecasts up to two days in advance. If the weather isn't going to be certainly terrible, then a decision might come closer to ride time. 

We missed a week due to a rainstorm. I'm definitely not in shape for next week now. Should I drop out?

No, don't drop out!
If we miss a ride due to weather, the next week's ride expectations (and rider guidance) will take this into account. Note that I may ask all of the riders to attempt midweek training activities if we have multiple full cancellations during the season.  

I have a question that wasn't listed here. What do I do?!

Email us anytime.

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