2017 B-STS: Frequently Asked Questions, Policies & Good Advice

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  • 2017 B-STS: Frequently Asked Questions, Policies & 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. 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.

* Keep in mind: as these are B-level rides, organized groups break up and fully regroup at the tops of hills. 

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


* You should have a full-size road bicycle with road tires in good working order. Reasonable exceptions (Bike Friday, single-speed, etc.) will be accepted but should be noted with the B-STS coordinator in advance.

* You should be a SIG graduate or have an equivalent skill level in group riding. 

* Riders are not required to ride in set groups... you can ride alone if you want, or find friends in the program whose riding styles and pace closely match yours. Speed groups will be arranged with captains ahead of each ride.

No passing except in instances where the roadway is flat, straight, and light with traffic. Particularly, no passing within a group on steady inclines and no passing on any downhills. An exception: steep hills follow the normal B-level rides convention of "take it at your own pace, regroup at the top".  

* Riders will be provided cue sheet files and GPS files prior to every ride. Cue sheets are not handed out every week... you must print your own!

* You might get left behind by a group of riders if you can't keep their pace. There will usually be another group right behind you, moving along at a less strenuous pace. 

* You might have to fix your own mechanicals. Not all the time - some participants are generous with helping. Still, be prepared for a situation where you must help yourself.

* Weather updates will be provided when the conditions of the original ride date are not favorable (below 35 degrees, precipitation, extreme winds). We aim to provide updates starting 2 days in advance but a final call on the ride may be made as close as 6:00am on the ride day. 

Please monitor both your email and/or the message board up through that time for EVERY RIDE. If there are no messages that affirm the ride is cancelled or rescheduled, please assume the ride is happening as scheduled! (You can check in on the message board if you're unsure)

In the interest of balancing rider concerns with program goals, rides that occur during uncertain weather conditions are always OPTIONAL. Rides that are rescheduled are also OPTIONAL. 

NOTE: Please keep in mind that the coordinators cannot respond to every request and message in the case of a developing weather situation. 


(Note: not all of these are critical, but it doesn't hurt to read further!)

Who's leading the rides?

These rides are arranged by the B-STS coordinator and assigned weekly ride leaders maintaining the pace speeds. Find the leaders each week who plan to ride at a pace that you can handle. 

Where is the schedule of upcoming rides?

On the club's ride calendar. Not all are posted at once... we'll post a couple at a time.

Can I ride at a different B speed?

If you feel that you want to ride at a different speed, email [email protected]. We're always looking for ride leaders. 

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?

Email the program coordinator 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?

It's not our concern if you miss a ride or two. Be kind and withdraw from the ride listing at least 24 hours in advance. Don't sign up for a tough ride if you have zero base miles for the season.

I'm going to miss two of the first three rides for a business trip. Should I sign up later on?

Use good judgment. If you know you'll be in riding shape, come along! If you are sure you are behind on fitness, try doing park laps for a week or two.

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

Any of these:

  • You fail to listen to directions from a coordinator or ride leader
  • You volunteer to be a ride leader and then fail to be present at your assignment
  • 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! If you know the way forward, then 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 faster group is going too fast. Can you have them slow down?

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 a slower pace 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 coordinator 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 loads of extra obstacles in your way, or you'll be bailing out somewhere.

(What if you change ONE thing about your bike? You might be uncomfortable, but you will probably make it just fine)

Can I bail out at lunch?

Yes. Just let a leader know that you're departing the ride if you've been with one of them the whole time. 

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 put extra stop locations in as extra navigational aids. Leaders will make their own judgment calls. 

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

While there are exceptions for people who have a LOT of riding experience, you might consider the 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 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 present a flow chart detailing when you will or will 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.

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!

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.

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?

6am the day of the ride

Can you send updates sooner than 6am on the ride day?

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. 

I missed a week due to a rainstorm. I'm definitely not in shape for next week now. Am I banned from the rest of the rides?

If we miss a ride due to weather, the next week's ride expectations (and rider guidance) will take this into account. Note that the program coordinator may ask all of the riders to attempt midweek training activities if we have multiple full cancellations during the season. We will not slide the schedule into future weeks.  

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

Email us anytime.

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