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exiting Annadel yesterday at about 6pm via canyon. large group of at least 2 dozen riders assembled near base of canyon. a little googling shows that this is the Annadel Mountain Biking Group doing a tuesday night bikes, beer and brethren ride.
group riding, not my thing. never will be.
but i am curious as to what is the draw to others to participate? and what impact/impression do large groups like this make on other park users and on the park itself? specifically at Annadel.
 

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Life's a Garden, dig it!
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I've been invited to join that group, but I've never ridden with them to know how many people typically turn out.

When I have done group rides, my impression is that other user groups generally don't approve.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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Midpen requires a permit for groups over 10 or 20 ( can't remember). I have also seen a ranger ticketing a large group of unaware hikers.

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It's fun riding with other people. Maybe not 23 other people, but if the skills are similar and camaraderie is good, it is usually a damn good time.

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Groups that big mostly don't stay together very long, the faster riders form a group and on down the line. When I've done group rides 10 is the most that can be kept together easily . 4 TO 6 of like skilled riders can be a lot fun.
 

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I think my max is 4. Anything bigger turns into an all day affair. Couple of guys show up 30 minutes late, another guy shows up with a flat, one guy needs to do some fine tuning on his derailleur in the middle of the ride, and that’s all before you get to the top of the climb. Then the shock pump comes out because so and so wants to try 2% less sag, one dude whips out a full foot long sandwich, and then you finally start to descend and XC that only joker that only brought a water bottle rips a hole in his sidewall...

6 hours later back at the cars with the beer.
 

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I want to ride my bicycle
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For local rides (I'm in Napa, so Annadel, Skyline, Rockville, etc) that I am doing often, I find that groups of 5 or less of like-skilled riders are great.

For the past 10 years or so I have participated in an annual trip of very good friends, and we usually pick some place that sounds great but most of us haven't been (we've done Oakridge, Hood River, Bellingham, Sun Valley, Park City, etc). There are 20 of us and it ranges from weekend warriors to expert level racer types. What we've found is that we have to approach these rides differently. We go into every ride expecting an all-day event, we know that naturally we break into 3 or so groups, so we make sure everyone is familiar with the route, but we also have meeting locations planned where the entire group will stop. As far as other trail users, we have encountered some people who are unhappy being passed by 20 riders, however as mentioned, our expectation is an all-day ride. So we smile, we say hi, we stop on downhills for uphill traffic (yes, all 20 of us), and in general we encounter a lot more people who are just amazed to see 20 riders all together than anything else.
 

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4 is ok
5 is too many
Agreed.

But there are special cases. If two of the riders are kids under 12, 5 is excusable. If riding rigid fork or singlespeed, we should allow at least six of them. But then, 20 nice folks might be better than one hateful person.

Or maybe we should just ride.
 

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I've found 2-3 is the magic number, but up to 5 can be really good as long as all are of similar skill levels. Anything more and either you're dropping people at some point and fracturing the group or you spend a long time waiting or re-grouping.

Law of averages and all, the more people the more likely a mechanical.
 

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Wēk Sôs
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i am curious as to what is the draw to others to participate?
Social, meeting other riders that might be at the same level. Trying to learn. Groups tend to fall apart over time, or start to dwindle in size. I did a lot of meetups when I started, just meeting people. I was always slow, can't keep up with most riders. I still can't, just not in the cards to be a fast. I tried a few MTBR rides as well (when MTBR had riders post rides, pre-Facebook and google groups), and that's was pretty bad in many ways as it was just too fast and I end up by myself any way. People tend to lose sight of what it is / was to be a beginner, as they progress. The only true beginner rides are with beginners, and someone patient enough to guide.

I still keep in touch, now and then, with folks from that era, a few that were similar in some way. The "Team Social Pace" group out of the MTBR NorCal forum was fun, in the day. Folks still keep in touch there. So, that's was a positive.
 

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Youtube meet up?

All riders of same skill level out there to shred some trails?

A group of 20 with ranging skill levels sounds like an all day event that not a lot of experienced riders would want to be part of.

So sounds like it could be option a or option b to me. Maybe a meetup group that happned to assemble with a typical already established group ride?
 

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I've coordinated with and gone out on long weekend style multiday rides with ~8ish total riders on ferdaboyz trips to epic locations. We'd (mostly) ridden together before and all knew the pecking order, the only commitment to seeing each other again when it was ride time was: start/finish/camp. We'd split up into groups of 2-3 with similar skills and come back together for lunch breaks, "safety meetings", or the odd mechanical along the trail and it was a blast. Invariably one of the subgroups would run into other riders who would join the party back at camp and the whole thing was a blast. Drinking beers and telling (enhanced) stories over the campfire about the days adventure.

If a big group can organically break up like that and let people enjoy the trail on their own terms, I say cheers to that. If it ends up being a chain gang dozens of bikes long where everyone has to deal with everyone else's bs (too fast, too slow, trailside repairs, crashes, etc), well nuts to that.
 
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