We're excited to announce that Chamois Butt'r and HED Cycling Products are collaborating to host the official pre-ride bike party during Big Sugar race weekend. The ride leaves the Outerbike Expo and ends at The Meteor Cafe in Bentonville. Come join the shakeout ride held next Friday, October 22nd in Bentonville, AR. The ride leaves at 9 am from the Outerbike Demo Festival in the open lot east of 8th Street Market (801 SE 8th St, Bentonville, AR 72712). We'll provide donuts, coffee, and Butt'r to kick-off the weekend. If you won't make the shake-out ride, we'll be on on-course Saturday at Mt. Butt'r with bacon, Butt'r and treats.
Chamois Butt’r athletes Marley Blonksy and Molly Cameron will serve as the ride leaders and host a no-drop pace on the route. The brands will be first 100 riders to show up will receive Chamois Butt'r socks and we will be handing out RIDE wristbands. These wristbands help you show your support for cycling inclusivity and raise awareness for the great work the RIDE organization is doing in support of LGBTQIA2+ athletes, as well as advocating for transgender athletes in Arkansas.
We've teamed up with Marley Blonsky and All Bodies on Bikes to provide inclusive rides across the country featuring no-drop paces. No-drop is a way to encourage cyclists to join the group even if they're riding solo, adventuring to an event for the first time, or just want to prepare for the race by getting loose and making new friends. If you're an experienced rider, you're still invited. The only difference at a no-drop ride to your normal group ride is that we appoint a dedicated no-drop pace leader to ensure that no one gets left behind if they're slower than the lead group. The best practice is to also assign a sweeper at the back of the ride to keep the group together, while also stopping to regroup and gather (at big hills or if the group gets spread out - and of course there's always time to stop for photos on our shake out rides).
The shakeout ride will depart from the Chamois Butt'r and HED Outerbike Bentonville booth at packet pick-up. The ride is roughly 23 miles and will last for roughly 1.5 hours, ending at The Meteor Cafe in Bentonville to kickoff the welcome weekend. Hang out and enjoy a coffee or champagne on the patio and enjoy the gravel community before packet pickup from 2-7 pm at the outexrbike Demo Festival.
If you won't be joining us in Bentonville, here's a few things you can do as a ride leader to make your rides more inclusive to all, as written by Marley Blonsky;
1. Be honest about what pace you're going to ride at and stick to it.
Going fast on a group ride is ok - in fact, I can ride a lot faster in a group than alone thanks to physics (hello drafting!) But I need to know what pace the ride is planning to go at so I know if its an appropriate ride for me to attend. As a ride leader, you need to set the pace and stick to it (obviously hills are the exception.)
2. Publish your intended route before the ride.
I used to ride with a group where part of the adventure was never knowing where you were going to end up. This was fun for a while and then I realized it was causing a lot of anxiety. I didn't know if I was going to end up 2 or 20 miles from home. Let folks know where you're planning to ride so they can plan accordingly. Sure, it might take away some of the mystery and intrigue, but it'll reduce stress when people know where they're going.
This also includes descriptions of the ride, such as expected elevation gain, road condition (paved, gravel, single track, etc.) and planned stops. As a person who snacks frequently, I want to know if I need to pack food or if we're stopping somewhere along the way.
3. Have a sweeper at the back of the ride who knows the route and intended destination.
Flat tires, red lights, bathroom breaks - things happen on rides and sometimes no matter your best intentions, groups can get split up. Having a designated person at the back of the ride who knows the route and where the ride is ending is crucial to ensuring all your participants make it to the end safely. Make sure this person is introduced to everyone at the beginning of the ride and its made clear that they'll be at the back of the group. (I also find it helpful for this person to have some basic mechanical skills just in case somebody gets a flat or drops a chain and doesn't know how to fix it themselves.)
4. Regroup at the top of hills, and actually give the last people up the hill a chance to rest.
I'm always the last person to the top of the climbs. I can't even tell you how many times I've gotten to the top, gasping for air, for the group leader to immediately start riding again. Don't do this. Give the people at the back the same break you got.
5. Drop the judgement-based descriptions such as "beginner" or "advanced" when you actually mean slow or fast.
This is a personal pet peeve of mine, because I'm slow, but I'm definitely not a beginner. I want to be very clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a beginner.
But using descriptions such as "beginner" or "advanced" to describe pace can be dangerous and misleading. Harking back to #1, use actual pace descriptions, and if you truly mean a beginner ride, explain what that means. If folks are expected to know how to hold a paceline, make that known!