Guest Article: The Ride Starts On Time. No Exceptions.

Guest Article: The Ride Starts On Time. No Exceptions.

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In light of the first North American Cogal (a Cogal is a gathering of Velominati just like a Cabal was a gathering of Illuminati); this Guest Article by community lurker @gmoosh seems apropos. Except that obviously every ride starts at V past the hour. In this spirit, we have added Rule #87.

Message from the Keepers to @gmoosh, it is precisely V past Awesome; time to stop lurking and start sharing more of your undeniable insight into la Vie Velominatus with the community. 

Yours in Cycling,

Frank

– 

Things that happen on time: Saturn V rocket launches. D-Day invasions. BBC time codes. Japanese Shinkansen. UCI time trials. Things that do not. Greyhound buses. Airline flights. Weddings. Work meetings.

There is an obvious, significant and qualitative difference between them. One class are demonstrable showcases of Rule #5. The other involve the mundane, forgettable and lamentable periods of time between such brilliance.

That is why the best rides, and, I would argue, every ride, should leave at exactly the stated time. If the ride is called for 7:30, it should leave at 7:30. Not 7:31. Not 7:29. Anyone arriving after the stated time of departure should see, far up the road, the Lycra-clad asses of Ones-Who-Take Riding-Seriously.

The upside of always leaving on time is considerable. Others will be late exactly once. You signal that the sanctity of this ride, like all rides, is not something with which you should muck. You demonstrate, not with words but with actions, your commitment. As a bonus, you make more time for post-ride espresso.

Conversely, if you’re not ready to roll at the announced time, you’re prove that in your feebly misplaced life, other things-sleeping, driving, talking to you spouse or even pumping your tires-are more important than The Ride. You are wrong. That’s why you are sprinting up the street like a domestique after a puncture, while everyone else is chatting with insouciance on the rollout far ahead of you.

Don’t believe that starting on time is important? Ask Pedro Delgado. In the 1989 Tour, he showed up 2:40 late to the opening prologue, accepted his fate and rocked as hard as he could. And lost the Tour, finishing third behind an aero-helmeted Greg Lemond, and a collapsed and crying Laurent Fignon.

It is worth mentioning that there is exactly one acceptable way to be late: Overtaking the leader of the group on the first significant hill in a casually deliberate display of the Five and Dime. If you can’t consistently do that, show up ready to roll, and roll when expected.

Discipline. Commitment. Punctuality. Three great tastes that taste great together.

// General // The Rules

  1. @frank

    When are we going to see a Cogal report?

  2. @sgt

    @frank
    When are we going to see a Cogal report?

    I think it’s going up tomorrow.

  3. @sgt

    Chapeau.
    I pride myself on punctuality, and interpret tardiness in others as disrespect. I wish my club rides were more punctual, but c’est la guerre. That said, we all fuck up, and when I’m late for a ride, I expect to chase on or ride alone. Or if I know I’m going to be late, I’ll ride to a later point so I can intercept the group. And here’s a Rule #88 submission: If the ride starts and/or finishes less than 20km from home, no driving to and from. Ride to the start and ride home afterward; you’ll arrive warmed up and ready to dish out The V, and have a nice spin home after coffee. Racing excepted.

    +1 to that nomination!

  4. +1 to that

    I laugh when someone pulls the bike off the rack and they live 5k away…whats with that…ok. off topic, but agreed

    back to slammin

  5. thanks, all, for the kind words. i’m kind of a nut about punctuality as well. odd, though, that although i’m on time for most things, i’m usually early and chillin’ for bicycle stuff. there’s probably something deep-seated in there about motivation and desire, but i digress.

    i agree with all of you as well, especially:

    steampunk: i love the idea of the coffee shop meet-up. it would be great to hang out and enjoy the pre-ride espresso during one of the few times you can legitimately sport a cycling cap.

    wiscot and joe: thanks to your words, i now appreciate even more the additional tranquillo that punctuality generates. hadn’t thought of it in those terms before, but you’re absolutely right.

    chapeau: “I pride myself on punctuality, and interpret tardiness in others as disrespect.” beautifully said.

    and as for the shout-out from frank on more contributions–point taken! this is a great community here, and that’s down to a pantload of cool people with a shared belief in laying down the V.

    thanks!

  6. @gmoosh: Well put indeed. I have a little saying I learned from my uncle Jim who was never late for anything, I mean never. You tell me we are going fishing at 6:30 damn it I expect to have my line wet at 6:30 not launching the damn boat! As the post states… I was late once after that first time I didn’t get to go fishing.

    fasthair

  7. @Cyclops

    it mystifies me why if we said we were leaving at XX:XV o’clock we are not leaving at XX:XV o’clock.

    Agreed. My VMH seems to think that the appointment time is the time you ought to walk out the door, not arrive. One of those things you pick your battles with: If it is her activity, let it ride ….

  8. You know, I’ve been thinking about this post all day. While a ride can do marvels to calm frayed nerves and unpleasant attitude, it isn’t good to start in a state of agitation, if that’s not a redundancy. The bike keeps me mentally sane, but I (like I suspect many of us do) have a pre-ride routine in terms of how I get ready. The order I get dressed in, making sure I’m properly dressed for the weather, preparing my bottles, going into the garage, pumping up the tires, checking that I have my watch, ID, and gels, getting the right lenses in the glasses, selecting what shoes I’ll wear, what shoe covers I need (if necessary) helmet on, and leaving. I don’t like to be rushed as I set out – all I want to initially focus on is my ride and route. The rest tends to sort itself out.

  9. @gmoosh
    V. strong arrival. Don’t be so shy.

  10. @gmoosh Great article, and I couldn’t agree more.

    I hate waiting around, and I hate people who think that showing up to where the ride starts at the time it starts is on time.

    As my football coach used to say: Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.

    @ChrisO

    Hmmm, in spirit and personal disposition I am with you. People who turn up late to rides are the type of people who set their alarm 15 mins early and then hit snooze for 20 minutes. I am married to one.

    I want to jam the alarm clock down the girlfriends throat when she does this. She then has the audacity later to say she is tired and wish she got more sleep. Don’t set the alarm for two hours early and wake the fuck up the first time it goes off. Tada! Two more hours of sleep. I’m just going to kick her out of bed if she hits snooze when we start living together. I don’t care that her bed is lofted.

  11. @sgt

    I’ll second that as a rule as well. I do tend to end up driving the 16km to my group ride but I need the motivation to just say “no, I don’t get to do this often enough” and walk out the house and leave them to organise themselves to get to mini rugby on time.

    An opportunity to focus on the bike and let the other shit free before stating the ride proper.

  12. I have had to buy my boss a watch for his birthday, because fuck me if a 9am meeting is not supposed to start until 10 past! I must have missed the memo about the change in time zones around my bosses desk!
    Punctuality is just courtesy, whether it is a ride, meeting or a date – it is not really that hard to do.

  13. A-Merckx, gmoosh. I learned the “early is on time, on time is late, late is unacceptable” from George Cavender at the University of Michigan (a nice wikipedia article, btw…) As any Velominatus will tell you, riding and all it’s activities are To Be Taken Seriously. Those who do not respect The Rules are to be shunned. Arrival late, especially the showing up at the appointed time not ready, deserve frame pumping and derision, not tolerance. If I am late, I accept the consequences, like Delgado did.

    I thank my lucky stars that my VMH is of a like mind. She is never late for an appointed occassion. If it takes 20 minutes to get there, she knows to be ready to walk out the door 25 minutes before that. This, of course, is why she is my VMH. I had a girlfriend one time than would never do this. If we had to leave at noon, I’d tell her we had to leave at 11:30. We’d be on time. After a few times, she caught on, and I couldn’t take her bullshit. Dropped her like she was cavendouche on the Aubisque.

  14. When I tell friends to come over at a certain time for dinner, the question is always asked if that is seemunkee time or Mrs. Munkee time. One means on time the other means….
    My daughter is getting married on Sat. I’ll let you know if it starts on time.

  15. I should send this article to some of my ride buddies.

    As a group we’re always running late; and when I mean late, I mean 30mins late! It’s got to the point where I now tell everyone that the ride time is -30mins, just so that we start close to the allotted time.

    If I just rode off at the start time, I’d be riding by myself!

  16. @scaler911

    And it might be noted that the starting time is the time when you start turning over the pedals, not the time you arrive in your car, still in your street clothes.

    Amen brother.

  17. @wiscot

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this post all day. While a ride can do marvels to calm frayed nerves and unpleasant attitude, it isn’t good to start in a state of agitation, if that’s not a redundancy. The bike keeps me mentally sane, but I (like I suspect many of us do) have a pre-ride routine in terms of how I get ready. The order I get dressed in, making sure I’m properly dressed for the weather, preparing my bottles, going into the garage, pumping up the tires, checking that I have my watch, ID, and gels, getting the right lenses in the glasses, selecting what shoes I’ll wear, what shoe covers I need (if necessary) helmet on, and leaving. I don’t like to be rushed as I set out – all I want to initially focus on is my ride and route. The rest tends to sort itself out.

    This. And I always feel guilty in the amount of time it takes me to Get Ready. Even though I try to make it efficient, I’d rather be on the bike. And thus always the great quandry – I want to maximize my on bike suffering, but have a limited number or route/rides available from my urban home. If I load the bike on the car, I can be on uber-sweet country roads easily within 45 minutes. But that’s 1.5 hours I could have been on the bike.

    But rather like making a fine meal, it is the prep that is just as much fun. And of course, there is the analog to dating. As the French say “make ze love to ze bike…don’t be in zee hurry to fuck ett…”

  18. Rule #88 is awesome!

    I quit going on a weekly group ride because my riding partner wanted to drive there…so he could save his legs for the sprint…on a training ride. For fucks sake. Oh, I also stopped going because all he wanted to talk about afterwards was his max heart rate.

    But yeah, driving to rides is bizarre to me. Since I don’t own a car, not really an option. And I must say one reason I am reluctant to race much cx is that driving to ride for 45 minutes isn’t that attractive to me. Oh well, I’ll do some races. Gotta take my shot at Joey-ing it before 2011 is out!

  19. I drive to a group ride currently, but when the ride ends close to sunset, it just makes more sense. Plus if I have a mechanical or kick my own ass (the more likely outcome), I don’t have to worry about getting home. However if the ride was midday on a Saturday and starts a few blocks away, by all means ride…

  20. Excellent first post Sir.
    Tardiness, especially in relation to the group ride, is unacceptable.
    Having spent a lot of time in Nippon, I am always amazed at how Tokyo’s railway system, with their myriad of lines, both public and private, work in perfect synchronicity and on time. Train due at 7:23? Arrives at 7:21; passengers disembark and embark; train departs at 7:23; every day the same (unless there has been a “jinshin jiko” or “human accident delay).
    If a city of 20 million can get it right, a bunch of lycra clad fat arses surely can.

  21. If you are not V minutes early, you are V minutes late.

  22. Being on time is a virtue and respectful to whomever you’ve agreed to meet at a certain time with. I haven’t cared too much about being late because I’ve figure people understand, but it’s become obvious how annoying it is because I’ve found myself waiting for others. As such, I’m trying hard to be more punctual, but I’m habitually late because I habitually bite off more than I can chew in terms of projects and have too many going at once. It’s the yin to my yang of always pushing myself as hard as I can in everything I do. But, if I agree on a time, I try hard to be there these days. If I don’t know when I’ll be somewhere, I’ll try to let people know what the buffer is so they can plan accordingly.

    In light of my tardiness, though, I just hope that in the event of my death, my friends and family will have the sense of humor to have my coffin arrive late to the funeral.

    The Cogal ride left at precisely V past VV, as it should be.

  23. I think a built in V minute margin of error is totally acceptable, if only to allow that not everyone are complete control freaks. FFS, lighten up. There can be myriad reasons why being a couple of minutes late is beyond anyone’s control, and if the tacit V minute buffer is there is leaving V minutes late really being late?? I’ve ridden on many bunch rides where the V minutes delay banter is as fun as the ride itself.

  24. I have such a reputation for being on time that when I was 3 minutes late to class last week I was given a proper telling of by my friends. I have been on time every day since. I pride myself on being reliable and punctuality is part and parcel with that.

  25. @frank

    You should have seen me panicking in my car while I was crawling through traffic on the 520 on Friday.

    “OMG I drove 175 miles and a traffic jam in the last 5 is going to make me fucking late to dinner!”.

    Made it on time, barely, dispite the lack of suitable parking on Capitol Hill. Your city sure is a cluster fuck on Friday evening.

  26. Punctuality is next to godliness.

    (nitpicking) I’m pretty sure the Illuminati were part of a “cabal” not a “cobal”.

  27. @Oli
    I suppose a regular group develops its own ethic but I think you’re missing the point. Late is late. It’s the thin end of the wedge. Tolerating it only encourages it. Ten riders waiting for one guy for V minutes is not totally acceptable. Nor does it make them control freaks.

    A margin for error only changes the time of departure.
    Its not that hard: take your V minute margin for error and put it in your schedule, not your group’s schedule.

  28. @Oli
    Amen. Gotta agree with the V minutes of grace… Best not to let group rides turn into military operations .

  29. @frank

    Dude, just cos I know you wouldn’t want the Awesome of the article to be spoiled, I’m pretty sure the Illuminati had Cabals…

  30. Screw that I’ve never been early for anything in my life. I am on time for rides but the V period of grace is something everyone has used at some point. The V period is for events that are outside your control, longer than that you’re unorganised adn keeping everyone waiting.

    @Joe

    . Group riding should contain an element of Shibui, spontaneous and healthy competition balanced by quietly self effacing contributions to the beauty of the overall aesthetic. Effortless effectiveness. blockquote>

    But on the other hand this is fucking gold. What I like about bike rides, and races is that they have a shambolic start that refines itself to a point: this doesn’t entirely agree with the quote, but the quote describes what you’re trying to achieve. The expression takes place on the ride, after the legs are warm and you’re an hour in. Then you’re in the money.

    Sure, be early if you want. Its the other end of the ride I’m interested in.

  31. This is a slippery one. I have people I ride with that if they say they are going to show and are late, there is a damn good reason – I wait. I have others that the dog regularly eats their V-work, are always late, and have only excuses the next day – I leave, but I have absolutely no problem riding solo. It’s the only way I’ll ever “win a stage”.

    Some pre-rides I find myself hoping no one shows because I’m in that “isolation might have a better chance of bringing la volupté”.

    Of course, my volupté isn’t the transcendent, extended grace of the Giants of the Road, it’s more like the awkward few seconds of Joey right before he was “OK”.

    That said, I’m definitely showing up an hour early to the Texas Cogal.

  32. @Mikael Liddy
    Been biting my tongue on this for several months…

  33. @Steampunk

    @Mikael LiddyBeen biting my tongue on this for several months…

    I think the “Cogal” works fine, but when he actually calls it a Cobal in the intro to the article then something must be said…

  34. Great first contribution! It resonates with me as my friend would always be late when we arranged to meet. Then I read somewhere that his tardiness was due to his feeling more important, for whatever reason. The article suggested giving him 15 minutes and then leaving, and he was often much later that that. It was before mobile/cell phones and he’d call me later and ask where I was. I told him I waited 15 minutes and thought he’d forgotten so went home. It only happened two or three times, then he was always punctual.

    Of course it was this particular friend I have to thank for getting me into road cycling, and in our growing group ride, you get a few mins leeway.

    One way I help myself be on time for the rides is organising my stuff after every ride. Except for stuff that might need to go in the washing machine, helmet, gloves, emergency supplies (in Lezyne case) etc. all go in the usual place. Chain gets a clean and lube. To speed up the warm up I have a quick shower pre-ride, get dressed, pump up tyres and I’m ready to rock, 20 mins tops. Also, I find being a couple of minutes early allows time for a few stretches.

  35. @minion
    @Oli
    @frank
    Thank you gentlemen for bringing some reality to this outpouring of zeal and selfproclamation – were I come from it’s okay to admit you are not perfect – agreed it is not good to be late, and it is a bit disrespectful, but it is also a bit aspirational at times

    – I’m almost afraid to turn up for a Cogal if arranged this side of the planet, in case I am 4 seconds late and you lot beat the fuck out of me with your C02 cannisters….

    @King Clydesdale
    Dude, you need to talk to your girlfriend a bit more before you move in together

    @gmoosh
    that said, fine article, respect +1

  36. @harminator
    I’m not missing anything at all, and I stand by what I said. SYNCHRONISE WATCHES!

  37. Ah, right, that’s where Cogal comes from. I thought it was just some Pacific North West crypto-hippy thing.

    Is it a cog-arl or a cog-l.

    And if it was wet would you wear cogoules (that might be a British joke).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cagoule

    @King Clydesdale Good luck with that one mate and let us know if the next gf is any better ;-) Take it from someone who’s been married 17 years, if you let shit like that wind you up then it’s best to keep everything in separate names.

    On the OP, my reading of the new Rule #87 is that one advertises the ride time at the top or bottom of the hour, and it starts at V past that time… which I believe is what Oli was saying and what many clubs practise. We’re talking about a few minutes, not half an hour.

    You can turn up on time, or early even, and have a pre-ride chat or espresso, or you can turn up in the interval between the advertised start and V-past and get straight to it.

    Works for everyone.

  38. Maybe another word for the Lexicon – don’t really know what it means, just slipped into ma heed

    Velominazi

  39. @Dr C
    You’re right, no one is perfect and I’d be lying if I said I was never late but for me this is all about the repeat offenders or those who don’t give a shit that everyone else is standing around doing waiting. Shit happens that might cause you to be late but not on a regular basis. I would hate the idea that, if I am late for whatever reason, people will waste their time waiting for me.

    Knowing that a ride leaves promptly at a particular time is important because if I am late, I know exactly how far behind them I am, I’d rather know for sure that if they left at the prescribed time and I’m ten minutes late, they’re long gone and the only way to catch them would be if there’s a short cut early on in the ride. if not then I’ll go and ride by myself.

  40. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank
    Dude, just cos I know you wouldn’t want the Awesome of the article to be spoiled, I’m pretty sure the Illuminati had Cabals…

    Right you are. Corrected. Since more than 50% of the information on the internet is now incorrect, I’m going to have to find a new way to do my spellchecking inside my allotted 7 second window.

  41. @ChrisO

    I’m embarrassed that our reputation as hippies has reached the Mid-East.

  42. @Chris

    Knowing that a ride leaves promptly at a particular time is important because if I am late, I know exactly how far behind them I am, I’d rather know for sure that if they left at the prescribed time and I’m ten minutes late, they’re long gone and the only way to catch them would be if there’s a short cut early on in the ride. if not then I’ll go and ride by myself.

    +1

  43. @all

    I think you need to get laid

  44. Thinking about Julia again aren’t ya

  45. @Marcus

    @all
    I think you need to get laid

    I don’t.
    But when I do, I always arrive first.

  46. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank
    Dude, just cos I know you wouldn’t want the Awesome of the article to be spoiled, I’m pretty sure the Illuminati had Cabals…

    @JimmmyMick

    Punctuality is next to godliness.
    (nitpicking) I’m pretty sure the Illuminati were part of a “cabal” not a “cobal”.

    @Steampunk

    @Mikael Liddy
    Been biting my tongue on this for several months…

    Have I responded to this yet? Funny thing is we spelled it right in the Lexi way back when we put that in there.

    Must remember the correct spelling from here on out, because that’s not cool.

  47. @itburns

    Of course, my volupté isn’t the transcendent, extended grace of the Giants of the Road, it’s more like the awkward few seconds of Joey right before he was “OK”.

    Absolutely solid gold. Badge goes to you this week.

  48. @ChrisO

    Is it a cog-arl or a cog-l.

    Cog-all. Or however the fuck you want to say it.

  49. @Dr C

    Maybe another word for the Lexicon – don’t really know what it means, just slipped into ma heed
    Velominazi

    @Marcus

    @all
    I think you need to get laid

    I think you mean to say we should all get late.

  50. @frank

    @itburns

    Of course, my volupté isn’t the transcendent, extended grace of the Giants of the Road, it’s more like the awkward few seconds of Joey right before he was “OK”.

    Absolutely solid gold. Badge goes to you this week.

    Must be karma (or is that bike-ma?) for becoming Rule #33 compliant on Saturday.

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