Melbourne Bunch Etiquette?

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I don’t like using this blog as a platform for my rants but I’m having a tough time keeping quiet on this one. If there’s one thing that grates on my nerves it’s riding in a bunch where a few guys don’t understand the etiquette of “rolling turns” and spoil it for everyone else.

In Melbourne we’re fortunate to have some excellent group rides early in the morning before work starts. These could serve as good training rides, however a lot of riders treat it as a race and try to flex their muscle by attacking the bunch.

A typical scenario on one of Melbourne’s bunch rides: There’s usually a fairly consistent group of 5-10 guys rolling turns at the front of the group while sometimes up to 100 others sit on the back. I have no problem with 99% of the guys sitting on the back keeping out of the way. Quite often I’m one of them.

The riders at the front will be working smoothly together getting some good hard training in. Then what happens next is some guy who has been sitting on the back will take a steaming run from 20m behind and basically launches an attack. Others will instinctively follow and completely swarm the stronger riders at the front who were working together. Then this cowboy who initiated the attack will completely fade out and then be relegated to the middle of the bunch again. The guys who were previously working at the front need to make their way back up and start rolling turns again because no one else wants to do any work.

Am I the only one bothered by this lack of etiquette? It seems to me that this hardly ever happened as little as 5 years ago. The guys working at the front would be respected and the rest would stay out of their way. If someone wanted to roll turns with them, then they’d ride up there smoothly and join in.

I don’t thing this is a case of blatant disrespect however. I think that it has either become part of Melbourne’s culture or perhaps some riders simply don’t understand.

From what I gather Sydney and Adelaide still have their “patrons of the peloton” on the bunch rides.  I’ve spoken with riders from other states who have attended the Melbourne bunch rides and they just shake their heads in disbelief. I can see why sometimes…

Listen to me. I sound like a grouchy old man. Time for a coffee…