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  • Gummee!

    I know there’s been a few times when I’ve put my hand on someone’s back to push them, that it ends up being more a psychological thing ’cause I’m really not doing any pushing. I think its just the feel of the hand on the back that does it.

    Then there’s times when the person gets a big ole shove to get em back to the group.

    I’ve got years of Madison racing and/or training under my belt, so I feel pretty darn safe doing it.

  • Winky

    The classier thing to do is to slow and encourage them, and then offer them a friendly wheel to help them back to the bunch once the road flattens. If they can’t be towed back on, then it wasn’t meant to be. Personally, there is no circumstance in which I would ever accept a push. To me, psychologically, a push equates to an abandon.

    “Rest if you must, but never, ever quit”.

    • slowcoach

      agree. offer food, drink a tow (at their speed). a push gets people out of a rhythm and if you are not going to do it for the hr it takes to get up the hill, then no point starting.

  • Suzie

    I’ve been on the receiving end of a push many times before. Sometimes incredibly gratefully and other times I hated it. I guess it depends on the situation. The time I really didn’t like it I was trying to catch a bunch after I missed a set of lights, it was a personal challenge and the well-intentioned person didn’t ask either. However I did know them.
    I’ve also been the pusher once or twice, more-so resting my hand on their back for reassurance on a flat bit of road whilst giving words of encouragement. But I’ve always told the person I’m going to do it first.
    Given my performance at Amy’s I wish I’d had someone there to push me!!

    • JulMass

      Totally agree it depends on the circumstances. During a sportif where the slowest rider’s time is important (although its not supposed to be a race) and the lumpy hills are just killing me, sapping the energy to get back on – yes, we arrange the stronger riders to give a push.
      When I am trying to ride something that I want to do under my own steam – no!
      BUT – when I’m being pushed, I work hard to make sure the person pushing doesn’t.

      • winkybiker

        They tow the slowest rider up the hills in those team advneture/endurance races, too. They use a bungie tow cord that either has a hook or wraps around the bars of the follwing rider. They also adjust loads on the foot-borne segments, unloading the slowest and getting the strongest to do the heavy lifting. The times are taken from the last competitior so it makes sense.

      • easytiger

        @Julia – you can give me a push any time you like! I must say last cyclosportif one of our guys was really struggling, he was second last wheel, and I was last wheel, and he was dropping the wheel in front, so I pushed him back on. He didn’t ask for it or say thanks or f-off afterwards, but I think in that environment and at that time, it was the right thing to do to keep the team together. I have done it on numerous occasions to juniors on restricted gears trying to hold onto a fast bunch. I weigh 60kg wringing wet, so it’s not as if I have a superiority complex.

        I don’t think it should be seen as a sign of weakness – I still laugh about a mid-winter ETSA smashfest (for me) years ago when I was unfortunate enough to get on the front of the bunch at the bottom of a little hill and had to be pushed up by 2 ex-pros!

  • climbingon

    Do strangers really push people that much to be a topic of concern? I’ve seen it happen once and that was on a group ride helping a new rider out.

    • winkybiker

      Not sure it’s a “concern” as much as a discussion of personal preference.

    • Jessy Vee

      Yep… I was soft pedaling up a climb, waiting for a friend who was behind me. A guy I’d never met before rode up next to me, offered words of encouragement and then before I had a chance to say I was waiting for a friend, he proceeded to give me a HUGE shove that made my tyres slip off the (1.5 inch) lip of the bitumen road, into the gravel and me head first into the bushes. His intentions were honourable, but it took me by surprise, and scratched up my 1 month old carbon bike. :(

      • Annie.

        He might have regretted afterwards…. :D

      • Simone Giuliani

        Ouch. I think you may have just managed to put your finger on the one type of push that everyone can agree they don’t want – the one that results in a fall.

  • MattyP

    Never wanted a push. If I can’t make it, it gives me impetus to come back & climb it next time!

    My kids have appreciated a push from time to time. But that’s been when they’ve been on single speed bikes heavier than my roadie & they’re only 3yo.

  • some1s_lucky

    At one of the GORC races (maybe 2013 edition) I was in a team that assisted me to get across the line by using the helping hand. As it turned out I had a nasty chest infection and the last long stretch of the great ocean road coming back into Lorne was my downfall. Our team of 5 riders strung out like an echelon all with a hand on the back of the rider slightly in front. It’s not called the “Hand of God” for nothing, I was spent and grateful for the assistance. In the end our team scored the prize for the closest time to our estimated time

  • jakub

    I feel really sorry for people who feel offended by a gentle push. I suppose that this must have happened to any serious cyclists at least once, whether it was during a race, or a bunch ride. In my case it was always accompanied with a smile and perhaps a joke, which I returned back and that’s it. If such a thing can trash your whole ride, I’d say this suggests some deeper personality problems. Sometimes I have a feeling that we’re starting to live in a sad world, where soon even starting a conversation with a stranger will be deemed as inappropriate.

    • Annie.

      Nope, I don’t think so. You probably forget that it’s always also about who you are: If that happened to you very often – being pushed without having asked for it, I mean – your might feel different about it. Also, those who push me (or those who complain about it), will probably not touch you, so you won’t experience the very situation.

      I was very lucky with my first riding bunch, so I couldn’t understand when on my very first training camp 2 guys never let me ride in the slip stream (beside them). Only later I was told I had apparently wounded their honour by leaving them behind on a longer climb (me being female and novice back then, a fact that everyone in the group knew). It actually took me a while to get that stupid reason!

      See: You probably never experienced that, have you?

  • Annie.

    I never got pushed in the first place, so that kind of “option” never occured to me. When much later people offered (and me too, I had some very strange experiences regarding that matter) a push, I refused because I am the one who rides the bike, simply put. Those very people would never want to be pushed themselves, so why should I? There are easy days and hard days and very hard final (kilo)metres to very hard days. That’s what our sport is about, isn’t it?

    This spring, we went into training camp to Italy. There was a couple, and He virtually pushed her up any hill and even mountain (have you ever been to lake Garda in Italy?! Do you know how long and steep ascents there can be?!) for two weeks! She had been exhausted from the very beginning (easy spin along the lake), even though everyone had adjusted speed to below-acceptable. Nevertheless, she never stopped complaining about the speed, about other people never being considerate of her, she never even thanked her boyfriend or anybody else for waiting endlessly and never seemed to ever think of riding on her own at least some days. And yes, she spoiled everything (even off-bike time) for anyone in the end.

    To me, part of that was due to her being pushed: Hadn’t he done that, she’d never made it even the first day – and should have realized pretty soon that she couldn’t keep up with us. It was not about not being considerate: Rather there was this woman who hadn’t sat on the saddle for months, who drank a lot every single night, but still expected everybody else to take care of her.

    I don’t mind people helping others to achieve something, and being pushed once in a while may be pretty helpful at times. But it is not good to make it a habit and to give people the impression that it’s normal for a woman to need others’ help to get up a hill. Worst is if these women then start to believe they’ll never make it without external help. That’s sad really.

  • markpa

    When our bunch is pushing on a climb I tend to be at the back. No problems, I’ll work hard, they’ll wait, we regroup and repeat.
    But couple of weekends ago on smaller climb I’m hanging in a bit short of the top but the elastic is about to break, the next wheel sees the moment and gives one quick push, just enough to keep me on the wheel so we all crest together and hit the descent.
    Nobody needed to stop at top, we hit the descent smoothly and a good result for everyone.
    There was no time to ask, the moment would have been lost. But of course it helps that we’re a regular group who know and trust each other.

    • Annie.

      You’re right: That’s a different situation. Also, to me, that’s team effort and not the kind of pushing mentioned above, at least, I see it in a different way. To me, that’s a gesture like someone telling you to hang on, or gently pushing you to the side to make way for another person in the slipstream. Things like that happen automatically and are neither bossy nor disturbing in any way.


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