... offer a pre-whine1 of 6
Announcing an ailment at the start of the ride is nothing but annoying. Everybody knows that if you were really sick, tired,hungover, or sore, you'd probably be home and not riding your bike. So skip it, and focus on how you're going to enjoy the ride instead.
... be oblivious to the route2 of 6
You should have at least a rough understanding of where you're going; how long the ride should take; where you'll be stopping (if you're stopping); and whether riders are regrouping at corners or intersections for a no-drop ride, or if it's every man for him- or herself with bailout points along the way. This is especially true on long, multi-hour rides: It's your responsibility to know, and the group leader's responsibility to share. "Bad communication is the worst thing," Korenblat says. "Everyone should have at least a general understanding of the plan."
... go without food3 of 6
No matter how long the ride is or where the planned stops are, don't let yourself get to the point of?bonking. If you feel hungry or generally depleted, speak up and then stop to eat something, regardless of where the planned rest stop is.
... go without tools4 of 6
Group rides aren't guided tours—it's unfair to expect the ride leader to fix everyone's bike ills. Bring, and know how to use, a mini tool, patch kit, spare tube, and pump or?CO2 cartridge.
... not go5 of 6
If you get invited on a group ride, go. "Unfortunately a lot of people will focus on, 'What will people think of me if I'm last or if I'm slow,'" Korenblat says. "But here's the thing: They're hardly ever thinking about you. And so what if they have to wait for you? Someone had to wait for them once, too. And hanging out is part of riding. If you don't like the ride, don't go the second time. But the first time? Go for it!"