Eleven excuses for being dropped on a group ride

Left trailing in the wake of your ride buddies? Best dig out one of these classic excuses...

Being dropped by your pals is a sad fact of life in cycling.

Whether you’re just not feeling it that day, or the people you ride with are permanently a level of fitness above because they seemingly have no responsibilities beyond riding their bike and occasionally popping into the office, we’ve all felt the cold sting of being left for dead by our compadres.

Getting dropped? It happens – just make sure you’re armed with a good excuse (Pic: Jean-Luc Armand)

And then, if they’re nice, your pals will wait for you at the top of the hill or the bottom of the descent, which puts you in the unenviable position of having to say something, anything, to mitigate your droppedness. You need an excuse.

We’ve heard (and made) plenty of excuses for being dropped over the years, some good, some… questionable. Here are a selection of our favourites, including a handful of your suggestions.

“I did a much bigger pull than everybody else”

“I must have been going about 20% harder than the rest of you guys when I was on the front.” Funny that, because we were moving about 10% slower.

We’re told this is a favourite of Michal Kwiatkowski, but in his case it’s probably more a statement of fact than an excuse.

“I was at a tech-house gig last night and I’m super tired”

I don’t even know what tech-house* is, but if you go out late the day before a ride that’s your own problem buddy.

Same applies to, “I drank 20 beers and slept for 20 minutes last night” – no excuse.

*It’s music, sort of.

“I’ve got too much water in my bottles”

I mean, when you think about it this is pretty sound logic. Two 500ml bidons is a whole extra kilogram on top of your bike’s weight.

Dropped on a climb? Probably those extra bidons…

However, it’s not like having over-full bottles isn’t easily solved… either empty them at the foot of the climb, or go full-pro and lob them at a roadside toddler (don’t do this).

In all fairness, Winnats Pass is a brute. Plenty of people struggle to get up that beast with no bidons at all. Fact of the matter is, though, most of us will be carrying a bit of extra timber worth more than a bottle or two.

“You guys ran a red light!”

Obeying the rules of the road is a vital and important responsibility of all cyclists, and getting dropped because you declined to ride through a red light is all well and good. In fact, shame on your ride mates who did not stop.

Remember though, this excuse will only fly if you’re riding through a town or built-up area – somewhere there actually are traffic lights. We don’t advise you use this one once you get out into the country lanes!

Traffic lights, that’s a perfectly valid excuse… (Pic Tony Webster via Creative Commons)

“I’m just doing a recovery ride today”

 Sure you are, buddy. Oldest one in the book.

“It’s too windy to descend quickly”

Yup, this is an actual excuse, put forward by a reader on Twitter. Apparently wheels with deep section rims can catch the wind and act as a destabilising factor on descents. Apparently. The air was probably dead-still.

“My saddle bag is really heavy”

Why, what have you got in there? It’s a group ride, not a bike packing adventure – no need for that bivvy bag… or the tin of baked beans.

“If I’d only packed lighter, I’d have been flying up there…”

“I’m trying to keep my heart rate down”

This one belongs with “I’ve decided to give up gluten” and “I’ve just got a great deal on my mortgage” in the bucket we like to call ‘Things absolutely nobody except you is interested in’.

“Dropped? Me? Nah, mate.”

The old deny, deny, deny tactic, effective even in the face of overwhelming fact. Just ask Donald Trump.

Dropped? Nah, this is the peloton – they’re in the breakaway… maybe (Pic: Sirotti)

“I am a sensibly-sized human adult”

To be fair, we can kind of sympathise with this one. Not everyone was born to fly up mountainsides, dancing on the pedals with a high lactate threshold and a naturally whippet-like build.

For those who are possessed of a more ‘Spring Classics’ body type, there will be the inevitable moments when aforementioned mountain goats leave you in the dust. Of course, there are always the windy flat days when you can make ‘em pay.

Let’s face it, we’re not all lean, mean, WorldTour climbing machines (pic – Sirotti)

“I’m just not very good at cycling.”

We love this one. The full nuclear option. Wipe the smug grins off the faces of your ride buds and leave them thinking, ‘Damn, that girl/guy is disarmingly honest.’ After all, cycling is a sport enjoyed by all kinds of riders and we can all have an off day.

Who knows, they may even go easy on the next climb and give you a tow. Probably not though, lets be honest.

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