Welcome to Eastside Tours. We are a group of like-minded riders who ride the Bellevue/Redmond/Kirkland region on Tuesday and Thursday nights year-round.
We are affiliated with the Tuesday and Thursday night EARTHDreams rides, which ride at a slightly higher pace and are more hilly. We may choose to join the rides together based on the riders that show up on a given night and the availability of ride leaders.
During the warmer part of the year, we meet at the East Lake Sammamish Trail parking lot near Whole Foods. In the winter, we meet at the Overlake Transit Center near Microsoft. Please be ready to ride 5 minutes before the scheduled starting time so we have time for the pre-ride briefing.
All you need to do is show up for the ride (10 minute early, please), sign the Cascade ride waiver, and ride with us. You do not need to be a Cascade member.
We have a diverse set of riders; some of our riders are quite serious and do long and hard rides (such as RAMROD), some ride for fitness, and others just ride for fun. Our main concern with new riders is that they have sufficient training and experience to be able to complete the ride safely and enjoy the experience.
Our speed is in the high end of the brisk range (16-18MPH) on the flats. We do, however, ride a lot of hills; most of the rides feature 3-5 climbs. The majority of our climbs are 10% or less in grade, though a few short ones may exceed that steepness.
If you are a less experienced rider, we recommend that you pick one of the sample rides, ride it on a weekend, and compare your time to the sample ride time. This will give you a great idea whether our group is for you.
If you have not been on group rides before, we recommend the Cascade "GeaRS (Group Riding Skills)" class.
We cancel if it is raining or the roads are wet. If it's dry but threatening, we may head out and stay close to home in case it starts to rain. If this is the case, do not be surprised if we get a bit wet.
We will try to cancel rides on Facebook by 5:30PM when possible.
We make up the route on the fly, and a planned route may be modified based upon how fast the group is, whether we have any mechanical issues, etc.
We run our ride using "corner people". When we get to a place where the group will turn, the leader will call out "corner". The person right behind the leader will say, "I've got it", and safely pull off to the side and stop. That person will then stay at the corner and direct the riders in the proper direction until the designated sweep rider comes by. This allows the other riders to continue straight on the route until they reach a corner person.
There is no requirement to take corners. We do ask that new riders not ride in the first 5 or 6 riders behind the leader, so that the leader will have access to corner people.
Some of our faster riders use corners to do a bit of interval work; they will take a corner, wait for the sweep to show up, and then work hard to get back to the leader's group.
Because we use corner riders, there is no need to try to make it through lights; if we get split up the group will regroup at an appropriate place. If you run through traffic lights you may be asked to leave the ride. For stop signs, we ask all riders to be safe. If there is cross-traffic at a stop sign, please break into small groups (say, 5-8 riders) and alternate those groups with the other traffice.
Please be mindful of where we are riding before you ride side-by-side; there are some calm areas where it is fine, and other areas where it is not. Remember that riders have different levels of experience and comfort close to other riders; just because you are comfortable riding close to other riders does not mean the other riders feel the same way.
Do not ride side-by-side if we are on the Sammamish River Trail; it's not a nice thing to do.
Finally, please do not ride next to your ride leader. We're trying to keep track of what the group is and keep everybody safe, and we really don't have spare attention to talk to you.
Please pass any communication about hazards and road conditions back to the riders farther back in the group.
Pay attention to "car back" calls, pass them forward in the group, and make the group as unintrusive as possible. If you don't get out of the way, the cars will hang near the back of the group, annoy the sweep, and sometimes make very unsafe passes.
We regroup at the top of all climbs. We have rabbits and turtles, so don't feel that you need to climb at the rate of the faster riders. If you are one of the faster riders, when you reach the top you can turn around, descend, and ride up with the sweep group. If you do this it's your responsibility to do so safely and to get to the top with the group; if you ride past the sweep and don't make it up before the sweep arrives, we may leave without you.
If you want to climb faster than the leader, before you pass ask the leader where the regroup spot is; we are happy to tell you so that you can climb at your preferred pace.
When we are riding as a group, we do not ride in a paceline. The leader is in front, the sweep is in the back, and everybody else is in between.
There are, however, certain points (such as East Lake Sammamish back to Marymoor, or Willows back into Redmond) at which we will turn the riders loose to make their own way back. At that point, we will usually see a paceline or two spring up. The faster riders might travel at anywhere from 22MPH up to 25MPH, and you are welcome to join a group if you have paceline experience and are okay with the pace. If you want a slower pace, talk with your lead and sweep; we will make sure everybody gets back.
If you would like to learn how to ride in a paceline on one of these days; talk with Eric. He is happy to explain the etiquette of the paceline at a reasonable pace.
We maintain a facebook group that has the schedule of rides and allows riders to ask questions, find other riders to ride with, etc. We will try to cancel rides on the facebook group ahead of time if the weather will be bad.
We require headlights and taillights to ride September through May. In the late spring and early fall, you can get by with a "be seen" light, while in the other parts of the year, you will want a full light.
Feel free to email Eric if you have further questions.