A prickly problem has presented itself and I need your worldly wise advice. I was on a social ride with my cycling club recently and they have just introduced ride captains to help guide those less knowledgeable in the ways of the club ride etiquette. This is clearly a step forward, but on my ride there were at least 4 ride captains and they were all shouting advice. I’m usually good at following orders but what I need to know is what to do in a situation where the ride captains disagree or issue contradictory instructions. Who do I listen to. I don’t want to cause offence or seem like I’m not doing what I’m told.
Oh dear, oh dear, what a pickle you are in. There should never be more than one ride captain on any given ride, and if there are then those who are not in the hot seat for the day should courteously take a back seat. That said, however as we know from long days in the automobile, those that do not drive do so feel the need to issue instructions as if they were, and so I believe there are some social pecking order rules that you should follow in the eventuality that you have multiple captains to listen to.
- Is one a Gentleman? A gentleman, particularly if said gentleman is a minor Royal should always be listened to, he is born knowing how to give orders and has practiced this gift from birth by bossing the domestic staff around because none of his own family will listen to him. You can identify him by his plus fours and possibly a tweed cycling jacket, although in the hotter climes of Singapore, he may be found in a light beige suit.
- Is one an officer? Or dare I say an actual Captain? Officers should always be obeyed, if not for their ability to marshal troops across hazardous terrain swarming with natives then for the fact that they are trained to kill you with the second knuckle of their little finger without anybody noticing. Such punishment looks just like you his a pot hole while going for your water bottle. If no officer is available then a Sergeant Major will do, again not because they know what they are doing but because the bellow with such alarming volume that you just feel compelled to obey.
- Is one called Bradley and has outrageous ginger mutton chops? If so, just do as you’re told, he knows what he’s talking about. He just does alright!
- Is one a member of the club committee. A long way down on the list, but hey, we’re just establishing a pecking order here.
- Finally anybody else who is officially nominated as ride captain should be listened to in alphabetical order, or if you prefer by date of birth.
Now, of course, there is one exception to all of those that takes precedence and that is if one of your ride captains is a member of the fairer sex. If that is the case, just do as you’re told for a peaceful life!
I hope this helps you stop your vacillating Victor.