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if the rider behind you is no longer behind you, do you

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The leader in any group ride needs to slow down on one of the straight sections every 10 minutes or less until he gets a headcount or gets some sort of signal from the others in back to indicate that everyone is there.

Sweepers are a fine idea but what happens if it's the sweeper that breaks down or crashes? Obviously the rider should be chosen for skill that avoids the crashing option but Murphy is a constant riding companion and a broken bike is something that can happen to anyone. So the leader needs to slow down and gather their flock here and there and if it looks like someone even MAY be missing then pull over to the shoulder and stop for a headcount.

If the ride group breaks up into sub groups with a faster bunch forging out and a slower group left then the front man of the slow group becomes the leader for that part of the ride and it becomes their polite responsibility to slow down and let the stragglers catch up now and then to ensure that the group doesn't loose anyone.

This is why they call it a GROUP ride and not "a wandering flock of individual riders that happen to be sort of going towards the same desitination at their own speed and in their own time". A GROUP ride implies a certain group responsibility to ensure the survival of the weakest member of the pack.
 
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