New Riders: An SF2G Primer
SF2G is a casual group. Membership is granted by showing up and riding bikes. Rides are friendly and fun. There is a commonly agreed-upon system for operating the rides, however, including terms and slang that may seem confusing at first. This system exists mostly to reduce typing, as we are lazy and often drunk. This article should help demystify these practices.
Rides are "called" via the SF2G Google group. Calling a ride consists of little more than sending an email to the group indicating your intention to ride to work, with a few simple details included in the subject line.
These details include
- which route you are taking
- where you are meeting
- when you are meeting
- how fast you intend to go
The Subject Line: 2/21 RRR Bayway 06:30 Style II
A ride call is easy to spot. It's sufficiently cryptic but includes all the necessary information to join a ride. The ordering of information is unpredictable in the subject line, but always includes the items in the sample above. They are decoded as follows:
- 2/21 - February 21st
- RRR - Ritual Roasters Rollout, the meetup spot for this ride (almost always a coffeehouse, but can be a bar, such as Clooney's
- Bayway - The route
- 06:30 - 06:30 AM PST, the rollout time. This is when the group leaves. Show up earlier for coffee. Note: 24-hour time is generally preferred, so leading zeroes and "17:45" instead of "5:45 PM" are encouraged.
- Style II - The intended speed of the ride. See ride styles
Joining a ride: +1
SF2G riders signal their intentions to join a ride by responding to the ride call with a simple "+1". SF2G is a colorful group and +1 emails often include such caveats as "+1 if I'm not too hungover" or "+ .5 depending on sleep." Fractions are also sometimes included, as a "maybe."
List etiquette: stay on target! have fun!
The SF2G list is an unusual combination of chatty and focused, and we like it that way. Some guidelines:
- Use "OT:" (Off Topic) - For ALL non-ride-call emails, prefix your subject line with "OT:" so people can filter those messages (either automatically or mentally).
- Be relevant - Everything on the list should be bike-related, at least tangentially. This could include a party or other social event that includes bikes in some fashion.
- Don't brazenly ask for money - Everyone does charity rides, and everyone has been hit up for money a million times. If you are actively fundraising, put a link in your email signature, but don't spam the list with money requests. If several people are doing a big ride (like the Aids LifeCycle, etc.), one message with several links to fundraising pages is fine. Just be tactful.
- Limit "For Sale" posts - Have something relevant to sell? Post it (preferably a link to an ad + photos), but leave it at that. No need for a bunch of status updates. Replies should be to the questioners only.
- Don't be bashful - Again this is a chatty list -- so don't be shy! If you want to pose a question to the list, feel free. By the same token, don't lecture people about asking "dumb" questions, and don't be snarky unless it's well warranted.
- Be positive - The genesis of this list is partially a reaction to the curmudgeonly list at Google called "rbike." This list is the opposite. It's fun, supportive, easygoing, and nonjudgmental. Be friendly!
- Don't cross-post - This is a large list, with over 2000 people, so it's kinda lame to spam multiple lists, even with very worthy information. Take the time to write a separate message to each, or at least customize your boilerplate a little.
- +1! - Lurking and joining rides without telling anyone is fine once in awhile, but a ride caller will feel dejected if no one +1s for his/her ride, and lots of +1s engender more and more, so be vocal in your intent to join a ride. It will make the ride caller happy, and it's good to commit yourself to it. That way, at 6am, you'll guilt yourself into getting out of bed. It works!
- Add to the conversation - Please share your opinion, advice, routes, etc., freely. That's useful info, and the good kind of chatty. The annoying kind is replies that don't contain any information. "LOL!!!", etc., should be kept to a minimum.
- Ride calls should be explicit and answer all the questions (see "The Subject Line") above - Make sure you include the date, time, meetup location, and intended speed, at a minimum. Beyond that, be as creative as you want. This list loves clever writing, pertinent Youtube links, funny photos, etc.
- Visit sf2g.com - Obvious right? But a quick perusal of this site will answer pretty much all your questions if you give it a chance. Don't see your answer? Ask away!