Onewheel group rides are incredibly fun that every Onewheel enthusiast needs to experience. There’s something about find your tribe and riding in a group that exponentially elevates the fun factor for the Onewheel.
The following is a guest article from Nate over at the Fordged YouTube Channel:
So a Onewheel group ride is going down near you. You’ve built up the courage to join but you’ve never been on a group ride. You’re wildly nervous about it. This article will cover some steps you’ll need to know to survive a Onewheel group ride!
Onewheel group rides are amazing fun but If you’ve never been on a group ride it’s common to feel that you are too inexperienced for a group ride or that you’re not fast enough. Those are common concerns but don’t let that stop you.
Believe it or not, being a beginner is the PERFECT time to go on a group ride! It allows you to see how others ride their boards, what gear other people have, and engage in the community.
My first group ride was in downtown Chicago with about 33 other riders. I only had my board for 4 months and was itching to meet other people with my same enthusiasm. Over two years later I can definitely say I’ve found them!
Here is my first ever Onewheel group ride in downtown Chicago!
There’s only so many Jimmy Chang ‘trick-tip’ videos you can watch to prepare yourself for riding. Sometimes, you just gotta send it and learn as you go!
Find your local Onewheel group
Most Onewheel group rides are organized on local regional Facebook groups. Do a simple search on Facebook for a Onewheel group near you and you may be surprised by what you find.
If you have an aversion to giving Mark Zuckerberg access to your personal information, consider making a dummy Facebook account. If you have a local group on Facebook that is active, you’ll be able to find out about the group rides this way.
Don’t be shy: Put yourself out there!
Now that you’ve found your group, introduce yourself online or in person and make sure everyone knows your riding experience. That way ride leaders will be able to help you know which group rides are suitable for your skill level.
Some group rides are fast and technical while others are leisurely cruises. Make sure you find the right ride for you so be sure to say hi and don’t be afraid to let people know how much or how little ride experience you have.
You’ll need more than just your Onewheel for a group ride. Make sure to have safety gear and your charger. If the ride will take place at night, bring lights to help you see and be seen. We’ll talk more about that later.
Whether you’ve got an XR or a Pint, it is very important to show up with as much battery as possible. Typically the team that plans the ride will let everyone know ahead of time of the desired path and ending location.
In Chicago, almost all of our rides are Pint friendly and we do our best to organize so that everyone can join and have fun. But, be sure to double check the end location to be sure!
Having a fully charged board ensures you’ll not only make it to the destination but you’ll be able to ride your board to its full capacity as well.
Personally, I’ve found that when my XR gets below 50% battery I can start feeling early pushback and a little lag in the torque so always start at or near 100%.
Be On Time
There’s nothing worse than showing up to a group ride only to find out everyone left 5 minutes prior. I did this just this two weeks ago and it was not fun.
I was then forced to ride a little aggressively and check my phone to see where the group was (sharing your live location via the Telegram app works wonders for all my group ride organizers out there!)
Being on time also gives you time to chit chat with your fellow wheelers! The Onewheel community has got to be one of the most accepting and involved communities I’ve ever been a part of.
I suppose when you spend so much money you want to get the best experience out of it!
Stick to Your Comfort Speed
With all the riders it’s very easy to gauge your speed off those around you. I’ll never forget a group ride I had downtown with Chicago Eskate in the summer of 2019.
This ride was primarily lead by boosted boards, which go significantly faster than the Onewheel. After the ride I checked my app to see I had hit a top speed of 23mph! Not the safest riding speed for a guy of my size, to say the least.
Be sure to listen to your instincts and keep your speed and riding abilities in check. Don’t be afraid to push yourself but don’t feel embarrassed if you can’t keep up with the fastest riders in the group.
Remember to follow these Onewheel rules to stay safe:
Better to be last or to be left behind than to nosedive and get injured.
Also, don’t be afraid to learn from others and try some new tricks! I’ve learned some of my favorite things from seeing others do them first. Big curb nudges, drops, you name it! Also, always have the appropriate amount of gear for your riding.
Group rides often stop to recharge the Onewheels and refuel the riders.
With the amount of people showing up at a single restaurant it can overwhelm the staff. If you’re ordering food, I’ve found that doing it quickly can ensure you aren’t stuck waiting behind 16 other orders from your fellow wheelers.
After riding for any amount of time I’m ready to slam some chicken fingers or a nice greasy burger and I’d like to spend the time after that conversing and enjoying time with the crew.
Also, be sure to take care of the staff waiting on you. I waited tables while finishing up my degree and handling a bunch of riders with all separate checks is a good amount of work. Extend some grace to your fellow human if they forgot a refill or somethin’!
We want to be able to return to establishments and being rude or short with staff is a good way to never be allowed back in. Especially with our insatiably electricity-hungry group 😂
During your stop, check your board!
So you’ve scarfed down 1,500 calories of greasy guilt-inducing goodness and are ready to start riding. You head over to your board to see your charger light is…
Come to think of it… everyone’s boards are off…
You blew the circuit breaker and your Onewheel hasn’t been charging this whole time!
And now it’s time to leave?! The whole rest of the ride you’ll be fighting pushback and might not even make it to the next charge spot.
This might be my #1 fear when it comes to group rides as I’ve been burned by it too many times. This pain did however cement this into my ‘Group Ride Brain’.
Jimmy likes to use this lock during stops to keep his board from walking away during rest stops while eating and hanging out.
“CHECK YOUR BOARD DURING THE STOP!”
This is the best way to cut a ride short and it can be easily avoided by checking your board through the meal at least once.
We’ve gotten accustomed to this in Chicago so we happen to know where the circuit breakers are in our favorite spots and just flip them back… but be sure to talk to a manager before you go flipping switches like that.
I’m talking about flashlights people 🔦
Night riding can be one of the memorable riding experiences. Limited vehicles crowding the roads, fewer pedestrians to avoid, and that cool breeze whipping through your helmet can work wonders after a hot day.
Problems can arise just as easily, though. Last year we had a ride that went late and someone without any extra lights hit a pothole that swallowed up his Onewheel Pint.
The rider was ok but his self esteem and Pint rails took a beating. A little bit more lighting makes a HUGE difference when it comes to riding safely so spend the extra $10-30 on a proper flashlight!
Note: Any flashlight you mount on your helmet might end up blinding your fellow riders. Personally I ride with a hand-held flashlight for group rides and my lite beam when I’m floating solo.
Shout out to https://instagram.com/ffx_oc for hooking me up with the most useful head light when I visited DC last year! The beam headlamps that strap to your helmet are by far the greatest light accessory in my opinion. Tons of visibility that keep your hands free.
Be sure to check out the Guardian Angel lights which are some of the best lights to help riders be seen at night.
Some of my favorite Onewheel moments have been spent off the board with the riders. In 2019 Chicago Onewheel hosted a Picnic & Ride at a Chicago beach! We had food, contests, and even raffled off a Onewheel XR!
Meeting new people is one of the best ways to experience life. The Onewheel community is by far the greatest group of people I’ve come to know in my few years creating content and going on group rides.
These people are very giving of their time and resources and it has truly shaped me into more of a team player than I have ever been. I urge you to search your local facebook groups for a Onewheel community, find out when the next group ride is, and GET RIDING!
You’ll never truly get 100% out of your Onewheel experience unless you ride with the amazing people in the community.
Be sure to check out another of Nate’s guest articles: