So you’ve been invited on a group mountain bike ride. Is it ok to invite somebody else to join?

Here are the rules:

You are responsible for the person whom you invite. That means, when the shit goes down, and your buddy tangles himself up in rhododendron and his derailleur resembles a corkscrew, nobody else is walking him out. Expect the ride to go on.

When the guy you’ve started seeing, and haven’t ridden with yet, is having a temper-tantrum in the back because he can’t climb, don’t expect anyone to hang around close enough to witness it. That’s when you need to do an immediate abort—especially if you want to continue seeing the guy without your friends calling him a #@%%y forever more.

Wha? Don’t know your way out of the woods?! Don’t want to go back? This behavior will only bar you from future rides.

When you feel out of shape and decide to invite somebody slower than you on a ride, the dynamics change drastically. The guy who came up with the ride probably knows exactly how long it will take him were he by himself. He has already added in the extra time factor for more breaks, inevitable with more people, to allow for some waiting. Something small always happens. But if you have just slowed the ride down by one or two hours, you have screwed a lot of people for the sake of your ego.

Don’t invite the girl who tries to tick off her boyfriend by riding as slowly as she can—in the dead of winter when everyone’s legs are cementing and core temperatures are dropping whilst waiting.

DO invite the girl who can keep up, despite the fact that she has forgotten her bike shoes and is riding in some borrowed Brogans on flat pedals.

DON’T invite the guy who has designated himself as fastest rider of all, who also talks incessantly of bike parts.

DON’T invite the guy who insists on going downhill first, only to ball every one else up in the juicy bits where he has crashed.

DO invite the girl who, although she is always 10 minutes behind, consistently carries a pack full of Ho-Ho’s for everyone.