One more thing I think needs to be added to the intro spiel is awareness of bonk/burnout. We had only just got into the incline to Charman Road and someone decided they'd gone over-limit and rather than pulling out to the side out of the groups' way seemed to jam on the brakes rather than slow down by simply stop pedalling. 3 cyclists ended up playing tetris and somehow avoided shifters in nasty places. Yes, it might be possible to ride head to head against you...but if that means they're going into burnout, it's not going to be an enjoyable ride for them if there is still 20km to go to the finish...better to leave those "dig deep" efforts to when you know there's a scheduled stop not far down the road. Matt (on the flatbar) politely went to drop off the back on the final sprint up to North Road...but seemed to find extra power when he knew that we'd be stopping for a reasonable break at North Road.
I'd better explain there, David had known I was close to my limit (with the various inclines in that area) but I didn't know it, since usually I don't push myself nearly enough, so I'd chosen to stay on front. I was in the right lane, and couldn't keep up going down the hill, then there was realising that I wasn't going to be able to make up the distance, then having to find a spot in the left lane to move into, all happening (for me) within a very short space of time! If I even stopped pedalling in the process (let alone jammed on the brakes) I was completely unaware of it. Perhaps it was my sudden loss of speed at the time that the group was picking up speed going down hill, that made it seem that way. Anyway, I've learned my lesson with not pushing it staying on the front.... and perhaps even with this pace of ride should try not to be at the front at all in that kind of section of the route (i.e. hillier than most of Beach Rd).
Re newbie-paced groups, whilst it is obviously a fairly fit group doing these rides so far, there could well be people buying road bikes at this shop who would be nowhere remotely near to being able to keep up with the pace of these three rides we've done. I'm thinking of, for example, the level of some of the people I've cycled with on Beach Rd last year, including young males..... and THEY would probably be considered "very fit" by normal Australian standards!!
One possible suggestion could be having a split of groups, for example head for Frankston, initially riding altogether, then at a pre-designated point have the two groups split so that the faster people can travel further, have the faster group do a hills route around Mt Eliza, and arrange a spot for the two groups to meet up for heading back.