I love group rides. Cycling tends to be such a solo activity. And even when cyclists do ride together, they often do so with only one or two others. Wednesday night, I joined six other guys, four of which I’d never met before, for a twenty-mile loop around Sand Creek.
The benefits of groups rides are many. Here are just a few that come immediately to mind.
- Paceline. Pacelines are something that many, assuming they’ve ever even heard of them, associate with training and racing. But they are in fact a basic cycling technique for group rides, and provide some of the greatest benefits and rewards of riding in a group. One of the guys participating in Wednesday night’s ride wasn’t too sure he’d be able to keep up with the group because he hadn’t been riding much of late. He spent most of the time drafting other riders. As a result, he stayed with the group the entire time, had a terrific ride, and felt great at the end.
- Safety. On another group ride some time ago, my dear Ms. McCaskill, who doesn’t ride regularly, said afterward that she felt safer riding in a group. Indeed, I noticed motorists extending a great deal of generosity toward our group Wednesday night. We were more visible. We took up more space. In a word, we had a stronger presence on the road.
- Camaraderie. Group rides are fun. Period. Conversation. Laughter. The opportunity to meet, connect with, and learn from other riders. The miles fly by without you even knowing it. The worst part about a group ride is finishing it, because you rarely want it to end!
Talk continues about organizing a local bike club (or re-organizing the once-glorious Adrian Maple Wheelers). I’m certain this is going to happen before long. The degree to which it would enhance and bolster the coordination of cycling-related concerns and activities cannot be overestimated. An organized club would increase exponentially the number and variety of rides and other activities available for cyclists to choose from. An organized club would also make a greater impact in any effort to advocate for bike-friendly infrastructure in the county.
Tomorrow is the Brighton Tour de Cure. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the saddle to be ready for a century as I’d originally planned to do, so I’m opting to ride the 75-mile route. Truth be told, however, the change is so I can ride with a fellow member of Team Hadrian also. Rain is in the forecast. No matter. More than anything else, I’m looking forward to the company and conversation on the road, and to the energy that manifests whenever so many folks get together around a common cause and a shared interest.
Stay tuned for pictures.