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Today is a Good Day to Ride… With Friends: An Impassioned Look at Social Cycling

This beautiful Friday will be the beginning of a rare great week in February.  I can’t ever remember having a decent cycling weekend this early in the season.  We’ve got 30 miles on tap for today, and undecided amount tomorrow and another 37 on tap for Sunday.  In total I should end up between 90 and 100 miles on the weekend.

Weekend Weather.JPG

While this isn’t perfect for April, it’s unprecedented for February.  Under normal circumstances we can’t hope for weather like this until the middle of March.  It won’t last, of course, but we’re going to make hay while the sun is shining.

This leads me to an important point, my friends.  Many people, myself included, start out as solo cyclists.  We often figure there’s no way we can hope for people who will be able to bend to our schedule so we don’t bother getting involved.  If you’re like me, you figure riding alone is fun enough anyway – and it most definitely is.

Even if riding alone is enough for you, try to find a group to ride with.  Please.  Social cycling is simply better, if one can find the right group.  While cycling solo may be a touch more convenient, cycling with friends one can enjoy the experience with other likeminded enthusiasts – and this is what I failed to grasp as a solo cyclist.

I was invited to ride with a group over a period of six or nine months and I put it off because I thought I was having as much fun as I could possibly have.  After a short time I decided that I’d give the group a try but I wanted to improve my skills first, so I could get into the group safely.  I can still remember my first club ride and the exhilaration of riding with a large group.  I rode alone five or six days a week and once with the club for almost a full season.  I got to know people, slowly.  At some point I met enough of the right people and that’s when things really changed for the better;  That’s when the weekend invites started.  Before long I was riding with friends three days a week and solo three days.

After some time with those friends I bought a great bike for my wife and she got into cycling.  That was essentially the end of my solo cycling days.  I rode alone last year, maybe a couple of dozen times and surprisingly, I missed the company on all but one or two.  Solo cycling has become my backup plan – it’s better than not riding.

My friends, if you’re thinking riding alone is as good as it gets, try putting the effort into finding a group.  Meet some people at the local club ride, get to know them, and take a few road trips.  Only when you’re sitting around a dinner table after a great day on the bike, laughing about the little intricacies of the ride, will you be able to grasp just how much better cycling with friends is.

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