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

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

February 2017
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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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13 Comments

  1. heavyman927 says:

    When I started and realized how much fun it was I tried to get my friends into cycling too. Most of them weren’t interested, probably because they had catching up to do. Then I joined a group. Come to find out, there were some very nice people there who became good friends AND they were already into cycling. Imagine that!

  2. mmpalepale says:

    I also love learning from other people during group rides. 🙂

  3. biking2work says:

    Riding an Audax was good for me as I finally found a group mid ride who were at my pace & even better slightly slower-it was a good day.

  4. Dan says:

    I’d love to ride with others, but in my very rural area, there just aren’t any. I’ve met a few people that ride and enjoy it, but their definition of that is 10 mph only and I mean ONLY on a trail. They are terrified of riding on highways. They’ll do it on the huge rides like RAGBRAI, but that’s it. Frustrating.

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    Enjoy your ride Jim! I think when you find a group that cycle at relatively the same pace it can be a wonderful thing.

    • bgddyjim says:

      That it is, and enjoy it, we did. Except for Phill… Poor dude ate too many burgers and didn’t turn enough miles on the trainer over the winter. We beat him up pretty good over the course of 36 miles.

  6. wanderwolf says:

    Ah. The sun was shining more here too. Have to use it while one can!

  7. MJ Ray says:

    Good post… but… “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” – is that a big deal near you? The top barrier that I read is speed. Most people seem worried they won’t be able to hang, while a few worry that they’ll have to slow down for others too much or wait at regrouping points and get cold or bored.

    To those worried it’ll be too fast, I say there’s all sorts of groups from 10mph up. To the second, I say wrap up warm, suck it up and give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? If you ride home alone, that’s still only a solo ride like you were doing before.

    • bgddyjim says:

      We don’t have the speed problem, nor the wait problem with out group. We have five different groups that leave within 10 minutes of each other that cover 12 mph all the way up to 24 mph. With the top two, there is no regroup. We advertise this up front and go to the trouble of matching people to the group they should start with and help them move up when ready.

      I hear schedule more than I hear speed, and I actively recruit new cyclists whenever I can.

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