|My original bike: the comfort bike. Do not try lifting: very heavy.|
Here's how I first started riding on my own. It's an 18-mile out and back.
Here's my Wednesday night typical ride now. See how I added in circling the island? This is about 22 miles.
And here's today's route. See how we went both across the bridge, as I started out; then around the island, then around the south end of the lake? This experience gives me versatility in where I can ride by myself (because I am a self-acknowledged chicken). This was 48+ miles (it was the first time this group ride had been done, we went a few miles off course, haha.)
SO FUN!! Oh my goodness, do I ever love cycling. You know, it's a wonder why you ever stop these things. When I was a kid, I was so in love with my ten-speed, and I was zipping around our block like it was a velodrome. :) That is exactly how it makes me feel now, although I keep my hands on the handlebars, haha.
I think I need a team, though. Or, if I don't need one now, I will next spring. I really like riding a lot, and I want to ride fast and consistently. I want to get really good at group riding. These group rides, they'll let any schmo, like me, into them. You've got your slower-downers, like the girl who turned back today. You've got your weavers, like the guy on his first group ride who DID NOT want me in front of him but couldn't pedal a straight line to save his life.
And...the callouts. I am not experienced enough with cycling to know if the teams do this, but I suspect they do it much less. "HOLE!" "CAR BACK!" "RUNNER RIGHT!" "CAR RIGHT!" "CAR UP!" "LEAVES!" "GRATE!" "CRACKS!" "SLOWING!" "STOPPING!" "ROLLING!" "GLASS!" "BIKER UP!" "CAR PASSING!"
So noisy. Now, granted, I got 50 miles of it today with a big group. Up and down the line, everyone yelling. And granted, this was the second "mentorship" ride for a woman who wants to be a group leader, so shit was being done per the rules. And granted, there were a LOT of group leaders on this ride, so this is just what they're used to doing, perhaps (although my other group rides have not been like this).
Shhhhhhhhhhhh. It's supposed to be a peaceful sport.
I think if I had a team, I could learn to ride face, ride well, and be a good group rider with other skilled riders. And I think we could prioritize when we yell. For instance, on a 12-foot wide bike path, I do not care if another biker is heading toward me unless he is wielding a machete. At red lights, I expect to first SLOW and then STOP, followed intuitively by ROLLING at the green light.
But I had a stinking blast! :)
Also, this was the first time I rode with clipless pedals, e.g. my feet locked to the pedals. I was scared! But I did great, and it really does make the hills easier, as everyone had told me. It is a little claustrophobic. I'll get used to it. And I wouldn't really say that I fell, exactly, but cow-toppled. Twice, both at the top of very steep short hills. Both times, the (inexperienced) rider in front of me balked at the top. Nice buddy, I'm glad YOU made it up the monster hill but I am still behind you on said hill and you should get the FREAK OUT OF MY WAY. (topple)
|A very slow-motion, low-impact fall.|
And here's me with my new clipless pedals:
|You've come a long way, baby.|