B Rides Are the Best

After last week’s rant about giving up on club rides, I got an email from someone who suggested that if I were to lead a B ride, which I hinted at in the post, he and a friend would join in. Since neither of them had been on a club ride before, I was happy to encourage them — so I announced on the club’s group site that I would be leading a B ride to Buda, Texas today.

It’s an easy 30-miler. I figured the ride would attract others who hadn’t been doing club rides. But I wasn’t prepared for the number that came out. We had eight in all. Debra and her husband Russ, who usually ride in Dripping Springs; Jerry, who is really an A-level rider but seems to prefer the laid back approach of the B rides; Barbara, whom I’ve met before when riding with Debra; and the newcomers — Denise, Mike, and Patrick, who instigated the whole thing.

As and Bs intermingle before the start of today’s ride.

I think we outnumbered the A group this morning. It didn’t matter, because soon after the start, some of us got caught at a stoplight, so the As were able to break away and were soon gone.

We Bs settled into a steady pace, and quickly put down the first several miles. Mike, who rode a hybrid, caught up to me on a wide, smooth downhill.

“Howya doin’?” I asked.

“Fine,” he said. “When we [he and Patrick] ride together, we average about 13. So this is at the outside edge of my ability.”

We were probably averaging about 15 mph.

“But I think that’s always just been a mental barrier, and I think I can crack it today,” he added.

He had no trouble keeping up for the rest of the ride.

New riders. From left to right: Patrick, Mike, Denise.

Barbara arrives at the convenience store.

 

We got to Buda (pronounced BYOO-duh), a small town just south of Austin, in about an hour. First stop was a convenience store, where Patrick bought a gallon of cold water and refilled everyone’s water bottles. But the convenience store offered no shelter from the bright sun, so we headed back a few blocks to the town’s gazebo, in a little park along Main Street.

Patrick tops off Denise’s water bottle.

Bikers are common in Buda on weekends, because it’s either a destination or a pass-through on several area bike routes. The gazebo is popular among more than bikers, though. We knew it was time to leave when a bride walked up to have her picture taken.

Bikes and brides — just another Sunday morning in Buda, Texas.

The route back was equally uneventful. No flats, no mechanicals, no dogs (although one of our club members suffered mild injuries when a dog went after him on this route the previous day). As we worked our way back into Austin, Patrick and Mike peeled off from the group when we got to their neighborhood. We hope to see them again on future rides. The remainder made it back to our starting place, and several of us stuck around for brunch and chatter.

The brunch bunch, left to right: Jerry, Barbara, Russ, Debra.

We didn’t set any speed records — I wound up with a 14.9 mph average — but we had a ride that everyone seemed to like, and most said they’d like to do things like this again. I’ll bet we do.

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11 thoughts on “B Rides Are the Best

  1. Fantastic! Your leadership made a difference. Perhaps the club will learn from the outstanding turnout that it pays to cater to cyclists of many ability levels.

    • The club president – who also leads the A rides – asked me to keep it up. I won’t be able to do it every week, but there will be more like today.

  2. Much fun — love the pictures, especially of the bikes and bride. Funny! Hey, I’ll keep up the B rides from Dripping Springs — planning on one next weekend. You can hold up the “in town” rides. Good job. And a very nice ride, indeed.

  3. Good riding!
    B rides in my local club average 18-19mph so I still ride with the C group. It is interesting to see how the ABC rating is different in different groups.

    • Right. The Austin Cycling Assn., which is the big organization in this town (not exactly a club) rates the As at 18+, the Bs at 16-18, and the Cs at 14-16. So I’d be a C rider with them.

      • Yeah, and every ride I’ve done with them starts out with the leader separating everyone by speed, etc. Then they all take off without us anyway! HA. My speed varies by terrain. The hillier the ride, the lower my average speed is. I slow more with every hill!

  4. I ride in Greenville/Spartanburg sometimes which has an active cycling community. There are a lot of strong cyclists there, including a few pros, so the A group moves really fast. I understand that on some of their group rides, people stopped coming because unless they were a super-athlete, they would get dropped. Since then they have reigned the hard riders in and only dedicate certain rides for hammering, or divide into separate groups. Sounds like you’re on the way to doing something similar. Glad it worked out for you.

    • Seems to be a common problem. When we first moved to Austin, we tried to ride with the Austin Cycling Assoc. (ACA), but always got left in the dust. Same when we lived in San Antonio. The San Antonio Wheelmen would roar off, leaving the common folk to find their own way, on their own. It takes a concerted effort by more moderate riders to form their own groups. And cycling clubs wonder why they can’t get enough people for their rides!

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