It’s a Good Thing I Like to Ride Alone

It looked like this would be a great day for a ride. The temperature got into the 40s (4+C) relatively quickly, and I suited up to head over to the club ride. The evening before, I had posted on the club’s Yahoo group that I would be riding, and expected to follow the main group at a B ride pace. I hoped that would bring out some B riders to share the road with me.

But once again, I was the only B on the ride. Our club president, who usually picks the route for the day, sent an email that he was recovering from a tough ride yesterday and would spend the morning as a couch potato. It turned out that some of the other riders weren’t keen on the route he had picked, and decided to go another way — south instead of southeast. Okay by me. South would take us to Buda, and it would be easy to turn around whenever I felt the urge. The main group was planning a 54-miler. I figured I’d wind up with something over 30.

As we left the Starbucks where our rides begin, the road we took is a gentle downhill for a quarter mile. I found myself out in front of the entire group, because my bulky body gives me an advantage on downhills. Three miles later though, we turned onto Davis Hill — a hill that can test newer riders, although the A riders in the club like to attack it. As my friend Rick once observed, “The difference between A and B riders is that the A’s stand up and attack that hill, while the B’s sit and spin.” As I sat and spun, I had to admit that he was right on.

I watched as everyone passed me going up the hill. I deserved to be passed — they do a lot more hill work than I do, which is practically none. By the time the road leveled out some distance past the crest of the hill, the peloton was well ahead of me. I wasn’t too concerned, since I knew a stoplight would hold them up in another couple of miles. But when the light came into view, I could also see that it had changed — and the group was accelerating across the road. Of course, by the time I reached the light, they were already out of sight, and I wouldn’t see them again for the rest of the ride.

I made it to Buda, about 16 miles from the start, and pootled around the old part of town for a bit before deciding to head home. On the way back, I saw many more bikers than I had seen on the way out, but they were all headed where I had just been. Apparently, a lot of cyclists had decided to wait a bit until the temperatures warmed up some more.

I got home in plenty of time to do a bit of yard work before the football games started in the afternoon. Another terrific Sunday morning ride — but decidedly lacking the social aspect we associate with club rides. I’ll keep trying to enlist some B’s to come out and join me, but I’ll also resign myself to riding solo until the warm spring mornings arrive.


  1. gparr says

    There’s a lot to be said for the peace of riding solo. I ride solo almost 100% of the time and 95% of the time I enjoy it. But then I generally like being alone. I’m sure I’d be a better rider if I rode with people and would probably enjoy the “bike talk.”

    I do have to say that your descriptions of club rides make me less inclined to seek out and join a club. I made an effort several summers ago to participate in a weekly club ride, thinking I would join the club. Other than the start, I usually ended up by myself and concluded I didn’t need a club t ride alone so there was no benefit to joining.


  2. says

    Would this be one of those “no drop rides” you wrote about a few days ago?

    Winter is a difficult time for many cyclists, especially those that fall into the “B” category. Perhaps when the weather warms you will find a group emerge that fits you. I agree group rides can be fun but the challenge for me is that you are locked into a schedule a route and a pace, and everyone must agree to it. Solo rides offer a lot more spontaneity and be tailored exactly to your wants and desires. They do tend to be more solitary though!

    • says

      It’s understood that our club rides are not “no drop.” However, if a group of B’s gets together, we do wait for slower riders.
      I agree that it’s all a weather thing — but the weather on the day in question was great. I think we get spoiled in Texas because it’s usually warm even in January. For example, I’ll ride later today, when the temp will be around 65 (18C).

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