[foothill-bike] Not all club/group rides are the same. When staying single's better than getting hitched ( to a club).
- *** comments welcome***bodily injury ? you are out of luck! I'm entering the witness protection program as soon I finish this. 8-)Seriously:Most clubs promote the fact that non members are welcome on rides & that you should be able to ride 20mi. at a 14-17mph pace, & not be allergic to moderate hills.Some even say they have members of all age groups.Sign a waiver, wear a helmet, & come ride with us!!!Whooppie! That's all fine & dandy as a come on, but reality can sometimes be amajor let down.Today I learned the hard way that something has been left out in all this promotion. Maybe I just lucked out in the selection of riders who showed up this time & they were not representative of the club as a whole (which I'm willing to concede so I will not name the club), but still, at the risk of ruffling a few feathers,I wish to bring attention to something.There are some of us out there who ride mtn. bikes (with smooth tires like me, &with knobbies) when road riding.What this means is, if you show up at a group ride where you are the only suchbike in attendance, you risk being left behind (WAY BEHIND) by the time you havegone 5mi. (of a 50mi. ride mind you). If you have a route slip you are fine. If not, oh well. Call it a day.The group I rode with today was out for speed, while I was out for fun.I know that not every club ride is like this, but I can't be the only one to have experienced this behavior.I have been riding long distances (20-60 mi.) for over 3 years now, & I have no problem keeping up an ave. speed of 14mph. for miles on end, but road bikes are built for speed & as such a rider sometimes forgets to slowdown, smell the flowers,& take a look around at his or her surroundings.When I finally showed up at the meeting spot with a 2nd group (a 1/2 hr. behindby now) they were just leaving.In an attempt to slow things down a bit I laughed & asked where the fire was & volunteered more water if needed.My humor went over their dear little heads & within 2 mi. I was alone again.I enjoyed my solitary sojourn & by the time I was 5 mi. from the lunch location(after which there was a much shorter route back) I was probably over an hour & 1/2behind. Not wanting to arrive again as they were leaving, I opted to lunch elsewhere& take the bus home.For someone like me, with a mtn. bike, the best group rides have been events:Rides such as the L.A. Marathon, L.A.P.D. Bike Patrol Fun Ride, & Critical Masswhere the variety of bikes on hand are as varied as the people riding them, & noteveryone is in an all-fired hurry to get thru the route.If you are looking for a ride that's for fun, exercise, meeting people, & the adventure of seeing new places, then these types of rides are the best. Even if youhave to pay to ride.Club riding is definitely not for everyone. If you decide to join a group for a ride before becoming a member don't do it on impulse like me. Find out all you can about it from other riders. Notice the type of bikes there & in the club as a rule.If not satisfied don't ride or join. The point of joining a group is not to be odd man out.Ride leaders, & even the other riders, need to be more aware of the different types of riders they attract to their rides & if neccessary suggest to the newcomerwhy coming along might not be the experience of a lifetime, before giving them aroute slip & letting them decide for themselves what to do.As for me: I'll stick to solo riding for the most part. It's more my style. I can choose my own routes ( & I've got plenty), & best of all my trusty steeds idea of a 14mph pace allows me to smell the flowers & enjoy the scenery.And if some club has a ride that interests me I'll show up an hr. late & grab a route slip many clubs kindly leave behind for any curious soul to find, & off I'll go to see what I can see.