My first group ride. I had called a local bike club to see if I could ride with them. A few requirements, but yes I could. I knew the meeting time, location and approximate speed the group would travel. I knew the distance and location of where they said they were going to arrive. I arrived at the meet location and meet a few guys and introduced myself. I was a little nervous, but excited too. I was expecting to see a female there because that was who was listed as a leader for a ride. No biggie, I had tried calling her earlier and didnít get a return call. I figure she is gone, it is summer vacation come up, so one of the guys is filling in. I tried to gauge the group by their appearance, age, and bikes. I was close to age to some, probably one of the younger ones, fitness level there were a couple of other clydes there (whether they knew they were clydes I didnít know) and some vintage ten speeds, no carbon fiber. Ok, looks like a group that I can ride with.
So off we go. As we start off, I hear one of the guys ask where do you want to go and the other replies the park. This isnít the route I was told. It took me a couple of tries to clipin, since this was only my third ride with clipless pedals no big dealÖif I was alone. The group was off and I lingered behind working to get clipped in. Well, as I rounded a corner about two blocks from the start, the group was doing circles in the road, waiting for me. That was a good sign.
The first part of the ride was downhill so the speed was fast and I couldnít judge what to expect from the group. So here I am off riding with a group, that I am unsure about the distance or speed we will be traveling. As we come to the first significant hill I see one of the riders take off. An ATTACK, wait guys I donít do attacks, fortunately neither does the rest of the group and we let the rider go. As we get riding along (there are 7 of us) it is apparent there are two groups a faster group and a slower group. I get talking to one of the other riders and find out a little bit about the route. I havenít ridden it, but it is actually my current goal ride. Iím told to take it easy as there are some hills on the return route. As I continue on I learn this isnít the bike club ride, it is a group of guys who meet to ride together.
Fortunately, the distance and group speed was right. The faster group would get ahead and then in an area where there was room they would do circles waiting for the slower group. I found myself in between the two groups. I eventually slowed my speed, because I didnít want to push myself with the faster group not knowing the route. I didnít want to ride in the gap between the two groups because that defeated the group ride somewhat.
In the end I found I pushed myself more then if I rode alone, but I wasnít killing myself. The group invited me back as they ride together twice a week. I found it interesting I got talking to one other rider towards the end of the ride. I asked how long he had been riding with the group and he said that he saw the group at a stop sign and joined in. And as for judging riders on appearance, age and equipment forget it. The oldest guy, with the oldest bike, the fastest rider
Link to route http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...e/746670614945
Here was the big climb of the day, minus all the people http://www.flickr.com/photos/scampion/487562460/