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Old 08-29-09, 09:15 AM   #1
Ranger63
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How many of you ride solo?

I'm not talking about commutor rides.
I'm talking more about the 50 miler weekend ride?

After this months Can Am ride (300+ riders attended)and a Niagara on The Lake Ride with one club,
I've reached the conclusion that -for me- the ride is more about the journey than the destination.
(In short, I really don't give a fleas behind about how many miles I did in how short a time)

The NOL ride may have been the turning point. The group I rode with, stayed all of 20 minutes in
a tourist style village at the tip of the lower niagara river and lake ontario. I stayed behind.
In staying the extra time, I got to have a glass of wine with an Italian cycling club who was touring down from Toronto (God, those Italians know how to enjoy life! ))while sharing stories.
In staying and taking the bike trail (vs the far to traffic clogged road) I had my escarpment climb lessened by a pat on the back and a thick european "U need to Woork on U Lags" tease from two (I came to learn at the top of the climb) swiss ladies who were touring from Nova Scotia!
My ride was the same distance as the rest of the club I rode with but took several hours more as I stopped to savor the day.

Sence, I've been using my in depth knowledge of the several counties surrounding Buffalo Ny to map out rides I've wanted to do and riding from the house to do them.
Amazingly, my average speed is around 14.5/15 and I cover anywhere between 40 and 60 miles on a ride.
I usually don't do a long rest stop midway as quite often I do stop or slow to talk withother cyclists etc.

I still club ride weekday mornings but increasingly am looking forward to the weekend solos.

Just wondering if I'm the odd duck here.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:37 AM   #2
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I can count my annual group rides on one hand, literally. I've always relished being a solo rider, mostly for the reasons that you've listed. I ride MY pace, where I want to ride, when I want to ride. I stop to visit, eat, take pictures or rest whenever I please and life is grand.
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Old 08-29-09, 10:21 AM   #3
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While I won't hesitate to do a longer ride solo, as a rule I like a bit of company. Skipper and I have riding together for a few years now and don't hesitate to ask anyone else along if they are interested. We have similiar riding styles, share an appreciation for a good piece of pie, and are not into competition. Additionally, on those days that I'm not feeling motivated, a call for company will have me airing up the tires and filling the water bottle. So anyone interested in a ride up to Irma's?
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Old 08-29-09, 11:08 AM   #4
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I used to do club rides, even so far as leading "show and go's" on 40-60 milers. Turning point for me was too many riders and bad habits among some that made the rides a cluster f_ _ k. At that point I drifted to 4 regular guys, 2 being triathletes, some of whom were just starting out. We've been hooking up for weekend and the rare weekday morning rides for maybe 10 years, but MOST of my rides are alone and to any distance.

I never went back to the club rides, even though it's a good way to get stronger, as you can push when you want to, then sit in and get pulled along when you get tired. Clubs are also a good way to learn the road systems as to what're good roads for bikes, where stuff goes, etc...

I'm lucky in that the 4 guys I ride with all ride pretty much the same pace, or WILL ride the same pace even when someone is not as fit that month (like me all last year) and while we ride hills at different speeds, we group up afterwards. Interesting part is that we've invited others on our rides, but nobody else, besides the 5 if us, ever became regulars. In truth, I enjoy riding with friends but also enjoy simply going out at my own pace at times.

SB
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Old 08-29-09, 11:14 AM   #5
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I ride solo all the time. Sometimes I feel some company would be nice, but I can keep my self amazingly well-entertained.
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Old 08-29-09, 11:27 AM   #6
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I ride solo all the time. Sometimes I feel some company would be nice, but I can keep my self amazingly well-entertained.
Agreed...and most of the time I get someone that wants to talk and talk and I can't hear them most of the time so it's a bit annoying. However, it is good to have someone help with the pace.
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Old 08-29-09, 11:31 AM   #7
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I ride alone. Always have.
Very, very, very, very, VERY rarely does Mrs S join me for a short ride (20 miles or less) but mostly, no, it's just me. I like it that way. I just get all lost up in my head and roll on...
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Old 08-29-09, 11:38 AM   #8
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My rides are always with my beautiful lady. I cannot even imagine riding solo, there are so many little side roads and so many interesting things to do along the way. ;-)
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Old 08-29-09, 11:40 AM   #9
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I ride solo and like Cranky seldom ride with others/ here in Maine THE ROAD GUYS tend to be real flyers on road bikes /Im more mtn bike oriented and 69 yrs. old./Kenneth
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Old 08-29-09, 11:51 AM   #10
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Ha ha ha Ranger 63 Ihope your not looseing It //be a crowd in here./Keep a single track mind/Kenneth
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Old 08-29-09, 11:57 AM   #11
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I ride alone, but lately I have replaced some of my slow, distance rides with shorter, much faster rides. As a result, my average speed has gone from about 14-15 to nearly 18 miles per hour on rides up to 40 miles long. Regardless, ride as you wish, it is your time.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:10 PM   #12
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Up to recently I've been riding alone.

Riding alone provides greater freedom. I am able to ride when I want. I am able to ride as far as I want. I am able to ride at my pace. Riding alone has many advantages for developing riders and has allowed me to improve my fitness faster than if I only rode once or twice a week with friends.

However, riding in groups is more fun. Riding with a partner who maintains the same speed and travels the same distance is even better.

Also, riding with faster groups will improve your pace better than trying to ride faster on your own.

I have benefitted from riding alone, from riding with a well matched partner, and from riding in groups.

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Old 08-29-09, 12:13 PM   #13
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I ride by myself on almost all of my rides. I have gone on only a hanful of group rides and then only with small groups. My wife use to ride with me on sunday afternoons but she has slacked off a little. She did do a few rides with me on vacation this year.
As far as riding alone, I find it a great time to just let my thoughts wander about. I do enjoy stopping at my usaul rest stop and having a short visit with other cyclists, but I prefer the solitude of riding alone. I think part of it might be that I spend a lot of time at work with a lot of people and there is usually considerable pressure to perform at a high level, so my cycling is a nice reprieve.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:38 PM   #14
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After decades of solo cycling, I started riding weekly or semiweekly with the local YMCA MasterFit group. I enjoy riding with them, but I am still primarily a solo rider, either because I am cycling to go somewhere or because I like to start very early in the morning, because my Celtic skin does not tolerate midday summer sun.
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Old 08-29-09, 01:08 PM   #15
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I ride in groups and solo, it's all good. On weekends I often hook up with a group ride if they are going somewhere interesting, it tends to be a bit faster and social. I also ride with a Wednesday group occasionally, very nice people, much more social than any other rides I do, slow pace with long lunch (something I never do otherwise).
I have been riding a century a month for the last few years, and except for summer when I do organized centuries, I ride solo centuries. In winter months I need the ability to just go when the right day presents itself and keep the pace where I need to finish before dark.
I really don't mind solo riding, I'm self sufficient and fine talking to myself all day
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Old 08-29-09, 01:24 PM   #16
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I posted a poll on this subject and it received over 400 responses.

Are you a lonely guy/gal when it comes to riding?

Note that approximately 80% of the responses indicated that 50+ riders rode alone most to nearly all of the time.
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Old 08-29-09, 01:48 PM   #17
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I ride solo pretty frequently.
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Old 08-29-09, 02:15 PM   #18
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I ride alone when my partner of 34 years is not available. She is more fit (and younger) than I am, but I'm getting fitter and faster and she doesn't mind. We also ride with friends who are not averse to the spontaneous stop to smell the pizza - my biker friends fall into the same category. If you are in a hurry to finish the ride, you won't like riding with us very much.

That doesn't mean that we don't do training rides or sprints to liven up the trip, but it's all about getting there safely and enjoying the ride.
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Old 08-29-09, 02:33 PM   #19
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I have a few friends I ride with occasionally, and we've been doing it for 25 years, so we've put in a lot of time together. As a rule, though, and more as I get older, I enjoy going by myself. I'm 64, the oldest in the bunch by five or six years, and while I'm fairly fit, my two closest friends are serious, ultra-distance nazis. I more or less kept up with them for years by working hard and suffering, but these days I'm content to do an easy two-hour ride with sightseeing, while they're trying to get in a hard three with some intervals in the middle. All i want to be is fit ENOUGH--my days of setting personal records are over, and I'm eager to enjoy the rest of the ride.
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Old 08-29-09, 02:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
I can count my annual group rides on one hand, literally. I've always relished being a solo rider, mostly for the reasons that you've listed. I ride MY pace, where I want to ride, when I want to ride. I stop to visit, eat, take pictures or rest whenever I please and life is grand.
+100 what he said ^^^^^^. Nothing against group rides but just not my thing. With that said my daughter and I signed up to do an organized ride in Oct. but we will ride at our speed and our time frame.
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Old 08-29-09, 02:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
I can count my annual group rides on one hand, literally. I've always relished being a solo rider, mostly for the reasons that you've listed. I ride MY pace, where I want to ride, when I want to ride. I stop to visit, eat, take pictures or rest whenever I please and life is grand.
While I see the value of the fellowship and challenge of a group, this pretty much sums it up for me.

If we could get our finger on the pulse of the big scheme of things (meaning all bicyclists who are active) I would expect to find more people doing their own thing than people who feel they must ride with a group.

I also ride a motorcycle, and the rule of thumb with the half dozen friends I ride the mountains with is, "Ride your own ride."
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Old 08-29-09, 02:53 PM   #22
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I most prefer to ride in a small group of friends because I would say that more often than not I'm riding by myself. So when I get the chance to ride in a social group I take it. I'm getting to the point that large event type rides are not enjoyable. For one, I've seen too many crashes in large groups as some riders are way above their fitness or skill level. All it takes is one to make a mistake. However I enjoy traveling and doing new rides so I'll probably continue riding events. I bet 75% or more of my rides are solo though.
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Old 08-29-09, 03:08 PM   #23
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90% of my riding is alone.

The really large group rides around here seem unsafe to me, or I'm so busy watching out for myself that I don't really have much time to look at scenery.

Some group rides I *do* like are:

- Rides in remote areas where the support is welcome (like rides in the Cascade mountains - High Pass Challenge, Native Planet Classic). Tend to attract fewer riders, so no problem with bike traffic.

- There's a good winter training series in this area that starts in January...great motivation to get out on a rainy Saturday and do some long distances in the rain. Again, the cold and rain tend to keep the numbers down.

Here in Seattle the "big" ride is the annual STP (Seattle to Portland) which attracts 10,000-ish riders each year. I know some of you have done that and lots of people love it, but every year there are a bunch of crashes.
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Old 08-29-09, 03:20 PM   #24
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Almos all my rides are solo. Parly due to not knowing any other bicyclists in the area, and partly due to starting early, but mostly due to a penchant for stopping to look at flowers and hear owls call. This morning two owls were calling, back and forth, and I left the bike behind to walk up the hill slowly. I saw the owl perched on a bush about 50 feet away, stood there and watched. It's amazing how much energy the owl was putting into each call; I could see its effort.

I'm sure there are other riders who enjoy such things. The problem is meeting them.
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Old 08-29-09, 03:33 PM   #25
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I prefer to ride solo. If I want to take a detour I can- if I want to do a bit of sight seeing I can-And I don't have to worry about whether I am too fast or too slow and ruining the others ride.

But this does not help greatly on the personal fitness stakes. I find I take the pressure out too much- I don't push myself and although I never walk a hill- I do take them at a lower pace than I should.

So every now and then- I take my son-in-law out for a ride- I participate in an organised event and set a target time to finish in- OR- I pull my finger out and actually push myself on part of my solo rides to ensure that I keep fit.
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