One of my stock bike jokes is this: Every year I like riding with one fewer companion than I did the year before, and last year I was at two. That makes me sound much grouchier than I am. What I really am, is lazy. Other people, in most cases, represent complications I’m not that interested in. I’m at an age where, when I want to ride, I want to ride. I’m not much for waiting around or bending my plans to make them more convenient for other people.
In rereading that paragraph just now, I see that I’m lazy, but I’m also selfish. OK. Good note.
This is how my riding life goes: I’m loosely committed to a Wednesday trail ride. It’s a group of friends who ride gravel bikes or mountain bikes, sometimes locally, sometimes with a little driving involved. It is never not fun. It’s a ride I always try to make when my body feels like it can cash a check that is not always of an amount I know in advance.
Other than that, I ride alone or maybe with one friend at a time, usually because one of us has invited the other. Big group rides are not my jam. Too many variables. Too many riders who need to agree on a pace and a style, on the go. This alchemy seldom seems to produce more than a pile of straw and a vague dissatisfaction for me.
The truth is, though, that I really need to ride with other people more. I need to ride with people fitter than I am, if only to drag me up that precipitous curve, and I need to ride with people who are just better at bikes than I am, so I can cheat off them and maybe turn myself into a better bike rider. I also just need to be more patient, less self-centered, a little more generous with my time and energy. These things don’t come naturally to introverts or to misanthropes.
I am probably both.
This week’s TCIF asks, do you think you need to ride with more people, or with fewer? What’s your current vibe vis a vis other people? Did Covid alter it radically? Or have you been on the same downward social trend I’ve been following?
This post and all the others on TCI are brought to you by our generous subscribers and by Shimano North America, makers of the stuff that makes our bikes roll without having to think too much about it, because who has time for that?