Cycling alone, or in a group?

 

Which do you prefer?  Riding your bike or maybe going with others?  By nature I tend to cycle (and run) on my own and I never yearn to have someone else alongside.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy those occasions when I get a chance to cycle with my daughters or my friend Wallie; a long term friend.  And yet I have now found myself challenged in an unexpected way and need to think this through.

Sometimes I have been known to express my regret that relatively few people cycle nowadays, although I’m aware cycling is going through a renaissance currently with MAMILs spending large sums of money on some decent bikes.  That’s good but still cycling is in a minority in terms of the competition against the huge numbers of cars on our roads.  At our church on a Sunday morning, we are growing in number (300 – 400 each Sunday morning) and the car park is full and the bike racks have less than ten bikes. Okay, many people will walk, which is fine.

Completely out of the blue, my friend Jeremy sent an email to a good handful of us raising the possibility of occasional bike rides together.  This is good but also a challenge for me with all kinds of mixed feelings.  My inclination is to say yes, and go ahead and join the group.  Here’s a few pros and cons:

Cycling alone

  • great if you enjoy your own company
  • an opportunity to be alone with your thoughts, to mull things over
  • you can travel at your own speed but this might be slower compared to group rising
  • you can go whichever way you want, making up your route as you go
  • you can stop whenever you want (to take a photograph, have a pee, have a snack or a rest, add a layer or take a layer of clothing off etc)
  • building self reliance and confidence

In a group

  • share the adventure; each ride is different and people will notice different things
  • depending on the road, you can ride alongside each other and talk.  Other times single-file is best
  • you can help each other with any mechanical problems
  • you can race or train together
  • camaraderie with like-minded people
  • different people have different paces – some can feel held back and want to go faster.  Others may struggle to keep up with the group and feel awkward
  • you might get irritated by others constantly stopping for “this and that”
  • some people hate riding on busy roads, or up hills, others don’t mind
  • less scary at night time
  • a chance to deepen friendships

So, which do you prefer?  Cycling alone, or in a group, or both?  Why?

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