Over the years I have been inclined to cycle on my own, rather than with a cycling partner or even joining a club. That’s not to say I’m a complete loner on the road as my friend Wallie and I have enjoyed some fantastic rides together in the Cotswold Hills, Forest of Dean and Wales. Recently our friend Jeremy asked a few fellow Christians if we’d like to have a ride with each other sometime. I didn’t take the bait initially but now we’ve had two consecutive Sunday morning rides with each other. Now I find myself challenged: I enjoyed it although I wasn’t sure I would. So why did it work, what are the advantages of having a cycling partner, someone else to ride with? Here goes:
- You can enjoy time with friends, their company, encouragement, their conversation
- I don’t notice the hills so much or, as with this morning’s ride, strong head winds
- The miles pass by faster, you ride faster (I’m not the only one who says that!)
- You can learn things about cycling from other people – how do you fix this or that, are those Ultegra gears any good, are those gloves warm?
- You’ll probably try new routes
- Someone to help with mechanical problems, or if you get completely lost you can figure it out together
- Motivation to get out of bed and go for that pre-arranged ride
- Share experiences, the laughs, the memories
Last Sunday we set off at 7.00am, just as it was getting light and for an hour or so. It was a cold, sunny crisp morning. We decided to do it again today and I’d checked the weather forecast – cool and dry. Somehow I forgot to mention the strong winds, which Jeremy naturally mentioned!
Coming back I got a puncture, grrrrr. Perhaps I shouldn’t moan too much as we were just a mile or so from our respective homes. My first response was simply to pump up the tyre to see if it would stay firm enough to get-me-home. As I was pumping I suspected I was losing quite a bit of air but we did try to make a dash for it. Alas that didn’t work as it went flat in 100 yards! We decided that changing the tube was the best thing. A simple enough task you might think except my fingers were so cold I couldn’t undo the locking collar on the valve – naturally Jeremy could having his soooper-doooper sailing gloves keeping his fingers warmer than mine.
So here I am feeling a little challenged. I’m liking the idea and seeing some of the advantages and benefits of cycling with someone else. I look back at the C2C ride we did with some friends earlier this year: that gives us all such good memories. Perhaps my biggest fear is being paired with someone who will shoot off into the distance leaving me flagging behind. Thankfully this has not been the case at all, so here’s to some more cycle rides with friends….