• kmase48

    As a 67 year old who rode hard in my youth I can testify to the beauty of “just riding”. While I continue to track my rides its not something I do during the ride other than to try and maintain a cadence, and respectable MPH. It has been, and remains my two wheel meditation replete with the sounds, smells, and sights of the season. I enjoy small group rides and also the joy of impromptu road meetings on solo trips to share experiences and check out the latest gear. I can only say that the joy over the last 45 years has been in the journey, no matter how long.

    • Jessi Braverman

      I love everything about this comment! Thanks for sharing.

  • GrahamWKidd

    This article is great. Always happy to be reminded about everything that is great in cycling, and you have captured so many of the things that make cycling so special. I especially agree with stop and smell the roses, even on Beach Rd, lifting your head and taking in the Bay at sunrise can be glorious, or the fairy tale light show of many blinking lights on the Golden Mile is magical.
    Yes, support your LBS. Melbourne has so many fantastic bike shops, that deserve our patronage. Having someone you know and trust keeping your steed in perfect condition is so worth foregoing a price saving on goods off the net.
    I say hello to people I fall into a ad hoc bunch with, and if I end up on someone’s wheel, I try to always ask them if they mind my sitting on. I generally get a smile and a happy yes.
    Paying it forward on a ride always pays off kharmically. I find offering (and giving) help to another rider with a flat, chain off, or even looking like they have popped on a bunch ride, always leaves you feeling good for the rest of the day.
    And finally – yes give a cheery hello or nod to passing riders is de rigueur.

  • erin_2503

    Re ‘Ride with someone new’: yes, I totally agree and it can be wonderful so here’s a question, what’s the etiquette on hills when you ride with someone new that’s a lot slower than you? I mean, the kind of disparity that makes you realise just how many hills are on the flat road route you promised them… is it better to sit behind them on the climb or just wait at the top? The former might give them a mental boost of being “in front” but the latter lets them go at their own pace without pressure but might be a tad demoralising. What’s the most encouraging without being horribly patronising??

    • lowercasev

      That is a hard one! I think that the most important aspect here is clear communication with your buddy. Tell them how it is going to work at the beginning of the ride so that they don’t feel like they are a burden when it comes to the hills. If it is a matter of “I’ll wait at the top” or “I’ll ride with you” at least they know what to expect… Or maybe chose a route with not as many hills to start off with, you don’t want to scare them off riding because you take them up a 20%er straight away. It is a hard one indeed, one that other people may have some suggestions too???

      • Alex

        I think if you’re riding one-on-one you should ride alongside the newer rider up the hill. Help them out, explain gearing or watch their technique and make sure that they’re ok. It can really suck to be climbing on your own when it’s just two or three of you. But be relaxed and encouraging about it, don’t ever rub it in that you’re just tapping away up the hill and they’re struggling.

        If it’s a new rider to larger group, then it’s probably fairer for the group to wait up the top, and maybe one rider to drop back and ride alongside the newer rider.

        Sometimes a helping push up a hill can be appreciated, but it can also come across as very condescending. Judge the situation, there’s been times coming home from a big ride in the hills after I’ve cooked myself with a much stronger group and a helping hand on the saddle up a steep pinch was very welcome.

      • erin_2503

        Good advice! From my rookie days, it definitely helps to know exactly how many kms and climbs up front.
        It’s pretty hard to avoid inclines around here (Bristol) but I did avoid the nasty ones. I haven’t had another request for a spin yet…

        • PMcG

          I have taken a couple of my friends that wanted to go up the 1 in 20 for the first time. Not practical to ride beside them. We chat before the ride and I tell them I will ride the front but at their pace. I can talk to them and keep an eye out but also let them “ride my wheel”. I have found that has worked well. Other times with my ride group we go up at our own pace and then I will double back down the hill to ride back up and support my fellow riders. I used to think this was a bit condescending, like some of the other people have commented, but my friends told me they found it a great support. It was like they were not left behind to “fend for themselves. Having that chat before the climb is helpful.

    • First of all: great piece. My cycling experience has been so much better since I started exploring and sharing so I can’t agree more with Verita.

      I ride a lot with my wife Lillie, and we love exploring big mountains around our home in the Swiss Alps. Usually I would ride hard to the top, to satisfy my Strava appetite; then I would ride down, meet Lillie about two thirds up the climb and finish with her at her pace. I find it a great way to share a ride for people of different abilities. And as I love photography, I can check the good spots on the first way up and take the perfect shot on the second time!

      • erin_2503

        Haha, I think I’d slap my riding buddy if they did that to me! My pride can’t handle it :-)

        • I do this with my wife, so there’s no testosterone involved… I guess that helps :-) But still I believe it is a nice way to ride at one’s own pace with people of different abilities. And learn how to take good pictures that will be great memories for your buddies!

  • OB1

    The irony is strong in THIS one

  • Nicola Rutzou

    Great article. I like to think I’m a lot more ‘this cyclist’ than ‘that cyclist’. But we all need a reminder every now and then. As a bike shop manager I particularly like your point about supporting your local bike shop. We are realistic enough to know that online sales are prevalent but we also enjoy the love we get from our regular and not so regular customers.

  • Ivan

    Love it – As a result of riding with THAT RIDER previously, I have made a concerted effort to ride with as many new people this year as possible. Not only has this increased my enjoyment, but has increased my Km count too. Im fitter and happier than I have been in years and have at least 40-50 new buddies to ride with at any one time. Winning!

  • bigstu_

    ‘This Cyclist’ carries two spare tubes – and is prepared to give one away to a rider in need – so long as they promise to pay it forward or buy their replacement from your mate at the local bike shop.

  • bigstu_

    ‘This Cyclist’ always carries a (small) chain breaker and is prepared to help someone out with it.

  • Norman Partington

    Support your local bike shop – I get great advice, lowish prices , quality I can touch before I buy.

  • TriHard

    This is fantastic Verita. Really looking forward to seeing you volunteer for Northern Combine and club Crits. This is so in tune with your clubs philosophy.

  • DSC

    A few years back I “rode with someone new” when I conned a colleague to drop triathlon and just stick to the bike. I too wasn’t sure how I should ride when we got to some hills; didn’t want to be a show off snob and leave her behind, yet didn’t want to be patronising by doing it easy beside her. She has since won a Tour of Bright, drops me on the hills and married me. I’m not sure, but I think the achievement she’s more proud of is being able to now drop me on the hills!!

    • Clavikul

      I hear you. My wife summits then returns to her puffing billy for a recovery repeat.

    • Jessi Braverman

      Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Coda

    The best thing you can do when your racing days are over is disconnect the Garmin and cycle computers and take in your surroundings. Great article Ella.


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