UPDATE I am sick and will not make this ride
Sat, 11 May 2013, Easy Rider, 9:30 AM, 32 mi, 4 LM Billy Goats: Westridge, Alpine East:
Steve Gruber is leading this ride that meets at Shoup Park at 400 University Ave, Los Altos, CA 94023 near University Avenue in Los Altos for a two-goat ride through San Mateo County. We will stop at Roberts after the second goat. This is a social ride with lots of regroups and an LM pace (the leader doesn’t go much faster than that).
Since I have let go of Whine and Dine if I do start leading rides again I may indeed go with something like “Snails Climbing Hills Slowly and Descending Sanely.” These would be dedicated LM, nobody left behind rides with the expectation being, “LM riders are expected to ride together at the pace of the slowest rider on the Mellow LM ride with all riders being rested at regroups.”
It’s a salute to Marcia’s great rides without being an outright name ripoff!
Bike to work day 2013 – A bicycle commuter gets crowned with a new bike helmet at the aid station at 4th and San Fernando in downtown San Jose in front of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
For many the point of riding a bike is to be first, be fast and/or ride the furthest. That’s fine and Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC) has many rides for those folks.
As a former ACTC ride leader who tried to lead social paced LM rides, I can also share the frustration of having first/further/faster riders take over my LM rides and push the pace and even drop me, the ride leader, on my own rides even though I was riding at my advertised LM pace.
That’s a big reason why I am a former ride leader.
It has truthfully been stated here that ACTC is a big club with a lot of rides and there should be a place for everybody. As for me; if I am on the back on an LM ride crawling up the hills by myself on my bike at an LM pace and if I am going to be riding alone anyway; why go on a club ride? I know the roads after all these years. Eddy Merckx, who as Tom Sawyer, an ACTC member pointed out, had the best advice on the subject of improving your skills – “ride your bike”. I do. I leave right from my garage on my own schedule.
I think the myth that bicycling is only about being first, riding far and/or riding fast is not only a barrier to entry to many potential cyclists, it is also a source of discouragement for some already in cycling.
Short rides work better for me than long rides. I gain weight on long rides. You cannot ride on stored fat; if you could. overweight people would never bonk. At a certain point your body uses up all it’s stored glycogen (about 1500 calories worth) and it starts screaming, “I need sugar, I need fat and I need it now!.”
I have found that in terms of loosing weight, and maintaining fitness, short rides work better for me. Bicycle commuting is great! My commute is 11 miles each way, that’s less than an hour on the bike twice a day. I am not alone in finding that short workouts work better at loosing weight than long ones.
It’s your body so your results may differ. But, I find on a long intense ride I am so hungry and my body just craves calories, especially fat and sugar, so much that I overcompensate. Maybe that’s just me.
I have been a member of the Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC) or about 15 years. I used to be a regular on ACTC rides, but not much anymore. Why? Well I have slowed down due to age and health issues and it seems to me the rides have both speeded up and, for slower riders anyway, become less social.
It seems to me riders used to stick together more. Now, they seem to spread out on the roads and ride on their own more.
Whatever the reason, club rides are not working for me anymore. I am on the back crawling up the hills by myself on my bike and if I am going to be riding alone anyway; why go on a club ride?
As I look into where I want to go with my cycling I have been looking at what worked before, what didn’t work, my successes, disappointments, and where I want to go with my riding in the future. To do that I have decided to write a manifesto to shape my approach to the bicycle.
I plan to add to this blog post over time.
Here is my cycling manifesto:
- A bicycle is a tool, and it is more than a tool. It is both and each. And, it is more. A bicycle is:
- A toy that can transport us back to our childhood.
- A statement that health matters.
- A statement that the environment matters.
- An object of functional art and craftsmanship, an aesthetic.
- An extension of oneself, of being one with the machine and the road.
- It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go. No matter how far or how fast you go, there will always be people who go further and faster and some who go slower and many, many who almost never leave their couch.
- Finishing first does not matter, neither does finishing last. The last rider who completes the ride finishes ahead of everybody who didn’t even try.
- It is not worth doing if you do not enjoy it. Contrary to popular belief there is no direct relationship between pain and gain. Pain is pain and gain is gain. No pain is no pain. It is okay to stop when it hurts. It is possible to achieve without hurting.
- Low gears are good things, REALLY low gears are great things. Sacrificing low gears for the sake of having high gears is silly. If you spin out your top gears going downhill you can always coast. If your gears are not low enough going uphill you are walking, or worse if you stand up and push a really high gear and break a crank, or pop your knee, you will not be riding at all and may be badly hurt.
- Cycling with friends, and especially family, is good. Cycling alone is good. They are just different types of good.
- Supported rides, like tours or event centuries, are only fun if you have a dedicated riding buddy or buddies. Carrying food is no big hassle. If I am going to ride alone I see no point in paying to do so.
- When I am riding with a friend, family, or friends, we ride as a group and stop as a group because we are riding to be together. That is best. Being together is the point!
- The best part of riding alone is not needing to suit anyone but yourself. For example, stopping to take a picture inconveniences nobody. The best part of riding together is being able to be together.
- A bike should be as reasonably light as reasonably possible but it MUST be as strong as it needs to be, to be safe and dependable. Comfortable, safe and dependable are more important considerations than light, fast and/or pretty.