Remember riding your bike when you were a kid? It was so freeing. The wind in your face and the feeling of getting somewhere so much faster. I spent a lot of time on my bike as a child. Once I got my driver’s license I never touched my bike again though. I was doing “grown up things” then.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid 40s that I got on another bike on a regular basis. My son got a job at a local bike shop and that was the spark that got me back on a bike. My first bike was a mountain bike and I was lighting up the local trails. Yes, “lighting up” is a relative term. After a year or so on the trails I started getting interested in some group road riding with that bike shop. I would take my big heavy mountain bike out on the road and did pretty good keeping up with the roadies. Sure, it was a D group but I didn’t know what that meant at the time.
I had no idea what I was doing on those first road rides. I was also not comfortable wearing the funny outfits. I stuck to my MTB shorts and loose fitting jersey’s. Well I quickly learned why people wear the cycling kits and it wasn’t too long before I was part of that club. Try riding 30 miles with a regular pair of shorts. I’m not even referring to the chamois but more just the legs of the shorts rubbing your legs every time you pedal. I would be so chaffed I could barely walk.
I was fortunate to have a lot of friends that I worked with at the time that were avid cyclists and they would ride at lunch several days a week. They encouraged me to join them and to this day I laugh at how long these guys would have to wait on me to catch back up. Never once in all the times it happened did they complain about me. They always encouraged me and made sure I knew it didn’t matter. Over the years I’ve learned this was more than just having great friends, this is pretty much the status quo for cyclists. Most cyclists I know are happy to hang back and/or wait for a slower beginner rider if it means they’ll ride. Not all cyclists are like that but most are. I always worried that I was holding them up and it bothered me even though they continuously told me it was fine. It wasn’t until I became a faster rider that I realized it really doesn’t bother cyclists to ride with slower riders. It’s a new year and if you’ve been thinking about getting out to ride, try a group ride with some friends or a local cycling club and don’t worry about your speed. Keep in mind, the more you ride, the faster you get too.