Group riding for the first time. Slowly.

All my training rides so far (bar one) have been solitary affairs. And that’s the way I’ve liked it; choosing when and where to go, making it up as I go along, going as fast or as slow as I’ve fancied at any given time. But the one thing I felt I ought to get a bit of experience of before embarking on London to Paris was riding with a group.  

And so last night for the first time I joined members of the Stevenage Cycle Touring Club for one of their “Easy Evening Rides”. I think one of the things that had put me off was that I’d imagined everyone else would be on fancy proper road bikes and my now-hybridised 18-year-old mountain bike would stick out like a sore thumb. But I was pleasantly surprised; there was just about every shape and size of bike you could imagine. Of course there were a fair smattering of fancy new things to oggle at, but there were equally as many old and a fair spread among road bikes, tourers, mountain bikes and others. Even one recumbant. And there were 27 altogether; rather more than I’d expected (although why I had any expectation I have no idea).   Here’s the route that we took:

(I’ve no idea why these maps sometimes have mile markers on and
sometimes don’t, but we went anticlockwise.)

And I could see why they’re advertised as “easy” rides. It was just over 15 miles in all, and with a long stop at a pub half way. And the riding speed felt pretty pedestrian compared to what I’ve been doing. All this time I’ve beeing hoping to build my average speeds, and am usually clocking up between 13 and 14 mph overall, but the eventual average speed of last night was just 11.1 mph. But I was glad to do it. I had the opportunity to have a few nice chats with various people, about bikes and riding (of all things!), and it made a nice change to be with others. I’ll go out with them again next Tuesday.

And then Thursday morning we gather at Marble Arch at 7:30am for the big ride…

The cyclists take over the pub garden. (Yes, I was one of them.)
Members of Stevenage CTC take over the pub garden.

Distance: 15.07 miles
Riding time: 1 hr 21 min
Average speed: 11.1 mph (is that all?!)
Top speed: 26.8 mph


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