Friday Group Ride #73

It was a touch cold to start, but I like it cold. This robot runs firmly on the hot side. We met up at the crack of the crack and rolled out in a Westerly direction as we always do, eventually reaching the more rural bits of the metro-burbs. The places where the farm houses have been gutted and the interior replaced by mansion, where the sweet tang of cow shit hangs in the air and the breeze has room to blow.

Our group ride is of a more casual nature. We start slowly. We chat. We chat more. Occasionally a pace line breaks out, but that’s usually just when we’ve run out of things to talk about.

Because we leave early, we get to watch the day bloom. The sun warms the verges of the road. The volume on humanity increases slowly, tolerably.

It is entirely mundane, entirely accidental, and yet also something of a dream ride. When I think of what I love about cycling, it’s all there: friends, scenery, sun, distance, adventure, comedy, speed. I am, there in the saddle, wholly at my ease.

This week’s Group Ride asks about your dream ride. What is it? Does it include Alps? Does it run down the coastline? Who is there? What time of year? What can you smell? How does it feel?

Make like the Staples Singers and take us there.

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  1. Bikelink

    Strangely enough it’s riding home at dusk through Camden, NJ, back to Philadelphia from the weekly “Greentree” training crit. You’re tired but exhilarated after the fast ride, and the grim city streets and sky are bathed in pink light as the sun sets, making everything OK.

  2. James

    My dream ride is my default ride. I head out of Portland, Or. into the Columbia River Gorge via the old “Historic Highway” past numerous waterfalls, up and down nice climbs and some of the most glorious scenery one can experience. As they say in the beer commercial, “It don’t get no better than this!” (I’m not sure how the double negative plays out, but there you have it…)

  3. Rhys

    I’m not sure what me dream ride is, but the ride I dream about is the training route I used to do when at High School. Except now I only do it when I visit my parents in summer, so it’s sunny without a cloud in the sky, and the winding road heads off around the hills and eventually back down the river. By myself, getting some time alone. I start dreaming about it when the flowers open in spring.

  4. Biggsie

    It’s not long or exotic but I always look forward to the ride from SF > Mill Valley > Panoramic Highway > Stinson > Hwy 1 > Muir Beach > SF. It runs less than 40 miles with a good amount of vertical, sweeping descents and great views.

    Best time of the year is early spring on a variable weather day. Brilliant mix of sun and dark clouds. Fast moving, soaking storms. Full kit: plastic, belgium booties, embrocation.

    Newbie roadies are still queuing up for futile spin classes and the roads are empty. The Above Category guys posted this pic of the ride. Heaven.

  5. Pascal

    I have to say that the D2R2 was tough to beat for me. Tons of climbing, sca-reaming descents, lots of gravel and beautiful scenery, 5 buddies, all in decent shape, all mostly sticking together, in no rush but never doggin’ it. And best of all, almost no traffic. It was like some sort of Disneyland for cyclists. It started super early and ended with beer and a bbq. It was like a dream come true. I re-lived it over and over again all year.
    And by some weird accident, we’re on the homepage for this year’s event. Go figure.

  6. Howard hesterberg

    Oh yeah a delightful subject, It used to be Hwy. 221 south of blowing Rock NC til I moved to The Wine Country, Sonoma Cty CA. My Monday group ride guys and the great views, especially Westside Rd. looking N. to the Geysers with vineyards filling the near foreground. Heavenly. Springtime with new growth on the vines. Makes me thirsty.

  7. dacrizzow

    here in portland, OR we have so many “mini-dream rides” in and around town. but towards the end of summer right before cyclocross season there’s so many of us out either winding down the mountain bike/ road season or gearing up for cross season. our weather is at it’s peak and it seems no matter where you ride you’re running into friends. half of my friends are from friends of friends that i kept running into on trails, roads, races, etc. it really is more than bike lanes out here. it IS a community.

  8. Rich

    The Hayfork Century This last weekend. Miles and miles of back roads, maybe a dozen cars all day, Looong climbs, mountain vistas, streams, smooth descents, a few potholes to keep your attention,Maybe a bear, a little dirt, cream pies and gooey brownies and good friends.

  9. Steve

    Central PA. 5:30 am in late May. Cool with a foggy blanket that reveals only the highlights…fences, hills, barns, and a road travelled by nobody else but me.

  10. Randomactsofcycling

    I just had my dream ride. Two weeks of them in fact, riding around Italy and into France with some clubmates. The elements though are the same as if I were at home: nice weather, good roads, great scenery, good company and a feeling when it’s all finished that I have worked hard. The after ride coffee is also just as important……come to think of it, just good company, hard work and good coffee would cover it most of the time.

  11. Jim

    A half dozen friends on mountain bikes, heading into the woods at dawn for 90 minutes or even 3 hours, and we’re rolling down singletrack that has just the right combination of flow, and nasty bits. The pedals seem lighter than usual today, the first couple hills that test my clyde butt do not seem as difficult as usual, and there’s a bit in the middle where we’re absolutely ripping it and I don’t remember afterwards exactly what I did but I do remember being in the zone, almost unconsciously riding, not hitting a bad line anywhere, and barely touching the brakes… I limp out of the woods during the last half hour shattered, drenched in sweat and giggling. The dream ride is a feeling, not a particular combination of bike, rider, place and time. I get there once every week or two.

  12. Brad

    I call mine “Palisades-Roubaix” in Eastern Washington from Trinidad, North on H28 to the Palisades rode, east up the Moses Coulee (home of the Columbia River about 20M years ago) with basalt cliffs on both sides, then onto gravel for five miles of steep ramped climbing to the Upper Moses Coulee, turn right and climb Sagebrush Flats hill (yes, it really the name), descent to Ephrata, and back to the ride-ending 2 mile descent to Trinidad. A nice tidy 70 miles, the smell of sage, apple blossoms, wheat, alfalfa, view of the Cascade mountains and Columbia river. A long group ride, but always filled with adventure, work, and good times.

  13. Nelson

    Dream Ride = Autumn, Grape Vines (Unpicked), warm morning, rolling hills and a cider mill either during the ride or at the end. When these things come together, it doesn’t get any better for me. Location and company almost become irrelevant.

  14. bradyja

    My dream ride happens when I’m alone. It has more to do with how I feel on the bike, than scenery. Everything is perfect, the wind, my speed, my cadence, the power numbers… fluid motion, whirl of the wheels and chain against chain rings and cassette, perfection. If I’m lucky, it happens once or twice a season.

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