Friday Group Ride #214

Friday Group Ride #214

I sat at my desk, on my couch, in my car, all winter long, not thinking of anything but how horribly disappointed I was with the weather. Sisyphus meet stone. Stone, this is Sisyphus. Occasionally, I was able gee myself up enough to ride through snow and cold, but for some reason I didn’t dare think of the spring. I couldn’t bring myself to daydream.

Now that the sun has warmed the ground and the temperature is flirting with pleasantry, my mind is suddenly aflame with ideas about places to ride my bike.

One of my regular ride partners is in New Zealand this week, riding from waterfall to mountain, filling his face with pastry and generally living life right. His pictures are a long distance taunt.

Then I got involved in a brief research project, for work, on some of the best places on the planet to ride mountain bikes. As it is my job to bring such places to life in flowery prose, I found myself deliquescent with ride lust, as susceptible to my own words as I hope our putative customers will be.

For example, there is a loop just outside Quezon City, Phillipines which requires portage of the bike over simple log bridges that span low, rumbling rivers. There are rideable wooden byways affixed to the sides of cliffs that lead out into the blazing verdance that rings greater Manila on the north, east and south. Single track beats its way through palm cover out to the Wawa Dam in the foothills of the Sierra Madre.

This is a long way from the New England winter.

I am used to dreaming of Flandrien cobbles, which as I understand it is far preferable to actually riding on them. I am accustomed to picturing myself on the switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez. These aren’t so much visions of riding as they are convenient tropes for being in a much happier cycling place. This last week of wishing myself away has been much more vivid.

And so, this week’s Group Ride asks, if you could be ANYWHERE else this week, anywhere in the world, on your bike and in good weather, where would you be riding? The upland savanna outside Pietermaritzburg? The south of France? Pais Vasco? Chilean Patagonia?

Image: Ramon F Velasquez

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24 comments

  1. Aar

    If they have one, I’d really like to ride the Paris-Roubaix Sportif this weekend. Then watch the young guns obliterate the cobbles.

  2. Ransom

    My head exploded. P-R would be awesome. Provence? Riding and eating and riding and eating… My childhood geographic imprinting makes me want to ride all over the area around S.F., but in my dreams the roads have a good deal more shoulder to them…

  3. Pat O'Brien

    Mountain biking in and around Williams, Arizona. Hundreds of miles of forest service roads and single track. Whatever kind of dirt you want, they have.

  4. Al Pastor

    I have been travelling so much for work, that I am psyched to home. My ride up Mt Diablo this weekend will be plenty. The poppies are in bloom.

    It would be cool to ride across Vietnam or New Zealand, but there’s no place like home.

  5. Andrew

    Well, if this is a “wish from a genie” kind of thing:

    When my buddy Greg and I rode across the country, the first leg of our trip was through the North Cascades highway. It may have taken us about a week to do that stretch. And it was cold and miserable the whole time. Greg died a couple of years ago from melanoma, aged 45, leaving his wife and his daughter.

    So if I could do any ride for one week- I’d like to ride the North Cascades highway again with my friend.

  6. Shawn

    I know “Sisyphus meat stone” was a typo but I like the idea of calling oneself a meat stone which one has to constantly push uphill, over and over again, like Sisyphus.

    PS ITALY is my dream cycling destination, perhaps near Lake Como, but when it gets a little warmer.

  7. August Cole

    When i first rode through the Lake Como area 20 years ago with my brother and my best friends, I pledged never to return until it was with the woman I would marry. It was an extreme statement, but such is the singular beauty of the place. I kept my word and managed to go there on my honeymoon, but no bikes. I would love to mark a 20th anniversary there with my wife and kids all on bikes. Until then, the Holy Week sportive in Belgium and France, with a select group of friends and a bike built for the trip… Some day!

  8. Bill

    The weather here in Oregon has been great, so plenty of good riding to be had.

    But this week, I’d love to be back riding the pavé. I had the luck to ride the P-R and Flanders courses a couple of years ago. The cobbles are absolutely brutal, but once you figure out it’s just going to hurt, it’s quite an experience. Plus, watching those races in person…

    Oh well, I’ll be awake in a few hours, reliving the memories while watching the fellas crush it.

  9. Savvycyclist

    I’d like to ride around Lake Geneva with my wife. Something I’ve always wanted to do, not sure how that particular place lodged in my head but it’s been in there for almost 30 years.

  10. Tom

    I’m nursing a broken leg (softball injury) so would simply be happy to ride to Nationals Park with my good buddies, drink a few beers, watch the Nats win, and ride home again. That’s what I miss the most right now.

  11. Kurti_sc

    St. Gotthards all the way over to Stiflersjoch or Oberjoch. Cheesecake and espressos feeding the pitch. And how!!

  12. will

    anyone else wishing RKP would stop posting about how shitty the weather/winter/conditions are, and resume interesting bike blogging?

  13. Craig S

    Given the scenery and the general awesomeness of German roads, I would love to ride through, around, in the Black Forest. Maybe ultimately end up in Switzerland.

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