Friday Group Ride #295

Friday Group Ride #295

It was my first road trip for the new job. This is going back almost five years. We flew into SFO and rented a car, drove up over the Golden Gate and parked ourselves at one of the crappy little hotels that huddle along the highway in southern Marin.

After a day of meetings, someone proposed a road ride the next morning. We rode the Paradise Loop, which is a magical bit of road that circles Tiburon on a roller-coaster ribbon of pavement called Paradise Drive. For an East Coast guy, this was something entirely different.

The biggest deal though was that I was there in a professional capacity. I was, in some very real way, getting paid to ride my bike.

Two days later I found myself on a mountain bike on Mt. Tam. Again, the riding bore no resemblance to the rocky, rutted single-track offered up by my New England home (and the last Ice Age). Again, I thought, “Holy shit, I’m getting paid to be here.”

I’ve been back a few times since, including the time I rode out to the Marin headlands, documented right here on RKP.

I don’t know where cycling will take me next. Well, after Utah in February, I don’t know. I’ve ridden in a lot of places in the last five years, places I never thought I’d get to, never mind ride.

This week’s Group Ride asks, where have you ridden that you never thought you’d get to ride? How did you get there? How was it?

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  1. Dave

    I’ve been a lot of places – thanks to the US Army. But the one ride that really sticks out in my mind was the 5 Borough Bike Tour in New York City. It was crowded and strange – riding on closed roads around Manhattan, Central Park etc, with some fairly eccentric characters, but on the purely-for-fun meter, it can’t be beat!

  2. Dan

    Although it’s right in my backyard the old Mass bike Tour of the Hilltowns Century was my first real foray into the back roads and steeps of Western Mass. Chesterfield gorge, Windsor Jams, East Hawley Rd, Shelburne Falls. Legendary ride. I just wish I could remember that route!

  3. Aar

    Mine isn’t a where so much as a what happened. I was in the western North Carolina mountains near Tennessee climbing an old chip n’ seal country road. When I rounded a bend, there was a bear in the middle of the road about a hundred feet away! I don’t know which of us was more scared because the bear beelined off the road and hustled up the side hill as I rode on…

  4. Bruce Mackey

    I was stationed at the US Embassy in Jordan in 1989. Wonderful county, very friendly population. Brought my bike and quickly became comfortable riding there. Our favorite ride was from Amman, the capital, to the Dead Sea. Normally rode it on Friday when the Jordanians were at Mosque and the roads were deserted. Wimped out and got a ride back up to Amman. Planned and did two, “Tour of Jordan” rides. Both started at the northern border and finished at the southern border.
    Lots of fun and I never had a moments worry.

  5. Michael

    Reunion Island. I was there for a month’s work and brought my coupler bike. I hd no idea what to expect but hoped there would be some riding. It was fantastic riding, with little traffic and very steep and extended climbs. The views were fantastic and the countryside nothing like what I’d expected. And the smells!

  6. Danny

    I had the opportunity to ride in many countries and varied environments, but the two places that stand out the most in my memory were while deployed on peacekeeping operations with the Canadian military. The first was 30 years ago at the start of my career in the Sinai desert, Egypt. Our contingent was located in a secured compound and I was able to ride 8 km laps of the fenced perimeter on an old beat-up bike that we all shared to get around the base. I knew every cm of that perimeter road by the time my six-month tour was over. .
    The other was 15 years ago while on duty in the Central African Republic. There too, beat-up mountain bikes were made available to contingent staff to get around the large compound. Since I new I would be serving there during the rainy season when dirt roads turn to life-sucking mud pools, I had managed to “smuggle” my Blackburn wind trainer in my luggage and used it extensively to stay in decent riding shape. I fondly recall those long training sessions on the covered porch outside my room listening to taped music on my Walkman while warm torrential rain drowned the surroundings. My African colleagues all thought I was deranged, and of course they were right.

  7. Ron

    I started avidly cycling when I was living in Washington, DC. Never, ever did I imagine I’d live there, nor did I considering traveling all over the city on a bicycle. I was in my mid-20s, had some decent money, had a few bikes, lived in a good spot, and thoroughly loved learning how to ride in that environment. Taught me to be very comfortable in traffic. And what a place to be young and unfettered. I spent most Saturdays riding my bike to the National Mall and going into whatever museum I felt like checking out. Many nights were spent biking to live music venues. What a treat for someone from the ‘burbs.

    And now…I ride daily in central North Carolina and never, ever thought I’d be living here. I’m from upstate NY and maybe got to NC once or twice as a kid. Having met a UNC gal…I’m now happily living here. I miss winter sports (pond hockey, skiing, snowboarding) but I don’t miss riding rollers or sliding out on ice. Ride to work daily, ride every Sunday with a pal. Whenever I get too worked up, I pinch myself and think, “Wow, I’d NEVER have guessed this is where my life would take me.” Excellent cycling region and a good road/cross scene (though some local politicians are trying to pass insane laws against cyclists).

    Not as exotic as some others, but heck, I’m enjoying where I ride daily!

  8. Alan

    Bermuda. Believe it or not there is an awesome unpaved rail trail that cuts through the center of the island. My wife and I went there on an anniversary cruise and rented mtbs from the ship. When’s the last time you saw cruiseship and mountain biking in the same sentence?

  9. Dan Murphy

    Well, we plan on having a number of new riding experiences soon.

    A number of weeks ago, I signed for an early retirement package and will be outta here at the end of June. Our plan is to get an RV and hit the road. A major part of this is bringing bikes, to the point that when looking at RV’s (itself a new experience), I’m always trying to figure out a way to get two bikes inside the ting. We’ll figure it out. I’m also considering getting a new bike for the trip, too.

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