Friday Group Ride #409

Friday Group Ride #409

You’re late. This happens because you like riding bikes more than you like not riding bikes. So, the two hour spin you sketched out in loose terms in the morning, turned into a three four hour ride on the good ship AWOL. You’re riding home, and part of you wants to go faster, to limit the damage, and the rest of you wants to slow down. You’re in trouble anyway, might as well enjoy it.

The yarns I spin are multiple, overlapping, and implausible. The first rule, in my experience, is to blame someone else. If you’re not too, too late, then you can always go with the Friend-X-Had-a-Mechanical-and-I-Couldn’t-Leave-Him/Her/Them excuse. This has two benefits. It’s not your fault, and you’re actually, despite being late, a good friend. This is the most shameful and disingenuous lie, and usually your best bet.

What you shouldn’t say, but is fairly believable here in New England, is that you got lost. I push this one to the point of being ludicrous, by simultaneously blaming satellite technology. It sounds like this, “Baby (start with some term of affection…it’s signals that you’re lying, but that you’re too cute to be mad at), I don’t know what happened. Google Maps and my GPS both said there was a road there, but guess what? And then, when we tried to work around it we ended up lost in <insert unfamiliar town name here>. It took an hour to get back on our route.”

Don’t say you lost track of time. You’re not nine. It might be true, but it’s the worst excuse ever.

The real hail mary play here is the truth. You went out really intending to ride for two hours, but it’s been a long week. You needed more. There was a point where you could have/should turned back, but you felt so good, and the sun was shining, and you know what you said, and you should have texted, and it represents a real and true character defect that you know you need to work on, but you kept riding, because you love it and you needed it, and you’re sorry. But, you’re not actually that sorry.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what’s your best/go-to excuse for being out on the bike too long? Maybe you’re past this stage of your life, where commitments reign and time is a battleground to be fought for, or maybe you have an understanding with your significant other, such that words are no longer necessary or relevant. I lie. And I lie, not because I’m dishonest (necessarily) or because I feel terrible, but because I feel as though the concoction of a good story is part of the apology. It’s as if to say, ‘let me not bore you with an apology…let me, instead, entertain you with some audacious parping about a scenario that is part fable, part truth, and part admission of my unworthiness.’ It is, in many ways, more honest than the truth.

Image: Jake Bridge

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14 comments

  1. Aar

    I just don’t need one. My wife has only been upset with me about time spent around cycling once. It was because I didn’t invite her to post-ride cocktails.

  2. Andrew

    I’m usually not late home. Then I typically go with “it was longer and harder than I thought it would be”. When the mornings are gorgeous here in the summer, I sometimes turn left instead of right and my two hours before work becomes 3 hours. Then, I go with the old “had to drive kids/dogs/help at home”.

    1. Neil Winkelmann (winky)

      Yeah, “Took longer than I thought to get home. I must be slower than I thought.”

  3. Stephen Barner

    I often work late, and my commute is long and tough enough that it can take an hour and a half to get home. The obvious trick is to leave work on time, and call when about 90 minutes from home with a cheery “just wanted to let you know I’m on my way.” It may be dishonest, but you can convince yourself it’s not a lie. Pro tip: make sure thee’s no traffic noise in the background.

  4. MattC

    I’ve solved this little issue by adding time to any ride (more time for longer rides) when asked when I’ll be home. And being as I carry a SPOT (Satellite POsition Tracker) with me (MTB rides mostly, occasionally road) she can simply look at my page and see that I’m still moving and exactly where I’m at. And if I DO surpass even my bloated return time I text as soon as I have service letting her know I’m safely back at the car and on my way home, and does she want me to stop anywhere for her as I come back into town. Works like a charm!

  5. Doug P

    I started with wide-eyed idealism…”when will you be back? I responded honestly, adding time for unexpected events. But invariably, as fate and Murphy would have it, my estimates of return times turned out to be wildly optimistic.
    One day, finally, I found the perfect response…”when will you be back?”
    “I don’t know”.

  6. spiff

    I don’t need a false reason to blame my friends, I’m always waiting on them.
    Started late, sat at the store too long waiting for bathroom breaks or for someone to fill their bottle, pee, put their gloves and helmet on after everyone else has already done all of that.
    I have faster rides by myself, wether riding fast or slow.

    1. Neil Winkelmann (winky)

      No-one in a group thinks that they’re the one that is last to get ready. Everyone assumes that someone else is the hold-up. Occasionally drives me nuts on the inside. I’ll ride little circles in the street/parking lot/driveway as a bit of a signal, but I’m mostly chill, and not stressed by it.

  7. Tominalbany

    This weekend, I nailed it, actually. When asked, I responded -not more than three hours.

    I was right. First time for everything! It was almost a perfect three hours.

  8. John

    I keep my promises and I’m almost always back on time. If you see me taking long, strong pulls late in a ride, it’s because I said I’d be home by a certain time.

    Being late for dinner is a legal performance enhancer.

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