Friday Group Ride #426

Friday Group Ride #426

I didn’t want to ride. It was Saturday morning. I had coffee, a couch, and a dog to pet. My phone buzzed. It was a text we’ve all gotten before: Hey, what are you doing? Wanna ride? 


This is not the reaction of a devoted cyclist, someone whose life revolves around Saturday morning spins with friends. It’s the reaction of a tired person, someone who feels they just made it through the week, and as much as s/he loves riding bikes, really just wants to camp on the couch with coffee and a dog.

Subsequently, I replied: What did you have in mind?

I never say no directly. That’s churlish and unfriendly, and it’s a quick way to stop getting invited on rides. Also, I don’t trust myself. Somewhere, deep in my cynical, skeptical soul, lurks a FOMO based on years of really excellent Saturday rides with friends. If it’s not raining, then a straight no is almost impossible.

My phone buzzed. IDK. Something mixed terrain, kinda rambly, not too far, whatever.

He knows me too well. This ham-handed marketing strategy that fails to properly describe a planned ride, keeps it ultra casual, doesn’t aspire to any particular distance, this is just the stuff I go in for. It appeals to my lack of ambition. It omits a road bike, which always smacks of hard work. It’s the sort of ride I might not even wear a helmet for, because I’m lazy and a low-level risk taker.

The dog looked up at me and sighed. He knows how this goes.

15-20 minutes? 

I can drink a cup of coffee in about 7 minutes. A banana adds not even 60 seconds. Kit goes on in 4-5 minutes. Tires pumped, chain lubed, and yes, helmet on, I was out front in 17 minutes.

This is how it goes.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what do your Saturday morning look like? Do you have a regular ride that you just show up for no matter what, or do you freestyle it with friends? Are you an early morning solo act? Or do you leave the morning to the go-getters, and roll in the afternoon? Are you the weekend’s prime mover or are you a follower?

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  1. Neil Winkelmann

    Saturdays are usually a regular club ride that I rarely miss if I’m in town. The spin to the coffee shop takes me about 40 minutes. I get there very early, because I love hanging in coffee shops (ours is a great one) and I don’t get to do it during the week. The rides vary in length and intensity. Always road rides. The group always splits up too early for my liking as people have their own goals in terms of terrain and distance, but each to their own, I guess. I almost always stay until the end. When I’m looking to build form (typically New Years’ onward) I’ll often head home the hilly way from wherever the final parting-of-the-ways happens. A few of us sometimes stop for coffee near that point, but I’m often double-booked for the afternoon with yard and house work.

    When I was somewhat serious last year (DK200!) from Easter on, I’d sometimes leave home early enough to get in a couple of hours prior to meeting at the coffee shop. Those days typically ran about 200km and happened just 4 or 5 times last year.

    I don’t do much socializing otherwise, so the organised club ride is a way for me to interact with non-family humans outside of work. I need practice in that as much as I need training miles. Your experience of someone getting in touch to go for a ride virtually never happens to me, outside of general club group emails.

  2. Shawn

    That’s funny. I used to ride with a guy who knew that if he told me in advance that the ride would be 60 or 70 miles, I’d pass. Every ride was a 40 miler. All of them. Even the 50, 60, 70+ mile rides. I miss those days

  3. Ron Callahan

    Not a Saturday morning. That’s for getting chores done. But a recent Sunday afternoon, yeah. Got home after church, a kid’s volleyball game and a late lunch.

    “Ding!” “We’re hitting Mitchell about 3:30.”

    The fajitas that I share with my son were still a lot of food and were sitting on my gut like a brick. I was looking at a nap, not a ride.

    But how many chances do I get to not have to rush to the trails after a long work day?

    Me: “Yeah, sure. I may puke, but I’ll go.”

    Probably one of the better rides of the summer.

    1. Neil Winkelmann

      3:30 on Sunday is well within the long dark tea-time of the soul. I can’t ride with that hanging over me.

  4. Scott D Gilbert

    Saturday morning 7:37 start for the “Donut Ride” on the Silver Strand Hwy in Coronado for about 15 years without fail, rain or shine (it does occasionally rain here, it is right now). Up a 6am rollout the door at 7is to meet up. Bad crash 2 years ago ended that for me so now I do the same thing but I ride a few minutes ahead solo and try not to get caught.

  5. Tominalbany

    I hang with the family most weekends. I was that guy that said ‘No” so people quit asking. I’m working on that because, I too, have FOMO. That said, I need to restart friendships or make new ones…

  6. Michael

    My Saturday morning rides are always solo. In the summer, the local group ride starts at 9, and in the winter at 10. I leave at sunrise, even if it is quite frozen. I sometimes see the group ride as I am returning from mine. I just can’t wait that late to ride. In Ireland, I found some buddies who left early, so we rode together every Sunday morning. I loved the sociability of that, and miss it, but just haven’t found early-weekend-risers in the US. I look for socializing elsewhere in my life. Perhaps not talking about bikes much saves me some money.

  7. JayRob

    I help lead a group ride every Saturday, March-September. 8:00 AM at first, 7:00 AM once it’s light enough. 35 miles in the early season, extending to 55 as we get fitter. 80-100 riders a week in four groups. It’s great fun, but it’s good when the responsibility ends.

    My favorite is what happened yesterday. We’re in the offseason. It’s supposed to rain all day but there might be a weather window early. A Friday night text to a friend… “wanna ride? 40 miles at first light?” We invite a few other guys. At 7:30 AM, four of us roll from the park. The weather holds. We go hard in a few places, but mostly it’s fast enough for a good work-out but not so fast that we can’t talk. Perfect.

  8. Brian McAndrews

    The HOP ride. Coffee, breakfast and an easy warm up spin to the launch at Peet’s. Racers not racing out for a hard training ride. Non-racers measuring themselves by “racing” the racers. Turn off when we renter town. A handful ride “the mountain”, to the junction for most and the summit for ?. Descend and roll home with tired legs to be greeted by pancakes and a very understanding wife. Life is good.

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