It’s an odd cycling year for me in that I didn’t do any event rides at all. I’m not a big racer or gravel grinder or randonneur, but I typically do two or three things in a given year, almost always with friends. This year, I just couldn’t get anything lined up, and I seldom had the miles in my legs to do anything big spontaneously.
What I did do was ride bikes with friends.
I’m lucky to have a group of guys who live near me who approximate my fitness level and hectic schedule. Any time we can pedal together, we’re all pretty grateful, and so my memorable rides this year were mainly with them, mostly night sessions, in the woods, with lights, which is some of my favorite riding anyway.
There was a time, maybe a decade or more, when I was trying to affect the mien of a Euro roadie. That whole vibe was carrying me through long summers of grinding out the miles. I wrote a lot though, even then, about the early, magically alchemical days of riding BMX bikes with my friends, of hidden trail systems and plywood ramps, of tooling around for hours on mall loading docks or in dry rain culverts.
And that’s what riding with my friends feels like now. Even here in my late 40s, I still love rolling up on the abandoned places in between bits of “civilization.” These feel like home. I stop instinctively and linger. I hope there’s more of that for me in 2020.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what are your best ride memories from 2019? What were the ingredients? What were the surprises? And what do you hope for in 2020?