Friday Group Ride #493

Friday Group Ride #493

C wanted to ride. I didn’t, but I’ve learned not to say as much. J said he was in, and that started to feel like critical mass. B’s wife was against us getting together, even in the woods. He normally ignores that sort of guidance, but he begged off, which I took to mean there were actual marital consequences. I’ve learned not to say anything about that, too.

The time kept getting pushed back, and then suddenly we were need to charge lights. I love night riding, but I maintain a pretty early bedtime, so any enthusiasm I feel in the afternoon dwindles rapidly as sunset approaches.

I floated a trial balloon, suggesting we push to the morning, early, but C said, “I need to ride. My mental health depends on it,” and that’s more or less today’s trump card. I went to the basement and mounted lights.

We rolled out at 8pm, just to the local trails, a patch of dirt I know so well I could probably ride it without lights. J pointed out that, as rad as that might be, a trip to the hospital wasn’t maybe worth whatever ego boost came out the other side.

As we rode I warmed up, and started to flow. I stopped thinking about getting home and showered and in bed. C cracked jokes over my shoulder. And then we were just there, in the woods, riding our bikes. We took turns on the front, setting the pace. We navigated by committee. At the end, we pedaled home the hard way, rather than the quicker, easier way on the road, a sign that we’d had fun.

I am loose in my days now, walking with the kids and dog in the morning, sifting through some sort of educational content with them (even the dog), cooking and cleaning. I meet one friend to run in those same woods. I tinker with the bikes and spin them around the neighborhood. I can do anything, and mostly I’m pretty happy with that, despite the crisis looming over us all.

This week’s Group Ride asks, how are YOU doing? Are you riding more? And is it dispelling any of your anxiety? Have you been forbidden any rides with friends or larger groups? Or are you still working all day, remotely, and just fitting in whatever rides you can, as usual?

, , , ,


  1. kurt erickson

    Personally, I am doing pretty well. Thanks for asking. My wife and I were both on business trips in Germany when all of this started (We never get to travel together. That was a first and should have been a clue!). So we both returned to a self-isolation thing for two weeks which just ended, in about, oh wait, 22 minutes from now. We are not ill and have been fine. Mostly, now, we worry about communal spread.
    During this time of working from home, I’ve gotten a lot of work done. A lot of work that I WANTED to do got done and that was mostly because I wasn’t experiencing the constant interruptions and guidance of others at work. But I know it can’t continue forever, or else that would be like being a consultant or being unemployed. Both of which give me some concern. Monday, I’m back to the mill, so to speak. It’s not an actual mill.
    I have gotten some rides in. Early rides on the back porch on rollers have been nice b/c I suddenly have 30 minutes of time that would have been used on my commute. Spinning is a much better use of time. I’ve also gotten in a few solo rides. I even took one today during lunch (it is Friday!).
    But I haven’t ridden as much as I would have liked, or as much perhaps as my boss may have feared and predicted. No, my work ethic, both our our work ethics’ for me and my wife, have kept us super busy. We’ve even put in longer days than some on-site people. It’s kind of funny. We are in the low 80’s today in South Carolina. I’m pretty sure that if I was in the office this entire week, I would have scooted out before lunch for a nice shady MTB ride and never given work a second thought for the rest of the day. As it is, my 30 minute lunch ride is the biggest indulgence I’m allowing.
    So when your friend says that he needs a ride for his mental health, what is he implying as the source of his issue? For me, it’s pretty clear. Check off the list to be done, drink the better coffee we have at home, and I find that the riding will take care of itself and be more enjoyable. I think that I am riding because its nice out and/or I’d like to. That doesn’t always happen, just like in your story above. I don’t (currently) feel the pressure to rip one out b/c the week sucked so badly. But I’ve done that so often before. Maybe 2 weeks of self-isolation will be good for us. I think its been good for me.
    Best, and have a good weekend,

  2. Miles Archer

    I hadn’t been riding for a few years. Swimming instead. Well, the pools closed down, and I need the exercise for mental health. Running hurts and it’s too cold and wet outside – at least for my pampered northern california constitution. So, I broke out the trainer that’s been gather dust in the garage and have been riding it again.
    A week ago, Monday was the first day. I couldn’t go twenty minutes before my butt was in agony. I’m up to 45 minutes a day, most days and looking forward it warming up enough for a ride outside.

  3. Michael

    I am a professor and have had a pretty crazy last couple of weeks. Moving classes online is not hard, in some ways. Getting lectures up and presenting them via a web conference is not a big deal. Getting any student interaction is tough, especially since they have to have their microphones off to avoid feedback. Grading, though, has become a nightmare. It is so much slower online, by a factor of about 2.5. So that eats up much of the day. Getting the 30-something students in my international program home and coming up with some way for them to continue their international experience has taken and will continue to take a lot of time. So, I am working from home, but 12-hour days for the past couple weeks. I try to go for a quick run (in the falling snow today – very pretty) or ride rollers for a bit before beginning the day, but otherwise I am working. Except I am reading and writing this while eating a bowl of soup for lunch. I hope things lighten up in a few weeks enough that I can take time off while sheltering in place.

    1. Michael

      I should add, though, how lucky I feel to have a job that is secure and with a salary through the rest of this pandemic, at least. I have work to do, but so many don’t.

  4. Quentin

    For the last several years my riding has largely been solo, for various reasons, and my work has been from home, so the current situation has changed my life remarkably little. My kids are home all the time now, and I’m not spending any time driving them places like school and soccer. The resulting extra time so far has been spent on extra sleep, and various house work. Maybe soon I’ll feel caught up on both accounts and do a little more riding than before.

  5. Jeff

    For me, during these times, riding seems to be the only thing that makes things seem normal. As I’ve aged, I’ve found myself more worried about things that my younger self would have never worried about such as: If I or my wife got covid-19 would we live? are my kids doing all they can to keep them and my grand kids safe?,Are my parents ( mom 84 & dad who turns 90 tomorrow) doing all they can to keep safe? how is our favorite waitress at our favorite Mexican restaurant going to make ends meet ???…. I usually ride 5 days a week with 2 rest days, the last couple of weeks Its been 7 days because as I said, riding seems to be the only thing that makes things seem normal..

  6. David

    I feel almost guilty saying this…. I’m retired Military and when I left the Army I built a home in rural North Central Texas. The population of my ENTIRE COUNTY is only 28,000 people and we’ve had zero presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID 19 to date. This world wide crises has only had minimal effect on my personal life. We stocked up on groceries at the start of the pandemic and have been fine staying at home. I rode solo 99% of the time even before so my daily rides haven’t changed. My wife is freaking out a little – but she watches too much news for her own good. God speed and my prayers go out to the world.

  7. Jay

    I want to ride, but I am not. I am still going to my job at a local hospital. I don’t deal directly with patients with Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot encounter them. My department provides treatments for people with cancer who cannot stop or defer their therapy at this time. Work is less busy, but still busy nonetheless. I want to ride when I finally get home after work, but my wife wants to see me for three or four hours that I have before I think about sleep. Since riding a bike is my primary means of stress reduction, it is a difficult balancing act. I am not overly stressed, luckily, so I defer my rides for now. All I know is that I need to ride and I cannot. I hope that changes soon.

  8. Jeff vdD

    Love the “Are you riding more?” question. Short answer, no.

    But not for the prevailing reason.

    A year ago, a small group of us made plans for a sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands. On Sat Mar 14, we headed for the airport and got underway. The day before had been our first in WFH mode … but I had planned to skip the office that day for reasons of final prep.

    The trip went off almost entirely without a hitch. Hand-washing and sanitizer was a thing in the islands, social distancing less so. But our social interactions consisted almost entirely of dinners in sparsely populated restaurants. After a day or two, I tuned out the news from back home. We opted to return a day early to avoid a feared customs nightmare, but that turned out to be excessive caution.

    Re-entry wasn’t much of a shock. I took a socially distant Sunday morning trail ride with a friend before our team instituted a policy banning group rides. And the week of full-on WFH meant saving the 6 minute commute by bike each way–work was different, but not profoundly so.

    My cycling winter is a mix of 2-days-a-week structured training indoors and as much gravel and fat biking as the weekends allow. The trip nixed two of those weekends and the week of training in between, but that was planned. Also planned was concurrent service by the Lexington shop where I bought my Watertown-built gravel bike.

    What wasn’t planned was the spate of gravel ride and race postponements and cancellations. Also not planned–the delay in getting my gravel bike back due to shortages in the parts supply chain.

    “Are you riding more?” No, no I’m not, and I’ll no doubt see reductions in my riding going forward. Minor in the scheme of things, but like others, riding is core to my physical and mental well-being.

  9. Neil Winkelmann

    We’re doing OK. Happy to have a nice big yard which needs plenty of work. This gives us a lot with which to potter about in the outdoors. Teenage kids are out of school and university. Not driving us too nuts. They are splitting time equally between us and their dad, so we’re effectively two households within a common isolation boundary.

    I’ve been working from home for over 2 weeks. I set-up in a separate little cottage-thing we have and fetched my big monitor from the office last Sunday morning. It’s nice and quiet and means my wife and kids in the main house don’t have to worry about worrying me. I’m finding myself to be surprisingly productive. Full-time hours.

    I’ve still been riding outside, 5 or 6 days a week. I’ve replaced my commute with a ride each morning. Essentially commuting in a loop, back to home. Local roads, and totally solo. Quiet roads. My last group ride was over 3 weeks ago. I almost bought a trainer. I actually had it in the “cart” and went to fetch my credit card. Changed my mind on the way back to the computer. I guess I’m just not an indoor guy.

    Like everyone, my summer plans are in disarray. DK200 is really unlikely now, but I’m slightly hopeful for The Rift which is later in the year. A buddy and I are planning on going bike-packing in September, and we’re still hopeful on that one. None of that matters when compared to the bigger picture out there.

    Stay safe, stay hopeful. There is an end to this.

  10. TominAlbany

    Working from home and trying to maintain that normal as much as I can. That said, I used to wake up early and go work out and then hit the desk. Come home, and bang. All family time. For the time-being, I’m rolling back over and either getting out at lunchtime or doing something in the evening, before dinner.

    My wife had begun looking for a full-time job prior to this so, she’s pretty disappointed by the timing. That said, she’s been getting out a bit and is making lunches at the school for folks.

    Holding up pretty well, so far.

    Thanks for asking

    1. TomInAlbany

      I would add that I’m only riding on weekends at this point since there’s no work commute and I’m sleeping it anyway. Working and trying to work on core and flexibility. Also, no group rides, but that’s not new.

  11. Fausto

    Out of work for a spell and got a 250 mile week in which pushed me up to 1000 miles for the year by April 1. That hasn’t happened in forever. Back to work so it is back to 2 rides a week. Did meet up with 1 or 2 people and we kept our distance and talked when we could spread out on some back car-less roads. Heaven to have the news and the computer turned off and just flow on some beautiful roads. Weather in the north east has been warmer so that helps. A quick escape from reality and the stress of not knowing what comes next regarding work, money, health, and loved ones. Be safe everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *