Sunday, September 6, 2015

Education is important, but riding a bicycle is importanter. (Anonymous)

Photo by Dino Rio (edited for this blog post by Marsha)
Ever since moving to Miami, Saturday has been EBC (Everglades Bicycle Club) group ride day for Al and me. Since 2013 we've been living rent free in an EBC paceline. This month we began paying back EBC by volunteering as ride leaders. Saturday we got to ride with the 16-18 mph speed group. And we had a really good time. The 16-18 group is focused, spunky, and upbeat.

This Saturday there was a big group. We gathered at City Hall, ran through the opening tutorial, clipped in, and headed out. We rolled through the Grove and wound our way to Deering Estates for a quick break before continuing on to Black Point Marina. It was a sunny, hot, and humid day. We got very sweaty very fast. Stuff happened (doesn't it always?), but nothing but little stuff. I had only the vaguest of ideas of the route, so I kept away from the front of the group. Which gave me a chance to meet a bunch of the riders. I was surprised how many I knew from other rides over the last year. (Confession: I rolled up beside one guy and introduced myself. "Hi, I'm Marsha." "Hi, I'm Dino," he laughed. Well, duh, of course! I've known Dino since he started riding with EBC. And it happened with some other people, too. OK: I was a little nervous Saturday.) Some of the riders told me they were new to riding. Others had been riding for some time. Some had been off their bikes for a spell and were getting back up to speed. Others had been riding with EBC for a long time and just liked the 16-18 pace for their Saturday ride.

If I had to pick one thing that stood out about the group it was this: they actually rode better and pulled together when everybody was getting tired and the going was getting tough. In the last few miles when many groups are getting grouchy and sloppy, this group went into an upbeat survival mode. I saw at least one rider (Pepe) go up to the front and take a long pull. And earlier when a small group got split from the main group at a stop light, a new rider (Tori) was up to helping pull us back up to the main group. And it was really good to see a couple riding together, a team working with the larger team of the paceline. Camaraderie and mutual support makes a huge difference in a paceline. Very nice.

We hope to ride with this group on a regular basis. We were beginners in this group just a short time ago. We are still new to paceline riding, and we are still working to get better at basic paceline skills. Like most things in life, it's a work in progress. The Saturday EBC rides showed us the basics, the stuff you need to know and do when you ride in a paceline. The stuff that goes a long way towards making you ride farther, faster, and easier. Not to mention safer.

And that makes riding fun.