Joining The Real Social Network:
Spring is around the corner, according to the Weather Channel, though I haven't seen any sign of it yet. We had a nice warm spell a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like it was going to be an early spring, but it was not to be. Winter reared it's ugly head again and slammed a cold front in our faces, complete with snow. Apparently March 21st will be Spring's debut for 2017, so it better not disappoint. That being said, we can look forward to warmer weather from here on out, and along with the time change, our group ride season begins.
Nothing is better than ending a long day at the office with a relaxing or challenging group ride. Riding a bike, while engaging in conversation with friends, is a real bonding experience that I highly recommend. Even if you're suffering while pulling through a rotating pace line, chances are you've made a close bond with everyone that suffered with you. That's the social network of cycling, you create bonds and make connections with people from all walks of life. One common passion, uniting everyone, which is pretty amazing.
I remember joining my first group ride when I was in high school, looking to ride with other local riders. The local club I was introduced to was The Vineland Velocity, out of Vineland, NJ. I was mountain biking at the time, and couldn't wait to take a road trip somewhere where I had never ridden before. Even though a majority of the members were older than I was, and had been riding longer than I had, they welcomed me into their club. A lot of great memories came from those group rides, and I got to experience some pretty cool places along the way.
From there, I began to make connections with different people through the sport of cycling, eventually bringing me to where I am today at The Caffeinated Cyclist. You'd be surprised who you'll meet riding with a group. They could be your local electrician, teacher, or city council member, and you connected with them while riding a bike. It's a way to network without even realizing it, isn't that awesome?
You're probably thinking, "what group ride should I join"? This is a great question, since there are several different levels of group rides ranging from advanced to intermediate. Beginner or intermediate rides are the most social, and focus more on the casual aspects of cycling like cruising around, and taking in the scenery. More advanced rides are focused mainly on speed and performance. Typically those rides are generally ridden for intensity, not leisure, so they would be the least social, that is until the end of the ride where everyone talks about how they almost threw up in their mouths. Now that's a good time!
It's important to ask a club team or local bike shop about the details of their rides, that way you can choose the one that best fits your riding style. At the Caffeinated Cyclist, we offer at least three intermediate rides, two moderate rides, and one advanced ride. Both road and mountain bike rides are available to choose from, so there's sure to be a ride for you!