Monday, October 10, 2016

Sometimes we ride just for fun

Sometimes we ride for fun, and sometimes we ride to train (which can also be fun).

Tom, Mary and LTP sporting fun glasses at the start of the Glow Ride.
On Friday night we had a strictly fun ride. Organized by the She Rides Her Own Way group, the Glow Ride left from Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids at sunset and traveled about 5 miles in a slow roll through the city. About 50 people participated and everyone had their bikes festooned with lights. When we've taken part in these types of rides in the past we've been frustrated by the pace. This time we brought our mountain bikes, but lights all over them, and just had a good time. Fellow JDRF rider Linda joined Mary and I and brought light-up glasses for us. Quite a few people commented on them. There was lots of friendly banter and some cool looking bicycle decorations. After the ride we had dinner at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. A pretty fun night.

Mary leads a group on Sunday's team ride.
Sunday brought us a team training ride on a chilly, but sunny, morning. We left from a park along the Grand River near Lamont and rode to Spring Lake. It was a 35 mile, fairly flat, route. We stayed in a pace line most of the way and had an average speed of almost 15 miles an hour.  It was good to be out with the team, but it couldn't have been more different from the Friday night ride.

I've noticed that cyclists come in various levels of seriousness about the sport. On our JDRF team there are some very serious riders. Even those who are more into the social aspects of the team make sure to ride predictably, call out hazards and follow the rules of the road. On Friday's ride people were all over the place, some didn't wear helmets, and a few were jumping curbs and dodging in and out of the group. Not that there's anything wrong with this behavior, it's just such a radical difference from what we do as a team. I suppose that is pretty true of most sports. The people who are training for a competition or an event will be more focused than those who just participate for the fun of it.

I remember when I used to play a lot of basketball. We'd be having some good competitive games and then there would be a couple of guys who were just goofing around. This was very frustrating to me. I have always been quite competitive and if we were on the court the object was to win. I didn't like playing just "for the fun of it". As I've aged and gotten into cycling I've noticed that I'm not as competitive anymore. (Although my wife might argue that point.) I like riding with the team and doing things the "correct" way. But I don't need to race. I don't need to win. I don't need to lead. I enjoy just being a member of the team. I think that means I'm finally maturing.

19 days until the JDRF ride at Amelia Island.

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