02 February 2010

First Group Ride. Lesson: Bad Karma for Fellow Riders

So we had our first group ride last Saturday.  The ride was going to be a nice flat, easy ride around Sauvie Island for about 15 miles.  Since my usual rides are longer and I have ridden out to Sauvie Island from my house before, I invited any of the group that wanted to park at my place and ride out there with me (and back) to show up early and we'd get going.  I had two takers. 
We set off around 8:15am.  We had about 10 miles to cover to get to the group meeting site by 9am.  We had a beginner rider, so we weren't really sure how long it would take.  I led the ride and kept calling/looking back asking about pace.  This seemed redundant after awhile and I felt if anything, I was going to annoy them more than help them, so I shut up about 5 miles in.  Yes, yes, that's right, I actually stopped talking.  It happens on occasion, people. 
It was raining and out on Hwy 30, for those not familiar, there is are a lot of semis.  There's a large shoulder to ride on, but the semis spray up a good deal of water (dirty water, mind you) as they pass.  Lovely.  Right before the bridge over to Sauvie Island, there is a small hill.  I shifted to an easier gear at the base to make my short climb.  I did so just a tad too early and found myself spinning out at a cadence my legs didn't want to keep up at, but this ended shortly.  I laughed and yell something about premature shifting.  I heard no response and figured my two fellow riders were using their oxygen for the hill and not wasting it on responding to me.  As I turned onto the bridge and glance back, I saw nobody.  There are trees at the corner, so I paused a moment thinking maybe they were passing behind them.  Nope.  Still nobody.  I turned around and looked down the highway...nobody.  $@#!  What happened?  I waited a few minutes and finally decided to head back.  A mile down the road, there they were...fixing a flat. 
I don't know how many of you have had to fix a flat before.  It's not terrible once you have it down, but I can guarantee you it is not fun to do on the side of a highway, being sprayed with water by passing trucks and cars, while your hands freeze.  In any case, it got done.  I had called the group leader and explained we may not make the group site by 9am, but would catch up with them in their loop.  However, we made it there right as they were pulling out for the ride.
I met some great people and listened to stories of why they were riding as we did the loop around the island.  Afterwards, my two fellow riders and I headed back without incident.  Total miles = just over 33.  I was wet, dirty, and a bit cold, but it was actually a great ride for the experience.

Sunday, Bike Transportation Alliance of Oregon hosted a ride to go over some of the areas that would be affected if the 2030 Bike Plan is approved by the city council this Thursday.  I had again let my team know I was going to go on this for my Sunday ride and asked if anyone wanted to join.  Again, I had two takers (not the same two from Saturday's ride).  Halfway through the ride, one of the two got a flat.  Will I continue to invite others to ride with me?  Absolutely.  Do I think I will continue to get anyone...probability on that is likely dropping.  :(

Next group ride is this Saturday.  Let's hope for a safe ride with no flat tires!

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