Thursday, February 14, 2013


I love riding my bike, using it for errands, or just riding for fun. I love it more when the weather is nice. (Truth). I know there's wet weather gear and cold weather gear and lights for the fog/darkness, etc., but really, I'm mostly a fair-weather rider. And I *think* I'm okay with that.

Because I ride for MY pleasure, and the fact that stuff gets done along the way is inconsequential to my purpose for riding, I find myself feeling guilty, as if somehow I'm not doing it "right". The little voice in my head says, "You should be (fill in the blank)."

When we trained for the events last fall, I was pretty maxed out at 40 miles, and happy to finish. For one thing, the time sink drives me crazy. If I want to do a 40 mile ride, I pretty much have to jettison any other plans for that morning. By the same token, if something pops up (particularly concerning one of my kids) my 3-4 hour time block is no longer available to bike and visit with cycling friends.

I've tried riding with friends, but haven't found that sweet spot of friendship and cycling that is a reward in itself. I tried starting a meet-up group but that didn't last. There's a semi-local womens' biking group, but I haven't quite synched up with their ride schedules. And they live about 20 miles away -- I'm not going to ride 20 miles to ride 20 miles to ride 20 miles home and it seems a little silly to drive my car in order go ride my bike.

Does anyone else have these kinds of problems?

And maybe I'd want to go longer if I had a new bike. But how do I decide? The last time I bought a bike for myself was 1989. I was in Germany with the US Air Force and I bought a sweet Bianchi touring style bike. It has served well forever -- even toted a Burley with two kids at one time --I'm not inclined to give it up just yet. Got any ideas to help me figure all this out?


Tom said...

It's really tough for me to find the time to do more cycling. I've managed to work in biking to work a couple days a week, which helps. I also run errands by bike (bank/grocery store/carryout/bagels). It's surprising that over the year if you choose a couple of days to bike you rarely have to be out in the rain or even cold (cold is less than 40 degrees or me). If you have a bike with fenders you'll add even more bike-friendly days to your schedule. Today, for example, the road is wet even though it's not raining. Fenders help keep you and your bike clean.

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) offers social rides throughout the year. The focus of the rides is often visiting a historic site, or finding a new way to bike to destinations. You'll should give it a try. Talking to other biking folks is the best way to get advice on a new bike as well.

SouthLakesMom said...

Thanks, Tom. I'm a FABB member too. I'm the one developing the historical rides. :-)

Melissa N said...

Yeah, I've never found the kind of bicycling community that others talk about. And sometimes the voice in my head has ideas about what I "should" be doing, in order to be a "real" bicyclist. I totally get that. I recently got a bike that was a lucky find and super practical. I'm hoping that it will make riding more frequently less of a hassle. The last time I had bought a bike was 1995-96. The biggest challenge I'm having is that our town is so small the average commute distance is only about a mile. I'm trying to pad all my rides to get more time on the bike. What would be your motivation for a new bike? Is there something you want to do that your current bike isn't well suited to manage?

Vannevar said...

it is hard to find a buddy and to find the time. I would say this: any kind of riding is good riding, there aren't any "need to be..."s.

Also, I think it's completely legit to ride your car to ride your bike, especially if it's going to a safer place or meeting friends. I do it all the time.

The best thing about a group ride is it kind of blocks your schedule, you want to go and you kind slide it unilaterally. Of course, when a kid needs you, that's a different thing.

I like your blog. Keep riding, V.

Vannevar said...

sorry -- "you can't slide it unilaterally"