This is a piece of advice that was given to me often as a new rider and I have tried to keep it forefront of my mind. I believe the people who have said it intend to say that when riding with a group, do not try and keep up or do things that push you too far out of your comfort zone. Ride within your limits, even if that means saying goodbye to the group and going your own way.
Last Saturday I was a part of a mostly female street ride and these words came to mind over and over throughout the day. I am one of the less experienced riders in this group and I’m fine with that. I don’t feel pressured by more experienced riders; I take it at my own pace. I do stretch my limits and my skills, but within my own comfort zone because ultimately I’m the one responsible for my safety.
There were times that the riders ahead of me were going quite far over the posted speed limit. On twisty mountain roads, I am usually right in the speed limit or suggested speed for those curvy corners. I’m not judging those who choose to go faster, that is their decision and they clearly have the skills to do so. If I felt pressured to keep up, I would simply remind myself to “ride my own ride . . .” and carry on knowing we would meet up before the next turn.
Riding in a group is something I choose not to do often. I enjoy the solitude of riding alone, with just my thoughts and my music for company. When I have been on group rides, though, I learn from the more experienced riders around me and my skills improve. Finding a balance between group and solo rides is my goal so that I can learn from others but also practice on my own.
I’d love to hear your thoughts – which do you prefer, solo or group rides and why?