Date #11: Beers and Gears…Almost, Kinda…

(Photo by Ride participant and on FB Event)

I’ll start by saying this date choice almost doesn’t qualify to be counted because of the “rules” I established at the start of this personal quest (Rules). However, since this is a Personal quest, I can bend a rule on occasion if I feel like it’s worth it. I’ve had people encouraging me to join a weekly evening bike ride that happens every Thursday night called Thursday Night Beers and Gears. It’s a social, but challenging and hilly ride.

It almost doesn’t count as one of my dates because I’ve been a part of the local cycling community for about 17 years. It’s possible for me to go out on a group ride and not run into someone I know, but I usually am at least mildly familiar with at least 1 person. The ride does count because I’ve become pretty estranged from my bike over the last couple of years. I keep trying to reconnect, but everything has changed. I had a close knit crew of friends that I rode with and all of our lives and priorities have changed so much. I’m also a single mom now, so my ride time has gone in the pooper! I haven’t done a night ride for years! I decided I would go out and give this one a try.

I arrived at the meeting spot 3 minutes late. They left VERY promptly. I figured I knew which way they went and put the pedal to the metal to try and catch up. I hadn’t seen a single cyclist by the time I reached the top of one of the bigger hills. This is unusual because there will always be people spread out on an ascent. I knew I went the wrong way. Duh!!! They started with a climb I hadn’t expected. I had tried to look at the route while on the ride, but my app wouldn’t let me see those details while I was recording my effort.

Oh well, a night ride by myself it is!! I toodled around here, there and everywhere and went back to the meeting spot. The group arrived about 5 minutes later. I had a nice visit and spent most of the time talking to a couple of people I didn’t know. I had a beer and some “Dirty Pablo” fries, which were smothered with chorizo, Oaxaca cheese and some other unhealthy deliciousness.

Being out in the dark by myself on my bike felt really good. There was a time when I used to bike commute to work and frequently ended up riding home after the sun had set. This solo night ride reminded me of the feeling I used to have on those night rides home from work. It always felt like the perfect way to end my day. The stress from the office vaporized with every pedal stroke. The streets were clear of their typical daytime traffic, the temperatures were cooler, I could smell people settling in and cooking dinner in the neighborhoods along the way, it was dark, quiet, peaceful and I was alone. The dark sky felt like a cocoon with star holes poked in it.

I had those sense memories rush back to me on this ride. It was mildly tempered with concern about narrow road shoulders and even darker skies because I was out in the foothills…this night ride was really good for me. I’m planning on showing up again next week because I enjoyed it so much and I really like the people who show up to participate. This new night ride addition will be a great way for me to reconnect with cycling.

11 Down, 39 to go!! Thank you for stopping by!

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