Riding with Friends

friends_scurve

The rides I enjoy most are outings with good friends. We’ve ridden together so much that we anticipate each other’s moves and thoughts. There is no need to call out obstacles. When one of us moves a bit to one side, the other automatically follows, knowing that there is a reason why the leading rider moved. When we cross a busy street, we all start at the same time when a sufficient gap appears. When it’s safer to take the lane, we move over in unison. This silent understanding is very satisfying, and creates a bond between us that gets stronger with every ride.

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Not having to worry about interactions with other riders frees us up to marvel at the scenery or engage in lively discussion. During this time, the act of riding a bike becomes unconscious as our other senses are able to fully engage.

Somebody yelling “Hole!” or “Thanks for the pull!” would disrupt the discussion and the flow of our ride. For the former, it’s easier to give it a wide berth, while the latter is understood without words. Once in a while, one of us will call out something unexpected, but it is unhurried and calm.

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Our skills, our riding styles, and even our bikes are similar, so we can ride in close quarters even on challenging terrain. I once looked back after a super-fast corner on a downhill to see my friends in a perfect echelon formation, so each could see the road ahead. I wish I had a photo of that sight.

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I look forward to these rides, because they are more than just exercise, even more than exploration and adventure. They cement friendships that are most precious to me.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. One of our companies, Bicycle Quarterly Press publishes cycling books, while Compass Bicycles Ltd. makes and distributes high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
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4 Responses to Riding with Friends

  1. I have one guy now, and one from my past that are fit this description. Were it that schedules meshed better for both of them and I.

  2. This is the sort of thing that dance partners obviously develop. Also of course in team sports such as ice hockey, basketball and partners tennis to name a few of the many. Perhaps in cycling it is harder to see, it is a more subtle synching of our habits. But I agree with the draw of this intuitive camaraderie. When alone, I sometimes feel as though I ought to be cycling. I always end up enjoying myself but it seems an effort, like a chore to get out and go. But whenever I have the chance to ride with a friend I am chomping at the bit to join in on the fun.

  3. Blueride2 says:

    Yes, pace-line riding with friends, each taking a turn at the front, is a lot of fun. Riding in the slipstream is exhilarating, almost effortless. It’s amazing how much energy is conserved, simply by riding behind someone.

  4. Brian Gangelhoff says:

    I agree. I love riding with my friends and also alone. I love riding a bike in most conditions. I find riding almost, dare I say it spiritual.
    I find it curious that this post has 3 comments when your last posts on bike infrastructure and tire width had 62 and 72 comments each.
    I hope were all not nerding out to much. myself included. I read your 26 page tire report in BQ with glee.
    Grab a bike and ride!
    Thanks.

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