One of the nice things in my life – and now in Harry’s too – is surprising, ad hoc group of bikers who come together a couple of times a year to pedal around and eat and drink. But mostly to bike. There were over 50 of us last weekend, in the rain much of the time, and having a hell of a time. Inexplicable, given the awful weather. The founders of the group ran the event out of their big house on the Conecticut River, where we had dinner every night. They set the routes, set the pace and generally make it all happen…two busy people who, out of the goodness of their souls, make it their business to create this magic for us all.
We biked 50 miles a day (the usual century was rained out…or cut down to a mere 75 miles) at three different levels. The A group, to which I barely managed to cling, screams along at an average of 16 to 18 miles an hour, which is fierce. Others take a more rational pace, and some are downright languid. But we all push at our respective levels because that is what groups do. It is astonishing how much harder you push yourself – and, sadly, how much more fun it is – in a group or "peleton." Harry -a newcomer to the group – amazed himself on his elegant new Serotta with his new pals. He was strong.
It is not a competition, but there is competition in the air, with all those Type A’s around. There was even a gentle awards night at the end with an incredibly ugly statue of a biker handed out to the winner. All kinds of campy stuff which sounds ridiculous and in fact was lovely. Just another long, biking weekend among like-minded souls who don’t see each other much otherwise. And, as I say, one of the nicest things all of us do, despite the fact that some in the group lead rather snappy lives. I URGE you to get involved in groups like this. It is a "kedge" for your exercise commitment, a connect and commit bath of unusual pleasure and a nice example of "fitness as community"…which is turning into a mantra for us these days. A highlight of the year, and all we were doing was biking around in our friends’ neighborhood in Connecticut. Cheap, easy and great.
If any of you have group outings of any kind, it would be a kindness if you would report on them. We all need all the examples of this stuff that we can find. We need them in our lives.