I’ve never been a fast cyclist, and never really aspire to be one. I’m not into racing (one of my least favorite things about July is having to pretend I care about TdF because bicycles). If I am riding with people and speed is any bit a factor, I’m either in the middle or back of pack. I’ve finished every randonneur event I’ve been in, but always within the last hour or so. And yeah, sometimes I get hung up on it, but for the most part I don’t really care. Oh sure, it would be nice to go somewhat faster, but it’s not priority number one right now, well, not until I get a faster bike.
So I was surprised to hear that I was going too fast.
This happened on the pizza ride I led on Tuesday. The pack of us, about twenty cyclists, were riding up N Willamette Blvd towards St Johns. At this point Willamette lines the bluff, and it’s a fairly straight road with bike lanes and no stop lights or signs (until you hit Portsmouth.) So nothing to stop oneself from “opening up”.
But was I really opening up? Not only am I slow, but I was riding my slowest possible bike, my single-speeded, coaster-braked Schwinn Heavy Duti with the giant Wald basket, a bike that by definition is heavy. I was riding the Heavy Duti for a few reasons: I don’t often ride it, the route would be relatively flat, and the basket was able to hold large pizza boxes atop it, which would be useful for a few stops, and finally it would “handicap” me a la Harrison Bergeron. So if anything, I felt like I was going at a modest pace, though a little amped up from leading a ride.
So I turned around and yep, the back of the pack was pretty far back. I stopped for a minute at the light at Portsmouth for everyone to catch up. (And if you were worried that I was being totally irresponsible, there was a sweep in the back so I knew the back wouldn’t get lost.)
So this all surprised me. Am I turning somehow into those people who talk loudly about their slowpokeitude, then when you ride with them, you are constantly struggling to keep up with them, until you can’t, then when you catch up to them minutes later as they so graciously wait up for you, they look at you with that look in their eyes that says I wasn’t going that fast, so what’s holding you up?
If I am turning into that person, please call me on it.