Years ago, I was slogging through a uncomfortably hot century ride with one friend when a 5 or 6 person pace line breezed by us. They made riding look effortless. My friend explained that a group of
riders taking turns at the front of the line used less energy than we did, riding side by side.
Now I ride on Monday nights with the Chicago Cycling Club. These guys started the Monday night ride to recover from weekend races. For some folks it's a recovery ride, and for other folks its a training ride. They're very friendly to newbies and eager to teach the basics of group riding.
But even though I was a strong rider, it took me a while to work up my courage to just show up for Monday night rides. So I've decided to spend a few weeks in April teaching the basics before Monday night rides start this year. I've recruited a few of my usual riding pals to make sure we've got plenty of folks to help. We'll practice single and double line riding. We'll help you build up your confidence to
ride close enough to benefit from the group, and ride smoothly and consistently to be safe. We'll keep a nice steady pace, probably around 15 miles per hour. Road bikes are strongly encouraged and helmets are required.
I'm always eager to get more women into riding, so I'm especially encouraging women to join us. It's also a great idea for that boyfriend or girlfriend who already rides and wants to learn what the heck a group ride is all about.
The first ride is scheduled for Saturday, March 31 at 1:pm. Let's hope this lovely spring weather holds! We're meeting in the parking lot at Northerly Island, so you can ride or drive to our ride. We intend to practice a bit on the island then head south on some bike lanes and ride around Washington Park. The whole ride should take about two hours. I hope you'll join us.
- Jen Welch