Part 1–My first exposure to a serious group ride was with the Women’s Freedom Ride in 2017. Our group leader explained that when we were organized as riders, we were “dancing”.
On average, there were 35 women riders each day. Every morning, we’d meet for a half hour while the Ride Captains would preview where we would ride, where we’d stop and how to ride together.
I was only on this ride for about 8 days, but I came to understand how a group ride was really supposed to be done.
I started on the ride as a timid beginner and I left as a more confident rider.
I’ve read too many stories of women participating on rides where they were told, “they had to keep up”, while the leaders took off into the hinterlands, leaving them alone in the dust. Ha ha ha. That is not a group ride, it is just a bunch of bikes.
Dancers need to understand the basic moves of the dance, whether it is the Cotton-Eyed Joe, the Cha Cha or a Waltz. Each dancer needs to know the basic steps to the dance and how their partner will execute them. Very few dancers have ever been killed as a result of missteps in the dance.
This is nothing like dancing on a motorcycle at 80 mph, in the rain, with swirling winds. The threat of death or injury is real.
I never felt comfortable in a group ride, as it seemed that too many other riders didn’t respect safe riding intervals, intruded on my space or just endangered me in general. I don’t see risking serious injury as fun, thank you.
The job of a Ride Captain is to insure all the riders on a ride are safe and are instructed on what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
More to come.