Gorgeous weather set the scene for our second group ride under the sponsorship of the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia. This one was an instructional ride for new riders. I thought it would be a good idea though I don't think we qualify quite as new riders anymore. Just a way to meet some people, ride a new route, and, why not, pick up a few pointers. I also wanted to ride later in the day rather than getting up at the crack of dawn and then rushing to get to work. So I went to work; to services and then a couple of appointments and I was finished by 11:30 and picked up Annie and we headed out to the azalea garden behind the museum and there met up with about 25 people. There were three ride leaders and the total mileage was really nothing - 10 miles start to finish. but there were stops every few miles where the leaders talked about different aspects of bike maintenance, safety, etiquette etc. They were really nice people and very earnest in their desire to make bicycling more accessible and enjoyable. I would say there were a few real rank beginners, but most everyone was actually more like us, just out to pick up a few pointers and take a nice easy ride. The route was through Fairmount Park again, part of which we traversed on our breakfast ride two weeks ago (you remember - when Annie fell after we went off on our own in the rain.) This time we went through other parts of the park including crossing the Strawberry Mansion bridge which is a truly beautiful structure that I'd never had occasion to see before in my 19 years in Philadelphia. We had a great time and it was especially fortuitous in that Annie was still feeling pretty nervous after the fall and then riding and not being happy about the bike set-up after the ill fated tune-up. We actually took the bike in on Friday afternoon to a different bike shop, one much closer to our house: Bicycle Therapy - and were very happy with their service. They seem to have gotten the bike pretty much back to where Annie wanted it. Still, she was nervous. I think this paced ride with people through street traffic and park roads really built her confidence back.
After we ended the ride we took of for West River Drive and tacked on another 10+ miles before coming home. Not as many miles as we usually ride on a Sunday, but a successful, and I think, needed day of fun on the bike. I feel better about next week's metric century and the big Labor Day ride looming ahead.
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