Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tour of Havertown- Abandoned!

So Annie and I decided to do our first real ride with the Philadelphia Bike Club: The Sunday C Spin-Off Ride to Havertown, about 30 miles round trip. A C Ride means that we need to be able to travel 15 mph on flat roads. We felt we were ready, and we are, except that there weren't many flat roads. In fact about 12 miles into the ride the hills were steep and came one after another after another. It was a tough ride but I would have been ok; Annie was not. She took a respite in a driveway and we ended up not being last to re-join the group (which very nicely waits for everyone) because someone else made a wrong turn and didn't get back until after we'd not only rested, but she'd walked her bike up the worst of the latest hill. But when we started off again and the hills continued to come one after another, she was fried. We made in to Montgomery Ave across from Rosemont College and had to call it quits. We thought about riding back from there if we could figure out a flatter route (didn't take the GPS with us) or trying to determine the location of the closest train station which probably wasn't too far away, but in the end called a friend and lucked out. He was able to come get us. So ended our first club outing aside from the breakfast rides which we've enjoyed and the one instructional D ride we did last year. The thing is, although the group waited patiently and the ride leader couldn't have been more solicitous, it really wasn't a particularly friendly or social bunch. Aside from riding a new route rather than our usual loops, and getting in some good work (for me anyway) on the hills, there didn't seem to be much reason to be with this group in which no one introduced themselves ( I would have tried but really no one seemed interested after my trying the first sort of nod) no one rode near each other except a couple of people who seemed to already know one another. It reminded me of my first experience with the Bicycle Coalition that I complained about. These folks are always crying about joining and getting new members and they are worse than a synagogue (about which I am an expert) about welcoming them, integrating them, etc. Or is it just Philadelphia for both the bike groups and the synagogue? Would such groups out West or in other communities be more welcoming? Even if only superficially? Can't say for sure, but given our physical experience, the social experience doesn't entice us to try it again, though I will check if there are any D rides we could do. They may be more our (her) speed.

One nice thing is that the ride didn't start until 12:15 PM. So I was able to watch stage 9 of the tour today, won by Ricardo Ricco, his second stage. Other than his aggressive attack the day was mostly transitional despite its being the first mountain stage with 7 categorized climbs. The leaders pretty much played it safe setting up tomorrow's climb up the Hautacom. One note of interest was the fact that Stefan Schumacher doesn't seem to have survived this stage so Christian Vandevelde moved up to number three in the overall standings. Hard to imagine he really could take it all, but he's making a very good show of it.

Finally today, here's a video report courtesy of Fritz from Cyclicious of the recently held Folding Bike Festival by the Bay in San Francisco.


TheBicycle-Chef said...

Interesting experience, I was just talking about the factiousness of the cycling community today! Similar feelings, though I have had some great times with the BCP. You do have to break the ice rather hard with some of those folks. It's glacial! That ride out to Havertown might have been the one I accidentally found myself on a few weeks ago. Those hills are killer and I had the new bike and stronger legs! Now can you appreciate that trip?
Maybe we ought to take up kayaking - I think those folks are lot nicer overall, and it's a serene sport.

Unknown said...

I m sorry you did not have a positive experience with the bike ride - re nice and friendly people. Maybe they are nicer in Portland - where we should all move.

I rode those hills near Rosemont and indeed, they are really hilly - good for you guys for tryng.

One thing I like about your blog is that it is not always about finishing and winning. It is about real life biking - a real inspiration.


Unknown said...

This unwelcoming feeling you get where people stick to their cliches is common in nearly (but not all) groups I have tried to join in the city.

I have been coming to the same coffee shop for 10 years, literally, seeing the same people, and tipping well each time, and every time, it's like it's the first time I came there.

I have run groups in public spaces, and so on, and I just feel like I am not welcome, and not one of the group.

It's never going to change. It's not like I need friends or anything, it's just strange to see so many familiar people for so long and not feel anything at all.

As I said, in other groups, I'd go to a single meeting and feel more comfortable than other places I have been going for years.

Why is it like this? I don't know. I don't know if it's the city, but I am about to find out, taking mindysue's advice and trying somewhere else. I hope she is right.

Ira F. Stone said...

Yes, it is too bad. Good luck if you are relocating, Leroy. BTW, just came back from my morning ride and passed a number of people I see every day. Our experience has been that a few of them respond and now wave or say hello. Others, no matter how often I wave and say hello first, do not respond.

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