Increase your annual mileage: lap 6

Be a Billy-no-mates

The phone rings. You answer it. “Hey Bob” (if your name is Bob) “that ride we were going to do tomorrow…….sorry, I can’t make it now. The wife’s booked me in to go visiting family. Can we leave it till next week?”.

You put down the phone. You feel a bit deflated. You’ve been looking forward to this ride all week. And tomorrow is going to be a fine day……..It would have been a perfect day for a 70-80 miler, with a stop for lunch, in the company of your best cycling buddy. It won’t be the same without him. Yep, better to leave it till next week. Let’s hope the weather is as good……

Is this a familiar scenario? Does it happen to you from time to time? How much does riding your bike depend on other people going out with you? Do you ever envisage yourself going out on long solo rides? Have you ever tried it?

Image: lyricsdog-eu

Image: lyricsdog-eu

In my own case, solo-riding is my ‘default’ option. I’ve lived in a small village for nearly 35 years. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve joined up with local clubs and groups, but the nearest is over 20 miles away. Even so, more than 90% of my riding is still solo. I often ride out to cafés to meet up with buddies but, because we all come from widely different directions, we don’t always get to ride together.

But, the objective of meeting up at the café has been the greatest incentive to get out on the bike. It provides a purpose to the ride, and you spend an hour in the company of like-minded buddies, chewing the fat. For me, some of the cafés have been as much as 40-45 miles away, which has often meant an 80-90 mile ride for a cup of tea! But then, applying the principle of “value-added miles”, I would inevitably round up the mileage to 100 before getting home.

The point I’m making is this: unless you are prepared to be a “Billy-no-mates” from time to time (or even often), you will not be maximizing your chances of increasing your annual mileage. And I could write volumes on the pleasures of riding solo…..but not now (phew!).

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 13, 2014, in Increase your annual mileage and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Probably about 70% solo to 30% group riding. I’m lucky as I’ve got a bunch of guys my age I go out with, we meet just 2 miles down the road. On Sundays I’ve got a choice of 2 groups, each about 5 miles away which I alternate between. But – the joys of solo riding – volumes indeed.

  2. Funnily nearly all my MTB rides are solo and 50% of my road rides are …… I love solo but the company and visibility on the road are more welcome.

    • …..I agree. Riding with a group does so many things (team work, banter, group riding skills…….) that can’t be done riding solo. We also learn from each other.

  3. I was 90/10 up till last year but this year I bumped it to 60/40. Of course, four of our group is within ten miles of each other – that sure helps!

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