Winter miles go by quicker with friends. You can chat your way through the lanes and enjoy a little healthy competition on the hills, which always makes efforts feel somehow harder but easier all at the same time.
Finding the right group ride to join can require a little time and effort, but once you’ve hunted out the perfect Saturday squad you’ll be glad you did the groundwork. Nestled within your new found bunch you’ll find increased motivation, new routes, greater fitness and an awesome gaggle of bike loving friends.
Along the way, you’ll probably discover the odd hurdle: a few moments of mental and physical turmoil if you’re hanging off the back and maybe a dash of frustration if you’re at the other end of the scale.
Here are just a few of the thoughts that might drift through your head along the way…
On arrival: Am I fast enough to keep up with this group?
So often arriving for a group ride with a group of other women means an introductory ten minutes where we all express our various concerns about levels of slowness and admit to lack of training and overeating. The explosion of self-depreciation is more often than not a result of most of those present spending the entire week worrying about the upcoming ride. So if you’re worrying – chill. Everyone else feels exactly the same.
The first five miles are really fast: Is it going to stay like this?
Feel like someone’s waved a chequered flag, and the race is on? Worried the pace will stay this high all day? Not to make a massive generalisation, but if the group is made up of mostly men – then it probably won’t. Give them twenty minutes and they’ll settle down. In the meantime, stay on a wheel, avoid the front (if you’re struggling) and wait it out. If it’s mostly women, it might well be the same, but the tendency to sprint the first few miles of a long day out is more common in environments where testosterone outweighs oestrogen.