i have a saying “different spokes for different folks.” i say this because i encounter lots of people on the road at different times of the day and i see that people like to ride either fast, slow, competitive, or vigorously, usually depending on the bike. i would describe my rides as a commute leisure ride. i'm efficient and comfortable at a certain speed yet cautious and communicative which i find to be the best strategy to riding 16 miles in a day while keep safe on the road. i'm not a perfect cyclist by no means but i tend to worry for the safety of other cyclists and find myself getting upset at them for being careless on the road. i find myself thinking “they should be wearing a helmet for how vigorous they ride,” or “they should ride slower on this road during this traffic hour.”
recently, on my commute home from school, i found that i was coincidentley riding in front of a group ride. I turned quickly to assess my environment and found some riding fixed, some riding with gears, and some weaving in and out of traffic recklessly. one cyclist, weaving in and out of traffic, had to suddenly skid in front of me while trying to avoid hitting the car in front of them, being that this was an emergency break, i had maneuvered quickly to avoid any impact between us both or the riders behind me. i was upset as clearly we could have injured one another but more impressed by my skills of maneuvering, ha! although i shook it off once i was out of the situation i thought immediately of how much fun this cyclist must be having riding with a group and having a good laugh at it. i couldn’t be angry any longer as i thought how every person likes to ride differently and either way we should always be looking out for each others safety on the road. i may or may not be the only cyclist who thinks this way but i like to imagine how transformative our attitudes can be if we didn't have a need to prove our entitlement to anything.
it makes me happy to see groups taking over the streets and riding their own way while having fun, as it should be! i feel that group rides are a transformative tool to getting more people out on the road and comfortable about cycling while promoting sustainable transit. i've always been interested in organizing one but i'm a super student but who knows, now that spring is on it's way, the possibilities may present themselves.