This week I’ve had some good rides. There was the Velocity social ride last Saturday in which I risked going with the fast group and I did not die. I was not the fastest in that group and I was working hard, but it went pretty well. It was my second fastest time for 50k.

I’ve been to both the (uncancelled) Fat Tire Tuesday races down in Terwillegar park and have been very slow on my mountain bike. I do tend to prefer riding that bike for the joy of movement rather than pushing pushing pushing myself, but it’s a good non-comfort-zone kind of experience. And getting smoked by teenagers gives me good practice for the cyclocross season.

Then Wednesday I did a hills ride1 with a couple of the Velocity guys, and this morning I did a solo gravel/singletrack ride on my ‘cross bike.

Through all of these I wore one of my jerseys indicating I was part of a club. The last time I wore an actual jersey to do a sport, I was 7. But it’s funny how much it helps actually ease me into the social aspects of these things. “We are both wearing funny shorts and bright red shirts! Let’s share our common interests!” The fact that we were a bunch of people preparing to ride our bikes in a time trial2 on a night there was an Oilers game on, differentiated us from other people in our city and helped us draw together and laugh about our weird priorities.

I don’t do belonging really well. These loose ties that make up a society haven’t been something I’ve really emphasized in my life before. Sort of disdained group think and the groups that lead that way. But now I’m in a city where my close friends aren’t and it really helps to have an in with strangers, who become acquaintances and might become friends.

And they aren’t librarians (which has been my main source of new social circles the past decade and a half)!

  1. It’s what it sounds like. You ride to the bottom of some steep hills to ride up and then back down again. You do it a few times and it hurts. But I find it even more social than the social ride because we all stop to chat at the bottom since you don’t really want to climb again. ↩︎

  2. A time trial is a race against the clock. You don’t start off with a group and you aren’t supposed to draft off of other people if you get near them. The race is purely “who gets across the line in the shortest time” without the tactical games a group race uses. ↩︎