Video of the March Flock of Cycles ride
My long bikefast is broken. Thank the cycling gods! Last night I headed over to Oakland to join in the fun that is the monthly Flock of Cycles Party ride (facebook link).The ride was as fun as always and I was very happy to see that there were several new people (First time Flockers) in the group. We had a good showing for a still chilly march evening which makes me wonder what the rides are going to be like when the weather gets warmer.
The ride was a laid back tour of the city (look at route here) that took us through Oakland, Bloomfield, The strip District Downtown, The Armstrong tunnels, Across the 10th st bridge and into the South side. The ride ended with food drinks and fun at OTB bicycle cafe. (When the weather gets warmer and it stays light longer, I have noticed a tendency to end the ride with a pot luck picnic in a park.)
Eventually I wished my friends a good night and hopped on my bike and headed to town, with the plan of throwing my bike on the bus and heading home. This became quite a challenge. It seems my long Bikefast had its effect on more than my mental well being as I rode slowly into town my legs complaining the whole way.
For those of you who don't know what a Flock of cycles ride is like, allow me to give you a description. First off take everything you believe about cyclists and group rides (hipsters looking down on you, Lycra clad riders trying to form a peleton, annoying cyclists blowing through stop signs) and forget it. Now imagine hanging out with friends and talking, listening to music and catching up with people you like but haven't seen in a month.
It's like that just on a bike.
The ride is slow, fun and best of all accepting. My first flock (several years ago) was an eye opening experience. I was rather fearful that I would be looked down on for being old, fat, and slow. I knew this was supposed to be an easy, everyone staying together, fun ride. I didn't believe it. I knew I was going to be the one slowing everyone down. when we got to the hill (you can't avoid all the hills in Pittsburgh no matter how you try) I was the last one up. I was so close to quitting.
But I didn't.
A couple of the people rode with me. The rest waited at the top of the hill. (I found out later that it is normal for the group to wait at the top of the hill to allow everyone to re-group.) No one looked at me like I was the one slowing them down. everyone accepted me. I've worked very hard to return that favor and accept and do what I can to help those around me.
I will be interviewing Marcel from flock of cycles in an upcoming post so be sure to keep a lookout for that.
Links in this Post
Flock of Cycles Website
Flock of Cycles Facebook
OTB Bicycle Cafe