Today I road my first community ride and it was brilliant. If you are new to riding and are looking for some motivation, register for a ride further than you can ride now, train for the next couple of months and hit it enthusiastically.
I have planned for a long time to do the Sydney to Wollongong ride in November which is 90kms (50 miles) but today’s “Spring Cycle” ride of 100kms came up and I was ready, so I gave it a go.
The Spring Cycle starts north of Sydney and crosses over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge (they closed some lanes), and rides past Circular Quay and the Opera House along the freeway. Then after rounding the botanical gardens the path heads back through the city and west along the Parramatta river to the Sydney Olympic Park, where the games were held in 2000.
It’s really awesome to ride on the city roads without cars, it’s beautiful to see the unique views that go with it and you get to find some roads and bike paths you may never have seen before. But today’s highlight was getting the pleasure of riding across the bridge as this was totally new to me. I had walked across it on its 75th anniversary but riding in the car lanes was cool as normally, it’s banned.
The best thing I did was to ride this one alone. I could set my own pace, ride as hard as I wanted, met people along the way and didn’t have to wait. I had ridden 100kms before but this was different. There were people in front of me who I could follow and get some relief from the wind (drafting is known to reduce effort by 20-30%), or ahead of me that I pushed harder to keep up with. Overall I easily rode an average speed faster than I had ever ridden before for that distance.
When I do the Wollongong ride, it’s going to be with friends so the plan is to relax, enjoy the ride and company, and take in the views of the south coast. It will be more casual, with a put of pushing but with time to wait and enjoy.
For me, having two rides: a ride for myself and a ride with friends is the tip.
For you, it’s up to you to decide when, where and how far. It’s good that these days they offers rides with a range of distance choices. All of today’s ride went across the bridge but riders had a choice of 15, 50 or 100kms.
Hope you enjoy the pics.
PS. The police, transport people and volunteers who guided the ride were fantastic. I thank them all for their time and effort!