The Joys of Riding Alone and with Others

Great ride food.

Great ride food.

Mountain bike riding is like most things more enjoyable with others, usually.  Often times the larger the group the more opportunity for fun, and the more opportunity for folly.  It’s a real crapshoot.  Take Sunday for instance; ten riders meet up at for some riding around One Horse Gap.  No beginners in the group, this group contained some of the most experienced and accomplished riders in the area.  No reason why this ride shouldn’t have been smooth and yet it was an unmitigated disaster.

Tom heading up One Horse Gap.

Tom heading up One Horse Gap.

One rider got left behind, a pedal broke, some crashes, then 3 riders got lost, flat tires, found, then lost again.  Nothing was going right for the group as a whole, though a few of us lost riders were doing OK.  In fact Lee brought cookies, they were great, so yeah I mean I was doing OK.  Unfortunately several riders came out and had a time in the woods, time better spent riding was spent waiting for lost riders.

So this morning I went off on my own and got in 15 awesome miles around Petticoat Junction.  Riding alone was great, I enjoyed riding at my own pace, I stopped and adjusted my saddle without slowing down the group.  I stopped to consider trail options and then went off in search of some unexplored singletrack without worrying about others feelings.  It was a great ride.

The Bandersnatch hanging out near Bluehole.

The Bandersnatch hanging out near Bluehole.

Yet no one was there to congratulate me when I made the entire 493 climb top to bottom without unclipping, there was no one to photograph so I had to take another picture of my bike leaned against something, there was no one around to laugh after I went over the bars when  giant boulder jumped out in front of me on a harmless fire road, and no one was there to congratulate on a ride well done when I rolled up to my car.

In short, I’ll ride alone when I have to but I’m already excited for the next group ride.

About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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2 Responses to The Joys of Riding Alone and with Others

  1. Steve says:

    Well let me congratulate you on your climb! That’s one thing a blog can do – give the writer a sense of connectedness with the rest of the cycling community.

    I think how a person looks at the “solo v. group” dilemma has a lot to do on how much of an introvert/extrovert he/she is. Making accommodations for others on times and routes would be annoying for an introvert, let alone dealing with other inconveniences like lost riders and mechanicals. On the other hand, a lack of story telling, motivation, fellowship, and plain old congratulations that come from a shared experience would be a bummer for an extrovert.

  2. Matt Gholson says:


    My road biking has suffered alot this year, probably because I was mostly riding alone, just not as much fun.

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