Last weekend I was able to get together with some friends from university whom I hadn’t seen in some time. My friend Graham invited us to his family’s place in New Hampshire. The long weekend provided some excellent weather so we headed out for some road cycling.
As a child I learned to cycle quite late, and I still have lots to learn. Riding in a group is something I hardly ever do. Most of my cycling has been touring, with a good deal of extra weight on the back wheel:
This weekend was a great opportunity to work on riding in a tight group and to take turns sharing the lead. It was great to see the average speed climbing as we worked together. I got to appreciate a bit of cycling tactics and the need to be able to react quickly to a break. More specifically, my friends Alex and Brennan demonstrated how quickly you can get dropped if you don’t react adequately to said break. To their credit, they eventually circled back around to keep the group together.
Cycling is such a great sport, a beautiful synergy between man or woman, and machine. It’s incredibly versatile with riders commuting, road riding, touring and mountain biking. It’s incredibly satisfying to learn the mechanics of one’s bicycle and to learn how to maintain and repair it. It’s such a shame that the highest levels of the sport have been marred by doping, casting a shadow over all the clean riders, and all those who are just riding for the pure enjoyment of it.
If you’ve got a bit of time to immerse yourself in cycling lore, I can recommend the following:
The Lost Cyclist – David V. Herlihy – an excellent book.
A Sunday in Hell – Jørgen Leth – a bit tricky to find, I ended up watching it here.
Bradley Wiggins – A Year in Yellow
The Rules – velominati.com – an entertaining website if you take it with a grain of salt.
Daniel Belanger’s “Intouchable et immortel” performed by Louis-Jean Cormier – cycling inspired music.
We rounded out the weekend with some cold swimming, ice cream, board games and an afternoon of rock climbing at Rumney. There were some beautiful sunsets at the lake which Graham managed to capture with his camera. It was an excellent opportunity to relax, reconnect with friends, and train all at the same time. A great success!