Saturday, April 2, 2016

Make New Friends but Keep the Old....

Remember that little ditty from when you were a kid?  "Make new friends, but keep the old. Those are silver, these are gold" Well looking for more friends who share a similar interest as yourself one does not need to look far. The Internet is stock full of people with the same ideas, hobbies, passions, and quirks. I am not talking about dating sites, although that is where I met my significant other, VeloJunkie. I am talking about activity boards, Meetups, and the like. 

So I decided I wanted to find more local cycling groups, ones that might be a little more in line with my philosophy regarding smelling the spring wild flowers. Now don’t get me wrong. I love riding with Velo and his flock of technological, testosterone fueled nerds, but occasionally I don’t want to be the limiting factor. I like to enjoy the ride while not feeling my heart beat out of my chest if I don’t want to be left somewhere enroute. Yes, that has happened.

Easter weekend blessed us with spectacular weather for a peaceful ride through the rural byways of southwestern Ohio. I found a group of riders in tune with my style- on the Internet, of course. There is a local Sierra Club group on “Meetups” that was advertising a good season starter for anyone who wanted to join. Velo was glad I wanted to ride and gleefully agreed to tag along with me.

This ride was scheduled to begin at 11:00, another aspect I liked. I have nothing against the morning people who like to be at the starting line by the crack of dawn. I am a morning person, too. But my mornings consist of feeding five dogs, two indoor cats, an outdoor colony of feral kitties, two goldfish, and one teenager. Oh, and by the way, I like to enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of toast, with butter and maybe cinnamon.  That crazy Velo ruins his toast with jelly(Yuck!)

We woke up to a glorious Saturday morning. After spending several hours with the brood, Velo and I headed to Clermont County to meet our new friend. I say friend because when we got there only the ride leader was in sight. Seems everyone else had bailed for various reasons. It was definitely their loss but understandable. It was a holiday weekend with no shortage of events in the city, and some mysterious bunny left baskets full of sugary goodness in the homes of unsuspecting riders.

Jay, our ride leader, had maps ready and a nice route that included a stop for lunch. Clermont is much like any other Midwestern county, a landscape of farm houses and cornfields. The cornfields provoked us to think of days to come - warm, moist mornings with the musty, lingering aroma of maturing stalks. As a bonus, southeast Ohio offers a bounty of smooth, flat terrain. Perfect for a ride to start the season. One small road block didn't hinder our adventure, in fact it made it all the more fun and offered the perfect photo-opp. 

We stopped in the quaint town of Newtonsville and grabbed a snack to enjoy with the lunch we had packed (well Clif Bars, and a peanut butter sandwich).  Velo attempted to redeem himself when he bought me an oversized “Texas Cinnamon Roll”. We rode another twenty miles or so with a moving average of about 12 mph, just right for the Reluctant Cyclist and friends. All the while we were getting to know a little more about Jay and the rest of the Sierra Club folks who frequent these adventures, bike- hiking along and observing the native fauna. They move the ride to different areas of the tristate, with increasing levels of difficulty, as the season matures and the riders regain muscle, stamina, and confidence lost over the winter.

I enjoyed myself tremendously and assured Jay we would join him again sometime. I am also anxious to get out with our long-time riding cohorts. You never realize how much you miss folks until you don’t see them for several months. And even if you do see them over the winter it’s just not the same. They are different people than the ones you know in spandex. The bonus for me is that when riding season starts, so does blogging season.

 Ride to blog. Blog to ride.         The Reluctant Cyclist

 #cincinnatibybike #newfriends #sierraclubmeetup