I just finished riding 280 miles on my bicycle with over 40 other people. It was an amazing experience and one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done. I loved it! One of the reasons I enjoy cycling, aside from the physical benefits and being outside, is how quickly it creates community.
When you ride with people, there is an ethos of looking out for one another’s safety--pointing out hazards in the roads or cars, sharing snacks if someone needs one, and even assisting in fixing flats or other minor repairs. In really good group rides, they are “no drop”--meaning everyone will wait for you at a point down the road--so it’s easy for new people get involved and ride along. It’s nice to know people will be there if you get behind. It both highlights and honors the differences between people. Biologically, I believe people do like being together in groups. It feels much safer than being on your own.
I wasn’t the youngest person on the ride or the oldest but was inspired by all the other riders. One who is living with active cancer--a recurrence after 22 years. Another, had multiple autoimmune issues and was able to do a lot of the riding despite intense chronic pain. I rode with 75 and 80 year olds who held their own well. And there were, of course, exceptional riders--fast and fit--who were still kind and supportive to everyone else. To say we had created our own community pretty quickly and certainly by the end of five days of riding together is an understatement.
A core/foundational structure of LBCA has always been to create community--to invite people into our healing space and see how they fit. Sometimes, it’s not a good one and people move on but more often than not, there is a great sense of belonging that animates what we do every day. In my mind, it is “no drop,” we are here waiting for you in whatever state you show up. We are here to assist and help.
Last month we celebrated our sixth year anniversary, as we move into our seventh year of practice. I am grateful for this inspiring community that gathers and disperses every day, hour by hour.
Many thanks to you who donated to support my ride for the California Bicycle Coalition. I raised $1,265.00 from your contributions! They will be doing it again next year and this time the route will be from Santa Barbara to Oceanside. Perhaps, some of you will join us? If you’d like to see pictures of the full ride, you can click here.