I went for a group ride

#ottawabikesocial is a group that gets together for weekly rides in different parts of Ottawa. I was intimidated by the idea of joining in, but then they posted about going for ice cream afterwards. That sounded like my kind of group!

My friend Florence rides with them regularly, so I followed her to the meet up spot, where we were joined by 25-30 people, men and women of all ages and sizes. There were people in Lycra, in casual shorts, and even one in an elegant dress and tights.

The bikes were even more varied. There were road bikes and mountain bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, bikes with baby seats, and even a recumbent bike and a Brompton folding bike. Plus there was Winston, a little dog who loves to ride in own basket.

A large group of cyclists at a stop sign, waiting to cross the road.

We headed at a comfortably sedate pace to the nearby bus station, where we had a chance to try using the the rack and roll system that allows cyclists to use public transit.

A group of cyclists looks on as one person demonstrates how to put his bike on the rack. Winston is in his basket on the right.

The rest of the ride took us along paths and urban streets, over the highway on a pedestrian/cyclist bridge, through parking lots and then through a park along the Rideau River to our start point..

All told, with the ride there and home, plus my commute to work today, I did about 22 km, my longest ride this summer.

As I rode with a group that pushed me out of my distance comfort zone, I was reminded of a 2007 report for Natural England about the shrinking space of childhood.

A map showing the space where four generations of children in one family were allowed to go without an adult, all at age eight. It shrank from 10 km for the great-grandfather, to less than half a kilometre for the great-grandson.

On my bicycle, I can be like the great-grandfather. I have the freedom to go a fair distance. Things are closer than they appear, and often it is almost as fast to get there by bike as it is by car.

Happy me in a pink cycling jersey and my blue helmet after the ride, with more cyclists in the background.

How about you dear readers? What have you tried that turned out to be less scary than you thought? What did you learn from the experience?

Diane Harper lives in Ottawa, where she mostly uses her bike to commute to work.

3 thoughts on “I went for a group ride

  1. I love the generational map! When I was 9, my father dropped me and my bike at a large apartment complex 5 miles from home so I could sell candy and then find my own way home. That was in 1962. That puts me in 1919 in your map.

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