In my 60th year, I have come to accept that I am a slow rider. It began last year when I got a lightweight road bike. With my new light and speedy bike, I thought to myself, "now I'll be one of the faster riders out there, there's no stopping me now!" In spite of my optimism, it turned out that I was, in fact, one of the slower road bike riders. Luckily, I did not let that stop me from enjoying the bike.
Last month I was chugging along in Colchester on my everyday bike when a guy about my age caught up with me. He said, "Not many people ride as slowly as I do!" I said, "I must be even slower than you, because you caught up with me." I think he didn't want me to feel bad, because he said, "No, we are riding at the same speed." I said, "OK, we'll call it the same speed." Then he took off and passed me.
There have been times in the not so distant past when I have actively tried to catch up with people who have passed me, especially if they are riding what seems to me to be a slower bicycle. This is 100% about my ego, and not wanting to be beaten in what, after all, isn't a race. However, I've learned to let it go. Part of the reason I don't compete with other riders is because this past spring, I have had a bit of tendinitis in my left knee, and riding really fast doesn't seem to help. I like to think that the other reason is because as I have gotten a little older I've also gotten wiser and can now enjoy riding at a leisurely pace. After all, it's about the journey, not the destination.
Last month, I was riding into work on the Riverside Avenue bike/pedestrian path. Dan, who works at Old Spokes and Bike Recycle blew by me on an old beater bike. He circled back around to ride with me, and I said, "Every year it seems that I'm getting slower." Looking down at his bike, Dan said, "It's electric." I'm not going to lie, it made me feel a little better. As we rode along, we talked about electric bikes and how they can help people with physical limitations get out and ride. While we were talking, a Lycra clad (I wonder why it is always Lycra 'clad' instead of just 'wearing Lycra') guy on a road bike passed us by. I said to Dan, "You've got electric, catch up with him!" Dan took off and caught up with the guy at the top of the hill. I am sure the guy was surprised.