Many years ago I joined the Cyclists' Touring Club. I managed two rides with them.
It must have been like that riding with the Clarion Cycle Club in Victorian times ... military style, discipline, follow-your-leader.
I don't suppose either organisation is like that now. But it was with some trepidation I set out on my first ride with Princeton FreeWheelers. I mean, the logo for a start, bears a startling resemblance to the CTC's ... and the ride gradings and rules???
The club magazine listed a large number of rides for the month of May. While I had some confidence from the NY event, I didn't fancy the prospect of cycling inline with a peloton of shaven-legged Tour de France wanabees, nor go gathering Nuts In May.
And so it was that I turned up in Lambertville's CVS car park at 5.30 for 6.00. Lambertville is a nice old town situated on the banks of the Delaware river opposite New Hope, PA.
Shortly, other riders turned up, mostly by car; Mike, Agnes, Marilyn, Steve ... everyone seemed friendly enough, and no shaved legs ... well, except for the women. This was a combined club ride. There were several riders from the Central Bucks Bicycle Club too.
Michael was leading the ride and made sure we signed our disclaimers. This is America after all ... And after the ride was pronounced as equaling the club record attendance for a Wednesday evening ride - 23 - we set off.
It was a nicely mixed group; maybe a half dozen women, another half dozen around my age. And really it was quite informal. No riding in files. Riders diligently pointed out potholes, glass, car up, car down, etc. Stronger riders encouraged weaker riders up hills and supervised road junctions. People were fascinated by my accent. It was all jolly friendly.
The back lanes around Lambertville are beautiful; secluded valleys with babbling brooks, covered bridges and picturesque farms. The actual lie of the land reminded me very much of my native Devon.
The route was just right, hilly, but not too extreme. I was glad to get to the top of each one of them, but still had enough in reserves to tackle the next. The sky threatened rain, but did not deliver although it was darkening quickly by the time we got back to the cars.
Stats: T: 1:39:00 | D: 38.10km | A: 23.1kmh
* see my Bike Index here