Anyone that has ridden as part of a cycling team or by themselves knows the joy that cycling can bring. Even when you ride as part of a team, you are still alone on your bike and left to concentrate on your role in the race and how your bicycle is performing. Great competitors pay attention to every detail and learn how to maximize each action performed. The shoes, the helmet, the arch of the heel as it presses down and pulls up on a pedal, these issues are controlled in a fluid manner by professional competitors. For those involved with cycling, the act of getting lost in their thoughts is also part of the joy.
When riding for long periods of time by yourself, there is plenty of time to think and focus on specific problems and issues in your life. Cyclists often find that some of their best problem-solving moments occur while riding long distances. The benefits of riding alone become clear after a few solo rides. While it may seem that riding by yourself is lonely, you’ll quickly find that is not the case, and it provides an effective way to train and boost your self-confidence as a cyclist.
Advantages to Riding Solo
There are many advantages to riding solo. You can leave whenever you like, you don’t have to rush out the door when your battery for your light isn’t yet charged, or rush to fill your water bottles and forget something crucial. If you get a flat tire, the rest of the group doesn’t have to stop and wait for you to repair it. You can simply repair your tire and keep going at your own pace. The stress of keeping up with a group by not going too fast or too slow gets eliminated, and you can push yourself as hard as you need, or take it easy and just enjoy the ride.
Disadvantages to Riding Solo
Of course, there are the disadvantages to riding solo as well. If you want to compete as part of a team, you will have to learn to ride with others. Working as a team takes time to learn how to anticipate and communicate with your teammates. Racing in close proximity to other cyclists requires a specific set of skills. Many solo riders find it difficult to adjust to the rate of other cyclists. It’s possible that your fastest speed as a solo rider isn’t your actual fastest speed. Many people simply don’t push themselves enough when riding alone. Group riding helps to push riders to compete and improve their speeds.
Finding Your Center
Regardless of what type of riding you do, ultimately, you must find your center. Sometimes that can only be found when taking on a long solo ride. Once you begin to ride with a group of cyclists, you’ll find that you need to keep the same center that you achieve when riding alone. Awareness of other cyclists and the knowledge that you can compete as part of a team while still maintaining your own sense of self can give you an immense degree of pleasure.