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A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Archive for the category “Group Rides”

Weekly Group Ride with Comor Sports to Iona Beach

It had been a looonnng time since my last Comor Sports group ride. So when I saw that they were heading to Iona beach a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to join them again and brought my friend Oliver along with me. The evening was spectacular – nice and sunny, not too hot (although my camera & phone were sweat drenched after the ride – so gross!), and a good-sized friendly group.

Blair giving us an update on the evening’s group ride plan.

Blair gave us a run-through of where we were heading, and told us about the special surprise he had in store for us that eve. There were prizes to be won via some races. Sort of like the cash primes I saw professional cyclists race for in the Tour de Delta, Gastown GranPrix, etc. Pretty neat! I didn’t think… ahem I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete though because I am not a super fast cyclist. But still – I thought it was a great idea!

I had been down to Iona Beach once before, way back in May, and was half expecting us to take the same route my friends and I always take when we cycle to Richmond…. but the route was slightly different. We cycled all the way down the Cypress bike route and crossed the bridge used by cars heading towards the Airport – can’t recall what it is called right now.

Once we reached the flat, long stretch of road leading to the beach we REALLY started to pick up the speed. I ended up in a group towards the back and we worked on drafting super close to one another in order to close the gap between us and the group ahead of us. Was really fun but really tough. I mean really tough! haha I had never really cycled at a consistent fast pace with other riders.

I ended up falling behind towards the last little bit and I drafted behind the SUV that Blair was driving. It was pretty funny really…  and I joked about it when I reached the pack who were inhaling their energy gels and bars.

You would think this is pretty daft – but others do it all the time! Such as…

Crazy! I doubt I would ever draft behind such a large truck. A sudden brake, and you’d end up as a pancake on the back of the truck! But behind an open-back SUV where I can also chat with the driver? Why not?

Heading back to Vancouver, I was offered the opportunity to jump in the vehicle if I was feeling too tired… but I wasn’t really suffering that bad. I am sure my face looked like I was about to die BUT I just needed to catch my breath and go at a slightly slower pace.

So John kept me company most of the way back and we had a good chat about cycling, bike fittings, and other random stuff. I don’t have a map of the exact route we took back – but roughly it was Eastward bound on SW Marine Drive, up Camosen Street, through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, through Point Grey, including the beautiful Bellevue & Belmont intersection, and then Westward bound through Kitsilano towards the bike shop on 4th and Burrard.

Cycling through the Regional Park and via the Bellevue & Belmont crossroads was definitely a highlight for me. I had never been in that park before or seen the gorgeous view from Bellevue & Belmont, and I wished I had a camera strapped to my bike or helmut at that moment. The view of English Bay, the tankers and the city at dusk was just magnificent.

Somewhere in Kits I realized I had a flat tire – thankfully this happened towards the end of the ride!! So I rode into the Comor Sports shop for a quick repair job. Turns out a tiny yet razor sharp pin prick was stuck in my tire – good thing Blair spotted that one!

Blair changing my tire after a flat.

After that, we joined the group  at Ceili’s Irish Pub for some beers & burgers, and I discovered that I had won a prize for the night! Whhhaaat??? I won a gorgeous Marin Bikes hoodie – the “Red Lantern” prize for keeping the most consistent speed. 🙂 Woo hoo!! I was really touched!

I really enjoyed chatting with the other riders as we ate and the place had an open mic session going on with really nice blues music – something you don’t hear too often in Vancouver!

At Ceili’s – the Comor Sports Group Ride table.

My yummy burger, salad (so healthy!) and beer! A fine treat after a good ride!

My “Red Lantern” Prize!!

BIG THANKS to John for keeping me company as we rode back into Vancouver and to Blair for helping me draft behind the van and for changing my tire!

My first Group Ride with Comor Sports Bike Store

Since I am not a solo-cycling fan, ‘Group Rides’ provided by various bike outlets (cafes, groups, associations and stores) are fast becoming a saving grace for me. I cycle,  meet new friends, enjoy the great B.C. outdoors, pick up new cycling technique tips and clear my head after a long day at work…. so much multi-tasking going on and most importantly TIME FLIES because I always have fun.

Last week I went on my first EVER group ride with the  Musette Caffe cyclists. The people I met on that ride really motivated & encouraged me to continue to attend their rides and NOT feel intimidated. It can be quite scary joining a new group ride – (what if they’re too fast? what if I can’t keep up? what if they tackle crazy-steep hills?) but that is how you grow in life! By taking chances, doing stuff that scares you and just going for it!

Yesterday (June 26) I eagerly watched the grey skies and the Comor Sports Facebook Page  throughout the day. Watching for signs of torrential downpours and ride cancellations notices – but the weather decided to give us all a break & the ride was given the green light.

The meet-up location for this group ride is at the Comor Sports  parking lot on Burrard & 4th Avenue.

I have to say – one of the nice things about riding with a bike shop group ride is that if you need to quickly fix anything, buy anything, check anything – you’re covered. Comor Sports is super kitted out with anything you might need – helmets, lights, leg warmers, locks, etc. In my case the helpful staff quickly reattached my monitor to my bike (faulty zap strap) & pumped up my tires! Thanks guys!

One thing I should mention is that Comor were the ones to organize the brilliant VanFondo. Wicked Event!!

I think we were around 10/12 cyclists for this particular ride – in the above image we’re just waiting & getting to know one another in the parking lot. I cycled with Blair and John from Comor Sports – who are so nice and gave me a lot of helpful advice on how to become a better cyclist.

In the above image Blair (L) is giving the group a run through of what we were to work on as we did loops around Stanley Park. During yesterday’s ride, we cycled in pairs and worked on drafting, and taking turns to lead the pack. You can save a lot of energy by drafting – but you need to cycle really close to other cyclists and it really takes some getting used to.

The above image is of Blair (L) and John (R) at the top of Prospect Point – the very tip of Stanley Park that one reaches after a good hill climb. It’s a killer hill for me  – I attempt it on the easiest gear possible. But I see progress already – I don’t need to stop half way through for water anymore. “You destroyed that hill!!” Blair hollered at me as soon as I reached the top! Woo hoo! Hill-climbing satisfaction. 🙂

If you want to join the Comor Sports Group Rides – they meet up every Tuesday at 6:30pm(provided it ain’t pouring!!)… Oh and they also head to a local pub after a ride – so there is the option for some socializing over a cold beer afterwards.

 

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