Spring is always an exciting time to be a cyclist. The weather is warming up and those who rode through the winter appreciate that they no longer need to wear 4 or 5 layers to avoid the chill. The professional cycling season is kicking off and it’s fun to talk about who signed with which team, what new teams/sponsors are around and what new kits are in store for the year.
Local cycling clubs start to see their group ride numbers grow as folks that have taken the season off or chose to ride indoor on the trainer once again make an appearance. Group rides suddenly grow from 15 to 50 people. Friends we haven’t seen in months are eager to catch up with each other and the subject of discussion in the peloton suddenly turns to the upcoming year’s rallies. Whether or not to ride The Collin Classic, Bike MS or Hotter ‘N Hell or the many other rallies offered in this area is a frequent topic.
Another popular topic is whether or not our most despised pothole or crack in the street (wherever it may be) will be fixed this year. It’s construction season after all and that brings route changes we all have to deal with.
One of the things I love about spring is that you get to meet new folks getting into the sport. The most common misconception that I run into among people interested in riding is that they don’t think they are good enough to ride with a group. A cycling club or bike shop ride is the best place for new riders to learn. Some of the local cycling clubs, such as Plano Bicycle Association or Shawnee Trail Cycling Club, even offer safety courses or courses designed to get you familiar with your bicycle.
New or not, spring is the perfect time to get your bicycle checked out at the local bike shop. The last thing you want when it’s a beautiful morning, your 40-mile route beckons, the group is leaving the starting lot and you have to yell “Mechanical!!!” With more riders in the group, there are obviously more chances that someone will get a flat or worse so do the best you can to avoid that circumstance.
At this time of year, there are hundreds more riders enjoying the environment, exercising and catching up with friends. It’s going to be a great year to ride!
Alex DuLaney is an attorney in Plano, and current President of the Plano Bicycle Association, the largest bike club in Collin County.