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Ladies’ Ride

by Meghann on April 6, 2013

I had a lot of firsts this morning:

  • First time doing a group ride with a group of relative strangers
  • Frist time doing a group ride on the open road
  • First time taking my new tri-bike out on the open road
  • First time riding my bike on Davis Island

One of my mini-resolutions this year was to become more comfortable on my bike in a group setting. Group rides have always terrified me in the past. The fear of slowing the group down, riding in a tight line, and being the set of eyes for the person in front of you can be very overwhelming. Especially when you throw in the fear of riding on open roads in the mix (my sister was hit by a car a few years ago and I’ve been mainly sticking with trails ever since).

However, I know groups can be very helpful in a training sense. Riding XX amount of miles by yourself on the same trail over and over again can get really boring after a while. Plus, the best way to gain speed on the bike is to ride with cyclists who are faster than you and make you want to push your limits (same is true with running!).

So I’m slowly trying to overcome my fears. Baby steps.

I started testing myself by riding with my friends. They taught me how to ride in a line and all the proper etiquette that comes with. Then I practiced some line riding with my siblings and slowly got the hang of it. The next big test was finding a casual no-drop cycling group that I could do a ride with.

Enter Outspokin Bicycle‘s Saturday Ladies Ride.


My friend Megan sent a text yesterday asking if I was interested in joining her for the 7:30am ride. She’s been looking for group rides to join and found this one on Facebook. Figuring I had to get a ride in anyway, I tossed all my group ride fear out the window and said yes. I didn’t know it was an all ladies ride until I arrived. I didn’t really think about it before hand, but I did kind of enjoy the fact it was ladies only. It definitely made it less intimidating for a newbie group rider like myself.

The group meets every Saturday at the new Tampa Outspokin location (GORGEOUS STORE! I want to go back to take advantage of their indoor training class ASAP). The store is new (just opened last month) so they’re still trying to get the word out about their group rides. There were four of us today, not including the store’s co-owner, Val, who led the group. Val was great. She seemed really opened to leading future groups whenever we’re available to ride. She encouraged us to email her our optimal riding schedules and she’d organize group rides from there. Love that!

We left the store’s parking lot at 7:45am and headed out to Davis Island via a few back roads and Bayshore. I’ve run along Bayshore hundreds of times, but this was my first time riding my bike on it. The road was very cyclist friendly and had a nice, wide bicycle lane that was easy to ride in. At first, I was so tensed up and nervous, that my hands were starting to ache from gripping my handles so hard. Eventually I began to calm down and loosen up. The cars zooming by weren’t as scary or intimidating as I thought they would be, and I felt very comfortable riding with the group in the bike lane.

Before we took off, we all agreed to holding a 15 mph pace. There was also a no-girl left behind philosophy, which made me feel good knowing the group wasn’t going to take off and leave me in the dust. Val was great at keeping a pretty consistent pace and, thankfully, I never felt like it was too fast or too slow – it was absolutely perfect.

We crossed the bridge from Bayshore to Davis Island and did a couple of loops of the Island. Davis Island is pretty much fitness central – I saw more runners and cyclists on the island than vehicles driving by.

We definitely lucked out with gorgeous weather for our ride. There was a cool breeze and not a cloud in the sky. The kind of weather that reminds me why I’m thankful to live in Florida.


After our third loop of the Island, we turned around and headed back to the store. The whole ride took us a little more than 20 miles. Whenever I’m on a trail the miles seem to drag and drag, today the miles felt like they flew by. My speed wasn’t any different (I think it may have bee a little slower), but a lot of it has to do with the change of scenery and focusing on the cyclist in front of me instead of just the long stretch of road ahead.

I really enjoyed the ride and the great group of girls I rode with. I felt comfortable with them on the road and never felt overwhelmed or panicked. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to join the ladies ride again in the future!

Do you ride with a group?

1 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

My bf and I are thinking about getting bikes for the first time but I definitely don’t know all the bike etiquette and would be a bit nervous about it all.
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Circuit Workout Saturday

2 Emily @ The Swallow Flies April 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I have never ridden in a group, other than with friends just casually riding around the neighborhood. I’d be nervous, too, but it looks like a beautiful ride!
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3 Logan @ Mountains and Miles April 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Sometimes our CEO has group rides at lunchtime on Fridays. I try to go as often as I can. They are really relaxed and we bike about 3 miles to a park where you can do 3 mile loops, so everyone can kind of go their own speed/distance. It’s really fun! Plus you get to hang out with your CEO and other colleagues, can’t beat that!
Logan @ Mountains and Miles recently posted..Have You Noticed?

4 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Sounds like a great experience! I’m definitely a little freaked out about riding with cars zooming by… I have a hard time trusting them.

Glad it worked out well!
Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs recently posted..High Five for Friday!

5 Lindsay April 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

i definitely think i saw you this morning on DI while i was running! that purple jacket reminded me, haha! πŸ˜€

6 Kim @ Fabulous Fit Foodie April 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I am doing my first tri in July and I hadn’t even thought about how riding in a group might be challenging. I am pretty new to biking, definitely new to the concept of racing on a bike. Thanks for giving me new things to consider!
Kim @ Fabulous Fit Foodie recently posted..What’s For Dinner, Vol. 5

7 Caroline Calcote April 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Val is so nice and I love the new store! I’ve taken the boys for two rides from the new Outspokin’ store and they have always been so nice. I’d love to get out there for one of the ladies’ rides!
Caroline Calcote recently posted..Fun stuff this weekend and Takara giveaway winners

8 Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny April 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I didn’t know about your sister. Similar thing happened to my dad, but not as bad. He works in Manhattan (busy streets!) and rides his bike from the train station up to where he works. A cab went to pull over and someone opened the passenger door right as he was riding by. He flew over his handlebars and the cab door and landed on his head. His helmet looked a lot like your sisters. Saved his life. I will NEVER not wear a helmet!
Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny recently posted..Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice

9 Art @ Fit at Fifty April 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

I don’t run in groups.
I have always been a lone wolf.
Art @ Fit at Fifty recently posted..The Southern Indiana Classic Marathon

10 Annette @FitnessPerks April 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Sweet ride! Looks fabulous!! Agreed, on the whole riding the same trail over & over by yourself gets boring! hah
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Friday Randoms (w/a side of pet peeves)

11 Megan April 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

David Island!!! <3

12 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 6, 2013 at 11:48 pm

I see TONS of cyclists every weekend out here in large groups. Drivers expect it and are very biker friendly which is wonderful! I am definitely intimidated to get into road cycling though!

13 Hotpotatokate April 7, 2013 at 6:05 am

Just a warnng to be careful if you are planning to ride with other groups- riding a tri bike is often a huge no no in road riding circles (for safety reasons). Looks like a great ride!

14 jillian April 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

I used to be terrified of the bike so I relate! Good job on facing the fear!
jillian recently posted..Learning To Stop Apologizing

15 Tara April 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I want to start riding but the biggest scare for me is riding in San Francisco! It’s so intimidating because if you ride on the road (which legally you have to do), you start slowing cars down behind you and shit gets real fast.

16 Molly April 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

You are so brave! I stick with my spin bike. Inside. πŸ™‚
Molly recently posted..Strawberry Classic

17 Katie April 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I am in the same boat-uncomfortable on roads and in groups. But it makes a huge difference on race day… Just one more way to prepare. I need to follow your lead and just go out with a group. Glad it went well for you!
Katie recently posted..An Exercise in Self Control- Cute Shoe Edition

18 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I am so uncomfortable on the bike on roads. I need to work on conquering that fear!
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Man Spanx and Wedding Dresses

19 fitbugorb April 9, 2013 at 7:41 am

I am always trying to find ways to be active. I have considered cycling but am a little nervous.Do you think a cycle club would be a good intro to the sport?
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20 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes April 9, 2013 at 6:40 pm

My hometown bike shop hosts a similar program–Women on Wheels. When I started triathloning this past summer, I had zero cycling experience (minus some indoor spinning classes in college), and my group leader essentially taught me everything I know about riding. Granted, I’m still a total newbie, but these group rides gave me the basic skills and knowledge to hang with other triathletes on the bike. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚
Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes recently posted..We Came, We Raced, We Conquered

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