There’s something powerful about being part of a group. We feel safer and more confident, that’s for sure. We also feel like we’re part of something bigger than the group. Like a community. It makes us feel like – no matter how fringe – there are like-minded folks we can flock with. Cycling’s like that. Think about it. You probably don’t go toddling off to the Harris Teeter (or Kroger!) in your matching kit, no matter how chiseled your calves are at this point of the season. And those wrap-around Oakleys? They get it done and look good doing it while you’re on the bike. Not so much apres sport, trolling the aisle of the Home Depot sizing up paint swatches.
These small bits – like many others – play a big part in making our on-the-bike experience better, safer and literally more comfortable. They’re more than acceptable, they’re practically costume de rigueur. Somehow, yoga pants have transcended this, but we digress… Our point is that it feels good and right to be with folks who share the same interests and passions (and dress code) that we do. Feel free to ask your shrink about the deeper meanings of group think, we’re just riffing here.
And sure, one person can make a big difference, but a group can sometimes make an even bigger difference. (For good and for bad, but we’re trying to keep it positive here.) Think about when most of us started riding and how spinning with a few friends helped us gain the confidence to join a group ride. Riding in that group may have inspired us to go farther or faster. Going farther and faster may have turned us on to training, racing, touring or commuting. All stuff we probably wouldn’t have experienced if we’d stayed rolling solo. And cycling does more than make more cyclists. Cycling AND cyclists do a world of good for other folks. More cyclists means more visibility for cycling-related issues, more cycling amenities, and safer streets for everyone.
Now, think about the millions and millions of dollars cyclists have spun-up for good causes through charity rides over the years. Heck, 24 Hours of Booty (www.24hoursofbooty.org) with its humble roots here in Charlotte has raised more than $7 million since it got started, all thanks to “ordinary cyclists”. We think that’s a big deal!
Good on all you who’ll ride in 24 Hours of Booty this weekend, and good on all you who pitched in through donations, volunteering at the event, or supporting a rider with a good word, childcare, time off from work (or home). You’re all doing something REALLY big!