All in a day’s ride

When you are a super excellent mid-50’s #profamateur #fakebikeracer whose life revolves around all things carbon all the time, it is easy to forget that there are other things in the world, things that are meaningful, interesting, educational, healthy, and a ton of fun, too. This past weekend I encountered just such a thing and would like to tell you about it, it is called cycling.

Every year the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition puts on a River Ride which does in fact go along a river but which also goes through big chunks of downtown L.A. They do this on bicycles; you pay an entry fee which goes to the best of causes, and then you ride your bicycle along public roads that you would otherwise ride for free, except that you’d never actually do it because you are too lazy to come up with the route, and because you’d never be able to arrange the pit stops, food, burritos, beer, and other things along the way.

But back to my discovery, this cycling thing.

What is cycling?

Cycling is where you ride a bicycle for fun; it has nothing in common with bike racing. At the River Ride this past weekend, which happened to be the event’s 18th edition, there were several thousand people on bicycles not racing, another way of saying “having fun.”

The first proof of the fun that everyone was having actually occurred prior to the cycling thing, and it occurred in the port-o-potties, or rather it didn’t occur at all. Pre-race port-a-potties are legendarily awful, for this reason: Racers are jittery AF. My friend reported that prior to doing her first sanctioned bike race a couple of weeks ago, she pooped three times before lining up to race.

What this means is that your bike race port-a-potty experience can be ghastly. Not so with the port-a-potties at a cycling event. It was pointed out to me by Mrs. WM, who pays very close attention to such things, that “Racer poopers are worst! The fun bicycle poopers don’t hardly even poop. Itsa clean and not stinky!”

In other words, cycling peeps, unlike bike racers, aren’t riven with terror and anxiety, so their bowels stay firm. Why aren’t they riven with terror and anxiety? Because they are there to have fun.

Fun indicia

It seemed like everyone at the River Ride was there to have fun and no one was there to do EPO and testosterone and kill the other person for a trinket. Here are some ways that I noticed these cyclist folks having fun:

  • Bike-mounted sound systems. Lots of people carried their own boom boxes, and others actually sang along. Never seen anyone singing at CBR.
  • Comfy clothing. Many cyclists were wearing loose fitting garb that didn’t restrict aortas and such. Others wore comfy sneakers. One dude did the century in flip-flops.
  • Frequent stops. Cyclists stopped at every rest stop and “topped up” with every kind of snack imaginable. They chatted, laughed, compared notes, rode some more or simply turned around and called it a day.
  • Kids. Cyclists brought kids rather than leaving them in the cellar while dad spent the day doing a manly road race in eastern Yolo County. Kids got to ride and get medals or, better yet, free pop.
  • Spousal and significant other units. Cyclists brought people they loved to the event and rode with them.
  • Leisurely beer and burrito refueling. After riding, even for the short 35-miler, cyclists congregated under tents, and ate burritos that were bigger than the Hindenburg.
  • No shoutypantsing. Cyclists didn’t shout at each other, chop wheels, or engage in post-ride punchemups over who jiggled who for 42nd place.
  • Smiling. Cyclists smiled from the beginning to the end, except when they were a bit tuckered out with ten miles to go and a headwind.


Based on my experience, I think I would like to do more cycling. It seems like a fun and interesting way to meet people and have fun. Now where do I get one of those little mirrors?



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13 thoughts on “All in a day’s ride”

  1. My observation of cyclists in British Columbia, is
    1. They seemed to be having a ball.
    2. Most cycles seemed to be at least 10 years old.
    3. The traveled in small groups of 2 or 3 and could be found where there was food/drink.
    4. They were laughing.
    5. They were very friendly.
    6. None said “eh”

    It thought I could have some of that.

  2. Wow… I had no idea this event was so big and so much fun. Thanks for the report!

    We’re going to try to make it next year. People love to ride behind us on our tandem, because it’s like drafting a semi.

    1. There were several tandems out there. Great event, really well organized, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. This bicycling thing might catch on.

  3. In true bike racing form, today was the first day we were able to get all the hammerheads to show up at the same time. Knowing that it was going to be a beat-down, I was anxious when I left the house, having not pre-pooped. Now this wasn’t a race, but it was going to be a meat-grinder session, and so, the closer I got to the meet location, the higher the pressure difference was between what was inside me, and what was outside me. The sphincter clamp-down was in full force and I knew I was fucked. Thank the dogs in heaven that there was a home construction port-a-pottie right there at the meet-up, and I flew inside for a “wait-till-the-first-worker-comes-in-here-this-morning-and-gets-a-load-of-my-just-for-you-present” evacuation. Ah those jitters.

    1. Hahaha! Fittingly, these post has been marinating in the spam folder for the last 11 hours.

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