leading by bike

I asked: “please introduce yourself briefly, share why you are here today, and what is your general bike experience.” I lead a women’s group today, in support of a Diabetes fundraiser, a 20 mile bike ride around San Francisco. The women in today’s group said they considered themselves to be intermediate bike riders, one citing two century rides in the last few years.

I’ve biked across the U.S. twice, enrolled in a week long bike mechanic class, I guide biking trips, I work in a bike shop and I consider myself on the beginner end of the scale and I’m the one leading this ride. I have only started to learn about bikes and there are so many people I know who are so much more talented and experienced than me. I was very surprised that they considered themselves intermediate bike riders, especially since they were on my ride, a 20 mile bike ride. I ride 20 miles on any given day, around town, commuting to school and work.

We rode from the Presidio thru Golden Gate Park, along the Great Highway to Fort Funston. I kept looking back every so often to make sure they were still with me. A hard skill to keep biking forward while looking backward. Towards the latter part of the ride, one person had their chain continually fall off when they were in the smallest gear. Even with my new mechanic skills, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I felt disappointed I couldn’t help her fix the issue while on the road. I could rule out certain things definitely, which was new and improved knowledge, but I wasn’t sure what was causing the problem or how to fix it.

At the end of the ride, I felt satisfied that I didn’t lose anyone. I kept up the encouragement all day and was high on safety. My legs are more tired today, than when I guide the longer 40, 60 mile days. Those longer days, you can make certain assumptions and just ride straight, instead of making sure everyone made every turn and wasn’t about to get hit by a car. I’m not a natural cheerleader and today was a lesson learned in leading.

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