Freezing Our Butts Off for No Good Reason at All
Some of us are entered in a competition through Bike Arlington/Washington Area Bike Forum known as Freezing Saddles, which pits teams of riders against each other to see who can ride the most miles, elevation, and other silly stuff during the period January 1 to March 19. While you can't enter the competition late, anyone who wants to ride is welcome to come out and score some miles with the intrepid few in search of glory and bragging rights. I haven't decided where I'll go but it will probably be in the 15 to 40 mile range and involve the Arlington Triangle, Hains Point, Ft Hunt, or some combination of any or all of those locales. If you've got nowhere to be and are itching to get out on the bike, sign up and meet me in Shirlington.
This will be a repeating Meetup every Saturday and Sunday through March 19. Decisions about cancellations due to weather will be made the morning of the ride. But be aware that due to the nature of the competition, I will most likely go out everytime, even it's just a 1-2 mile "sleaze" ride. (See the Washington Area Bike Forum's description of "Freezing Saddles" to find out what a "sleaze" ride is.)
The Meeting Spot
We'll meet inside Best Buns at 11:30 am and be rolling no later than 11:45 am. (We can adjust this time if there is consensus to do that. I'm pretty open with my scheduling.)
The Fine Print
This is predicted to be a MEDIUM level ride due to the pace (12-15 mph) and possibly distance (up to 40 miles possible). The exact course is TBD based on who signs up and what we decide to ride (Arlington Triangle, Ft Hunt, Hains Point, or other location).
I'll be riding to the start. Hence, I will not be carrying a floor pump or tools other than what I have in my very tiny seat bag. Please make sure your bike is ready to ride BEFORE you leave home for the ride; preferably, check it the night before so that you won't be unpleasantly surprised in the morning should a problem arise.
Here's a checklist of things to do and bring with you:
• Make sure you have good tire pressure (check the sidewall of your tire if you're not sure what your tire pressure should be). You need to put air in your tires before EVERY ride. Don't just squeeze the tire and think, "Yeah, that feels OK." Trust me on this one.
• Make sure your brakes are in good order with plenty of pad left for adequate stopping power. Your wheels should spin freely with the brake release in the closed position and your hands off the brake levers. When the wheel is spinning and you grab the brakes, the pads should engage quickly and (mostly) quietly while bringing your bike to a quick, safe stop. If your brakes make a lot of noise and/or you have to pull the levers all the way back to the bar before they engage, you probably need to adjust your brakes and (possibly) change the pads.
• Make sure your drivetrain (chain, front chain rings, rear cassette, cables, and shifters) is sufficiently lubed and working well. If you can't remember when you last lubed the chain, it's probably time to do it again. Just be sure to lightly wipe off the excess or else your chain (and your leg) will get covered in gunk.
• Bring plenty of liquids to drink (water, Gatorade). There are a few spots along the way where you can refill a bottle but you've got to have one to fill one. Rule of thumb is one bottle per hour and we'll be riding around for one or two hours so you can do the math.
• Gels, power bars, or other portable snacks are also a good idea so you can refuel on the road.
• Don't forget to bring at least one spare tube (two is better), especially if you have a bike with wheels that are not standard size or are deep set, like carbon wheels. We all get flats on rides, and need to be prepared with tubes, tools, and a source of air to make the repair. Please have the necessary items for your specific bike.
• You won't need a bike lock for the ride but you may wish to bring one to lock up after the ride if you decide to partake of any of the fine establishments in Shirlington for a bite to eat and perhaps a little liquid refreshment.
Helmets are Cool (and They're Required)
As always, DON'T FORGET YOUR HELMET! You must wear a helmet on all NOVA-CBG rides so please remember to bring yours.
The Dreaded "Disclaimer"
An RSVP of 'YES' is your digital signature and means you have read and understood MEETUP.com's "Terms of Service : Section 6.2 " found HERE (http://www.meetup.com/terms/) and NOVA-CBG's "Assumption of Risk Agreement" found HERE (http://files.meetup.com/1557670/NOVA-CBG_WAIVER.pdf).
All riders ride at their own risk and with the understanding that cycling is an inherently dangerous activity. When coming to the meetup you do so voluntarily and are ready and able to participate in the ride as described under the conditions of the day.
Please also keep in mind the group's cancellation policy when you RSVP.
Ride Level Chart
A note about our ride levels. We try to accommodate all levels of cyclists with different types of rides. We just ask that you come to the ride that suits your current riding ability the best.
Introductory Level: If you haven't ridden a bike in a number of years (or are uncertain of your abilities on a bicycle).
Beginner Level: If you can easily ride your bike for 10 miles (distance) with some minor hills at a comfortable pace (10+ to 12+ mph).
Medium Level: If you can do 20 miles pretty easily at a moderate pace (13 to 15+ mph)
Advanced Level: If you can do 20++ miles easily at a 15+ pace and/or handle various challenges as rain, night riding, or other odd cycling situations.