Around thirty years ago I decided I wanted to get in shape and so joined the Princeton Free Wheelers. I started doing C rides, working my way up to B riders and was finally doing A rides. When I first went on A rides the A riders teamed together and tried to drop me, the harder they tried the harder I would fight to hang with them. This made me a lot stronger.
One Wednesday we were having what we called, our “After Ride” (pizza and beer). I met two girls and they were asking the most influential rider what kind of shoes to wear as they wanted to move up into the higher riding categories. At that time the available styles of shoes were either cleats, touring shoes – which are like sneakers, and clip-less pedals. He told them they may as well buy the touring shoes because he did not think much of the girls being serious athletes. When he got up to go to the bathroom I told the girls to buy the best type of equipment because as they get better they will have to buy equipment all over again. I also convinced them to ride all winter. We rode in 20 degree temperatures and eventually put on average 7000 to 10,000 hard miles a year.
It was once said that B riders refused to do A rides because there were no women on them. However, in the spring we redefined A rides when the girls became A riders staying in a pace line averaging over 24 miles per hour. Interestingly, the B riders still would not go on A rides!
We rode very hard on the rides but it was the After Rides, (beer and pizza) and talking about the ride that made it memorable. When I led my Sunday ride I started the ride from my house and we had bagels after the ride. We would normally go through the rolling hills on county Route #1, Sweetmans Lane, which we later named the bagel hills.
We would also take turns having parties after the rides. Unfortunately, I eventually had to give up riding because my job did not allow time for it. Thirty years later, because of a health issue I am back doing C+ rides and I find them harder than when I did A rides! Now I ride four or five rides a week and I am trying to do B rides.