With a name like the Lone Rider, it is pretty obvious that I ride alone. Every time I think about that fact, my mind wanders to that great song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers -”I Drink Alone”. [www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpzqQst-Sg8] Like him, when I ride alone, I prefer to be by myself … Now, since I am trying to promote mentoring, I don’t promote the abuse of alcohol. However, I do think it is a great rhythm and blues tune with some clever lyrics.
When attempting a cross-country bicycle ride, there are practical advantages to riding alone. Chiefly, the logistics become so much simpler. I don’t have to worry about any one else’s pace. If I’m feeling a little tired, I can go slower. If I’m feeling strong, I can go faster or even extend the day’s route a few more miles. I leave at the time I want and stop whenever I feel like it. It’s me, myself, and I as my inner Three Stooges might argue amongst themselves, but the battle never spills out to anyone else. I don’t need to carry on any witty banter with my riding buddies and they will never get tired of my repeated stories.
Even when I am training and go for recreational rides, I prefer to ride alone. I was that way when I was training for marathons years ago, too. I trained alone then for many of the same reasons. I can keep my own pace and I don’t need to carry on any conversation. On a bike, I think it is also somewhat safer because I always ride single file when I am alone and I pay attention to my surroundings more intently. I do feel guilty when people offer to ride with me recreationally or even as a part of this ride. I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but the truth is that I really do prefer to ride alone. Most of the time when people make the invitation to ride some time together, I just let the busy fullness of everyone’s schedule push it to the back burner and I don’t have to worry about the invitation becoming reality. Then I can go ahead and ride alone. And since I am not trying to coordinate with someone else’s schedule, I can also ride more often and regularly.
Based on these paragraphs, you might think I am somewhat anti-social. I certainly tell others that I am. Engineers are not known for their social skills – just look at the Big Bang Theory. But I think the reality is that I’m a little selfish and want my socialization on my own terms and my own schedule. My Plan A is to stay in hotels, but I also would like to stay in people’s homes as well. When I am done riding for the day, I would actually look forward to sharing dinner and some stories with other people wherever I go. I expect that I will have lots of stories before the ride is done and I would love to hear other’s stories as well. Whether it is about biking, old TV shows, movies, classic rock and roll, blues, classical music, books, mentoring, or even economics (tip of the hat to my son), I am up for an interesting conversation. I just don’t want to do it while I’m on the bike 🙂
The Lone Rider