Cycling can be enjoyed as a group sport or as a solo activity. Some riders choose to join up with cycling groups, whereas others find solace riding alone and enjoying the freedom of the open road. You may be hesitant about riding alone, especially if you are a new rider still getting the hang of things; but after trying it out a few times, you’ll overcome the intimidation factor of it all and might find that it’s something you actually prefer.
Here are pros and cons to help you determine if solo riding is right for you and to help you understand the risks and benefits associated with the practice.
Setting the Pace
Pro: Ride At Your Own Pace
When you cycle alone, you get the opportunity to set your own pace and do your own thing. You don’t have to worry about waiting up for anyone slower than you or struggling to keep up in order to salvage your own ego.
Con: Cycling Together Will Challenge You
It can be difficult to improve when you have no one to push you past your limits. Riding with others provides a challenge to consistently make strides and gains. Once you overcome the sore muscles and strain placed on your body, you’ll find yourself riding along with greater endurance and stamina than ever before.
Pro: You Go When And Where You Want
Without others to tell you what to do, you can set your own routes and go wherever you want. You aren’t stuck going the same direction every time because you are riding behind a group of people in a club or with friends. You also don’t have to adhere to their schedules. If you want to undertake a 10-mile bike ride for the day, you don’t have to worry about getting back in time because Bob has to make his kid’s soccer game on time.
Con: You’ll Expend More Energy For Fewer Results
Riding behind other cyclists creates what is known as a “slipstream,” that helps to make your ride easier by moving the air out of your direct path. That means you’ll be able to ride faster and farther while in a group as apposed to when you cycle alone. Cyclists usually take turns as the pacer and to take the brunt of the initial air current and to make it easier on the other riders.
Pro: Space Is Limited
Trying to cycle in a group is nearly impossible in some major cities or rural areas. When you cycle alone, you have the freedom to dive and dash through traffic in New York if you wanted, or make your way down narrow bike lanes that are only large enough to accommodate a single biker.
Con: No One’s There To Watch Your Back
Should something awful happen and you were to require medical attention, there would be no one there to watch out for you or help you if you cycle alone. Riding with others provides a safety net and additional sets of eyes to watch surrounding cars and alert fellow riders of impending hazards to remain safe.
Overall it is likely you will bike alone as well as try group rides. Either way there is a benefit to both! Just get out there and enjoy the ride.