Why I enjoy long rides at a slow(er) pace

I no longer enjoy riding at a fast pace. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy watching elite cyclists riding at 40 – 60km/h in a road race or even faster in a time trial. But for me, the joy of cycling is no longer going as fast as I can go, but slowing down to enjoy the ride, the scenery, and the company of other riders. There is nothing better than being able to compare architectural differences from suburb to suburb, spotting migrating whales from our fabulous coastal pathways, and soaking up the bushland vistas in our many national park trails.

In my younger days, I did enjoy taking my trusty carbon fibre road bike on rides of 40 to 60 kilometres at speeds of 22 – 25km/h. As health issues impacted my ability to tackle hills as I used to be able to do, the joy of my road bike diminished as did the distance I could ride at higher speeds. As a 60th birthday present to myself, I took the plunge and moved to a (much heavier!) e-bike.

The change to the e-bike coincided with my decision to retire from a hectic corporate life and take up a slower paced lifestyle which also translated to slower speed cycling of 17 – 19km/h. What I did find as a major advantage to this change was the distance I was now riding: anywhere from 50 to 100 kilometres!

So, what else have I noticed by doing longer but slower paced rides? I now get to see and enjoy the scenery along the routes; I can spend more time talking to my fellow slower paced cyclists; and most importantly, I have regained the joy (and health benefits) of cycling. My health and fitness level has improved immensely, and my cardiologist now only needs to see me every 2 years instead of 6 monthly.

Bike North has many longer rides which are taken at a higher pace that I am comfortable riding. Rides such as the Wyong Loop Extended, Thirroul to Kiama, and Botany Bay Bacon to just name a few. I know that there are many Bike North members who enjoy these rides and I don’t want to slow them down and remove the enjoyment they get from these rides. What I have chosen to do is to download these rides, and others, from Ride with GPS and follow the routes at my own pace – and quite often extending the rides from the listed 50 or 60 kilometres to the longer 60, 70, 80 and even 100 kilometres that I am happy to do at my pace.

Thanks to Bike North publishing rides on Ride with GPS, I can enjoy longer rides at a slower pace, albeit without the camaraderie of other Bike North riders. C’est la vie!

Alf Esteban