Are There Group Drives?

I'm a fan of participating in an occasional group bike ride (not critical mass) - though I tend to favor those that cater to casual riders, rather than the ones that race through town at break-neck speeds. Group rides are fun. Riding a bike alone can get lonely sometimes, especially if you're going to be out for a while. Riding with other people means you can hang out, have a conversation, and enjoy being outside.

(from saumacus on Flickr)

A friend of the blog recently asked what's so special about these rides. He likes to ride a bike, but sees little point to riding around with other people. Bikes are transportation, cars are transportation, but there aren't motorists getting together and driving around in packs on Sunday mornings, are there?

Even if the primary purpose of both bikes and cars is transportation, the reality is that they both serve other, secondary purposes. People ride bikes for a lot of reasons, and obvious recreation and socialization are one of them. But people also own cars for a lot of seemingly bizarre reasons - and it's hard to deny that car culture is at least as powerful as bicycle culture, even if the way it's celebrated is very different.


    but there aren't motorists getting together and driving around in packs on Sunday mornings, are there? Oh, but there definitely are. More on Saturday evenings than Sunday mornings, maybe. It's largely an auto hobbyist thing, I suppose, and there's just as much (if not more) sitting around in parking lots in lawn chairs as there is driving around in groups, but still...

    I did Critical Mass rides a couple of times last summer here in Cleveland, and, for me, anyway, the group riding experience is bizarrely entertaining, but I've decided that I can't really support the "the laws don't apply to us because we know we're virtuous" attitude that undergirds Critical Mass, so I don't think I'll be able to do it any more. Pity.

    How many people have been on the group rides you've been on? Do you stop for traffic lights and/or obey other traffic rules?


    The organized group rides that I've done typically have 10-15 people, pre-selected routes, and are respectful of traffic rules.