Sometimes we just need to protect people from themselves. Like when someone you’ve just met, say a 20 year old young man who plays basketball and runs, insists that accompanying you on your 100km ride is no problem. He really wants to come even though he doesn’t ride that much. About now warning bells and sirens are going off in my head, but what to do? Such was the case last Wednesday when “David” convinced me to bring him along against my better judgement. It’s almost entirely flat and paved around here so that certainly makes it easier, but for someone not used to riding much it’s going to hurt. I warned him about the need for padded shorts but if that ever bothered him he wasn’t complaining to me about it.
It was the spicy soup loop last Wednesday and I was anxious to get underway. After airing his tires David joined me with a friend who wanted to come also but had no bike, so he borrowed Steve’s. David’s bike had been stored outdoors in the rain so we found out soon that the shifters didn’t work. Luckily David’s friend decided to ride that bike back to campus and not go on. David continued on Steve’s bike. Everything seemed fine until about 35km into the ride when his knees and thighs started to cramp up. He was not so enthusiastic at this point and I asked if anyone could come pick him up but he was determined to go on. We had to take some breaks but he eventually made it to Xiaoyaozhen and we had lunch.
David had to of course do a lot of explaining for me at the lunch stand, but he was a trooper. The way back was better with fewer breaks as long as we kept the speed fairly slow. He even made it through the short but gnarly bit of double track I’ve located along the river trail that I take every chance I get. When I asked how he was feeling the next day he said he might be able to play basketball that evening, so I guess he bounced back quickly.
So what do I do in the future when students want to ride along? I’ll think I’ll refer them to David to see if they’re really up to it, or insist they come on a shorter ride. I want them to love cycling, not lead them through the pain cave.