13 Reasons to Join a Group Ride

160606FRFReasonsWith apologies to the Eagles, there’s a new kit in town.

Actually, the Fraser River Fuggitivi road bike group has been rolling up and down the hills of New Westminster and beyond for about five years. But this spring the squadron has achieved a milestone coveted by every collective of roadie riders; they’ve got kit.

That’s cycling speak for fancy custom-designed jerseys and shorts emblazoned with the team’s name as well as the logos of various local sponsors. They’re not just riders anymore; they’re rolling billboards for an elite selection of supportive businesses. They’re also ambassadors for the city (minus the talent competition or commitment to wave from a parade float).

The Fuggitivi was formed by New Westminster roadie and New Zealand expat Guy Wilson-Roberts. He lives along the Quay and he got tired of trudging up the city’s interminable hills and rolling all the way into Vancouver to join a peloton of like-minded weekend athletes. By the time he got there, he was already pooped and of a mind to head back home.

So he put out a call on social media for fellow riders to come to him.

A few did. Those early pelotons were pretty modest; sometimes Wilson-Roberts’ group ride was just him.

But his persistence paid off; the group is growing.

This year there are about about 20 Fuggitivi (it’s the Italian word for fugitive) escaping the responsibility of their everyday lives twice a week for a few hours of freedom on the road; the group does a long ride of about 80-100 km every Sunday morning and a shorter, more intense climbing ride on Tuesday evenings.

There’s plenty of advantages to riding with a collegial group:

1. Camaraderie.

In a group, you never ride alone. Unless you’re off the back early on a major ascent like Mt. Seymour. Then you’re left to the bears.

Actually, a good group ride will often splinter into smaller pelotons to accommodate different paces. And confuse the bears by giving them too many options.


2. Beer.

The FRF’s official hashtag is #moremilesmorebeer. And more refreshing than the Wayans’ brothers’ movie Mo’ Money.


3. Mechanical assistance.

See how the group pitches in to help a fellow cyclist who’s flatted get back on the road as quickly and cleanly as possible. Face it, best to leave the complicated repairs to the expert wrenches at The Original Bike Shop (shameless sponsor plug #1)


4. Beer.

Yes, some FRF rides make pitstops at craft breweries. Heck one of the group’s sponsors is a brewery!  It’s in our DNA.


5. Aerodynamics.

Riding into a cool headwind, it’s actually an advantage to be off the back. Because that’s where you’ll be able to take advantage of the rest of the group slicing a path for you through the breeze. You can conserve about 30 per cent of your energy that way, giving you more endurance to bend your elbows for no. 6. Some group’s call such opportunists a “wheel suck;” in the FRF, that’s just smart riding.


6. Beer.

Really, it’s just a four-letter word for carbo-loading.


7. Sightseeing.

Every week a new captain is responsible for the ride’s route. That means discovering new ways to reach familiar destinations. And sometimes subjecting your lithe road bike to knee-rattling gravel.


8. Um, beer.

A traditional post-ride beverage favoured by cyclists is a radler. It’s a refreshing mix of beer and fizzy lemonade. It originated in Bavaria, where the drink was called a radlermass, which means “cyclist mass.” Lore has it an innkeeper just outside Munich was running low on beer during a cycling party, so he extended his dwindling kegs by mixing in lemon soda. BTW, Steel & Oak mixes a killer radler (shameless sponsor plug #2).


9. Food.

Cycling burns calories. We know this because our Garmin computers tell us so. Ride 100 km with your buddies and eat whatever you want the rest of the day. Especially if you crave delicious tacos at El Santo (shameless sponsor plug #3).


10. Yup, beer.

According to Bicycling Magazine, beer is an excellent natural source of folic acid, which helps reduce the chances of developing a cramp as you ride. If you stay cramp free, you’re less likely to try to ride through it and risk injury because your suffering body wasn’t up to the challenge. Unfortunately that means you won’t need to be taking advantage of the excellent rehab care at Trailside Physio anytime soon (shameless sponsor plug #4).


11. Cool swag.

Cyclists were wearing cycling caps long before it was cool to wear cycling caps. FRF’s cycling caps are amongst the coolest around. They’re even made by one of the group’s own members, Richard Lee of Red Dots Cycling (shameless sponsor plug #5). Richard also designed the FRF’s stylish new kit.


12. Never get lost.

When you ride with the FRF, you never get lost. Especially in Delta, the Bermuda Triangle of Cycling. Nobody gets lost in Delta. Ever.


13. Beer.

You’ve read this far; you’ve earned a beer. Then, oil the chain on your road bike, join the FRF and enjoy more beer.


To learn more about the Fraser River Fuggitivi, check their website or follow their Twitter feed @frfuggitivi. Cap’s The Original Bike Shop also conducts group rides on various days.