First the disclaimer: Don’t come on this ride if you believe someone else is responsible for your safety. Only you are responsible for your safety, nobody is offering any advice or counsel that you’re required to obey. You are in full possession of your free will.
Now that’s out of the way:
You are choosing to take a ride with other riders on Sunday December 9th, and we all look forward to the ride. You’ve been warned about the danger and possibly addicting fun of riding this fine route with excellent fellow riders.
This is a group ride.
I love the autonomy of riding alone, the freedom to decide when and where and how fast I ride. And I also enjoy the added comfort of a group ride- but they are not the same. A group rider relinquishes autonomy for comfort and added safety, and as a member of a group your first responsibility is to conduct yourself appropriately for a group. Be cool to your buddies, they are not your adversaries. Be courteous, be careful, be kind. Wait at intersections for the rider behind you- even if they have a radio- just to be sure. If someone falls, park your bike carefully to let others see the problem and go help your buddy.
It’s not a race, and nobody will be left behind.
In this group we invite you along with the encouragement to ride your own pace- nobody will ridicule you for being slower or struggling- we all have struggled, and we’ve all been helped by others as we’ve learned and we continue to do so. Most misadventures I’ve seen in group rides is because someone “was trying to keep up” with the group. Don’t make that mistake. Trust me- I’ve spent much time on the ground and cracked a few ribs because of it. Don’t be like me.
Please be prompt, have your bike ready, started and fueled before rider’s meeting.
Check your tires well in advance, be confident your entire kit is properly prepared- it’s your obligation to the group. Breakdowns happen a lot- nothing wrong with that- except if it was clear that the equipment was not properly prepared. I once saw a rider roll their bike off their truck with two flat tires- and it hadn’t been started for 6 months. Don’t be that guy. I know someone will ask- in my tires I run 11 lbs front and rear on a route like this. More pressure means more safety from pinch flats. Lower pressure is better for the sand, but ill-advised for the pavement. Plenty of other riders will use different pressure for different reasons.
Please don’t pass the ride leader.
He could be riding much faster than the pace he’s picked. The pace is determined by the ability of the group, not by the ability of the individual rider. Yes, advanced riders may find it difficult to maintain control of their bikes behind a much slower rider, especially in sand. If that’s the case, find a nice wide place to pass and gently move along. Unless you’re Mark the Sweep.
The first several miles will include some sorting-out as we get to know each other's abilities. If you're cautious, expect to be passed and if you can (it's not your responsibility) move over to let others pass. But be careful- I've passed those damn slowpokes only to find myself flat on my ass up ahead because slowpoke knew something about the trail I didn't.
The first few riders will ride a little faster pace to keep it interestinger for the more experienced riders in the group, but we’re all in communication via radio- stay in front of the sweep rider at all times. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THE RIDE without letting someone with a radio know FIRST. We really don’t want to spend a bunch of time looking for you or calling for air rescue because you’ve gone missing.
If there’s oncoming traffic- bikes, Jeeps, hikers, bicyclists, naked lingerie models, please indicate to them how many riders are behind you with simple hand signals. Sweep rider will use his fist in the air to signify he’s both the last in line and his solidarity with the civil rights movement of the 60’s, when Mark was 40 years old.
Have a radio? Great, don’t sing. Ever. No singing is ever permitted. We’re on 146.505 and please don’t use crappy microphones that blow up our ears, thanks.
I’m Paul M Bowers, Ride Instigator, smartass and likely lead rider unless I fall down.
Mark (SoCalMule) is your co-host and will be running sweep most of the ride.
There are other steady and experienced hands here: Van, Amgems, Sneeker, Slaugo and many others. Great riders, all. I sure wish I could have ridden with these guys my first time through. All are here to enjoy a ride and help others through the tough bits. If they wanted to ride super fast, they’d have selected a different ride- instead they chose this one. Ask for help if you need it.
We’ll have a refreshment stop in Borrego Springs at Christmas Circle. Nearby is Chez Los Jilbertos Taco Shop where one can sample some of Borrego’s finest cuisine. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the ride, please, and we’ll have a few rest stops. Don’t get drunk or high, and yes that’s happened on group rides before. I'm sponsored by Brawndo, It's Got What Plants Crave, and I vote for Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho for President.
I’m uncertain about the time we’ll be back at the trucks- if all goes very smoothly, it could be 1 or 2 o’clock. If not, it could be 7pm- who knows? Feel free to bring cold and refreshing beverages and snacks for the end of the ride.
I’ll be at the meeting point close to 7:30am because I’m manic, hypervigilant, anxiety-driven and an early riser. Silver Toyota Tundra, black bike like the signature below, only more dirty and battered. The bike, too. I’ll have a few gallons of fuel in a can for those riding to the meeting spot. I’m terrible with names, even for whats-his-name that pony-tailed old guy riding sweep- please introduce yourself and tell me your name- which I’ll forget. Again.
This will be fun, guys, and thanks for the privilege of being your Instigator.