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Anonymous's picture

"Some years ago, when a mountain bike was my main ax, I signed up to lead a New Year’s Day ride to Scarsdale. But what seemed like a good idea proved less so with morning temps in the single digits.

[Also, this being 5BBC a few years ago, there was no bulletin board to post a cancellation. Protocol was for the leader to show up at the start and apologize/explain the rationale. One could show up sans bike if one truly wanted to pre-empt negotiation.]

At 9:10 AM, standing alone on the Van Cortlandt Park platform, I was feeling grateful for the collective sanity of NY’s cycling community, when the local disgorged a similarly outfitted rider named Jim Z.

I asked what could possibly propel him to leave the house on such a frigid Sunday morning. Jim replied that it was his 50th birthday and this was his present to himself ...

Amending, we were well layered, it was sunny and the hills would keep us warm. Matched in pace, it was a nice ride up. But I started to flag on the Bronx return, while Jim was happily zipping along. In hindsight, a 40 lb. MTB on a hilly Westchester cue wasn't the wisest, but you’re only middle aged once.

I've since evolved to clipless, gore-tex and chamois [was real nervous before my first NYCC ride, till I saw everyone wearing Depends ... ] but Jim Z. is happily leading B15 centuries on the same $400 hybrid. I’ve offered to outfit him a road, but he remains steadfast to his leviathon.

Last Sunday, coming back from Rockland Lake, I met Jim coming off the GWB from his Palisades bike/hike and we elected to share the greenway down. He must've had a lot of energy left 'cause, with two broken spokes and pads rubbing, he pulled 19 going down.

So, I wonder how fast Jim might go if he were to trade in the cruiser for a Soloist, ditch the baggies and sign up for the Classic. Hypothetically, I came up with the following (feel free to do alternate calculations):

fleece to spandex +5%
platform to clipless +10%
hybrid to road + 20%
solo to paceline + 20%

15 mph * 1.55 = 23+ mph [Jim Z. ... meet John Z.]

And if the improvements are compounded instead of simply added [15 mph * 1.05 * 1.1 * 1.2 * 1.2] we get Jim notching centuries at an A25 pace.

So, the next time you pass a middle aged, back-packed rider soldiering up and down 9W, have a touch of respect.

And if you say anything, be sure to compliment the ride.




Soloist Team

The Man with Rubber Pedals

Scroll to the bottom.


Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)

Great story, Neile. On a similar note, I wonder how strong some of NY's bike delivers would do on a club ride with a nice bike. These guys ride rusting mountain bikes with knobbies every day, rain/snow/shine and often tear around with four bags of Chinese food hanging off their handlebars at 15 mph. Wearing street clothes.

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