I’ve ridden with friends before, but this time, I decided to take things to the next level and lead my first group ride! With a small group of friends, google maps, bike share bikes and a pizza craving, this route had the potential of being really awesome or a complete disaster.
It pains me to say that most of my friends don’t bike often, or even own a personal bicycle. Luckily, many of them are usually willing to hop on a bike every once in a while to figure out why I seem to enjoy it so much. (Thanks, guys!) Typically when I ride with other people that do not ride often or are unfamiliar with the area, I try to cater to their needs and make the ride as enjoyable as possible. This includes things like; flat routes, convenient destinations, shorter distances, and appropriate ride times.
Since this was my first time leading a small group ride around downtown Atlanta, I decided to do some preplanning. There was only one person out of six that had their own bicycle, so my first task was finding enough bikes for everyone. The new Atlanta bike share bicycles were a perfect option for a group of our size. I looked up which docking stations had the most bikes available and based our meeting location on the location of the bikes. I chose the Woodruff park location because it had the most bikes available and it is fairly easy to find once you’re in the downtown area.
Next, I had to start planning the route. This didn’t take long since I knew this would be a quick ride and I wanted to ride around sunset to avoid the summer heat. I decided to ride to Max’s Coal Oven Pizza to accommodate all of the dietary restrictions in the group, and because I was craving pizza! From our starting location, the route traveled through downtown’s tourist area which I figured would create a more scenic route.
Once everything was planned out, I sent everyone the meetup time, route, and link to download the bike share app.
I arrived at our meeting location 20 minutes early so that I had time to do a quick ride through of the route I planned. This was super helpful because I discovered potholes to avoid, huge downhills and where to lock our bikes. Once my friends arrived everyone picked out their ride and we walked over to the car-less Broad Street to get started. I gave some tips on how to ride, turn, stop and things to watch for along the way. Since there were no cars on the street we were on, everyone used that time to get acquainted with the bikes and ride around a bit.
Finally, It was go time! We hopped on the bikes and rode through the streets of downtown. I must say, everything turned out really well! The bikes were able to accommodate everyone and the ride was a good enough distance and pace for the group to stay together. We all made it to the pizza place and enjoyed a break before heading back to return the bikes.
With one successful group ride under my belt, I am ready to start planning the next one! Want to know more about how I put together the ride? Feel free to comment, email or tweet me @drifflo and don’t forget to follow the blog on Instagram.