Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hierarchy of San Antonio Riding Groups

This post is not meant to insult anyone or anygroup, it is simply a guide based on the experiences of one rider with various groups found in and around San Antonio. As always, your mileage may vary or in other words your experience may be different. This guide will be organized from fastest to leisurely.

Groups are fluid, members change and so does speed. Groups that at one time were crazy fast may become leisurely and vice-versa. I believe what is paramount is to find a group that caters to your needs in training and in camraderie. It may be that Britton's Ladies only ride is the one for you. Or it may be that you like the STORM Thursday Night stay-together ride that is crazy fast that starts at Broadway Bike World around 7:30.

Of course the fastest I know are the ones that smoked me so bad it left me spinning arond in circles at the intersection. The first time this ever happened was when I had recently upgraded to look pedals and I thought since I was in marathon shape that I could hang with the big dogs. Wrong!!! I got dropped before we even headed away from Camp Bullis of course this was back in the day before 9/11 and the bases in and around SA extending their protection zones.

The first of this type was the Spectrum Club Ride, start locale is off 1604 and Rogers Ranch in North San Antonio. 8:00 AM start. Before I knew it I was alone even though I had plenty of visibility I had no earthly idea where this group had headed off to. I eneded up going on Babcock and Scenic loop up there and met up with the group going in the opposite direction coming back from Boerne.

Next in the hierarchy is Bike City Chain Reaction A true all-level group with a stay together mentality and safety at the forefront where with some other groups even the ride leader drops you like a hot potato. A for instance was when more mileage was being discussed decisions were made based on the fact that there is safety in numbers and we should stay with the big group rather than venture out alone or with just two riders. The wolf pack is the fastest and their average MPH on even long rides is 20 or 21 miles an hour. Sporting team members for national teams. A true challenge to hang with these guys and gals. The slower paced groups are stay together groups with reduced speed and distance with some of the kindest souls you'll find around this area. Start locales are easily accessible in and around San Antonio.

Next are the San Antonio Wheelmen, where normally the group going the furthest is the fastest. You are expected to be self-sufficient on your rides although maps inform of where the ice-houses are where beverages and sustenance can be purchased. Normally three distances are offered and groups are formed at the pre-ride briefing and helmets are required. Come and hone your group riding skills with some of the shorter distance groups. You probably want to have your stuff consolidated if you're riding with the fastest/longest group or else you'll be informed of it when you ride. Stay-together-rides are offered at various start locations. Childrens rides are done quarterly in conjunction with other rides. Safety briefing training is offered occasionally 30 minutes before the ride start at some rides. The wheelmen sponsor a premier tour, The Easter Hill Country Tour that is shared with four other Texas organizations and has some of the highest attendance of tours in the adjacent countryside normally staged out of Kerrville/Fredericksburg.

Britton's Bicycle Shop and another Bicycle Heaven are up there in speed and distance although I wouldn't show up to these rides with a missmatched kit or your old beater that you use in the rain and ice of South Texas :-^ or you'll give them the opportunity for a good laugh or be left in the dust. I hear that the Tuesday night Ladies Only ride out of Britton's is tops where one can come and be one of the fastest bellas on the road. Rides start at the shops.

Cycle Logic rounds out the top as one of fastest Their Sunday morning ride that is used to train for Bike to the Beach 150 is a staple in my training for a short but fast ride. A fun group of mostly guys (don't ask me why just guys, but most of the ladies only come to visit). Allan goes way out of his way to make everyone feel welcome and being a pro-mountain biker turned wrench you'll get the best advice around on upgrading, trading-in or trading-up from your current machine. The only Caloi dealer in Texas which I'm personally biass since that is my ride. A mountain bike series is held at McCallister in the off-season. Rides start at the shop.

The Hill Country Touring Group is the perfect choice for that friendly leisurely ride you may be looking for on a moderate length ride. I'm having trouble finding their presence on the web, excercise your search prowess and you're in for a good find.

Some local churches have beginner rides offered, Community Bible Church off 1604 and Northwood Presbyterian Hike and Bike in Northwood Estates Area off of Harry Wurzbach. Mostly monthly events with one big event for the year out of town.

Please feel free to add your comments as to why one or more of these should be listed differently. YMMV.

Monday, May 01, 2006


You know I'm not the fastest arrow in the quiver, but I do enjoy getting faster. So last week I had a peak week, but no race to go test myself so I went and did a time trial on a route that I've timed myself very accurately for the past 8 months.

I was feeling real good at the turn around point of 16 miles having averaged 18.2 miles an hour and 17.3 for the whole thing (29 miles). I thought well maybe I am improving.

So are my friends though:-) here's how I know.

Took a buddy out with Bike City Chainreaction, very nice group multiple levels that are pretty stricktly adhered to. The wolf pack is truly fast the other groups are slower and do shorter routes.

Again, I was feeling really good when at 34 miles I had averaged 20.5 miles an hour and then at the end I ended up with 17 overall avearge for the 55 miles.

My buddy averaged 21 for the whole 55. Ouch!

Yes, I'm getting better, but my buddies are kickin' it! I don't know what to say...