Solidarity versus Solitude

Venus de MilesYesterday I rode in the Venus de Miles. It’s a women’s bike ride in its third year here in Boulder County. Riders can chose from 3 distances: 33 miles, 51 miles or 67 miles (a metric century). Since the longest ride I’d ever done when I signed up was 27 miles, and since I didn’t want to be out there all day, I registered for the 33 mile option. This ride is billed as a celebration of sisterhood, and all that good jazz (and it is).

At the recommendation of some other handcyclists, I started with the longer ride participants – the 67 mile riders started between 7:00 – 7:30, the 51 mile riders between 8:00 – 8:30, and the 33 mile riders not until 9:00. The rationale is that because as a handcyclist I am slower than just about all bicyclists, it’s a good idea to get a head start.

Because of this, for about half the course there were many other riders around me, and for the second half I was pretty much by myself, as the other 33 mile riders weren’t there yet. I was surprised to discover that I was much happier, mentally, on the second half, even though I think of myself as a very socially-oriented extrovert.

In the first half, I was just being passed constantly. Passed by very encouraging, friendly women, but passed nonetheless.

In the second half, with no one around to compare myself to, I didn’t feel as bad.



  1. Jennifer Fitz


    Absolutely yes yes yes.

  2. che koala

    I agree with Jennifer!

  3. debe

    Totally love the fact you are “out there!” and doing such a good supportive thing FOR YOURSELF!

    I would Love the quiet of a solitary ride…

  4. Katja (Post author)

    Thanks, guys. This discovery has been a huge shock to me. Now it could be that if I could find one or two other people who can go as slow as I can, I’d re-discover my love for company on rides.

  5. Beth

    Katja, you continue to amaze me…

  6. Elizabeth McClung

    Congrats on the ride and increasing your longest distance done. I concur, being passed constantly isn’t companionship. I think the fact that none of the riders altered speed to match your indicated that. I am glad you enjoyed the ride.

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