Riding in a group comes with many benefits, namely having a bit of company and having people to keep you out of the wind when it’s not your turn to suffer.
But riding alone can also be enjoyable, offering riders the peace and quiet of the road and a little ‘me time’ that we all crave every so often.
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And with riding solo very much being recommended at the moment, it makes more sense too.
So here are a few reasons by heading out on your own is brilliant.
You can go where you want
When you’re riding on your own you only have to think about yourself and not cater the route to other riders who may be riding with you. You don’t have to avoid that one steep climb you’ve fancied having a go at but your mate doesn’t like hills.
The only thing that matters is what you want to do and if you only want to do a quick 20 miles then that’s absolutely fine.
You can go when you want
One of the worst things about riding in a group is waiting for everyone to turn up. There is always one that turns up half an hour later than the meeting time.
Riding alone means you can get changed, fill your bottles, get everything prepared and then just set off at your leisure.
It’s even worse if you plan to meet somewhere en route, because you know they’ll be late and don’t want to be standing in the cold for ages, but at the same time you can’t risk being the one who’s late.
Solo riding, though, means you can head out whatever time you want and just keep pedalling from the minute you leave the house.
You can stop as many times as you want
Is there a stunning view or lovely vista you want to grab a quick pic or for the gram? Want to check where on earth you’e actually ended up? Too tired to go on? That is all fine when you’re on your own.
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You not going to hold anyone up when you’re alone and no-one will care if you stop 10 times on your ride to enjoy the views. Do that in a group ride, though, and people will start to get annoyed, unless your riding group are all die-hard Insta users.
It’s easier to stick to a training plan
If you have a training plan you want to stick to, or you’re taking on a challenge like the CW5000, then you may want to be doing it on your own anyway, unless your group are all on the same objective and all driven to one goal, which would be unusual.
All good training comes from a plan and if you’re doing a different plan to your riding companions then things can get a bit disjointed.
If you’re looking to concentrate on interval splits then cycling on your own is definitely the best way. Get your head down and it’ll all go to plan.
It gives you time to think
This has to be one of the biggest bonuses of riding solo, it gives you time to either really let off steam or to just trundle along in nature and clear your mind from whatever has been getting to you over the weeks or months before.
While group rides are excellent for socialising, the constant chat can get in the way of actually enjoying yourself, which is sometimes all you want to do on a ride.
You can’t get dropped
One of the worst feelings is when you’re dropped by your mates. You go as hard as you can and its still not enough and then you get the ‘good natured joshing’ from said mates at the top of the climb afterwards.
Even if you bonk while riding on your own there’s no-one that will have to wait for you to catch up all the time. Pedal as slowly as you want to get home and then don’t tell anyone what happened…easy!
You do always have the danger of being passed by another lone rider though, which can give you the similar frustrated feeling.
You can abandon when you want
Not feeling it when out on the bike? Just turn round and head home when you want if you’re on your own. When you ride with other people you feel an obligation to reach the end of the pre-determined route. When you’re on your own you can sack it off whenever you want.
If you’re too far from home, just dive into your local train station and head back to your house.
You’ll win all the intermediate sprints
Lots of us have that one cycling friend who is, quite simply, better than you. You try all you can to use tricky tactics and surprising attacks to beat them on a climb or that sign post sprint, but you never manage it.
Go out on your own, though, and you can raise your arms in victory each time you get to the top of a hill. Unless some random person overtakes you on the way up…then you’re not a winner.