‘Alright mate, we riding today?’
‘Yeah, usual time, just a steady couple of hours eh?’
‘Yep, great, steady’
‘That’s right, easy pace, see you in a bit’
‘OK. Nothing too quick, great. See you then’
So that’s that. A steady ride arranged, just a couple of hours at an easy pace, what could be simpler? Except there’s more to it than that. This is a classic case of two normal everyday cyclists setting the bar nice and low and leaving plenty of wiggle room.
An ‘easy ride’ is in the eye of the beholder. We all (well, most of us anyway) have those friends with whom an ‘easy ride’ is the only kind we will share with them, because their easy is, in reality, your ‘er-actually-that’s-really-rather-quick-to-be-honest’.
It goes unspoken but you both know it.
If you are now thinking that two grown men shouldn’t really need to play these silly mind games, you are obviously not a cyclist. In fact, you are probably not a man either. It comes down to pride, stubbornness and a pathological refusal to acknowledge weakness even when it’s staring you both in the face.
If no-one mentions it, no feelings get hurt.
In theory, if the pace of a ride were too fast, the slower rider could simply pipe up with something like, ‘I say old chap, would you mind terribly easing off a touch, your pace today is a bit too quick for me.’
In practice, the slower rider says nothing and struggles, suffers and curses under their breath. At which point it gets personal.
The slower rider thinks ‘I see, that’s your game; pretend we’re out for an easy ride and then make me look a fool!’ Pride is now wounded. ’If I wasn’t busy hyperventilating I’d ride right up alongside you and give you a piece of my mind!’
The quicker rider is thinking ‘what’s up with this clown today, he’s well off the pace, and if I take it any easier I’ll be less fit when I get home than when we set off!’
But at the end of the ride, as you head your separate ways, it’s:
‘Nice one, enjoyed that’
‘Yep, great ride’
‘Same time next week, steady pace?’
‘Nice and easy. Sounds great’