RECAP: Ride #1, Atlanta WBL





Holy Cow.  If Ride #1 is any indicator for Season 6 of the Atlanta WBL, then we are off to a phenomenal start.  A crowd of 105 riders kicked off this season, with about 25-30% being 1st-timers. And, after a week of rainy days back-to-back-to-back, everyone was itching to get on their bikes, just like me.  Even though it was a bit chilly at the start, it most definitely warmed up, with countless riders peeling off layers throughout the ride.

ust because we had a fantastic turnout for Ride #1, we know there are endless riders out there who would love to ride in an environment like this.  Help us continue to spread the word; invite folks to follow our Atlanta WBL Facebook page, follow my Blog and sign up for this email list.

Though it was only a one hour, forty minute ride time, the buzz about another season and how new riders showed up, seemed to flow in and out of conversations.  With the smallest group size, the A group took off with half a dozen and I jumped in with them for the first 15 minutes or so of the ride.  Seeing how new Ride Leader Max McAlister and seasoned Ride Leader Brian Ballingall kept the small herd under control, I peeled off a u-turn and hunted down the B groups.

Keeping with tradition, the B groups were once again the largest of all our groups.  If we had a few more Ride Leaders, then I would have had three groups versus two; would have been a much better group size. Hey, it’s a nice problem to have!!  After riding with the B1 group a bit, I once again peeled off and met up with the B2 group.  For both of them, I positioned myself a bit up the road so I could grab some video.  Seeing them come over the rise and then buzzing right by me, was pretty cool; they were riding a fantastic double pace line the entire time.

OK, enough of the B2 group.  I was about to peel off yet again to track down the C groups, when a few hundred yards up ahead, there they were.  Wished I had caught them a bit earlier and ride longer with them.  Next ride…

All that to say, Ride #1 was almost my perfect WBL ride; getting to ride with all the groups.  I wouldn’t be able to do this without great Ride Leaders who I know are doing a great job.

Speaking of Ride Leaders, the previous Saturday we held a Ride Leader training session, which resulted in adding five new Ride Leaders to our team.  Not only that, but there were 7 other seasoned Ride Leaders give up their time to come out and help facilitate the training…which always make a huge difference.  They seem to remember all the things I forget to mention, as well as constantly making suggestions of a tweak here and there to make the Atlanta WBL even better.

That said, we could STILL use about 4-5 more new Ride Leaders.  We already have one rider volunteer but we will hold off on scheduling another training, until we have 2 or 3 more to step up.

Since there has been new construction, etc. in the area, parking has become a little issue.  There is free parking on the bridge (a 1/4 mile away) but that is only for 2 hrs; that would have worked only for Ride #1.  There are several parking lots adjacent to our start but there is a cost.  We are already looking into other potential locations that has more parking AND indoor restrooms.  U-Haul has be fantastic in allowing us access to their bathrooms.

Also, there is a barber shop across from the U-Haul and when you arrive, if you see any open spots, please be respectful and leave those for barber shop customers.

Please make sure your bicycle is in good working condition.  If you have not had it serviced at a local bike shop, then we urge you to do so.  Just like your vehicles, if you take care of your bike, it  will take care of you; don’t let your unserviced bike force you to stop during the ride and prevent you from riding; we see this every year.  Our Ride Leaders are not mechanics, so please don’t expect them to fix your bike.

Make sure you have everything you need to repair any punctures and the knowledge to repair them yourself; this is customary for any group ride you attend.  That said, I will hold a “quick” Flat Tire changing clinic, that will take place prior to the 9:15am Ride Meeting; be on the outlook for dates/times.

I heard riders, for years, talk about showing up for rides over the winter months being advertised as a ‘winter pace’.  Unfortunately, reality was they were about a mile or two slower than the middle of the summer (depending upon who showed up) and these folks were dropped like a bad habit right from the parking lot.  Of course, that’s no fun and very discouraging.  The other part was realizing so many hung their bikes up for the winter and then dusted them back off in April to start riding again.  The only problem was hearing their comments about it taking so long to get back to the point where they stopped riding and how frustrating that was for them.  Well, after telling myself for (literally) years, that I was going to do something about that, I finally did…six seasons ago.

Another huge component of designing how this WBL functions, my goal was to create an environment, so that riders would be able to learn group riding dynamics and develop their skill levels and confidence to ride in close proximity to others.  Here is a Facebook post I got right after Ride #1 on Saturday:

     “Thank you Atlanta WBL for a great first ride!! I was nervous going in having never ridden in a pace line, afraid I wouldn’t keep up, totally skeptical of actually being able to rotate. Not                  
      anymore! I will be back eager to keep learning! Thanks Amanda for the awesome lead!”  

THIS is the reason why I created this series!!!  Nuff said…

I don’t mind working hard but I always love to have a bit of fun mixed in there; the WBL is no different.  In Ride #1 Blog post, I talked about a contest where riders would get points for every person they invited.  Just a reminder to not forget to physically tell me at the ride who invited you and/or if you invited someone who came out.  $250 worth of coaching awaits the winner at the end of this Season 6 with a Climbing and Shifting session.  For all those who have taken these, they know just how much of a game-changer these were to, not only their physical ability to ride more efficient, but also for the ‘Fun Factor’ of riding.  OK, the ball’s in your court; you know what to do…

Since I am the one running my mouth most the time, I rarely get chances to grab my phone and take candids and video.  SO, I am asking that after any ride that you participate in, you post any pictures or video you were able to take for that ride and post on our Atlanta WBL Facebook page  so everyone can share in the fun.

A HUGE Thanks to every rider who came out to kick off our Season 6.  We appreciate you choosing to ride with us and the best compliment for us is that you come back again and again…AND you bring some new folks with you.

See you December 1st for Ride #2.  Ride time will be 2 hrs and the ride average will increase by 0.5mph for each group.

Coach Robert…


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