Cycling is one of the most pleasureful and healthful activities you can participate in. You can ride even up into your very late years. Whether cycling solo or riding with a group, you are reaping great benefits for your mind and body.
Personally, I like riding with a group over being out there on the roads alone. I know of some you feel just the opposite.
You may not be able to ride with others because the time of day that you have available does not match their free time. You may live in an area where there are very few other riders.
You may go solo cycling simply because you want to be alone. You like being out with the elements listening to the birds and taking in the vista. You don’t want other riders to distract you. I understand that completely. I have had people on rides who talk my ear off. When I finish the ride I am worn out from listening to them. I get it.
Solo cycling is much better than not cycling at all.
What To Take With You
All rides, whether you are solo cycling or riding with a group, need to do some planning.
If you wait until the last minute to grab some things and head out, you will may leave behind something that you will find necessary later on during the ride. This is especially the case for new riders.
No one is going going to be with you, so there are some items you must take with you or be ready to call someone to collect you when a minor mechanical issue strikes.
Having a small saddlebag to carry the essentials is the best bet, or you can always tuck some things in your jersey.
I do not like saying or typing the word “puncture”, but they do happen. If your tire goes flat, you are going to need a spare tube. At least one. I carry two myself. Periodically inspect the spare tubes to make sure that they have not rubbed against the saddlebag and over time worn a hole in it. I suggest wrapping the tubes in an old sock. You might want to even pour a bit of talc powder inside.
You will need a small pump, or a CO2 cartridge and inflator.
Take along your phone so you can make a call if you need to.
While solo cycling it is best to have your rear and front lights mounted and turned on. Drivers can spot a group much easier than a lone rider.
Tuck a multi-tool into the bag as well. You never know when you might need to make an adjustment or minor repair.
You will do well to make sure that you checked you have everything you need for an enjoyable ride.
Besides the items in your saddlebag, you will do well to follow this checklist.
Your tires will probably need a bit of added pressure. They almost always do. So, inflate them to the proper psi.
If you haven’t lubed your chain in a week or so, wipe it off and lube it prior to this solo cycling ride.
Hydration bottles are some of the most forgotten items. Make sure they are filled with your fluid of the day. Place them in the bottle cages.
Check the weather so you can make sure that you have put on the proper kit (clothing) to fit the forecast.
You never know when you might need to pay for something on the ride. So, tuck some cash or a credit card into your jersey pocket.
The Ride Is Your’s to Manage
Solo cycling places you in control of the ride. You can go where you want and you can stop along the way anytime and anywhere. That is the freedom of rolling down the route alone.
You may like starting the ride not knowing where you will end up or how to get there. Sounds like an adventure. I like to know where I am headed. My sense of direction can sometimes get me in trouble. So I normally have a route laid out.
Either way, there are some cycling apps that are very useful, especially when cycling alone. A navigation app loaded on your headset (cyclometer) or phone can be very useful. There are some that give you voice commands where to turn so you are free to concentrate on the road and scenery and not be looking at a digitized map. There are a couple of apps that have annotations telling you where other cyclists have been chased by dogs, where the surface is problematic, and where there are shops to refuel and take on fresh liquid.
When solo cycling there is no one to keep up with or lead, you can stop to take photos anywhere you please.
Who knows, you might even happen upon another solo rider and chat for a bit.
You are in charge, do your own thing.
Solo cycling and cycling in groups each have their own safety challenges.
When you are cycling alone there will not be anyone to warn you of cars coming up from behind, or up ahead for that matter. You won’t have anyone in front of you shouting “holes” or “gravel”. So, be extra vigilant.
If heavens forbid, you do have a sudden health issue and emergency services need to be called. You may or may not be able to give them vital information. I always ride with my RoadID band around my wrist. I suggest that you do the same. By using the weblink or phone number on the RoadID, emergency personnel can quickly access your medical history, medications, and a contact person. It could be a lifesaver.
Stay In Contact
You may not want to have other riders with you, but I am guessing there is a spouse or friend who would like to know where you are headed. When you are gone longer than expected, they would like to know where to begin to look for you.
Of course, you will have your phone with you. They can always call. Some of us do not like to answer the phone on a ride. I love being able to pair my Wahoo Element with my phone so caller IDs show up on my headset.
There are apps that let your contact person know when you have stopped for a longer than usual amount of time. Others show your progression along your route.
You enjoy your freedom. There are those who love you and also want to know where you are if you are gone longer than expected. Have a way for them to contact you or know your location.
Enjoy your solo cycling. It can be quite emotionally rewarding and pleasant.
Be safe out there!