Weekly rides bring cycling community together

Catonsville Times
The Hub will expand ride offerings this spring.

In addition to the rows and rows of bikes and gear The Hub C'Ville Bikes offers, the Frederick Road shop also gives riders, both new and experienced, the chance to meet up and ride with other cyclists from all over the area.

Shop staff guide rides all over the area multiple times a week.

And after a long winter, organizers are anticipating a bigger turnout than ever as spring arrives.

"It's an important part of the shop," said David Hewes, an avid cyclist and a Hub employee, of the rides the shop hosts every week.

The shop sells all the equipment a cyclist may need, but one of the most important things any cyclists needs, he said, is a community.

Scott Millar, a Catonsville resident for five years and cyclist for 14 who spent some time years ago working at The Hub, still rides once a week with a Hub group.

"I actually met most of the people up this way from the group rides," said Millar, an Annapolis native. He participates in The Hub's road rides, but the shop runs mountain biking excursions as well.

The biking community in Catonsville has always been big, Millar said, but it's growing even bigger. Part of that reason, he theorized, is the growing popularity of duathlons and triathlons.

In high school, "it was probably me and one or two other people who rode," he said. Now, "it's funny to go on Facebook and see how many people are doing triathlons or mountain biking or road riding."

"It's definitely growing," Hewes said. "[People] aren't seeing bikes as toys anymore."

As people look to find fun ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and cheaper, gas-saving alternatives to the daily commute, Hewes said, many are turning to cycling.

Whether the person has years of experience biking on all kinds of terrain or hasn't been on a bike in a decade or more, Hewes said, the Catonsville shop has an outing fit for everyone.

"We cover the gamut pretty well," he said.

The shop currently offers three regular rides each week. On Tuesdays at 6 p.m., riders meet at the store at 821 Frederick Road then head out for a hard workout Hewes calls a "drop ride."

"You either hang on or get dropped" he said. "There's no rest. It's definitely a training ride."

On Saturdays, at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. riders leave from the store's parking lot and ride south to the Ellicott City area. Saturday rides cater to both serious cyclists and the more casual, with the strenuous ride — about 40 miles at an average of 19 to 22 miles per hour — at 8 a.m.

In near future, the shop plans to start a Wednesday morning mountain bike ride and a Sunday afternoon mountain bike trip, both of which would head into nearby Patapsco Valley State Park for all-levels-welcome biking.

In the past, Hewes said, new cyclists may have been turned off by the more serious riders, who arrive ready to go in Lycra and riding $4,000 bikes.

But with the shop's outings catering to cyclists with a wide array of experience, Hewes says that no one should feel they are too new to the sport to give the riding groups a try.

In fact, he added, the newer the rider, the more valuable the experience might be.

"We sell a lifestyle," Hewes said, adding that participants do not have to have purchased their equipment from The Hub in order to participate in the rides.

For many new cyclists, the rides can be a great way to get more comfortable on the bike before heading out on long rides alone. .

"It's definitely better to have people around you," he said.

The social aspect helps as well. The cycling community is tightknit, Hewes said, but it's also very welcoming.

Advanced riders are always happy to give some help or advice to someone new to the sport.

In the end, Hewes said, "we don't care what you ride, just ride."

For information about the weekly excursions, call The Hub C'Ville Bikes at 410-747-7433

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