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Summer is here — let's get riding

Hey Velorosa, it’s time to earn that sweet, sweet biker’s tan.

We all like challenging ourselves on our bikes and a great way of doing that is riding with others.

Maybe you and a friend are planning an awesome bike camping adventure. Or maybe you want to join a fast group ride and see if you can stay with the peloton.

This is arguably the funnest time of year to get out on two wheels. Everything is flourishing and your friends are hopping on their bikes too.

If you’re looking to join a faster group ride or if it’s been a while since you biked with others — we’ve got some tips for you. And, we have a new monthly Velorosa group ride to announce with Kinship Brewing!

Building confidence in group riding

Like many Iowans — Karolyn Jones Zeller first learned how to ride in a group through RAGBRAI

From there, she was invited to different road rides around Des Moines, but struggled to keep up.

“I got dropped — hard,” Karolyn said.

But instead of letting up, she kept going and finding groups of people to join.

Years later, it’s old hat to her.

Her big tip is finding people who ride around the same pace as you. Naturally, your speed will start progressing and you’ll feel more comfortable biking in faster groups.

“It is this amazing feeling of being swept away,” Karolyn said. It’s bigger than yourself.”

For Erika Egge York, the Monday Night No-Drop Rides helped her learn how to draft and ride in an echelon. She first started group riding when she became interested in road racing and knew she needed to be able to ride in a pack.

“My cadence went up,” Erika said. “My comfort level of riding close in a group and in a pack went up.”

Her big advice is keeping your eyes up and being constantly aware of what’s going on around you. Especially when you’re riding in a close group, you need to anticipate what other riders are doing and be cognizant of where everyone’s wheels are at.

Where to find group rides

If you’re looking for a group ride. Even if it’s not hosted by Velorosa, it’s likely you’ll find a fellow lady on one of these rides who’s more than happy to help you out. And if it’s going to be your first time joining one of these, post in our Facebook group and we’re happy to help you out!

A long-standing paved ride is the Monday no-drop ride that starts at the parking lot behind Jethro’s off Park Avenue. Show up at 5:45 p.m. and leave at 6 p.m.

It’s exactly what it says — this is a great, fast-paced ride that averages a minimum of 14 miles per hour, but there are spots to regroup if you get left behind.

If you’re looking to pull out your mountain bike, this ride hosted by the Central Iowa Trail Association cycles between fun single track at Sycamore, Ewing and Center. Meet at the Rose Garden parking lot near the Des Moines Arts Center. It leaves at 6 p.m. starting June 7.

Put your gravel bike to use every Thursday with the Gravel Gals. There’s a ride that typically leaves around 5:45 p.m. from Cumming Tap every week, though people are frequently organizing rides for other days as well.

Lifetime Fitness Thursday group rides

LifeTime Fitness hosts outdoor group rides on Thursdays starting at the Waukee trail head off Hickman Road. There are three different length and speed levels: An A group that leaves at 5:30 p.m. for 35 miles, a B group that leaves at 5:45 p.m. for 25 miles and a C group that also leaves at 5:45 p.m. for 15 miles. Anyone can join these rides!

This is a fast group ride that leaves at 6 a.m. Fridays from the Caribou parking lot off Ingersoll Avenue. The A group averages a minimum of 18 miles per hour, while there’s sometimes a B group that rides at a slower pace. If you’re interested in road racing and want to get some practice in with some pros, this is the ride for you.

Velorosa Facebook

Our Facebook group is a great way to either find a ride or invite some ladies to bike with you! Just give a date, time, location, distance and average pace you want to do and there will likely be someone who’s interested in joining up!

And a new ride we’re excited to announce:

We’re going to host our own Velorosa no-drop rides with Kinship Brewing in Waukee! Starting June 17, we will host monthly rides starting at 6 p.m. at Kinship Brewing that go between an hour to an hour and a half. We’ll have gravel and road options available and both rides will return around the same time for drinks and socializing!

Save the dates: June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16

Some good tips from Ride Right:

  • If your eyes are on your phone, they’re not on the road

  • Don’t use headphones to ensure you can hear around you

  • Pay attention to debris on the road to avoid accidents

  • Use hand signals to let people know when you’re stopping and turning

  • Ride straight and in a predictable manner

  • Communicate and say when you’re passing other riders, when you’re stopping and when you’re turning

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