Living a few suburbs north of Seattle without a car or any in city cycling connections presents difficulties when it comes to riding with other people. Oddly enough there aren’t a ton of group rides happening in this city of 620k. The owners of my shop refuse to support a weekend group ride, could be his legal training, or it could be his WC (masters) track stripes, I don’t know. Who knows. Still you would think a city of this size, let alone one with a supposedly large cycling community, would offer plenty of group rides for those looking to meet some fresh faces.
Oddly enough, one of the only shops offering a consistent group ride is a small bike studio in Seattle’s Fremont area. I first heard of Cascade Bicycle Studios from Bill Strickland of Bicycling Magazine and Jeremy Dunn, formerly of Embrocation Cycling and one of minds behind Rapha’s blog.
When I first visited the CBS Fremont was located on ____ in a space roughly the size of a large in-house kitchen. They’ve since moved into a bigger space complete with bar, or at least a bench to sit at in front of the work stand which is stocked with couple bottles of red.
On a normal week the shop hosts two group rides; one for the late to work crowd on Thursdays and one for the those with the weekend off on Saturdays. But last week, being the end of cycling’s holy week, was no normal week so they added a ride for the holiest day of the cycling calendar. Paris – Roubaix.
I rode down to Fremont in the rain with the idea that I would somehow get over my real life shyness and meet a couple more people that I could maybe ride with. I failed on that account, but I did win a Gabba Jersey, my second one and a fine investment for the Northwest all but 3 months of the year.
The ride which was neither a race nor an organized group ride took us through… Well I don’t know because there are only two sections of Seattle I know well enough to say “Hey, I know where I am!”. We did ride up the bricked road pass “The Gum Wall” then through the roughest section of bricks/ cobbles (what I’ll call) that street that runs through Pike Place Market. From there we went into a section of town known as Queen Anne. There was lots of doubling back and lots of cobbled roads. I’d go back there if I could find my way.
I did my best to cling to the group of guys who knew where they were going. After three rides with these guys I can tell you that the best way to close that gap is to admit that if you don’t you’ll get lost. I’m going to try telling myself that if I ever race again.
The Day of Roubaix ended at the shop. Where I drank a several cups of coffee in an attempt to warm my soaked and freezing body. On a screen the actual race played out, though it was blurry because I didn’t bring my glasses with me then. There was a raffle with sick prizes (ie Gabba Jersey). Then the race watching started again. I said bye to Zach the owner and rolled my freezing ass home.
Well most the way home. I broke a spoke on 87th N and sought shelter in the nearby Safeway. Given what happened last time I broke a spoke I decided to bust out my Italian patch kit and call for a ride home.
I didn’t meet anyone new (my fault), but I did get to ride with people which is sometimes better than riding alone. I did break yet another spoke which is the fault of bad luck, but I still had a good time. I wish more shops did things like this. I wish the shop I work at wasn’t so worried about possible litigation and did something like this.
Before I moved up here Jeremy Dunn told me that great things are happening at CBS Fremont all the time. He was right.