It's Wednesday morning, 12:30 a.m. to be exact, and I've never felt so ready to jump into bed. Locking up my bike and walking up the five steps through the backdoor of my dorm is an arduous task after a 30-mile bike ride, although the 15 miles to Krispy Kreme and back were well worth the fantastic grub and company. The few friends I tell of my Tuesday night cycling adventures rarely fail to give me "the look of awe," especially when I get to the part about the mileage. To be honest, I enjoy astounding outsiders who have never been on a ride, but I'd much rather encourage them to join the fun.
Every Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m., the Juggernauts, a casual cycling club, meet in the parking lot on the corner of 10th and Columbia, right outside McAllister Center. We spend 30 minutes catching up on one another's business, keeping up a solid banter, from tacos to birds to sick conversions, and then spend 20 minutes becoming antsy for the usual stragglers to arrive; we usually end up leaving around 9:00 p.m. A typical ride consists of about 18 to 30 miles of gradual inclines and some fairly steep, but extremely fun down-hills. The majority of the distance covered is flat road, so no worries if you're not a hill junkie. It's a good idea to build up a little endurance before embarking with these crazies, but it's well worth the conditioning. Everyone has a different pace, so meeting points are set up throughout the ride to ensure the safety of all riders.
The Juggernauts are a fantastic cluster of open, chatty and affirming people, but if you plan on becoming one anytime soon it's imperative that you harbor a serious love for donuts. Wearing a cape or mask, toting around a boom box, or sporting a pair of obscene-looking goggles is optional for acceptance, but most relationships are built via bickering over the last donut hole.
For the sake of convincing all hesitant individuals to try us out, there are some perks you should contemplate. For those of you who like to cycle on your lonesome, it's much safer to ride with a group. Riding in a mass makes you more visible to traffic, and if an accident were to occur, you have a sweet group of people there to assist you. Not to mention, riding later at night means you'll encounter fewer cars on the road; so fear not my fellow scaredy cats! Most Juggernauts will agree that their love for cycling stems from the knowledge that owning a two-wheeled machine is an awesome tool for meeting people. Not only does riding provide you with a rockin' body, but if you're looking for a way to expand your social horizons past the Claremont Colleges, the Juggernauts consist of a wide variety of people from Claremont and beyond. For the health nuts: it's exercise without the confinement of a gym and the monotony of running on a treadmill. As my good friend Kristen would say, "You don't realize it's a workout until the next morning." Also, you don't need money for gas! But if they started charging for air, I'm afraid I'd end up spending most of my dough on keeping my tires pumped.
Assuming you're thoroughly convinced and about to burst with a freakish anticipation for next Tuesday, hold your horses. A couple key reminders: don't forget to bring your donut money, please, please, please don't forget rear and front lights, and there's no shame in wearing a helmet. Helmet hair is way cooler than wind-blown hair.