I’ll be honest, group mountain bike rides are not my thing. Typically I like to ride alone or maybe with one, or two other people. Not that I am antisocial, well maybe a little bit, but mostly because it’s always so hard to get everyone together to pull a group ride off. So, when your local shop does all the planning and gathering, you really have no excuse not to attend. Especially when there is free food, beer and ice cream to follow.
White Pine Touring has been organizing shop rides for a number of years, but it wasn’t until recently that the party got started. In addition to leading co-ed group mountain bike rides every Thursday night throughout the summer, White Pine also hosts a free barbeque on the last Thursday of the month. This isn’t a feeble attempt at a hastily-organized BBQ with a handful of burnt hot dogs and lukewarm sodas. This is the real deal; with food and adult beverages provided by local vendors such as this year’s partners Red Bicycle Breadworks, Wasatch Creamery and Moab Brewery.
If I’m going to go on a group ride, I want to go on a “Group Ride.” I want lots of smiles, hooting, hollering, joking, and of course singletrack; lots of singletrack. When I get done I don’t want to get in my dinosaur recycler (aka car) and just drive home. I want to share a frosty beverage, maybe some food and bullshit about epic tales of singletrack heroics. This is what I have found the White Pine Thursday Night Ride and BBQ to be all about.
For the most part, Strava is turned off and people are just tuned in to having fun with their friends. There is no pomp and show here; just good people, great singletrack, hot food, cold beer and ice cream. This is the group ride I dreamt about as an aspiring mountain biker back in Michigan. This is the group ride I have read about in the pages of Dirt Rag and BIKE Mag. Maybe not this specific ride, but ones like it. Not a venue for people to one-up their fellow two-wheeled brethren, but a ride to build community. A ride to combat all the crap things happening in our world right now with a bit of happiness, freedom and adventure.
Am I a convert to the group ride? Maybe not completely, but I’m certainly enjoying the vibe I get when I attend one of these local events. If you have been questioning whether or not a group ride is for you, give White Pine’s Thursday Night Ride and BBQ a try. They host them the last Thursday in June, July and August, and everyone is welcome. Like me, you may be surprised just how much fun it is to share some singletrack, and an evening in the mountains with likeminded people who enjoy, bikes, beer and good times.
Scott House, Communications Director, Jans