Welcome to Fast Thursdays — Won't You Join Us?
One of the things that I love about riding bikes in the summer in New York City is there are so many opportunities to go fast and be social at the same time. Most of them, however, are for and by men.
For a long time, Tuesday night Floyd Bennett Field races didn’t have a women’s field (this has recently changed, and we’re excited about it!). The Rockleigh crit on Thursday nights does not run a women’s field. The Prospect Park series of races have not included a women’s field for several years now. Women, trans, and gender non-conforming folx are always welcome to join these events, but we are largely outsiders who have to find a way to conform to the pace and the flow of the dominant group.
It’s a challenge that some welcome, but no one is under the impression that these are races or rides designed for or by FTWGNC folk. In my experience, I am capable of hanging on to the back of a men’s field or going on a big ride with a group of cis men, but that means being at threshold or above the whole time just trying to hang on. Sometimes, I want to go hard without killing myself. I want a challenge without feeling like a fish out of water (exactly the right analogy for the feeling of being this close to getting dropped by a surging peloton full of men).
Our team wanted a way for us and our friends to get out and enjoy the long summer evenings that felt by and for people like us — so we started something.
Welcome to Fast Thursdays. (Cooler name pending.) On Thursdays through the summer, we will meet at 6:15 at the GWB, roll down river road, ride just past state line, then turn around and crush 9W all the way back. It’s a challenging group ride started by women, and directed at FTWGNC people who want to ride hard, be social, and make the most of summer’s post-8pm sunsets. It’s not an intro ride, and isn’t being billed as “no drop,” but neither is it designed to leave people in the dust. There are two regroup points along the way. Both racers and non-racers alike are welcome, regardless of any team or group affiliations. We want people to be able to meet and ride together outside of their normal team or group bubble.
After two weeks of foiled plans due to scheduled downpours on Thursday evenings, we finally got to ride this week. And it was a hit! We had seven people, which is the perfect amount for feeling like you’re in a group without feeling overwhelmed by that group. I was tired after, but I wasn’t totally beat. I was the last one up the alpine climb on River Road. Then I PR’ed up the Observatory climb in a completely unnecessary effort to prove myself (to myself). I got to chat with people I’ve known for a long time, but never had the chance to go on a long ride with. By the end, I found myself sweaty and sticky in the summer air, in a mostly pleasant sort of way.
Best of all, I got home and felt like I had really made the most of my day.
If you’re interested in joining, email email@example.com and I’ll add you to the Google Group.