Sure bicyclists have great calf muscles and snazzy lycra shorts, but the sportâ€™s real thrill is the ride.
â€œThe joys of bike riding have been expounded on by many poets and philosophers much greater than myself,â€ said Chafin Rhyne, owner of Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shoppe in downtown Lincolnton.
That said, when Rhyne does expound, he says his love of bicycling is based on how closely it connects him with the outside world.
â€œI believe the speed at which you cycle, youâ€™re amongst your surroundings, youâ€™re in your environment,â€ said Rhyne.
Heâ€™s not the only bicycle lover in Lincolnton. There are organized rides held six days a week.
People come from a variety of counties to join in on the exercise and socializing.
â€œTheyâ€™re a good group to ride with, so I ride with them,â€ said Luther Ashby, who lives in Hudson County. â€œThey donâ€™t run off and leave me.â€
The group rides are open to people with a variety of skill levels, although some require road bikes, and they all require helmets.
â€œYou learn a lot riding with these guys,â€ said Chuck Costner, who rides Wednesday nights. â€œThey can kind of coach you.â€
With the weather turning warmer and spring in the air, more rides have been added and more bicyclists are attending.
â€œI just enjoy it,â€ said Brenda Cloninger, a bicyclist. â€œItâ€™s just the social part of it â€” you meet new people and get together with friends.â€
With nine different rides happening every week, thereâ€™s something for everyone.
All rides start behind Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shoppe and are advertised as â€œego-free.â€
For those who enjoy a moderate pace, Sundayâ€™s Open Road Ride is the place to be. Two groups meet at 1:30 p.m. Group one takes a short loop of about 15 miles. Group two generally takes a longer route that can be up to 40 miles.
Open Road Rides are also held on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. The Wednesday ride is advertised as having â€œHills, hills and more hills â€¦ Ouch!â€
Athletic women might want to check out the Womenâ€™s Bicycle Ride, which takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. The casual ride is usually 15 to 20 miles.
Everyone Wednesday at 6 p.m. is the Dinner Ride/Tinaâ€™s Loop.
The causal ride is for the â€œwine and cheese crowdâ€ and lasts 17 miles. Dinner follows afterwards at the Court Street Grill in downtown Lincolnton.
On Monday a group joins for the Recovery Ride.
Every biker is required to have a helmet, water bottles, equipment, cell phone and the know-how to fix a flat.
Need help? Visit Rhyne at his Lincolnton shop.
When there, you might also inquire about an upcoming bike trip to Switzerland.
A Lincolnton-organized group plans to take a 10-day bike tour of the country in August.
There are also plans to hit The Montreal Bikefest, which is the largest bicycle event on the continent. That trip is set for June.
For more information call Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shoppe at (704) 735-1746.
by Sarah Grano