On Saturday, I biked in the Xtreme Biker’s Association’s 14th annual “Xtreme Bike to the Shore” — a 78 mile charity ride from Philadelphia to Avalon, New Jersey.
The Memorial Day weekend Saturday ride is popular among the financial services crowd, too.
I met a bunch of cyclists from private equity firms, hedge funds and investment banking. There were a couple that could probably give Dan Loeb and Bill Ackman a run for their money on their bikes.
I’ve never been on a road bike in my life. I can’t even remember the last time I was on a bike before this ride.
But the ride was for a great cause. It helped raise funds for Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, a brand new independent, Catholic college prep school for students of all faiths who cannot otherwise afford a private education.
I’ve included highlights from my trip in the slides that follow as well as some tips.
We convened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the start of the race. The temperature was in the high 40s so I had to dress in layers. I'm really glad I did, too.
These were the only 'bike shorts' I had. I liked that they were bright so the traffic could see me, but I made the huge mistake of not having padding. Padding is crucial for long distance rides. Period.
Before the start, everyone gathered around this van for directions. The van trailed the pack of cyclists to help out anyone in need.
The first be challenge was getting across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I was just getting used to my road bike at this point. I think I rode my brakes down the whole downhill part of the bridge.
When I felt my energy stores starting to deplete, I would pull out my honey Stingers. They were a lifesaver.
I would also recommend wearing gloves with padding or gel. After a while, your wrists start to get sore.
After lunch, I got separated from the pack and hit a sandy patch on the shoulder of the road and flew over my handlebars. I got pretty banged up and my bike was messed up too.
Luckily, this kind man and his wife were having a yard sale across the street! He happened to be a cyclist and adjusted by bike.
I got back on the road and was much more cautious after falling. I was relieved when I pulled up at our last stop at the Custard Ranch.
I did make it! I tied for last place with another cyclist, but that didn't matter. I was glad I finished.
Then we enjoyed a well-deserved post-ride barbecue in Stone Harbor in Avalon. Next year, I'm going to train ahead of time and have the proper equipment.
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