This is a very lengthy post, however, I hope you’ll consider it a worthy investment of time.

As the leader of this club, I am tasked with creating and nurturing a culture for a group of more than 800 people who have a variety of divergent opinions about cycling, respect for others, the law, what constitutes “fun,” what’s okay and not okay, etc. It’s a real challenge to find a middle ground.

Ultimately, I rely on a couple of things: “life’s golden rule” and “soulful pride.” When I focus on those two things, I am able to extract fulfillment that has more nutrition for my soul than if I allow myself to be nourished by adrenaline and testosterone alone.

I received a lengthy e-mail from a member who I will not name. It really doesn’t matter who it is. I simply appreciate that this person invested the time to carefully and respectfully share their thoughts about a variety of problems they witnessed during one of our rides (Miller Time, 3/26). I did not attend the ride so I cannot judge, however, more than a half-decade of club leadership experience allows me to gauge validity pretty well.

I have posted the content of that e-mail in a reply below. Our ride leaders have provided very good feedback, but I’ll rely on them to post their comments here as I want to give them the opportunity to edit as desired.

My goal here is to provoke thought and highly respectful discussion. More importantly, I’d like to foster immediate change to our collective thinking BEFORE and during rides.

Speaking on behalf of ride leaders, we do our best to plan routes that are safe and predictable. We try to set the tone with pre-ride announcements that touch on safety. However, these announcements are often given the same attention as pre-flight safety announcements on a plane. Also, some members join us en route, so they miss this effort. In the end, we rely on each member who is riding that day to bring safety—and an awareness of others around them—to the forefront of their minds.

As cyclists, we naturally get a LOT of satisfaction from increases in our performance and endurance. It’s exhilarating to know that we achieved our goal of keeping up with “Jim” or “Bob” or “Monica” or “whoever” this week. Speaking for myself, after a great ride my brain keeps pumping its fist for hours—relishing its ability to command my entire physique to disregard conflicting thoughts of fatigue, aches, shortness of breath, and more, all to get me to keep riding hard and finish strong!

Frankly, each of us—and our brains—deserve kudos. Riding at the level of many CF riders is truly amazing and awe inspiring. Those of us who are committed to challenging ourselves each week should be incredibly proud. Most mere mortals can’t understand what it takes, and why we can be so proud of our accomplishments.


As a group, most of us can relate to having an “innate urge” to improve. To challenge each other with friendly competition. To push ourselves and each other while we ride. It contributes to the sense of camaraderie and support we have for one another. It creates bonds and friendship—and pride.

The problem is that the rest of the world can’t relate at all. When they see us riding down the road, they have zero understanding of the exhilaration we’re experiencing as they drive behind us. They simply see a group of cyclists that are causing them anxiety, or perhaps frustration. The rest of the world doesn’t have a clue about the fulfilment a cyclist feels while waiting at a stop light after tackling a really tough hill or stretch of rollers. They just see an annoying “pack” of “people” on “bikes” taking up a lane that is meant for cars. They aren’t aware of the years of cycling experience that we have as we “carefully” zip past them on the trail as they try to unwind, relax, and soak-in nature. They simply see a bunch of crazy-ass cyclists who scared the bejeezus out of them as they rode by wayyyyy too fast on a multi-use trail that is intended for ALL members of the public.

Consequently, when our focus is PRIMARILY on performance, fitness, and keeping up, we become less aware of the world around us—especially others who may be affected by our antics. We also miss a major opportunity to nourish our brain with more sustenance.


I’m not a nutritionist or scientist. The following is provided for imagery, but as with most things, there are some elements of truth.

As cyclists, most of us pay attention to our nutrition on and off the bike. We learn very quickly that eating the wrong things can have adverse effects, and eating the right things can lead to more enjoyable, fulfilling rides.

The same is true for how we conduct ourselves on our bikes. The Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is easy to forget when you’re faced with the daunting challenge of keeping up with a CF ride. But think about it. When someone you encounter demonstrates a proactive awareness of you and your perspective, is thoughtful, courteous, and respectful towards you, your natural response would likely be to act in kind. You’ll likely extend the same courtesy to them, and you’re more likely to be respectful and courteous to others who may be like that person in the future.

And, whether you know it or not, in those moments your brain experiences similar chemical reactions. It generates chemicals that make you feel good. Proud. Fulfilled. These chemicals possess much more nourishment than testosterone and adrenaline alone. The “brain juice” generated by respecting others, by being kind and considerate, and from working to ensure the safety for all, well, it also nourishes your soul. It creates a much deeper sense of pride than physical achievement alone. And the feeling lasts longer too. But here’s the BIG bonus, non-cyclists canunderstand this type of fulfillment. They can relate to and respect it. So you can more openly bask in that pride and feel really good about it.

Living—and riding—according to the Golden Rule is a skill, just like every other skill in cycling. It takes conscious practice. In fact, it takes more deliberate effort than any other skill because there is no pre-cursor brain chemical to promote it (i.e., adrenaline or testosterone). It requires absolute discipline and forethought. It also often requires you to lead others in the same direction.

To me, one’s ability to perform at the level of a CF cyclist while also living by the Golden Rule represents the epitome of Top Level Cycling. It’s something that is even harder to do than to simply focus on performance alone.

So how about it? Will you pack your jersey pockets with a few servings of patience, respect for others, awareness of your surroundings, caution for laws? To me, this “nourishment” is just as important to have with you as an energy bar or electrolytes. Perhaps more so.

Feel free to post comments here. Please keep them respectful and absent of profanity. More importantly, talk about this concept BEFORE each ride. Help create an awareness BEFORE each ride. Set the stage for yourself and for others BEFORE each ride. In the end, your soul will become as powerful and beautiful as your physique, and it will generate more respect from others around you.

If you’ve read everything above, you represent the kind of cyclist we want to have within Cycle Folsom. Thanks for investing the time. I really appreciate it.

Stan Schultz

I joined CycleFolsom in January 20XX. I was attracted the club’s mission statement, commitment to being good neighbors as cyclists, and by the large number of riders with whom to ride.At the pre-ride gathering for a Peloton ride on January 6th, you spoke about the importance of being good cycling citizens, singling up when cars are around, of being good ambassadors of the club and of cycling in general.I liked that.

Before I get too far ahead, let me preface what I am about to say with a confession: I was at least a small part of the problem I will be describing. Today I am writing specifically about the “Miller Time” ride on Saturday, March 26th, but I have noted some of the same problems on other rides, including the March 19th TfT Union Mine/Prospector ride.On the TfT ride I simply dropped off the back and rode on my own until catching up with a smaller and much more manageable group on Prospector. That being said, let me lay out what I observed on the Miller Time ride last Saturday.

This first point is something that I was a part of most of the day. I do not know how many actually attended the ride, but it was at least 30 and I heard the number may have exceeded 50. Whatever the case, a group that large is really just a difficult-to-control mob and the ride was not difficult enough to force the break-up of the group into smaller similarly experienced groups, which would have been easier to manage.

When I am riding alone, or with just a few riders, I will slow and ride through stop signs as long as there are no cars within ~100 yards of a 4-way controlled stop intersection. I will make a complete stop, or near complete-stop at an intersection where the cross-traffic is not controlled, depending on the traffic (or when I can’t see clearly in all directions that are controlled by the sign).

On Saturday, at most intersections the brakes were barely applied. I am not sure what to do about this, really, because it may be more the size of the group that presents the problem than what’s being done at the front of the group. It’s just something that makes me nervous and fearful that, at some point, we are going to be called to task for the infractions (until CA can adopt ordinances similar to those in other states regarding bikes and stop signs that allow for roll-throughs). In addition, I then become the problem due to my hesitation while everyone around me isn’t ready to hesitate. I do know that Placer County Sheriff’s deputies have, in the past, been ticketing stop sign runners, and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before they, or the CHP, witness our activities. I know that if law enforcement was in sight we would stop. We did do much better at traffic lights.

The Coffee Republic ride, aka the Chick Ride, was the subject of much scrutiny in 2009. Blair Anthony Robertson of the Sac Bee wrote a much more effective article on the subject I am trying to convey, which you can find at this link:

I have also copied the article to a Word doc, which is attached. Without modifications to our pack riding style, I am afraid we may some day soon be the subject of similar scrutiny. Perhaps the only saving grace being that we are not riding the same route every Saturday at the same time and, therefore, may be harder to find…except they can remember the CF jerseys.

What comes into play, of course, above and throughout my note, is ego: no one wants to be left behind, no one wants to be the slowest one out there. Some, in fact, want to prove that they are the fastest one out there.

Enough of that, on to the next point. One thing I have noted on numerous rides is a seeming obliviousness to what is going on around us as a group. We tend to not pay attention to the impact of our presence. For example, we stopped at a red light on Penryn Rd. at I-80 (see, we did stop at signals). At that intersection is a right-hand turn lane for cars to enter westbound 80. What we ended up doing is congregating as close to the front as possible which included taking up the entire right-hand turn lane prohibiting several cars that wanted to make that right turn from doing so. We could have easily cleared the lane but enough of the riders were not paying attention to the fact that they were withholding access unnecessarily. I and a couple of others called out to clear the lane, and why, but everyone was busy talking and were clueless.