Every bunch ride has what I classify as the “bike mom”. The nefarious but vital services of a bike mom are similar to the pro peloton’s domestique but with a touch more care, coddling and attentiveness that comes in lieu of a support vehicle. It’s a role of planning, sacrifice, love and care. And it’s more often than not, unintentional.
At this year’s 美骑100 myself and friends set out on the 180km loop. Knowing myself, I was aware without some planning I’d probably under-eat, under-feed, under-drink and attempt the ride with a reckless consideration for my body and my well-being. So I set about disenfranchising my doubts.
I took a handlebar bag. Large enough to not only carry the requisite tools to fix my shit, but also the shit of others. Check. I made sure to have plenty of food in the form of Snickers and PB&J sandwiches, the sandwich a memorable hold over from when a former bike mom, aware of my inability to plan for eating on big rides, anticipated my failings and would prepare an extra sandwich to pull from their jersey pocket at the crucial “bonk” moment [thanks, Nick].
For food, I generally take what I suspect I will eat, then multiply the quantity by three. There’s no way to screw this up. I also made sure to have handy at least one to two extra bottles of fluid. It’s important to stay hydrated on the road. Finally there are a few last minute supplies, hygienic in nature for those roadside pit stops or the odd chance you find yourself rubber side up and need a little buffing. (I should mention I anticipated but failed to bring sunscreen which on a big day in full sunshine on the bike is an embarrassing mistake for a veteran bike mom.)
See, a bike mom not only bears extra burdens for riding accomplices, but also performs the nurturing task of reminding and encouraging others to make use of the the extra supplies like when you’d visit your grandma and she’d encourage you to eat constantly with no other consideration than the rote desire to keep those under her wing fed.
Despite having regular CPs along the race route fully stocked with water, snacks and fresh fruit, the mental relief a bike mom offers to a small bunch is tremendous. We have the honor of keeping morale high, the legs swiftly spinning and an iron will in taking our turn at the front. Bike mom’s are the hand upon your back when your body’s screaming to give out.
So it is that I hope you find inspiration to be a bike mom and offer your friends they support they deserve. A little extra goes a long way when you’re looking at a day in the saddle.