Peter Hochstein shares his cycling experiences with amateurs

Peter Hochstein shares his cycling experiences with amateurs
Peter Hochstein has seen it all while bicycle touring in New England, and he continues to reflect on his experiences on his free time. While Hochstein isn't a frequent cyclist anymore, he's ready and willing to share his insight with CycloCamping and other people who are interested in seeing the world from their bicycles.
Q. What has been the most memorable bike tour for you?
A. It was that BAM (Bicycle Across Massachusetts) ride that I did back in 1991. This was the first multi-day ride I had ever done. I was already 51 years old, and darn proud of making it to my destination at the end of each day. Past that, there's a certain road camaraderie that develops over time when you do a group ride. You're all in this together. You're sharing common and sometimes difficult experiences. You're sharing meals together. You're swapping yarns. It all adds up to a bonding experience, sometimes with people very different from yourself, other than your common interest in cycling.
Q. How do you pace yourself as an older, more experienced cyclist while riding alongside others?
A. Alas, I don't ride "alongside" much any more because I'm slowing down. A now-decades-dead cyclist once taught me that you can keep going all day as long as you're going a mile or two an hour slower than you know you could go for a short while. That's the trick. Don't burn yourself out. Don't charge hills. (At my age, I even walk some). Take it slow and steady. But that means I won't be keeping up with the pack, and there's no point in ruining their ride by making them wait for me. Often, I'll try to get hold of the cue sheet in advance. I explain to the ride leader that I know my way, can't keep up, but with his or her permission I will try to get to the lunch destination and join the group there. Then I start out earlier and sometimes take shortcuts that are off the route. It's not wonderful. It gets a bit lonely here and there. But it sure as hell beats a rocking chair. Or a wheel chair. And I usually do get to have lunch with the pack. But this applies only on day rides. For tours the situation is tougher. You can go solo, living like a rolling hermit. Or you can try to find like-minded geezers who aren't too cranky to spend several days and nights with. Good luck on that latter one.