Road Stories: My First Ride

Sunday, May 31, 2020
My First Ride
My first PPTC ride was led by Fred Robbins who lucky for me was an absolutely great ride leader. I was a bicycle commuter vice club rider when more than 30 years ago I showed up for my first club ride. I had no idea about the letter valuations for rides and barely knew how to ride in a group. Fred, who was a skilled cyclist, recognized immediately that I was out of my depth. We became close riding buddies soon afterward and I learned how to be a ride leader from him and others—leading rides, being a ride coordinator, and ultimately becoming PPTC Chair. And throughout the years I kept track of Fred and others like him who were the essential component of the club—caring leaders. A few years after my first ride with Fred, he and I went together for ride with him driving to the start in his beloved pick-up truck. We liked to do some distance in those days so we were out for a bit and as we rode back to the start we noticed his truck was gone. This was something new for both of us, at this point experienced ride leaders—it was at first hard to process. But in some way I got to return the favor to Fred for his first ride with me. I called my wife to pick us up and we returned safely home many hours later.  Months later Fred’s stolen vehicle was recovered.  Ever since, as a ride leader, I try to remember to remind participants to lock their cars! Fred had locked his but our ride start was remote and out of sight, easy prey for someone with some skill at auto theft.  In my experience PPTC riders are self supporting but also mutually reinforcing, qualities that have served us well earlier and in the current circumstances.
John Zebatto

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