Lunch Ride

Not exactly what I had in mind for a lunch ride

Over the past few years I have had multiple opportunities to visit Eastern Mountain Sports Base camp (what EMS’ers call corporate headquarters), and have always been amazed by the amount of bicycles that populate the building.  Walking into the lobby of base camp can often resemble walking into a bike shop, with ten or more bicycles lining the hallway.  A walk around the building further reinforces the prevalence of bike culture throughout the company’s employees.  A fair amount of offices are adorned with bicycles resting against the walls; those who are not far enough up the food chain to have office space grace the outside of their cubes with bicycles.  A visit to the marketing department shows a handmade bike rack, housing the department’s employees’ bicycles.

Hang out in the EMS lobby for a little while and you will be astounded by the number of people heading out to ride.  It seems that as soon as one group is getting back, another group is heading out.  If you miss the eleven o’clock ride because a meeting ran late, no worries…just catch the twelve o’clock ride.  Don’t feel like there is enough time to squeeze in a ride before a meeting? Schedule the meeting to happen on the bike ride (I really like this, I consider it EMS’s answer to golf).  It seems that for everyone heading into the office dressed in normal work wear, there is someone in an EMS bike jersey and a bike tucked under their arm heading the other way.

Not only are there multiple rides happening, but multiple disciplines are being represented.  Over the past two days I saw all types of rides, from fast to casual, big groups to solo riders, and from road to dirt.  As an outsider looking in, and as someone who loves cycling, I am amazed anyone gets anything done.  I imagine if I spent more time up there I would exhaust myself just trying to keep up with the riding.  During the two days of our visit, I was tempted both days to try to catch up with the post work ride, even after riding in the lunch ride.

In the past, the amount of bicycle activity was both inspiring and somewhat of a downer as I was in Peterborough for many things; biking, however, was never one of them.  So when Ben shot me an early text to bring Ashley’s and my bike north with us on our visit, I was psyched.  I would finally get to participate in the lunch ride.  In addition to being able to participate, the weather looked to be the nicest it had been all year (the great weather resulted in Ashley getting some hilarious tan lines).    

Taking a midday break from work is a luxury when working at the store.  Some days, I am grateful just for the opportunity to run to the bank and grab change for the store.  The possibility of running out and grabbing coffee seems far fetched, so the idea of being able to duck out midday for a bike ride only happens in my wildest dreams.  Being in the corporate offices, they are blessed with a little more flexibility than we have at the store level and riding at lunch is practical.  Not only is it practical, but it is magical.

Some days after finishing up a full day of work, hopping on the bike feels like work as well.  Being able to get some miles in while your motivation is high and you haven’t been exhausted by the day’s work is excellent.  Being able to take advantage of the good weather, feel the midday sun on your back, and the wind in your face as the miles roll by leaves you feeling rejuvenated, and ready to return the day’s tasks (not necessarily…it really just leaves you wanting more riding).  Despite returning from the lunch ride with tired legs, I always felt ready for the second half of my day.  I am not sure how, but I am going to work very hard on making a midday ride happen at the store, even if it is only once a week.