One of my initial thoughts about riding a Gran Fondo (and other similar group cycling events) was: why would I pay to ride somewhere that I can ride for free on my own? I felt like this was a legitimate question, so I came up with some justifications based on Gran Fondo Niagara Falls specifically, but they are generally transferable to any large organized group ride event. Basically for me, it boils down to three things that Gran Fondo Niagara Falls offers: support, experience, and opportunity.
Gran Fondo Niagara Falls is a fully supported ride. This support goes from facilities at the start and end of the ride, to the aid stations on course, to the availability of mechanical assistance on the road. Intersections will be controlled, and the route will be marked out. All of this promises to make for a great day, where all I have to worry about is showing up, and turning my pedals around approximately 22,000 times. These are things that I definitely don’t get when riding on my own.
The experience of Gran Fondo Niagara Falls promises to be amazing. The route will include a huge range of terrain and scenery including all that Niagara is known for: country roads, wineries, historical sights, and of course a rather large waterfall. The ride also offers the experience of sharing all of this with thousands of other riders of all abilities. I hope to meet new people from all over the place while spinning around my local roads.
Finally the ride includes some unique opportunities that truly wouldn’t be possible on any of the other 364 days in 2013. The planned route includes a dip through a tunnel underneath the Welland Canal on a highway lane that is otherwise closed to bicycles. The ride will also provide a full lane closed to traffic – a dream come true for cyclists! These are both unique aspects of the ride that I am really looking forward to. This year is also an opportunity to be a part of the first of (hopefully) many Gran Fondo Niagara Falls rides to come.
When I started thinking about all the benefits a ride like Gran Fondo Niagara Falls would offer, it gave me a sense of the value I would get for my dollar. Gran Fondo Canada has a solid track record of successful events under its belt, and I am confident that this one in Niagara Falls will be every bit as great.
5 more months!
I have been selected to represent GranFondo Canada’s inaugural GranFondo Niagara Falls in 2013 as a blog ambassador. I will be posting a series of entries like this one leading up to the event, and wrap it up after participating in the ride in September.