The Best Virtual Group Ride in the World

I've been doing my best to thank all of you for the good wishes and positive comments, but it seemed appropriate to write something more. Early in the life of VeloDramatic, I debated whether I'd keep the blog open to comments. I'm still struck by the absolute banality of most online discourse and I'm disheartened just about every time I scroll down to read comments on VeloNews. So much vitriol about subjects that so few really know anything about. Lance is a doper, Lance is a saint... let the sniping begin... but weren't we were discussing chain lube.

Almost without exception the VeloDramatic experience has been something different. Like one of those days when you head out on the bike solo and end up connecting with a couple of strangers for a few hours and by the time you're rolling off in opposite directions you've made new friends. That's definitely what's happened here. I roll out talking to myself and one by one you pull alongside for a chat and we discover we've all got plenty in common. It's been great with the wind at my back, but all the more meaningful now that I've turned into the wind for a rough stretch of road. Can't say how much I appreciate you guys offering me a wheel and a push in the back.

Now I don't want to get too maudlin here. But thanks guys and girls, hope I can repay the favor some time, and take my turn at the front.

Elsewhere, I'm thinking of getting a trainer, even if it means sitting straight up in the saddle to turn the pedals over. I'm 15 pounds heavier than when I got off the bike at Levi's Granfondo in 2009. Amazing what a summer in France and a wife who likes to bake can do when the mileage drops to zero. The bike was my willpower and if I'm being honest I've been feeling a little sorry for myself. Well the holiday is over lad, time to suck it up and get the needle headed back in the right direction.

On the work front I'm designing a new site for an exciting venture I can't wait to tell you all about. It should launch early December, and who knows it may give us the chance to spend some time together. Next week Mr. Cavendish and the full mens and womens HTC teams will descend on Specialized for their comprehensive BG Fitting and their first face-to-face meeting with the designers and engineers who make their new bikes. I'm shooting the whole thing and will have a report or two to share with you.

OK, I'm turning for home now, you guys keep riding, I'll see you soon.

29 Responses to The Best Virtual Group Ride in the World

  1. Todd says:


    It’s always been a pleasure to read your words and view your images, so thanks for giving us the opportunity to provide that feedback. I’ll be spending some time on the trainer myself this winter, and when the miles seem to tick away slowly, I remind myself to keep calm and carry on (to steal a phrase from the Brits). I hope you can get back on the bike soon, even if it has to be from the (dis)comfort of your living room.

    Good luck and have fun at the Specialized shoot – I’m sure you’ll have some excellent photos!


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  3. Nenad says:

    I’m siting in a country that you probably don’t know where it is on the globe but i Everyday i found myself that I’m visiting velodramatic and waiting for your new story.
    I’m living on the internet since ’93. everyday and i never ever dropped a word to anyone’s blog.
    In short, this is most beautiful and classy web site about bikeing an ever visited. You have style, eye, camera and altitude and know how to mix it.
    Please just don’t stop, go with your camera and bring as more because we just need it.
    I just reached 10k km for this year and we will catch 10k more next year together, right?

  4. kurt says:

    I find this site to be more like a conversation amongst friends and I am happy to be a part of it. It is true that this site seems to escape the the blog norm.

    Thanks for including us in the discussion.
    I picked up a cyclops super magneto pro to avoid late night rides in torrential downpours in Aug/Sep Miami hurricane season. The trainer is smooth, quiet and there is some ease of setup features that make things more convenient. I am, however, always concerned about how much stress is focused on the year triangel of the frame when you lock the rear axle down and start hammering away.

    Take a look at the Cycclops indoor cycle range as part of your consideration.

    Don’t forget to buy a fan.

    Who knows, maybe your next venture will be a spin studio for cyclists?

    Enjoy the trip. Looking forward to your comments on Cav, Fab and the boys.

    I would be interested in the saddles the women’s team are using so take a look if you would. Renate has been having issues with inflamation which has keeping her of the bike.

  5. Tim Cox says:

    Hey Michael – so glad to hear that you’re able to get back on a bike. I was reading VD yesterday, especially the comments on the preceding post. I, too, was struck by the positive words and sage advice. I do think that your own positive tone and interesting writing style (especially the excellent metaphors!) bring out the best in your readers. Whatever the dynamic, the resulting discourse is always cheery.

    We just bought the Minoura rollers so that Rupert and Marcella can train without visiting the cycling gym every other day. Well made and nice that they hang on the wall afterwards.

    Hoping a New Year’s Day ride up Mount Ham will be possible for you. Ru and I are planning on it.

    • BR says:

      Tim Cox – Wouldn’t it be super if we had a really handsome and smart photographer/cyclist/ waiting for us at the top of Hamilton on NYD?? Picture it…hot chocolate…tea….glam photos….lots of Rapha gear photos with crumbs and powdered sugar all over them….THAT would be great.

      Willy? You in?

  6. katherine says:

    Find fit specialist Donny Perry when you’re at Specialized. He has some great cycling tattoos that you might like to photograph.

  7. BR says:

    All baked goods should be delivered to my home. You are obviously unable or unwilling to control yourself. I am here to help.

    • Malk says:

      I only look at this site to read BR’s comments.
      Everything else is superfluous and quite frankly hum-drum.

      • My feelings too.

        • BR says:

          In the words of my wife…”don’t encourage him…he struggles with filtering and he has been doing so well lately”

          Once again…I clipped in this morning and rolled down an empty path…nothing…not a bundle of Lemon & Poppy cake, no free Tupperware containing bran & cranberry muffins, not even a Ziplock of those crappy add water brownies in a box. My tears froze.

  8. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey Michael,

    Come out to Coyote Point this Sunday to catch the cross race. Gabi races at 8:30 and me right after her. It is a blast to just hang out with a great group of folks.

  9. Jon Moss says:

    “But thanks guys and girls, hope I can repay the favor some time, and take my turn at the front.”

    You’re always at the front Michael with such great photography, spirit and passion.

    Really look forward to hearing about Cav and the boys and their visit to Specialized.

    Best wishes,


  10. Some inovative ideas as to how to coax you back out on the road, the readers seem to have picked up some of your ideas and using them back at you. In the nicesy possible way of course.
    What kind of person would offer to demolish some home baking all in the name of friendship? It’s a hard job but somebodies gotta do it.
    Good to see the head up again Michael and the pals rallying round the flag.

    I’ll be watching from the wings, all the very best,

  11. Stephen says:


    I’ve always enjoyed your website and continue to do so. Hope we can read more frequent posts even if it’s just a photo (or two) or one sentence that brought some inspiration to you that day.

    For sure you’ll get yourself back in shape,… Perhaps Hamilton is a worthy goal. Slip some of the cakes in your jersey pocket and a Canon G10, you’ll be all set!

    Best Regards,


    • thanks Stephen… I need to try and get some quick stuff up, might be a couple of off-the-bike images from the HTC Specialized camp this week. Afraid none of the official stuff can be released until the new year. Just back from Sunday setup and seeing the first of the BGfit sessions get underway for the men’s and women’s teams.

      We’ll see about Hamilton, I’ve promised Brendan I’ll photograph them New Year’s if my fitness isn’t there.


  12. Mario Lau says:

    I always enjoyed your posts, they got me through many difficult days and I am counting on you now to get me through the german winter. I just moved back here from sunny san diego, so I will be counting on you, because as I found out riding in the snow is not fun and I just can’t get myself on a trainer in the basement…

  13. Georges Auberger says:

    Good luck with the trainer Michael. It’s mind numbing to ride indoors but it beats the alternative, not to ride at all. Certainly helped me ease back into shape after I broke my foot this summer. Just put on a good mix onto your iPod. I even considered tacking some large posters of the Tour inside inside my garage door… I’m sure you have a stash of 10×20 you can use :)

    • Hi Georges, I’ve not pulled the trigger and got one yet… maybe this weekend. Sorry to hear you broke your foot, how’d you manage that?

      And you’re right I should have some more imagery up around here as motivation.


  14. Haimar says:

    I am from the basque country, in Spain.
    I really like your website, and i usually look for your coments and photos.
    This is the first time i writte something, firstable because of my english(i do not speak as well as i would like), and secondly to say you, that i really like your work.

    I will try to writte more usually.I think it is interenting for your website to have a Spanish rider!!! jejejeje

    best regards!

    • And now we have our Spanish lead out man, thanks Haimar. Next summer I hoping to get a chance to do a photo shoot in the Basque country.


  15. chris tree says:

    Good to see you and your brilliant site still going!
    Don’t think I’ve really checked in sice the heady days of the “30.days.of.rapha” feature. Might have to come back more often though!

    You and me both on the weight!
    Now get riding.

  16. Darrel Stickler says:

    First I’ve read your blog/website. Your item about the coarse discourse that is blog commentary caught my eye since I recently started blogging and the spam, commerce and general illiteracy can really get depressing. A friend just bought a trainer and I was surprised how much they spent. I bought a Cardgirus 6-7 years ago and think it’s a great deal for a standalone trainer where you don’t have to use your road bike. Send me an email if you want more information. I wrote some web stuff on my initial impressions.

  17. Hey Michael

    I make an awesome Johnny Cake. ( a Bahamian corn bread) had my first sampling many years ago whilst doing a Didjeridu gig at an Ashram .. I escaped the confines of the YOgi prison and snuck into town for a Fish Bake w//JOhnny Cake dinner.. the next am I was summoned by the Yogi ..seems all those Vegans were jealous.. hehe/
    Let me know and Ill send your wife my recipe..