I bet many of you who do not participate in any of the various floggings, also known as group rides, are unaware that points are given, and received, along the way. I am not talking about the points for winning the sprint to the Pomona city limit sign. Uncontested, I might add.
No, I am talking about the points accrued for lending and hand, or two, during those moments when riders' tires expel their fill of air, or chains decide to split in two. Or when riders themselves decide to tumble around on the ground. All three of these happened at least once during Erik's night ride on Monday. Honestly, at this rate it won't be long before they stop sending me invites; seems every time I show up there are incidents in multiples.
Back to the points - just for stopping when an incident such as one of the above takes place earns a point; if you happen to be in front of the afflicted incidentee, stop and turn around to help out, you get two points. It does not take long to realize that the further back in the bunch you are, the more opportunity you have to tally up a nice collection of points. There is a reason Richard is known as the most helpful man in the bunch. Mmm hmm. Technically, that honorary may belong to Erik, but then, serving as ride leader does carry certain obligations.
Anyway, all kinds of things will earn you points. Picking up broken bikes or broken riders, for instance, or the things that come flying out of jersey pockets. If there is a flat, handing over a freshly rolled, unused tube, or a Co2 cartridge garners the most points. But even rolling up the old spent tube pays dividends, as will pointing out the tire levers scattered around the sidewalk, as the group starts to push away. Pointing out the fact that there just may have been some sharp pointy thing protruding through the tire casing, as the new tube noisily exhales, may get you some laughs, but sorry, no points.
Unfortunately no running count of point totals is kept, so don't expect to earn a nice big, post-ride, bacon cheeseburger for your efforts. I guarantee, though, everyone remembers the helping hand.
Erik's Night Ride rolls both Mondays, and Thursdays, 6:30 during the winter months, later during summer. They swear it is faster than ever - my legs agree with that assessment.