Gear Prudence: Here’s an awkward thing I hope you can help with. I have a friend who I ride with and it’s good, except sometimes he’s just too damned slow. I go on rides to stretch my legs and challenge myself, but when I’m with him I feel like I’m always holding back. I like the guy, and he’s joked before about his being too slow. But, seriously, how do I tell him that I wouldn’t mind if he hurried up? —Here A Rider Envies Velocity. Speaking Truth Obviously Requires Tough Observation; I Seek Elsewhere
Dear HAREVSTORTOISE: Everyone’s been there. Another person, over whom you have no control and who might (how dare he!) have different abilities or preferences than you, isn’t doing the exact thing at the exact pace that you want him to do. But you don’t want to ruffle feathers, so you keep it to yourself at the cost of your own continued immiseration. You’ve got a situation in which you’re unhappy because you’re going too slow and he’s (probably) unhappy because he knows you’re indulging him. Given the length of the ride, you have varying options. If it’s a short trip where sociability is prized, suck it up and lay off. If it’s a longer jaunt, say that you’re legs are feeling great and ask if he wants to push it a little. If no, ask him if he’d be OK if you hammer for awhile. If he assents, says thanks and tell him where you’ll meet down the road. Never just take off, and always promise to meet up. If he demurs (or you sense any degree of hesitancy), that’s OK too. Either you can ride fast or ride with your friend, but not both. Now you know. Plan accordingly. —GP
Gear Prudence: When is hot too hot? When do I know to just cancel a weekend ride and do brunch instead? Are there any indicators on the forecast when I can safely say “nope”? —Highly Egregious Abnormal Temperatures
Dear HEAT: It’d be swell if GP could say 92 degrees with a 67 dew point, but “too hot” is a subjective measure, and it’s going to depend on your own capacity for discomfort in the heat and humidity. Unfortunately, the only way to learn when too much is “too much” is to take it on and fail miserably. Aside from temperature and humidity, it’s important to consider how far you’ll be riding and the terrain. Hills have a way of complicating distances that you might otherwise be able to handle. It also might behoove you to decide in advance whether you’d mind a thunderstorm. It could be a welcome respite, but if it’ll ruin your day, you might want to cut your ride short or skip it altogether. Finding your limits requires a lot of trial and even more error. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who writes @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.