Ride Solo Cycling Club
I am not alone just riding solo
The goal of the Ride Solo Cycling Club™️ is to provide information and tips for riding alone by sharing cycling safety tips and cycling product information.
I am the "World's Okayest Cyclist™️" a Stage 4 Lymphoma survivor and charity cyclist.
I ride solo.
My rides help to raise funds for cancer research, cancer awareness and contribute to my health.
I am always concerned about my safety and after three-vehicle contact incidents, I have become actively focused on cycling safety for others.
Tags: Ride Solo Cycling Club, cycling information, cycling tips, cycling safety tips, cycling products, World's Okayest Cyclist, Lymphoma, charity cyclist, cancer awareness, ride alone, solo cycling, ride, social rides, remote rides, Great Cycle Challenge, childhood cancer, fight cancer, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, atlasGo, itcouldbeme.org, road safety, Muscle Feast, HRV 4 Training, Wheelscience, performance wheels, carbon fiber wheels, Road Runner Id, emergency id, Cycliq, bike camera, saddlebag, jersey bag, tubes, tire levers, multi-tool, co2 cartridges, inflator, patch kit, repair kits, Ride Solo Strava Club
Who I am
Before cancer, I owned a roofing company that worked in seven states doing historic restoration of slate and copper, played 40 rounds of amateur golf a year, and weighed 209 lbs. I thought that I was healthy and living the dream.
While out of town for a four-day golf tournament I told my wife that I had cancer. She thought that I was nuts because I hadn’t been sick or to the doctor in seven years. Not even a cold. I was 48 years old.
I am a man of faith and told her that I had been praying about it and was scheduling a doctor's appointment when we returned home, that scared her because she knew I didn’t go to the doctor.
When I was at the doctor he did blood work and found nothing unusual as he put it but I insisted on a more thorough check so he sent me for a CT Scan and told me not to get worked up over it. Three days later he referred me to an Oncologist.
Here’s where I tell you that I am the only survivor of five cancer warriors in my family. I don’t drink or smoke. My diagnosis was Stage 4 Lymphoma. An eight to ten-pound tumor in my abdomen and in three in lymph nodes in my back. He told in October 2013 that I had the right to a second opinion but if I waited two weeks to start, I wouldn’t make it to the end of the year. I asked, “What if we start today?” and he said, “You have a 50/50 chance.” What a start to a difficult journey.
February of 2014 after my 5th chemo and a bout of double pneumonia with no immune system. I was not able to continue with my chemotherapy.
Every joint hurt and I was so weak that it was a chore to walk 300 steps a day. I had to have oxygen attached to me for about a month and a half. This where it began…See I had already seen my Dad, two grandfathers, and a grandmother taken by cancer. My faith kept me positive and so I began to plan for a way to help others with this “problem”.
First, I had to figure out how to help myself. You see there is no plan for mental or physical therapy for cancer survivors. The initial goal is just that, survival. When you are done they say see you quarterly for the first year and then biannually after.
Once I was off the respirator my wonderful wife would take me to the mall and I would walk as much as I could. It took a year to be able to walk 2,800 steps a day, but I did it. Each time I would tell her, “I am going to do 10 more tomorrow.”
As my immune system got stronger I walked with my wife outside, we would notice all these folks riding bikes (cyclist) so we got a couple of cheap bikes and it began.
I saw how happy they looked but they wore these “tights” that I called “Peter Pan” outfits. It just didn’t seem attainable because they were, to be honest, stand-offish, and rude when approached with questions on my Walmart bike. It didn’t stop me.
So I started riding daily 5/9/17 and started living on 5/9/17! My wife and I bought good bikes and began riding. I wanted to help others through their struggles and decided to ride for charity because I was fortunate enough to have sold my company and retire. At first, it was hard. After my first ride of 7 miles, I thought that I was going to die!
I did some public speaking but found that that only reached a select group and not the masses that were in need. But it did help me get my new persona out in the public.
You see, I don’t use my name because it’s not about me. It’s about getting folks out, up, and okay. This is where I decided to become “The World’s Okayest Cyclist™️” because I just wanted to be Okay again.
I couldn’t jog because it is a high impact sport and my joints were still damaged. Cycling is low impact but very effective, I found atlasGO and started using it to put my efforts to use. I believed and still do “If I can, you can!”
Present-day I am healthy, 54 years old, weigh 160 lbs and ride or walk (I do need a rest day occasionally) daily for charity. My current mission, as a cyclist, is a 10,783-mile charity ride to raise awareness and funds for cancer.
I am riding for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the Great Cycle Challenge (Children’s Cancer Research Fund). The GCC is for the month of September and I have committed to 800 miles. A lap around the US is equal to the 10,783 miles is and how I came up with that magic number.
I do wear a “Peter Pan” outfit but have a different view. It has my info on it and those who support my efforts. When I put it on it reminds me why I ride. On those days that I don’t feel good, it’s raining, or my mind just isn’t in it, it reminds me that it isn’t about me at all. When I ride it hurts and at times it is difficult. I can promise you that chemo was worse! So it makes me remember and I ride for those who are still struggling and those who will be. I want to be the change in the world that I want to see. You have choices in life. You can complain about it, feel sorry about it, or do something about it.
I chose the latter. It doesn’t mean that I don’t do a little of the others though.
Peace and Love,
World’s Okayest Cyclist
Why ride alone?
You can ride at your own pace
Instead of struggling to keep up with a fast group or sitting on the front of the slow group, stopping at every corner for everyone to catch back up, just head out on your own at your own pace.
You can ride for however long you want
Group rides always dictate distance and time. Some groups are determined to ride long distances because it may be the only ride they do a week. Others are social rides and sight-see or stop often.
Instead, ride alone and go for as long or as short as you like. You only plan to do 20 miles but return having ticked off 40 miles because your legs felt pretty good.
On the flip side, you could be planning 50 miles but only manage 20 miles because of various reasons.
Either way, it will not matter as you have no one to answer to.
It’s easier to stick to a training plan
If you have a training plan you want to stick to then you want to be doing it on your own. It is unlikely that a group would work together. All good training comes from a plan.
If you’re looking to be working on interval splits tor cadence drills then cycling on your own is going to be the best way.
It gives you time to think
This may be the biggest bonus of riding solo, it gives you time to let off steam, forget everything that's bothering you, or to just enjoy nature.
Group rides are can be good for socializing, but chatting can get in the way of actually enjoying yourself.
Brands and charities
◀︎ charities ►
Great Cycle Challenge started in 2015, and after just 5 years, the event has grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in the United States.
People of all ages, abilities, and from every state across the country set themselves a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal to fight kids’ cancer.
In 5 years, our community of riders from all 50 states has ridden a total of 18,831,310 miles, and together we’ve raised $24,615,507 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Why? Because over 15,700 American children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and sadly, 38 children die every week.
We're riding to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve, and we believe that any one individual can make their personal impact to fight cancer and save little lives, so we’re calling on all Americans to get on their bikes and join our movement to kick cancer’s butt!
Great Cycle Challenge USA is a national Children's Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) fundraising initiative held throughout September.
atlasGO is the global community of sweaty changemakers where fitness meets purpose.
“We develop a community where engaged runners, cyclists, fitness-minded individuals, non-profits and corporations join forces to create positive awareness around social & environmental issues and to accelerate impactful change.”
It's an app that allows you to walk, run, and bike for a good cause. Corporations sponsor your every step for charity! More info follow the link below.
Making streets safer together.
A mission to change the narrative between cyclists and motorists to promote road safety for everyone.
Your personal stories hold the power to raise awareness for everyone’s safety on the roads & streets of communities across the globe.
◀︎ Brands ►
Superior Nutrition for healthy lifestyles.
Muscle Feast provides superior nutritional supplements to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
I am not an athlete, though I pretend to be one. I am just a guy getting my life back after Stage 4 Lymphoma. Muscle Feast products are healthy, you know what's in them, and they work. Plain and simple. My pre-ride consists of MFX NO. I use Hydrate for all of my rides to replace my electrolytes. Grass-Fed Hormone Free Whey Protein Isolate and Maltodextrin are part of my recovery routine after rides to repair and build my muscles.
You can use this code for 10% off of your purchases: MFSHAWN10
HRV 4 Training
Heart Rate-based advice to optimize your goals, prevent overtraining, and improve performance. Learn how you are responding and adapting to training and lifestyle stressors. Build better training plans for you and personalize your unique response to stress. Make adjustments and optimizations on the go so that performance can be further improved.
Wheelscience was founded in 2014 by Peter Coombe in Melbourne, Australia. Peter took up cycling in 2007 after 20 years of rugby playing and instantly became fascinated with wheels. After searching for some time for high quality, reliable, performance wheels he almost gave up looking! Everything on the market was either very cheap and very nasty or very expensive and tended to flex under high power! Not good enough!
This was the trigger for the birth of Wheelscience. Peter, along with his wife Jo (a multiple Ironman Kona Qualifier) decided enough was enough. Wheelscience came into being to deliver absolutely the best carbon fiber wheels at absolutely the best price.
You can use this code for 10% off of your purchases: WOC
Always remember to stay safe
Riding on your own is great but also means you are vulnerable and less visible to vehicles and could have to wait for help if there's an emergency. There are ways to lessen the risk such as sharing your location or riding plan with a loved one or trusted friend for the duration of your ride.
Save the remote rides for when you are riding with a friend or group
Close calls with cars, dogs, and snakes have lessened my excitement for exploring remote roads when I am out on my own. Instead, when solo riding it is all about familiar routes where there are other people about if something goes wrong. I also try to stick around close to home or my start point. So instead of riding out 40 miles and then heading back for 80 miles, I’ll do a circuit or laps so it is not as far to limp back home if something goes wrong.
Be prepared with tools, know how to use them, and know your bike
A well-prepared saddlebag and time spent practicing how to use those basic tools before riding will make you feel comfortable to cope with the most simple fixes out on the road.
One of the biggest drawbacks of riding alone is that there is no one with you to help if something goes seriously wrong. It makes sense to add an extra layer of safety.
Carrying identification and your details of an in case of emergency is always a good idea, but it is very important when riding alone. Other safety ideas:
1. cycling only where your phone has good reception
2. wearing highly visible clothing
3. putting on lights so you are more easily seen.
4. let someone know when, where you are going, and when you have arrived home safely.
5. Use Find my iPhone app or Garmin LiveTrack to allow a friend or family member to keep an eye on where you are.
Helpful Items and Tools
Road Runner Id
An emergency ID can provide needed information hours before medical personnel is able to identify you without any ID.
If you are involved in an accident, those responding will need critical information for your care. A Road Runner ID will provide that information immediately.
Cycliq cameras make cycling safer and give you peace of mind when you’re on the bike.
If motorists think there’s a chance they’ll be recorded, there’s less chance they’ll do something dangerous. And if things do go wrong, you’ve got the evidence to show what happened.
Lezyne Strip Drive Pro
The new Strip Drive Rear Pro has a Wide Angle Optics lens (270° of visibility) and a massive maximum runtime of up to 53 hours. It features a class-leading 300-lumen Daytime Flash mode, in addition to 10 other output options thanks to its five LEDs. Its co-molded construction is compact and can be mounted to an aero or round post. Equipped with a micro-USB port, charging is simple and efficient.
Find a bag that works with your bike or fits in your jersey pocket and can fit all of your flat-repair tools.
Carry two tubes for extra security. If you flat and use one tube for the repair, it’s nice to have a backup tube in case you’re unlucky enough to get a second flat or missed clearing the source from your tire. I am tubeless and carry extra sealant.
Tire levers make changing flats less of a chore. The added leverage these tools provide will help you get your tire on and off while changing a flat.
Mechanicals and mishaps can happen anytime. Carry a multi-tool in your saddlebag so you can fix minor problems and get back to riding.
CO2 Cartridges and Inflator
CO2 cartridges will speed up the flat changing process and get you back on the bike faster than a pump.
A patch kit is a great backup plan in case of multiple flats on a disastrous day. These compact little repair kits don’t take up much room but they can make a big difference when you find yourself in a pinch.
Dollar Bill or Gel Wrapper
Use a dollar bill or gel wrapper between a sliced tire or a large hole and the tube. These makeshift boots will keep your tube from pressing through the hole and will help get you home so you can replace the tire.
Ride Solo Strava Club
If you are on Strava please join our club.
Check your Cycling Weather
You can use this weather widget to check the weather on your rides. Just enter the location that you want to check in the search bar.
On this page, you will find videos and written thoughts.
Almost t-boned a car that pulled in front of me while I was riding at 20 mph
One life. Keep it simple.
Follow your dreams.
Do what you love.
Be curious. Learn new things.
Speak your mind.
Be yourself. Be free.
Work less. Do more.
Take time out. Travel often.
Eat heartily. Take long walks.
Read more. Smile often.
Laugh out loud.
Pick a hobby.
Make new friends.
Love deeply. Take a chance.
Enjoy the little things.
Live every moment.
Seize the day.
World's Okayest Cyclist
Skateboarder didn't get out of the bike lane and karma happened.
What are your goals?
I ask this as a survivor who never really planned for anything. I just moved through life maintaining it but never really living it. How about you? Are you living your life?
When I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma my mind raced and I started to look back on my life realizing how much that I had missed because of work, stress, life. I struggled to come to grips with how much I had missed and would miss.
It was then that I began to “smell the roses” and really look at life differently. I began to realize how poorly I had treated my body and soul. I may not have caused my cancer but I sure wasn’t helping.
I am an odd sort because though cancer sucks and chemo is difficult, I am glad that I got a do-over on life. Yes, I struggle daily with the standard fears: when is it coming back? will it come back? Is this a cold or a symptom? But in that struggle, I find all the good that I can.
My goals you ask? Get healthy, maintain a healthy weight, be attentive to my family (wife, 4 kids, and 8 grandkids), help others through their struggle.
Currently, I weigh 160 lbs. Ride my bike daily and have changed my eating habits to reflect this new lifestyle. My days may be numbered on this big ball but I am trying to make the best of it!
I am currently working to help motivate others. I will keep writing with the hope that if I can you will see that you can…never quit, it isn’t over until it is over.
World's Okayest Cyclist
It is not always about us. (Amgen speaking notes)
I am getting ready to speak in Indianapolis to a group from Amgen to share my story. The purpose is to let them hear cancer from the patient’s point of view. I will be nervous, emotional, and proud. What a mix…
Here are the bullet points of my speech. Not perfect but I hope that it will reach the right people and help someone like me.
I am going to try to quell my emotions and speak “less” Southern so that you can understand me…my wife will tell you that I don’t have a filter between my brain and my mouth. It is because I speak the truth and that scares most folks. So here is my disclaimer, this is my opinion, my take, and my experience. I am not claiming that my method, medication, or beliefs cured me, but only that I am here to tell you my honest story.
Before I begin with my story, I would like to recognize Kathryn West, we walked a parallel path but we never physically met. She responded to my email with the subject line “…I survived, now what?” Through numerous calls and emails we found that we attended the same university, had the same ideals, and that my one of my oncologist, was someone she had worked with and known for more than 20 years. She heard me, understood me, and cared. For that I will always be grateful.
My name is Shawn Watson
I currently live in Myrtle Beach, SC, and am originally from the Pensacola/Bagdad, Florida area.
I am 53 (as of Jan 17th) and married with 4 kids and 8 grandkids.
I was diagnosed Oct 2013 with Stage 4 Lymphoma, at the age of 48 and have been clear since July 9th, 2014, this will be my 5th year clear.
I realized that something wasn’t right during a 4 day amateur golf tournament. I felt fine, had no symptoms, weighed 209 lbs. and thought that I was in great shape. At the time I played in about 40 golfing events annually and owned Kraftwerks Sheet Metal & Slate based out of Washington, DC, that worked in 7 states doing historic roofing. I am a religious guy and had been praying about my health. Just felt like something was wrong but didn’t know what. I hadn’t been sick or to the doctor in 7 years. So when I told my wife that I thought I had cancer and I was going to the doctor when we got home…she was worried.
As I said, I didn’t feel any different. No loss of appetite…or I wouldn’t have weighed 209 lbs…but, my family has a history of cancer. My dad passed away from esophageal cancer (my little brother made the world aware of that when he won his first Master’s), one grandfather had lung cancer, another had colon cancer and a grandmother cervical cancer…no survivors. When I visited my general physician none of the blood work presented, as he put it, abnormal findings. But he listened to my story and decided that I should get a CAT scan. Three days later, I received his call referring me to an oncologist. October 2013 I started my journey with these words…you have large tumor in your abdomen area, you are entitled to a second opinion but if you don’t start treatment within 2 weeks, you won’t make it to January. I asked, “What if I start now?” 50/50 chance he said…what a way to start your journey. We started that day with a bone marrow biopsy in his office (I informed him and the nurse that I was a Christian guy and NEVER went this far on the first date), then a barrage of test and biopsies over the next few days. I learned that I had an 8-10 lb. tumor between my abdomen and stomach with three more in lymph nodes in my back.
Since my wife was with me, she heard but I had to tell my kids. I told each one individually and let them know that it was okay and I was going to make it. So I started with faith and family.
My oncologist told me the best treatment for my advanced condition, it was near my spleen and he said if it got there…it was over, was CHOP-R with a Neulasta chaser…(my words). He gave me a bunch of info and the schedule. Too much to digest in one sitting… He stressed the importance of following up my 8 hrs of chemo every third Tuesday with Neulasta the next morning at 8:30 am, because of the low white blood cell count and that the Neulasta would help to rebuild my white blood cells and fend off infections.
When he told me what to expect I told him I was ready to begin so he set a schedule. I told him in my belief structure I win either way…but I really didn’t expect much based on my family history.
When I visited my oncologist for the blood work prior to my second chemo I was told that my insurance wasn’t going to pay for the Neulasta…my doctor was very angry and told me that without it I wouldn’t make it. He said come in as planned and we will call them afterwards. So after my second chemo and Neulasta we made the call. He informed me that regardless of the outcome, I would be receiving my Neulasta and we would figure it out later. He said in his opinion, it was too important for me to stop. Fortunately we got it squared away but he was adamant and fought for me. Later, at my fifth chemo I had an adverse reaction to my treatment and couldn’t receive my Neulasta or any other medication. Within a week I was in the ICU with double pneumonia and on a 100% breather @ 15 mil for 17 days and another month at home. My opinion is that without the Neulasta, infection and collapse of my immune system was rapid.
I did not get to try the Neulasta Onpro but would’ve loved to! There is nothing like following up 8 hrs of chemo with driving yourself to the doctor an hour one-way for an 8:30 am shot…
I am a semi-retired, working 6 hours a week as a business consultant, anyone in sales should understand the buyer’s persona. You have to understand your clients challenges from their eyes. The doctor’s and nurse’s challenges? Well, they face patients day-in and day-out, all the time “wearing a happy face”, knowing that they may or may not make it. I asked my oncology nurses how many folks came a day for treatment and they said 100 plus a day…let that sink in for a minute…that is just one small office. I can’t even imagine it and I saw it first hand. Remember, I am the only survivor of 5 in my own family. You aren’t just selling them medications…you are possibly giving them and patients like me some semblance of hope. I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure about “speaking” to an Amgen sales team, I was interested in helping folks like me and then after much deliberation and a great friend Kathryn West who told me, “You are going to heIp a lot of people”, I realized my purpose. You see this is a war against a life threatening disease. In this war there are Warriors and Survivors. The Survivors are purposed with telling their story so that we don’t forget the Warriors who lost their lives, but through the data and great treatment, we will have more Survivors…we are the current patients hope.
To cope with my treatment I sold my business so that I could spend valuable time with my family, I began a healthy diet and worked out as much as I could bear. I didn’t want my kids to see me as sick or weak.
I am an ultra-positive guy…my glass is full, half with air and half with water. I view my cancer as a reset on life. I saw a life that was passing me by. I thought about how to help others because, in my opinion, there is a flaw in the final phase of the cancer patients recovery… When I broke my knee in 9 places and my hip, once treatment was over I received physical therapy. When I was cleared of cancer I was told see the nurse on the way out and she will schedule you a quarterly appointment for the first year and then bi-annual after that, then once a year if everything goes well…no physical help with my atrophy or mental help with the ever-present “when will it return?” At first, I could only walk 300 steps a day, I celebrated 2800 steps within a couple of months with my wonderful wife who helped me through it all. So when I was able, physically, I purchased a bike (it was May 2017, three years after being cleared) and my wife and I started riding. My first “long” ride was 7.3 miles and I thought I was going to die…on my 3rd year anniversary of being cleared(July 9th, 2017) I rode 33 miles at 14.3 mph and it took me 2 hrs 38 minutes…today I ride 20-40 mile rides at 17 – 25 mph with a top speed of 51 mph. I created “World’s Okayest Cyclist” so that I could get folks off the couch and moving. Because it is okay to be okay. I have several apps that log my rides so that it will provide funds for charities that include cancer research, childhood cancer, helping the Homeless, and children in need. I am also the race director for the City of Myrtle Beach’s first cycling event this Sept and will be using it to raise money for cancer. The point that I am making is I spend my time giving back because I was given another chance at life, and I am not going to waste it.
I want to close with my answer to a question I was asked, Do you have a piece of advice for newly diagnosed patients? I do, and it applies to you as well…Live your life, don’t just maintain it!
Love your family, slow down long enough to see and enjoy the things around you and most of all do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Thank you for listening and your efforts.
I will get back to you shortly after I am done cycling!