Consider this fair warning: If Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price invites you to go riding, bring your A game.
On March 21, about 30 cyclists joined the mayor for the first Tour de Fort Worth of 2012, a 14-mile hop around the Trinity Trails, starting at the recently opened Trinity Bicycles, 343 Throckmorton St. The weekly series will continue through Oct. 24 at various sites across the city.
Price, 62, likes to use cycling as a way to promote a healthy city and give residents a chance to talk with her about issues in a relaxed atmosphere.
"It's really interesting what people will tell you on a bike," said Price, who rides five days a week and logs as many as 150 miles a week during the summer. "They get warmed up and they get loose, and you feel friendly and accessible. That's what we want."
Wednesday's kickoff ride started a little after 5:30 p.m. under cloudy skies and in 60-degree temperatures.
The cyclists were escorted down to the trail by two Fort Worth bicycle officers, who hung at the end of the group all evening.
The machines ranged from mountain bikes, like the police-issue Trek hardtail ridden by Fort Worth bike patrol officer Sean Blaydes to the mayor's red-and-black Kuota road bike.
The crowd was diverse, too. Several people said they had run across the ride on the mayor's Facebook page and decided to join the group because, well, a ride's a ride.
Diane Laughlin, 59, of Saginaw, a train dispatcher for BNSF Railroad, found out about the weekly rides from the Fort Worth Bicycling Association. She said that she has gotten a little out of shape over the winter and that Wednesday's ride was a good workout.
Mike Emery, 42, of Fort Worth, a manager at National Tire and Battery, said he saw it on Facebook and "decided that any opportunity to ride is a good opportunity."
Price yo-yoed back and forth within the group as it stretched along the trail, chatting with the riders. She said that the weekly rides, which began last year, give residents a chance to discuss everything from streetlights and potholes to water rates and taxes.
"We haven't had anybody in the last year who was really angry," she said. "You know, we have some who say, 'Why can't we get our streets fixed?' And I understand that. It's frustrating."
But Price, who has been cycling seriously for about 25 years, said she just loves hearing what people are interested in, "even if they're not talking about the city, if they're just telling me about their families or their pets or their children. I love that kind of stuff."
The rides are from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays. You can get the latest information about them, including location, on Price's Facebook page.