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Thread: Riding Solo

  1. #1
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    Riding Solo

    I am a 16 year old from Los angeles. I tend to ride in the surrounding canyons for about 40-50 miles per day. However, my parents always nail me for riding alone. But i cannot seem to find anyone else to ride with and I am a beginning road biker and cannot keep up with the club members just yet.

    Have any comments on how I can make my parents more easy going? or what i can do to find a cycling partner?

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh128 View Post
    I am a 16 year old from Los angeles. I tend to ride in the surrounding canyons for about 40-50 miles per day. However, my parents always nail me for riding alone. But i cannot seem to find anyone else to ride with and I am a beginning road biker and cannot keep up with the club members just yet.

    Have any comments on how I can make my parents more easy going? or what i can do to find a cycling partner?
    Make sure you have a cell phone, spare tube (and know how to change/fix a flat), and have ID (road ID, drivers license, etc.).

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    Thank you!

    Just so I know, in your opinion, is it very dangerous to ride alone?

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    Old Fogy
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    Probably safer to ride with others, however, many, if not most, of us do it all the time.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Have a cell phone and text them updates on your progress. I am an adult but I do this with my family. It assuages their fears. It only take a few seconds. I text while stopped at a stop sign with no traffic or other logical stopping point.

    Example texts.

    "Completed 9 miles of 34, feeling good."
    "Halfway point" include pic of nice view or yourself looking goofy
    "Almost home, just 5 miles to go"
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowandsteady View Post
    Have a cell phone and text them updates on your progress. I am an adult but I do this with my family. It assuages their fears. It only take a few seconds. I text while stopped at a stop sign with no traffic or other logical stopping point.

    Example texts.

    "Completed 9 miles of 34, feeling good."
    "Halfway point" include pic of nice view or yourself looking goofy
    "Almost home, just 5 miles to go"
    Talk your parents into getting you an iPhone, download the iMapMyRide app, and then configure it to post your position on facebook every 15 minutes.

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    Thank you for all the help hopefully they'll be a little more easy going from now on!

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Josh,

    First rule, parents worry (at least good ones do).

    Letting them know yuor exact route might help, also choosing a good route can help. Not alll roads are equal.

    Check out www.SFVBC.org. It looks like they still start from CSUN. If that is reasonable for yuo they might be a good option. If you are riding the canyons I find it difficult to believe that you can not keep up on the in valley rides. Also look for the LA Wheelmen, another social club, I expect they have rides you can hang with.

    You may well find a social club and still find yuo are in a sort of gap. I always was, I'm big, 220-240 and that pretty much ment the riders I was comfortable with on the flats would drop me like a stone on the first real climb of a ride and the ones who climbed as slowly as I did were already miles behind me when I hit the base of the first climb. BUT eventually friendships were made and I ended up in a small group on a ride that would sort of stay together and regroup. Yuo may find the same or find someone else who has similar goals to yuors and will be a good riding partner.

    Good Luck

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh128 View Post
    Thank you for all the help hopefully they'll be a little more easy going from now on!

    Thanks!
    Being understanding and sympathetic to their concern for you will help. Tell them that you understand that they are worried about you and that you will do everything possible to let them know where you are and where you will be and when. Texting or calling along the way, giving them a detailed route map, and a return time are all things that will help. Adding that level of maturity and understanding will help them to be more easy going. Their confidence in you will only increase with your increasing maturity and empathy for them.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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    Some good ideas above, the best is just tell them where you are going and when you plan on being back +/-.
    At the risk of sounding cliche, when you are a parent, you'll understand.

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    If you go out with club members and they don't designate someone to ride with you if you fall behind, it would be better to find another club.

    On the other hand, have you mentioned your parents reasonable worries to any of the club officials? They may think that you've no problem with being dropped, unless you do so. If they have any sense of club responsibility, they'll do something about it. If not, other forumers have given you other clubs to contact.

    If you want to race when you're fit enough, check to see if the clubs you contact have a club coach/coaches who can help you on the fitness front.

    Anyway, good luck and keep at it.

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    Great ideas above. I especially like the iPhone/facebook suggestion. If you have access to a video camera and can mount it to your bike so you can show your parents how safe (or not) the roads you are riding are that may help. No fair editing out the bad stuff.

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    You best try and find a pal to ride with. Being a lone wolf will have you an easy mark for some Cholos looking for a nice bike.

    I used to do a lot of solo pedaling here (in the statistically the most dangerous city in the USA) . After being assaulted 4x , I seldom ride alone

    within the bowels.

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    vol
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    Riding with a partner can be risky for some people, when the follower concentrates on following the "leader" and fails to pay enough attention to the road situation, like that fatal accident posted somewhere on these forums not long ago. So in this aspect, I think riding alone is wiser, provided you are skilled enough to ride alone.

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    Thank you for all the great suggestions! I can assure you all regardless of a club or texting I will keep at it! Thanks!

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    I would talk to some groups in your area, just do a google search "Road bike groups in XYZ County" , and just tell them you are new. Everyone in a group started out somewhere. Often, you will find an older member with experience who just doesn't haul azz like he/she used to, and is perfectly content with going 12 MPH . Many police officers ride road bikes, and hooking up with a retired cop will calm your parents down. Tell them he rides with a 9MM, mace, GPS, etc.

    You sound like a good kid, like you're trying to be sensitive to your parents feelings, and I salute that, that's very mature thinking to ask for advice here, kudos.

    From what I've heard, (I also saw Hincapie's You Tube video) some of those canyon roads can be pretty hairy, so that's why your parents are paranoid. I'm not sure if there's pot growers up in those hills, but that would concern me if I was your Dad. Be careful this time of year, I've also heard wierd things in *** forums about people doing illegal target practice in the hills. So best to get out real early before the yahoos wake up and start drinking beer.

    Also parents hate mysteries, Floyd Landis' father used to flip out when he went on training rides, so he gave him extra chores. So Floyd defiantly rode at night, at 11 PM in the snow. (This was in Pennsylvania)

    His dad would freak out even more and follow him...

    It's also about having your kid disappear for 2-3 hours is tough. When I was your age I was going on a training ride at night, my dad started making comments like I was going out to cause trouble etc.

    So tell your parents you are working on a buddy system, or finding a group who rides slower. It sounds like you hooked up with an elitist group, this happens all the time, I hear this one constantly "Oh I got dropped!" Then they never ride again. When you join a group, ask a lot of questions, the age demographic will also tell you a lot.
    Tell them you are into a "social pace"..."sport touring". Many americans assume nowadays that road cycling means you have to ride a carbon fiber Colnago. You can thank Greg Lemond and Lance for that.

    Grant Peterson lives near you , email him at Rivbike.com. He probably does some awesome shop rides, or can refer you. Read his blogs also, they rock.

    Bottom line is most riders who are 45-50+ and have endured having kids themselves are not going to haul ass, they just don't have the time to log the miles, (many of them talk a lot of BS, but hey that's road cycling for ya)

    Also, consider starting your own group at your school! If you do this, you will quickly become legend, and it will be a rewarding experience for you to get other people on the road. I would strongly also reccomend a League of American Wheelmen safety class, I bet your parents would throw down the 300.00 to get you certified on that, since they've seen that you are serious.

    Allez, allez...

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    I ride alone all the time. There are usually other riders out on the road so you are really not alone. If there is a problem other roadies usually ask if all is well and maybe even assist you. I hate texting, but it is a good idea. Ride safe.

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    Pat
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    On cycling alone, I have ridden a pile of solo miles.

    In cycling alone, you need to be pretty self reliant. You need to know how to repair a flat and have the stuff to repair 2 or even 3 if you have bad luck. You should carry a boot (in case you get a sliced tire). You might think of a spoke wrench in case you get a broken spoke and need to field true your wheel. Things like that.

    Always carry ID. I know of a number of riders who were injured and unconcious when found. They did not have ID so the medical people had no idea of who they were.

    Carry a cell phone. That is in case you have some insurmountable difficulty on the ride. It also allows for you to "check in" with people who might worry about you during the ride.

    As far as danger of riding solo. I think that it is less than cycling in a group. Groups have pacelines. It is really easy for a mental lapse to put a bunch of people down on the pavement. You just do not have that kind of problem solo.

    As far as cars go, cyclists suffer half the risk of fatality per hour that motorists risk. But those statistics include the people on bikes who really are doing very risky behavior such as riding at night without lights, riding against traffic, riding as a pedestrian on a bike (and jaywalking), and so on.

    I think an alert, experienced, and safety conscious cyclist probably has 1/10 the risk of fatality as a motorist does. How can that be? Well, think about it. What causes most of the fatalities in motorists. Well driving while intoxicated is #1. Cycling requires balance so most cyclists do not attempt riding whilst falling down drunk. Another high risk behavior is falling asleep at the wheel or being very, very tired. Cycling requires being alert so it is not an activity that exhausted people understake. The next high risk behavior is distraction: cell phones, radio, eating, reading, and so on. Again cycling requires attention so that one is not done either. Cycling by its nature just does not promote the kind of insanely dangerous practices that kill so many motorists.

    All of that being said, even an alert, safety conscious cyclists can be killed. All it takes is one inattentive driver to take you out. So there is a risk.

  19. #19
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh128 View Post
    I am a 16 year old from Los angeles. I tend to ride in the surrounding canyons for about 40-50 miles per day. However, my parents always nail me for riding alone. But i cannot seem to find anyone else to ride with and I am a beginning road biker and cannot keep up with the club members just yet.

    Have any comments on how I can make my parents more easy going? or what i can do to find a cycling partner?
    The only thing you can really do is increase you speed/MPH.

    Three years ago, I could barely break 15MPH. Now I can do 25-30MPH with no problem.

    You have to take into account, your saddle(seat) position, while a higher seat may seemingly aid aerodynamically, if it is too high, it won't help with peddling at all.

    Also, If you have anything on the bike that can actually create drag, it won't help with your speed.

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