Touring - Pains of new rider
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04-26-08, 05:10 AM
I'm working on a children's novel and the chapter I'm writing has a girl who has never cycled before attempting a 20 mile ride in the country. What advice would an experienced rider give her before this? And more importantly, what pains and other experiences would you expect her to have during the course of the ride?
Sadly, my long distance cycling experience is now so far in the past I can't remember any of this!
Any help on this would be greatly appreciated...
04-26-08, 05:25 AM
well i reckon she is going to be so excited about her big adventure, she aint going to notice the pain all over her little body or how dry her mouth feels lets hope she makes it..
04-26-08, 05:41 AM
I don't have a chapter unless I describe what she goes through (including what hurts)... She may be determined and excited but she'll also have to overcome all sorts of things -- I remember this vaguely from my first big ride from London to Brighton!
04-27-08, 01:37 AM
I just started riding for the first time in my life really. Over the past two days I did a 34 mile and then a 58 mile ride.
-Lungs (this was at high altitude, but initially the feeling that you aren't getting enough oxygen no matter how hard you breath, your lungs feel as if they will explode)
-Knees (i personally began getting a pretty bad pain in my left knee about halfway through the 58 mile trip, i had to start changing the way i pedaled to relieve pressure and continued the bike ride essentially ignoring the pain best i could)
-Basic calf muscle burning (up hills)
-Horrible sunburns on my thighs which prior to bike shorts haven't seen sunlight since my pre-pubescent years
-My ass KILLED ME, I did the 58 mile ride on a stock saddle and my butt is still raw (throughout the ride constant shifting of my weight on the saddle and standing on the pedals whenever i had a downhill and could give my ass some room to breath)
-Thirst turning very quickly from a faint hint to a dry mouth and lips
-Clip in pedals are also very interesting for a newbie, especially in the middles of streets/at intersections
04-27-08, 05:19 AM
I'm really hoping someone will remember what it was like when they did their first long ride -- and will share the experience with me...
04-27-08, 05:24 AM
I hadn't seen your reply when I posted my last message. It was enormously helpful!
04-27-08, 07:15 AM
33 ks isn't that far - but, sore hands/wrists from gripping the bars too tight, constant fear of falling off, inability to see anything except the path immediately in front of her, great difficulty stopping without falling over, having a very minor fall but being totally traumatised by it, the chain slipping off and it being a huge drama...
Bugs flying into your mouth,
a mixture of sweat and sun screen stinging the eyes
hot spots on the balls of your feet where they meet the pedals,
annoying pains in the wrists and hands,
stress in the neck and shoulders if the handlebars are too low
Man why do we do this sport, its more like torture
I recall my first long ride when I was fourteen. Two friends and me started early in the morning on our way to the beach, sixty-odd miles away. It started off being lovely. A light fog that kept the temperature cool and the sun off our backs. I recall that the fine hair on my fingers, hands and arms became white with fine droplets of water—I've never experienced that phenomena since. It was quiet as we rode the backroads and birds were the noisiest thing we heard. What with the fog and sounds of the forest, the muted light—it was fairly surreal. Around mid-morning, the fog burned off and the sun came out full-force and it was about that time that we realized what we were attempting. Fortunately we had done about half of the milage and with that in mind, the sore butt and tired legs didn't weigh on us as much as it might have—which these things didn't make themselves known until, as I mentioned, the sun came out. The closer we got to our destination, the more desperate we became to reach it for the simple reason that it was getting progressively hotter. We had left the shady woods and were pedaling in open farmland. We had no water on our bikes and opportunities for getting any were fairly scarce until the last miles. We were getting quite sunburned and my legs felt like rubber bands; we were all pretty much salt encrusted. My palms had gone numb some while back and I had a nasty chaffing issue from the seams in my shorts and underwear (no bike shorts back then).
How old is the girl?
04-27-08, 12:52 PM
Some other things besides pain experienced on first ride:
- fear of being hit be drivers, especially from large trucks that pass too close
- uncomfortable, too-soft seat cutting blood flow around one's rear (which causes pain and sometimes also makes one's leg or legs feel as if they have fallen "asleep")
- inadequate supply of water
- rubbing right leg against chain and getting dirty grease on skin/clothes
Of course there are positives too - fresh air, outside, exercise, active
Joewrite: Twenty miles is two or two or three hours of easy riding. Unless the kid is really out of shape, or you're sending her up a mountain or into a dust storm, or she's riding a bike that's the wrong size for her, she's probably not going to be more than thirsty or pleasantly tired. Her main experience might realistically be a sense of pride that she can travel that far so effortlessly!
04-27-08, 03:37 PM
I have taken similar rides with a bunch of 6th graders. They were in good shape from soccer, playing, etc., but hadn't built up any prior miles on their bikes. They did fine. They felt like they'd had a workout, but seemed to still have plenty of 11- and 12-year-old energy. The most common complaint was a sore bottom.
Are there many hills in your story? Kids also don't like hills - usually because they don't have much conception of how to use their gears, and I've also found most to be actually kind of resistant to learning. If there are hills in your story, maybe the advice given should be about how to use gears. Other than that, good safety tips are the advice I'd give - how to ride in traffic, how to make left turns in traffic (fraught with the most peril in my experience with kids).
04-27-08, 04:54 PM
Thanks to all of you for this -- I now know enough to make the ride seem complete torture to her!
She's 14 but has never been on a bike more than going round the block and she is also pretty unfit -- so I would imagine she'd experience most of the things you're describing to the nth degree... However she's totally determined to do the whole ride so would try to overcome the pain...
04-28-08, 02:22 AM
And I'll take your advice and make the ride longer -- 30 miles should do it!
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