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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-28-16, 08:58 AM   #1
Susanohio1959
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New Rider needs help

I just started to bike again after, oh say 45 years . I have only road 2-3 miles at a time . I am struggling with staying calm and staying in a straight line :-( I have been practicing where I work which is a beautiful campus with very little traffic and sidewalks that I can ride on and roads . It seems like when I go around a curve I go to wide and end up in the grass . I am all wobbly and tense . To get to the campus I have to ride a half mile on a country road . I freaked out when a car came up behind me - got wobbly and went in the ditch - I did not go down but I need some support , suggestions here.. please and thank you so!
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Old 05-28-16, 10:03 AM   #2
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Practice makes perfect!
Is the saddle adjusted properly? Dead level, saddle height and fore/aft. Most people have the saddle too low, which makes it harder to balance IMHO. Your leg should be almost fully extended when your foot is at 6:00.

Also, your elbows shouldn't be locked and reach to the grips should be comfortable.
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Old 05-28-16, 10:26 AM   #3
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You need to relax. It will come with time, and hours of practice. Ideally, your upper body should be relaxed while your legs do most of the work. You don't want to have a death grip on the handlebars.
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Old 05-28-16, 10:29 AM   #4
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The best tip I ever got was for turning. When you turn, make sure the leg opposite the turn is on the pedal in the 6 o'clock position, and put a little weight on it. I.e., if you're turning to the left, have your right leg on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This really helps stabilize during turns. Other than that just keep at it, you'll gain confidence as you spend more time in the saddle.
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Old 05-28-16, 10:31 AM   #5
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Also, with turning: look to wear you want the bike to go. Not at the front tire or directly in front of you. Look out and where you want the bike to go.
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Old 05-28-16, 10:59 AM   #6
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I had a huge problem with fear when I started earlier this year, and it still gets me now and then. There were two things that helped me - first, I found several parking lots nearby that are open and empty at times. So I'd go to, say, an office building on the weekend, when no one is there, and turn circles in what felt like safety. I'd do things like ride super fast for a few seconds and then wheeeeeeeee! to make the scary a bit more enjoyable, and I'd also challenge myself to make a circle tighter, or to stop close to a sign or tree, things like that. And the second thing I did was to take half a xanax before riding. I think I did that about 3-4 times. It bites back on the fear so you actually get to experience yourself succeeding. You CAN do it, but the fear is getting in the way. You'll see that you can do it if you don't have to fight fear at the same time. If you go the parking lot route, make sure you don't turn all your circles in the same direction. Learn from my mistake! I can make a left turn like a champ, but a right turn like I still have training wheels and don't quite trust them (okay, exaggeration but you know what I mean).

Also, don't be too shy to just drop a toe, stop your bike if you're spooked.
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Old 05-28-16, 01:12 PM   #7
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Get the bike fit properly to you. Doing so will increase your stability, and also will massively improve the energy in to energy out ratio (i.e. make you not have to work as hard to go the same distance).

Make bicycling fun.

Reward yourself for goal achievement... if getting on your bike and going jus a mile three days a week is a goal then achieve that goal and get something small for yourself (cup of good coffee, chocolate bar, something for your bike or cycling apparel like gloves or socks).

Relax, and have fun
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Old 05-28-16, 01:51 PM   #8
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You will smooth out in no time :-).

Riding any kind of stationary bike or trainer builds BAD habits fast :-) so just be aware of that. I got a fork stand for my resistance rollers and just one hour on there took me a few miles in real life the next day to smooth back out :-)
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Old 05-28-16, 02:16 PM   #9
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A lot of great advice from the other posters. Relax and practice. Office complexes after hours are great along with cemeteries. Most have vast amounts of paved surface and/or roads with little to no vehicular traffic to practice on.
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Old 05-28-16, 02:28 PM   #10
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I think you need to ride a lot straight line without cars, till you feel really confident in that and then start to make for example left turn until you fell more a less ok with it, same for the left turn. And then you ride your bike everywhere maybe with some lack of confidence, which will be gone with miles. In other words, your problem can be fixed only by the time spent on the bike.
Good Luck!
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Old 05-29-16, 12:22 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone , lots of good advice and support . I did buy the bike at lbs and it is fitted for me . I guess I really did not anticipate being this shakey and fearful . Got to love getting older :-)
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Old 05-29-16, 08:25 AM   #12
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When the road is DRY riding tight ON the white line at the edge is often smoother, they use a heavy thick reflective paint that is smoother than the pavement, and it offers good practice :-)

But when the road is WET...which includes early morning or any other time the road is cooler than the air, stay OFF those lines because they are very slippery :-).

You can also find harmless objects or marks in the road to practice either running them over by staring right AT them as you approach, the front wheel will go right over them every time, or look NEXT to them to miss them....the bike will naturally go right where you are looking :-). Good practice for when the object is NOT harmless, potholes and such.

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Old 05-29-16, 09:04 AM   #13
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What bike are you riding, what size, and how tall are you.
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Old 05-29-16, 10:55 AM   #14
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you say the bike is fitted to you. Did the bike shop do more than raise the saddle and get you into the correct size frame?

I ask as that is not a bike fit. A bike fit will determine the best height for the handlebars, the best angle for the stem (they may have to change the stem to get you the angle you need), adjusting the saddle up/down/fore/aft, adjusting your shoes to bring your knees to the correct position, and maybe even putting shims in your cycling shoes.

If you haven't done all the above then go schedule a bike fit.
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Old 05-29-16, 11:12 AM   #15
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All I have is to do things at your pace, don't worry about impressing anyone but yourself. If it takes you a month to make a right turn that is perfectly fine.

I've seen guys on motorcycles try riding outside their abilities with less than pleasant results. Point being, take it slow and enjoy. No stress.


Try smiling while you ride, you might find it helps.
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Old 05-29-16, 12:52 PM   #16
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I have a Fuji barnabey 7 LS , I am 5'4
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Old 05-29-16, 01:00 PM   #17
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I think it was a thorough fitting - got measured, got on bike - they observed as I pedaled on a stand - made adjustments to handlebars and seat . Had me ride for 10 minutes asked how my body felt - did some minor adjustments , pedaled again 10 minutes and adjustments made , did this about 4 times all together . I don't have bike shoes - just some saconny tennis shoes . They did say they thought maybe the seat might be to high and it was at lowest position . They said if I thought it was to high still to bring it back and they would cut some off the post .
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Old 05-29-16, 01:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mvcrash View Post
Also, with turning: look to wear you want the bike to go. Not at the front tire or directly in front of you. Look out and where you want the bike to go.
This what I was going to suggest.

Go to where there is a corner and no pressure. Then just ride that corner and turn around and do it again. And then a few more times.
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