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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 08-05-12, 11:35 AM   #1
ainkor
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Wife and I's first ride together

We did our first ride together this week and she did awesome for not having rode a bike in about 21 years.

We found a nice level ride through the town of Brevard NC that is about 4 miles long. It's a bit of a drive for us to get there but its much better than the 4-8% grades around where we live. After the ride my wife was still all for her goal of riding to Charleston SC in September of 2013 for our vacation! I was worried that she would have changed her mind.

Any tips for teaching someone about gears? I taught her how to drive a stick back in the day and it about split us up


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Old 08-05-12, 12:44 PM   #2
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Any tips for teaching someone about gears? I taught her how to drive a stick back in the day and it about split us up
As long as a person is not trying to become a "gear head" and learn the "use" of the gears as they see it.

When I teach a newbie I advise them to learn to shift "as needed" to keep them in a comfortable pedaling range. Nothing kills a newbies enjoyment faster than leg cramps from high pedal effort.

Assure them that whatever gear(s) they feel comfortable in is ok just don't be afraid to try different gears to see "how they feel to you" then play around to see what works for you.
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Old 08-05-12, 05:08 PM   #3
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She did fine on the level route we took, but when we did try a quick ride around where we live, it got ugly. I'll just have to let her ease into it. I do have about 6 months on her in the area of getting fit, so patience will be the key.
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Old 08-05-12, 05:52 PM   #4
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Giving your wife advice can be tough without coming across like a condescending jackass (I'm projecting here, no idea if this is your issue) so you can either let her figure it out on her own or find a youtube video that shows what you want to show her.
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Old 08-05-12, 08:41 PM   #5
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I suggested to both my niece and my sister that they first not mess with shifting the front derailleur (using the left hand shifter) and just leave the bike in the middle ring, ride around on the flats, and practice shifting the rear derailleur (using the right hand shifter) and shift up and down as is comfortable.
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Old 08-06-12, 06:46 PM   #6
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Giving your wife advice can be tough without coming across like a condescending jackass (I'm projecting here, no idea if this is your issue) so you can either let her figure it out on her own or find a youtube video that shows what you want to show her.
Haha! I'm not a condescending ass (Don't think so ) but I am a boss at work. Used to telling folks what to do (nicely I might add) and they listen. Of course my wife is different
I've gotten the old "Don't you dare manage me" a few times early in our marriage
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Old 08-06-12, 06:58 PM   #7
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Does she need help with the actual mechanics of shifting or just when to shift?
I was told "when it is hard, make it easier. When it is easy, make it harder." Kind of silly I guess, but it helped me learn to shift to keep that nice easy cadence. I agree with Gold too about only shifting in the back for a while, as there is less decision making.
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Old 08-06-12, 07:53 PM   #8
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I am going to over generalize but hey, it may help.

I have a vuddy who is new to riding. He is fit so he wanted to do a 50 mile ride for his first ride. He made it but really suffered. He simply wouldnt shift and blamed the bike the whole way (its a cross bike)

Finally after about 30 miles i got behind him and watched. He had about three gears out of the twenty he has he used.

So when we finally got back and he decided he actually wanted some advice, he is what i told him.

In general i want you to find a steady cadence that feels as though you could hold that cadence and effort level for an hour. Focus on maintaining that effort level and cadence, and shift to match your grade. On even slight inclines shift to an easier gear. Get ahead of the grade, as in. Ot waiting until the grade forces you to shift down or mash harder, but anticipate the grade and get in the easier gear earlier so you dont have to slow your cadence. Remeber the opposite as you crest the incline...get back in that harder gear so you can build speed and still maintain that effort and cadence.

Chain rings....in general you will be able to reognize a grade you can still maintain in the large vs small ring with a little vit of riding experience. I try and not use the two largest rear cogs while in the large front and vise versa, i try not tomuse the smallest two rear cogs, while in the small front. Within the range thats left, find on your own when your going to need to shift down to the small chainring, and again try and anticipate that before you get hard into the climb.


In short dont mash and see if you can hold x speed or go up x grade...shift first and tey and make it easy...you can always shift back if you spin out....you paid for 20 gears use them.
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Old 08-07-12, 07:40 AM   #9
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Doing the same with mine 2 weeks ago, have her up to 5 miles. As far as gears, I told her not to worry about which gear she is in, just get to one that is comfortable for her at the time (we're in south Florida...............................no hills). She started at 2 miles and now is at 5. As for me being a jackass, she figured that I am one 36 years ago....................
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Old 08-08-12, 03:14 PM   #10
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My rule for shifting is: If it is too easy to pedal move to a higher gear. If it is too hard move to a lower gear. Repeat until comfortable. I do try to take note of what gear(s) work best in areas I ride frequently.
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