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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 08-12-12, 06:13 PM   #1
EL LUCHADOR
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how do i get up to beginner level???

there is a bike shop close to my house, they have a beginner ride. 19 miles, average 15mph.

i rode the same road they use today and averaged 13.2 mph for 25 miles, so im trying to get to beginner level,lol.


when i told the saleperson my average, he gave me the look like " there is no way anyone is that slow" .

any tips for me??
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Old 08-12-12, 06:19 PM   #2
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If it's an actual Beginners Ride, I doubt very seriously that they're averaging 19mph in spite of what they're telling you. Give it a shot and see how it goes. If you get dropped (and it happens), you'll know what you need to work on. No guts, no glory, right?
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Old 08-12-12, 06:22 PM   #3
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actually, 15mph average. the poor salesguy looked genuinely confused when i told him i averaged 13.2
it was like he honestly had never heard of anyone going that slow.

he finally came back with, oh, it will be in a group and youll be faster. i was thinking, nope it will be in a group and ill be dropped lol
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Old 08-12-12, 06:24 PM   #4
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Practice.

I am slow too, but I do not attempt group rides. I am a bike commuter; 12 miles each way, takes 1:10 to 1:30 depending on traffic lights, wind and mood. Actually cruising speed is around 15mph to get the 1:10 due to the lights, braking, and accelerating.

Set your own pace, and work to get faster.

In a group, one tends to go a bit faster; competition, adrenlin, etc.
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Old 08-12-12, 06:25 PM   #5
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Questions to ask:
1) is it a no-drop ride?
2) Do they re-group after climbs or before turns?
3) how many beginners ride each time?

In a group ride it is not exactly surprising for the average speed to be higher than what one can do on their own. Get in a paceline and hold on it will amaze you how fast you can go in the draft. Give it a try you may find you enjoy the ride. You may also meet others and build cycling friendships.
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Old 08-12-12, 06:30 PM   #6
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Questions to ask:
1) is it a no-drop ride?
2) Do they re-group after climbs or before turns?
3) how many beginners ride each time?

In a group ride it is not exactly surprising for the average speed to be higher than what one can do on their own. Get in a paceline and hold on it will amaze you how fast you can go in the draft. Give it a try you may find you enjoy the ride. You may also meet others and build cycling friendships.
1. it is not a no-drop ride
2.i dont believe they regroup
3.im told it is usually about 20 people

i think i might try it once just to see if i can hang, but on the other hand, im thinking why bother myself when i know im not fast enough yet
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Old 08-12-12, 06:31 PM   #7
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nigel, thanks for the info. im definitely devoted to the practice.
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Old 08-12-12, 06:45 PM   #8
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First, get over any concern about "getting dropped". There isn't a cyclist alive or dead who hasn't been dropped or continues to get dropped on a regular basis. Even the tour winners can't win at every discipline on every day.

Ask if they have a course map or written instructions, so you find your way back after the inevitable eventually happens.

Then show up and give the ride a go. It's a 19 mile ride and you already know you can ride 25 miles. So, technically, you don't actually need the group to enjoy a nice ride.

Start by introducing yourself around in the parking lot. Chances are that there will be one or more cyclists that aren't out to kill themselves on any given day and who will take the opportunity to ride along with someone new if that person isn't keeping up with the overall pace. We had that happen on our ride this past Saturday.

Then, once the ride starts. Don't try to go to the front. Just stay in the middle. Try to find a confident consistant rider to follow. Someone who doesn't swerve back and forth or slow and surge in the excellerations. Try to be anywhere but the first or last rider position. There maybe occassional group surges that require you to tap into your reserves (up a small rise, etc.). Don't be afraid to hammer it for a few seconds. But, if you're on the flats and find the pace too fast to hold the wheel of the person ahead of you, shrug and enjoy the rest of the ride.

As a rider new to group rides there will be a lot that you aren't comfortable or experienced with. For basics: keep you hands within reach of the brakes (hoods or drops, no flats), don't overlap your front wheel with the rear of those ahead of you, if you ride with a cyclecomputer don't get caught up with looking at it, keep you head up and your eyes forward.

Give it a go. The worst that happens is you meet some new people and end up going for an 18.5 mile by yourself.
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Old 08-12-12, 07:35 PM   #9
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A beginner ride that isn't no drop? yikes, doesn't sound beginner to me! Sometimes riding with faster folks helps YOU go faster...you push yourself a little harder. Did you do their whole 19 mile route today, or just part of it? Maybe ride it a few times alone and then give it a shot with the group.

I'm hopelessly stuck in the 13mph range. Highest I got was 13.8mph
On occassion I'll try the 14mp-16mph rides, and i just hang in the back. Usually I can do reasonably well keeping up, and I bet you could too!
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Old 08-12-12, 07:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EL LUCHADOR View Post
there is a bike shop close to my house, they have a beginner ride. 19 miles, average 15mph.

i rode the same road they use today and averaged 13.2 mph for 25 miles, so im trying to get to beginner level,lol.


when i told the saleperson my average, he gave me the look like " there is no way anyone is that slow" .

any tips for me??
When you find out how to get up to 'beginner level' , let me know. Ive been riding 3x a week for 2 yrs and if I average 13mph its a good day

Its all about terrain. I cant ride anyplace around my home without climbing 700-1000 ft per 10 miles.
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Old 08-12-12, 08:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
First, get over any concern about "getting dropped". There isn't a cyclist alive or dead who hasn't been dropped or continues to get dropped on a regular basis. Even the tour winners can't win at every discipline on every day.

Ask if they have a course map or written instructions, so you find your way back after the inevitable eventually happens.

Then show up and give the ride a go. It's a 19 mile ride and you already know you can ride 25 miles. So, technically, you don't actually need the group to enjoy a nice ride.

Start by introducing yourself around in the parking lot. Chances are that there will be one or more cyclists that aren't out to kill themselves on any given day and who will take the opportunity to ride along with someone new if that person isn't keeping up with the overall pace. We had that happen on our ride this past Saturday.

Then, once the ride starts. Don't try to go to the front. Just stay in the middle. Try to find a confident consistant rider to follow. Someone who doesn't swerve back and forth or slow and surge in the excellerations. Try to be anywhere but the first or last rider position. There maybe occassional group surges that require you to tap into your reserves (up a small rise, etc.). Don't be afraid to hammer it for a few seconds. But, if you're on the flats and find the pace too fast to hold the wheel of the person ahead of you, shrug and enjoy the rest of the ride.

As a rider new to group rides there will be a lot that you aren't comfortable or experienced with. For basics: keep you hands within reach of the brakes (hoods or drops, no flats), don't overlap your front wheel with the rear of those ahead of you, if you ride with a cyclecomputer don't get caught up with looking at it, keep you head up and your eyes forward.

Give it a go. The worst that happens is you meet some new people and end up going for an 18.5 mile by yourself.
hehe true. i just would hate to be dropped by a group of other beginners. i think i will try it and see how it goes. if i get dropped so be it. question - why do you suggest not being last in the group?? ie, are there disadvantages to that?

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A beginner ride that isn't no drop? yikes, doesn't sound beginner to me! Sometimes riding with faster folks helps YOU go faster...you push yourself a little harder. Did you do their whole 19 mile route today, or just part of it? Maybe ride it a few times alone and then give it a shot with the group.

I'm hopelessly stuck in the 13mph range. Highest I got was 13.8mph
On occassion I'll try the 14mp-16mph rides, and i just hang in the back. Usually I can do reasonably well keeping up, and I bet you could too!
i actually think i may prefer the drop rides. i have ridden with a no drop group a couple of three times -the first time, the group left me and the leader had to hang back with me and another dude- that didnt feel good. the second time, they would drop me for about 2 minutes then wait up ahead for me to catch up, and i felt i was slowing them down. it was supposed to be a 13mph group that does about 14.5 mph. this was a couple of weeks ago and im a little faster now.

i didnt ride their exact route, but most of it.

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Originally Posted by magohn View Post
When you find out how to get up to 'beginner level' , let me know. Ive been riding 3x a week for 2 yrs and if I average 13mph its a good day

Its all about terrain. I cant ride anyplace around my home without climbing 700-1000 ft per 10 miles.
lol,and ouch.if i climb 500 ft in 25miles, it was a hard ride lol
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Old 08-12-12, 09:08 PM   #12
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any tips for me??[/QUOTE]

If you have never ridden in a group ride I would recommend that you first practice holding a line. That is keeping the bike moving in a line without going side to side and using counter steering to move side to side to get around obstacles.

Second, find another rider and get on hard packed grass and ride parallel while bumping each other. Also practice putting your left hand on their shoulder and then looking back. People who don't get use to bumping often hit the ground when bumped b/c they over steer.

Riding in a pace line can be dangerous and I would recommend getting practice with one other person for the first few times.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by EL LUCHADOR View Post
actually, 15mph average. the poor salesguy looked genuinely confused when i told him i averaged 13.2
it was like he honestly had never heard of anyone going that slow.

he finally came back with, oh, it will be in a group and youll be faster. i was thinking, nope it will be in a group and ill be dropped lol
Poop on the salesman. I don't average 15mph and I have over 3500 miles under my belt since I started riding a year and a half ago. Yes, there are people that slow. Some aren't beginners. They should change the name of the ride. Especially as it isn't a no-drop, no regroup ride.

I do agree though that you will be faster in a group. Though I don't know if you will be that much faster.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:16 PM   #14
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Dude, do the ride. There is no motivation equal to the motivation you get when you're about to get dropped... it'll amaze you what you are capable of!

Besides, 15 mph isn't really that hard to do - you just need to know you can do it. See where I'm going with this? The other factor is that riding behind somebody is 80% as hard as riding solo.

Bottom line, you know the course, if you get dropped you still get a good workout, so go for it. Allez Allez Allez!
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Old 08-12-12, 09:16 PM   #15
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Getting dropped isn't the end of the world, or your group cycling experience. You will go faster as mentioned above, and may not get dropped. If you do, you finish the ride having learned a lot. Then you return next week and try again. And if you get dropped again, you've learned more and you return the next week and try again. You may get dropped again, but likely it will be further into the ride.

And you keep going back and trying more, and don't get discouraged. You just keep going back and trying and you gradually become a stronger rider in the group.

You can't get fast enough for group rides by riding by yourself. Ain't gonna happen. You get fast enough for group rides by riding in group rides. Just like you can't get fast enough to race by training alone. You get fast enough to be competitive by competing.

Same thing.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:21 PM   #16
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When you find out how to get up to 'beginner level' , let me know. Ive been riding 3x a week for 2 yrs and if I average 13mph its a good day
LOL

same here 2-3x a week for a little over a year. and still getting dropped by girls on bikes with training wheels and barbie backpacks.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:24 PM   #17
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when i told the saleperson my average, he gave me the look like " there is no way anyone is that slow" .
Ugh. Don't let that discourage you. He should check out a local bike path. LOTS of people who struggle to even get to 10mph on those.



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any tips for me??
Ride lots. Then ride some more. Lose weight as well. Then lose some more. That's pretty much all you can do.

Rider speed is generally determined by watts/kilogram. Get more watts (by practicing), and lose more kilograms.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:25 PM   #18
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Give it a go...15 mph on the back is doable for you.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:52 PM   #19
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when i told the saleperson my average, he gave me the look like " there is no way anyone is that slow" .

any tips for me??
Kick the salesman in the nuts.
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Old 08-12-12, 11:27 PM   #20
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It seems for every "support your LBS" post there is a countering post about an a-hole working in a bike shop. They certainly don't help themselves with that attitude.

My ride this evening: 25.4 miles, 721 feet elevation, avg. speed 12.7 mph.

Sorry, LBS dude. I'm slow and loving every mile.
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Old 08-13-12, 01:08 AM   #21
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OP, how long have you been riding? If it's been a while, and you have a lot of hours on the bike under your belt, then the way to get faster is to start to ride faster. That is, to deliberately ride at a pace you find challenging and sustain that pace for a little longer each time. After a while you will find that the level of effort that now exhausts you after ten minutes is sustainable for twenty minutes, then thirty, and so on.
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Old 08-13-12, 03:29 AM   #22
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Go along, if you get dropped and an ass kicking, so what?

Just keep working hard and go to their next one, you'll see the improvement you have made.

I was concerned that I would get dropped at my local group ride, it was a 40 miler that averaged about 15mph overall. Eventually I gave up at 35 miles after being dropped on every long climb. Since then I have worked hard on the hill climbing and can't wait until the next group ride!
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Old 08-13-12, 05:53 AM   #23
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why do you suggest not being last in the group?? ie, are there disadvantages to that?
Last in the group is not as relaxing a place to be as it sounds, at least not if you genuinely try to stay with the pack. That's the place where the constant repetition of braking and accelerating is most pronounced, whether from corners or just from the little shifts in speed that happen with any terrain that's not dead flat. All of that slowing and speeding up gets amplified as you go back in the pack. Consequently, the only "easy" riding to be had back there is when you decide to watch them ride away from you.
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Old 08-13-12, 07:08 AM   #24
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It doesn't matter what sport your in, if you are coming from a heavy and out of shape condition, and jumping in with skinnies, your going to struggle.

Truth is most people already "in" the sport have considerable experience in it, and many have been skinnies their entire lives.

So I wouldn't be too surprised when talking to skinnies, if they don't know exactly what ro say, or how to feel about a given pace. I had it all the time in running and now have it in cycling. I remember standing at the starting line of my first half marathon, and everyone was asking each other what time they were shooting for...when they got to me and I answered, I just want to finish, they all just kinda looked stunned and said..oh.

Guess I am trying to say that going slow is as foreign to them as going fast is to us.

If you continue to train you will get faster.
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Old 08-13-12, 07:57 AM   #25
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Speedwise (is that a word??) you usually go faster riding with a group. Hard to tell in your exact situation but i'd say that if doing 13-14 mph solo, 15 on a group is very likely to happen.

Begs the second question though, in order to enjoy the speed benefit of a draft you need to know and be comfortable riding with a group. Something that definitively needs getting used to.

Join the ride, stay on the back, observe as much as you can (a lot is common sense, you'll see do's and don'ts pretty quick). People in those rides are usually friendly, ask some questions, have fun.

Worst thing can happen is getting dropped....big deal...another solo ride.

Good luck
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