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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 09-20-08, 08:32 PM   #1
kajero
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What I learned today on my first solo 50-mile ride

All my prior rides have been on familiar trails and roads or group rides with a leader who knows where we are going.

Today I went my first solo 50 mile bike ride. Here are a few things I learned:

1. Spend some time studying the route map BEFORE I go on the ride – and not a quick once over. Match the trail map to the cue sheet. It will help me from getting lost and frustrated.

2. Do not put the trail map in the back pocket of my bicycle shirt. After I have worked up a sweat, the paper gets damp and disintegrates (and of course is then pretty useless). Instead, put the map in Ziploc bag. Also, DO NOT leave the ride cue sheet, which lists the turns and miles, at home. It doesn’t do any good there. Without the a good map and cue sheet for unfamiliar bike rides, I will become frustrated, lost, and the ride won't be as enjoyable as it could have been.

3. There was only one water stop available. Figure out a way to add another water cage to my bike or use a hydration system.

4. Do not fall of the bike. It hurts. Bring a small first-aid kit so I can clean off my arm when I scrape it during the fall.

5. Remember I am clipped in. Do not get distracted. Think about myself first before stopping for any reason. Don’t stop in a panic. Don't have a conversation with anyone when I am nearing a stop, I can visit when them in a few minutes. Try to think ahead.

6. Get a new pair of better fitting clipless shoes because when I am clipping out, my foot moves inside the shoe too much before I can actually unclip the shoe. Otherwise, just quit using clipless altogether. I fall too much.

7. Stop and take some photos of the ride. I would have done this had I had more time, but I spent a lot of time being lost and figuring out where to go.

8. If I feel like I am losing control of the bike, look where I want to go and keep going. (I learned that one from a co-rider motorcycle class.)

9. When I get home, drink some more water and eat. Well that is if #10 doesn't happen.

10. Do not forget to put the salmon patties you made to eat when you got back in the fridge. Otherwise the cats will have made of mess of the kitchen and you will have to find something else to eat.
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Old 09-20-08, 08:37 PM   #2
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A lot of great advice! Congrats on the 50!

Oh - it was all good but I must admit my favorite part was the one about the not forgetting to put your salmon patties away or the cats will make a mess of the kitchen.

I bet you had a funny look on your face when you walked in there all ready to munch down some salmon, huh?

I felt your pain on that one. Thanks for all the pointers!
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Old 09-20-08, 08:41 PM   #3
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What I have learned every time I go beyond 30 miles / 50 km or so is to eat or drink some calories before bonking.
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Old 09-20-08, 09:50 PM   #4
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Congratulations on the ride.

Re: item 6...After buying some proper size shoes, hang onto the old ones for cold weather riding using two or three pairs of socks.
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Old 09-20-08, 10:44 PM   #5
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So except for getting lost, running out of water, falling & getting scaped up, having ill-fitted shoes, and losing your dinner, it was a great 50 mile ride?
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Old 09-20-08, 10:56 PM   #6
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All good bits of advice.
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Old 09-20-08, 11:04 PM   #7
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Maybe you could train the cats to navigate and bring them along -- gets them out of the house, keeps you on course, saves the salmon...
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Old 09-20-08, 11:22 PM   #8
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I don't carry maps anymore. When going to unfamiliar roads I just toss the garmin nuvi on the handlebar bag.
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Old 09-20-08, 11:57 PM   #9
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I don't carry maps anymore. When going to unfamiliar roads I just toss the garmin nuvi on the handlebar bag.
I was gong to suggest the same thing. I keep mine in a ziploc in my back shirt pocket. Though it does suck having to turn my head (wind noise) to hear the directions. Word of advice though, if using a Nuvi, charge it well before hand, turn the screen brightness all the way down (if only using the audible cues-saves battery juice) and remember you only have about a 4 hour charge (so I wait til I'm ready to head home before turning it on.)

But congrats on the 50. I'm hoping to make that milestone soon myself.
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Old 09-21-08, 01:34 AM   #10
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If you use a cue sheet- Wrap in a polythene bag and use Elastic bands to hold them on your forearm. If you fold the sheet right- you can read as you ride- Providing you use Big print as you won't be using the reading glasses while you ride
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Old 09-21-08, 05:11 AM   #11
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Congrats on the 50 miler .

All great lessons learned. If I could add my favorite lesson it would be:
11.) Being lost can be an adventure!
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Old 09-21-08, 05:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CollectiveInk View Post
I was gong to suggest the same thing. I keep mine in a ziploc in my back shirt pocket. Though it does suck having to turn my head (wind noise) to hear the directions. Word of advice though, if using a Nuvi, charge it well before hand, turn the screen brightness all the way down (if only using the audible cues-saves battery juice) and remember you only have about a 4 hour charge (so I wait til I'm ready to head home before turning it on.)

But congrats on the 50. I'm hoping to make that milestone soon myself.
This little gadget will charge the Nuvi on those bike rides. I use one for my Garmin 605 and my Nuvi on bike tours.


http://www.gomadic.com/garmin-nuvi-2...-extender.html
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Old 09-21-08, 06:13 AM   #13
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congrats on the 50 miler .

All great lessons learned. If i could add my favorite lesson it would be:
11.) being lost can be an adventure!
+1
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Old 09-21-08, 07:04 AM   #14
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congrats! i'll never forget my first 50-miler.... lots of fun... of course, we're kinda spoiled down here, as there is an extensive system of paths, mostly safe from vehicles, and offering restrooms, water, and restaurants along with way...
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Old 09-21-08, 07:18 AM   #15
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I wanted to say something, and I agree with everyone else.
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Old 09-21-08, 07:26 AM   #16
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Try riding that route again. Actually many times. Then you will not need a route sheet. And you will be able to improvise on the subsequent rides, learn when and where to stop for drinks, etc.
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Old 09-21-08, 07:34 AM   #17
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When I go on new routes I map it out in mapmyrides or bikely and print the map out. I am more comfortable having a map of the area rather than just rely on turn-by-turn instructions I may screw up. I have a Nuvi but never thought about bringing it. Being able to find the quickest route home may not be valuable if it takes you on high speed, crowded routes with no shoulders. You can't load courses to those things can you?
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Old 09-21-08, 07:48 AM   #18
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You sure seem to fall a lot. I mean, most people aren't falling even once on a ride like that, or ever, for that matter. Your ride sounds like some kind of Monty Python sketch. Are you sure you shouldn't practice a bit more before going out for another 50 miles?

Seriously though, those of you who are falling down often because of clipless pedals should consider a Shimano SPD with the multirelease cleat. It's a lot more forgiving when you need to clip out suddenly, even at the very last second, but it holds your foot while riding just like any other.

I can't say I've ever needed a map on a ride like that (since I already know where I'm going to go), but when I was a young army officer, I quickly learned the value of a plastic map case. On the bike, a thin handlebar bag with a clear plastic map pocket on it is really handy (not a full-blown handlebar bag, but the little ones that simply hang from a couple of velcro straps).

Last edited by Longfemur; 09-21-08 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 09-21-08, 09:26 AM   #19
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I have done several long distance group rides, (25, 37 and 35) but I never used the clipless system. I was scared I wouldn't do something right and crash into the other cyclists which I doubt that would make me popular with any group.

I fell both times because I was inattentive. One fall was when the bike trail just plain ended at the curb in a parking lot. Had I been looking ahead, it wouldn't have happened. Instead I was looking at the scenery. The other fall was because I met up with another rider and started talking. She stopped and so did I -- except she was wearing regular old shoes.

At least I am learning
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Old 09-21-08, 10:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
If I could add my favorite lesson it would be:
11.) Being lost can be an adventure!
+1

On vacation my favorite rides have been my "vague notion" rides. I set out in the morning with a vague notion of where I want to go and how many miles I'd like to ride.

Every now and again, I stop and ask people where I am, where I'm going and what should I see as long as I'm in the neighborhood. What amazes me is that the locals I ask, see me as being on a some kind of big adventure, when I'm just tooling around in their back yards.
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Old 09-21-08, 10:15 AM   #21
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50 miler

Route maps..
The absolute reason to join a cycling club.
Even if you NEVER ride a mile with them the fact that someone went to the effort to check out the roads for those ride maps they've made makes the membership worthwhile.
A good many clubs have stop points on the ride maps (stop points=the good probabliity of a resturant or corner store etc.)
Make sure you carbo.
Liquid is essential but having the bottom drop out of the carbo stockpile on a long (especially if it's hilly)ride can make it feel like you're pulling a train behind you.
Check the weather..
Nothing is worse than being out 25/30 miles and discovering you have a 25+ mph wind to ride back into.
Cel Phone...explaination not needed.
Pick a destination (agaon,this is where a ride map is a Godsend)
Always remember to reward yourself after the ride (lol)
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Old 09-21-08, 10:27 AM   #22
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I have done several long distance group rides, (25, 37 and 35) but I never used the clipless system. I was scared I wouldn't do something right and crash into the other cyclists which I doubt that would make me popular with any group.

I fell both times because I was inattentive. One fall was when the bike trail just plain ended at the curb in a parking lot. Had I been looking ahead, it wouldn't have happened. Instead I was looking at the scenery. The other fall was because I met up with another rider and started talking. She stopped and so did I -- except she was wearing regular old shoes.

At least I am learning
+100 That's what's important. If you make the same mistakes over and over again, well, that's a different story. I admire you for heading out solo and completing your ride.

News flash from another clipless newbie: Unclipping WILL become automatic as you ride more, even on sudden stops or when distracted. After only a few months, I find myself unclipping without even thinking about it, like using the blinker lever in the car. So much so, that even while riding my hybrid with platform pedals I've noticed that I automatically twist my left foot a little as if to unclip when slowing to a stop (which is good, because I don't want to break the habit). To me, the worst part of falling was the initial sensation that I was going down on a hard surface and could do nothing to stop it. The injuries were very minor but the memory of that sensation lingers.

Lots of great tips on this post.... I've learned a few things here. Thanks for sharing your story.
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Old 09-21-08, 10:42 AM   #23
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For carbs on a ride, we tried something new yesterday. Hubby picked up a box of "this apple walks into a bar..." from Trader Joe's. Like Fig Newtons but the length of a food bar with apple filling, WITHOUT high fructose corn syrup or trans fats (important to me), and pretty tasty. I ate one on yesterday's ride when I felt very hungry after about 10 miles, and it did a quick job of restoring my energy until we stopped for lunch.

Before a long ride (about 1/2 hour before) a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with a little brown sugar and raisins stays with me better than a sweet box cereal which causes my blood sugar to crash before I'm even warmed up.
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Old 09-21-08, 11:06 PM   #24
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A way of topic but here goes. So, Lady Yen are you N+1 yet? You thought you could hide the fact that you don't think that our advice is good enough to set you on the proper road to your new ride and snuck off to another forum to ask about the N+1 bike. You must know by now that your fellow 50+'ers would give you nothing but the best advice and support going. Check out the touring forum,guys. Now back to the original topic.
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Old 09-22-08, 04:13 AM   #25
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On the other hand, the cats probably saved you from coming home and eating spoiled salmon patties that were laying out on the counter. You cats always have your best interests at heart...
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