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  1. #1
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    cycling newbie questions

    Hi, I'm just getting interested in cycling. I've been running for about 18 months now and training for my second marathon this fall. I've loved running and getting in shape and about 2 months ago I started thinking about trying out biking. I'm 33 and the last bike I rode was a BMX bike when I was about 11 or 12, so I am completely clueless when it comes to biking. I have so many questions, so I'm not sure where to start. Maybe some of you all can recommend some good resources (web, books, etc) to answer my questions and help me get off to the right start.

    Here are some specific questions I have.

    - What is the best way to figure out about bikes and what bike would be best for me to get started? My goal would be to ride for fun, but I imagine I would probably want to race too. I've loved racing various race distances in running from 5Ks to the marathon. So I like short fast races and long endurance races. I'm not sure how that would translate to biking which brings me to another question...

    - In watching the Tour de France for the first time these past few weeks, I've wondered how the distances compare to running. I would think those long mountain stages would be like running a marathon and it blows me away that those guys could do the equivalent of a marathon day after day. Maybe it isn't quite as intense as running a marathon (or maybe more so). I can't imagine them depleting their glycogen stores day after day and still having enough in the tank to go at it again the next day or to ride that hard up a mountain and then do a time trail. It just blows me away!

    - If any of you run also, how does riding compare to running? Does the running ability carry over into biking? I know in running circles, many have debated about how well someone like Lance Armstrong would do in a marathon (which it seems we'll find out in New York this fall). I would think his aerobic conditioning and leg strength would carry over quite well if he trains properly. Even if he doesnt' train 100%, he'll still awesome I would think. I wonder if being a runner would help someone moving into cycling.

    - What's the best way to learn how to ride a bike? I'm planning on riding on the road, so I guess I would just get out there on the road and go for it? I can ride a bike, but getting used to a bike with gears, etc is going to be different for me and will take some getting used to. I guess to be more specific, would it be better to find a group of riders to start with, or go on my own and learn before attempting to ride with a group?

    Those are a few questions to start. Maybe I should post all of these in separate threads. If so, I'll be glad to do so. Thanks for the input!

    Chad

  2. #2
    Mooninite shakeNbake's Avatar
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    I have mild ADD, so I'll answer some of them

    -Your cardio should be good enough for a long distance bike race, but you might not have the muscles yet. You'll probably "lose" your quads long before you feel tired/out of breath. And Lance used to be a Triathlete, so he can run pretty well.

    -I read some where that the TdF rider consume anywhere between 5000-8000 calories a day.

    -From the looks of it, you're looking to buy a road bike, they're the ones with drop-bars. I would suggest you start with the entry level bikes ($500-800) and then if you decide you're in it for a long run, get a better bike.

    -I wouldn't worry about learning how to ride again. A few minutes in the parking lot will do it. After that there are some skills that would come handy in road-biking. Smoothing out your pedal strokes, finding your cadence, etc.

    Search around the forum and ask around. Local bike shops usually have info on group rides in your area.

    Have fun.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    You'll be surprised how quickly you pick up the gear shifts, no matter which type bike you come up with.

    Aside from general fitness, I don't think you are going to find a lot of crossover. A different use of the same muscles takes a little getting used to, and there is different emphasis on the various muscles involved. On the other hand, you are less apt to come up with sore feet. Not impossible, but less likely.

    If you do go with a road bike, and go with clipless pedals*, get very familiar with them before getting out in traffic. Don't bother with toe clips (not the same as clipless). I have yet to meet or converse with anyone who has used them, and still likes them. I use Power Grips. They have their virtues, but I'm not pushing the opinion. Actually, you might consider plain platform pedals till you get familiar with the rest of the activity.

    *Clipless means your special shoe clips to the pedal. Sounds odd, doesn't it?
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  4. #4
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nermal
    If you do go with a road bike, and go with clipless pedals*, get very familiar with them before getting out in traffic. Don't bother with toe clips (not the same as clipless). I have yet to meet or converse wit

    *Clipless means your special shoe clips to the pedal. Sounds odd, doesn't it?
    You actually explained in your own comments why it's not odd. The term is to contrast them from toe CLIPS as a form of pedal retention system.

    Goodness, that's quite a list of questions.

    I used to run with fair regularity. When I decided to start bike commuting (9.5 miles one way) I thought it would be easy given my running. When I got to work that morning I thought I could die.

    You probably will want to look into a "road" bike. It will provide you with the opportunity for recreational riding as well as the geometry and equipment for both long distances and races.

    I wish I could write more now, but I'm a bit too tired.
    Good night...and good luck

  5. #5
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    Cool, thanks for the info! I kind of figured the crossover to biking would require working out different muscles. It sounds like my legs will need to get into biking shape whereas my cardio fitness is probably there already. Actually, one of the main reasons (other than adding some variety to my exercise and b/c I think it would be something I would have a blast doing) I started thinking about taking up biking was to add some more intense work to my legs.

    This makes me wonder how biking would help, or if it would affect at all, my running ability. I would think that if biking gives me stronger legs then that certainly should help my running

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Chad -

    Ask around your circle of friends. Any kind of biking you'll enjoy more & learn more with friends - I do half of my rides with a friend or two; and while solo rides are fine I tend to enjoy sharing the fun.

    I bought a Trek 820 mountain bike last year may; but went to clipless & slick tires and almost exclusively ride bike paths & roads here in SE Mass; thinking of a road bike but pretty happy now with what I've got.

    Good luck with your choices!

  7. #7
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    Yeah, I know you're right about it being more fun with friends. I know there are group rides around here, but that is one thing that will be tough. I'm not sure my wife is going to be too thrilled about me getting off work and then going out for a ride with friends too much! I run alone usually and early in the morning for that reason. I'm not sure how that will transfer to biking. It seems most people bike in a group. I rarely see many solo riders, at least around here.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbryant
    Hi, I'm just getting interested in cycling. I've been running for about 18 months now and training for my second marathon this fall. I've loved running and getting in shape and about 2 months ago I started thinking about trying out biking. I'm 33 and the last bike I rode was a BMX bike when I was about 11 or 12, so I am completely clueless when it comes to biking. I have so many questions, so I'm not sure where to start. Maybe some of you all can recommend some good resources (web, books, etc) to answer my questions and help me get off to the right start.

    Here are some specific questions I have.

    - What is the best way to figure out about bikes and what bike would be best for me to get started? My goal would be to ride for fun, but I imagine I would probably want to race too. I've loved racing various race distances in running from 5Ks to the marathon. So I like short fast races and long endurance races. I'm not sure how that would translate to biking which brings me to another question...

    - In watching the Tour de France for the first time these past few weeks, I've wondered how the distances compare to running. I would think those long mountain stages would be like running a marathon and it blows me away that those guys could do the equivalent of a marathon day after day. Maybe it isn't quite as intense as running a marathon (or maybe more so). I can't imagine them depleting their glycogen stores day after day and still having enough in the tank to go at it again the next day or to ride that hard up a mountain and then do a time trail. It just blows me away!

    - If any of you run also, how does riding compare to running? Does the running ability carry over into biking? I know in running circles, many have debated about how well someone like Lance Armstrong would do in a marathon (which it seems we'll find out in New York this fall). I would think his aerobic conditioning and leg strength would carry over quite well if he trains properly. Even if he doesnt' train 100%, he'll still awesome I would think. I wonder if being a runner would help someone moving into cycling.

    - What's the best way to learn how to ride a bike? I'm planning on riding on the road, so I guess I would just get out there on the road and go for it? I can ride a bike, but getting used to a bike with gears, etc is going to be different for me and will take some getting used to. I guess to be more specific, would it be better to find a group of riders to start with, or go on my own and learn before attempting to ride with a group?

    Those are a few questions to start. Maybe I should post all of these in separate threads. If so, I'll be glad to do so. Thanks for the input!

    Chad
    If you have a competitive streak, you want a road bike.

    For recreational riders, I think there is a rough equivalent between running a marathon and riding a somewhat hilly century (100 miles). The century will take longer (most first-time solo riders will be finishing in around 7 hours), but the effort won't be as hard as marathoners. The marathon is harder on your body than the century.

    If you start getting into centuries in the mid 5s, then you're riding hard up the hills and fast on the flats, and you can use a ton of energy doing it.

    The tour riders are a group apart. They will have aerobic conditioning as good or better than the world-class marathoners, and they will use it day after day.

    Good luck.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

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