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Old 07-02-03, 09:19 PM   #1
The Terminator
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My first ride on the big streets..kinda long.

I went on the road for the first time today. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I found that I was not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. I did not perceive it to be nearly as dangerous on the part that I rode.

I had to ride just over a mile to get to the bike trail, which is a great conduit for shooting across town to where I needed to conduct my business. I hit a new speed of 31 mph on a hill. I had to get in a turn lane and make a turn at a caution light. I rode up to the traffic light, and crossed the four-lane highway. I was first at the light, and the truck behind me followed me through the intersection without trying to pass me or kill me. I had to make an immediate left when I crossed, so, I stayed in the middle of the road and the truck following me just eased on around. I went down a dirty, rocky path for about 200 yards until I got to the bike path. I got on the path and went about 6 miles to where I had to get off, and go to the Post Office.

When I headed to the Post Office, I had no problem on back streets, I was pretty sure that the cars were used to seeing bikes. Now, for the punch line. The hills were very real away from the bike path. I had to hit my highest gear on the cassette and just barely pumped over a couple of them. I thought, "Now you are going to get off that big crank, fat boy." But, somehow, I managed to take the hills while still on the 53-ring in the front.

After leaving the Post Office, I went to the bike shop, to get my stem looked at. It has a small creak coming out of it. They could not find the problem, so ordered me a free, new replacement stem. The old one will go back under a warranty exchange. I was concerned that my bike shop would have to eat the stem, but I was assured that this was not the case.

On the way back to the path, I headed to the first 4-way stop, and this guy in a car pulls right up beside me at the stop sign. He made me mad, the way he did it. Before I could catch myself, I cursed him very loudly and asked him if he could see me sitting there. I hate to say it, but I really frightened the poor guy. He kept his eyes straight, and hands glued to the wheel. After I went through the intersection, he came behind me and passed me with a very, very, wide berth. I made it to the bike path and headed back home. I did not want to go back down the muddy drive, so, I went a mile further, and took a paved route. I crossed the four-lane with no light, but no cars were coming, so I peddled right across. Then, Oh God, the mother of all hills I had to climb to get back home. I estimate that this hill to be at about a 30 degree angle, yes 30 degree. I hit the small crank right away, and on the way up, I was in the lowest gear, on the low crank, and I still almost fell over. I really don't know how I made it. This hill was about 3/4 of a mile long. I was so tired when I got up, I rode the last 100 yards or so which was level, on the sidewalk. Yeah, I wimped out and had to get on the sidewalk, but I managed to do it without stopping or putting my feet down.

I pulled into my driveway and it was just a fraction over 20 miles total. The most terrible 20 miles that I have ever gone on a bicycle. The last thing and I swear this to be true. My heart was beating completely out of my chest, I was dripping sweat, I was drenched from head to toe in sweat, barely able to stand, and my son says, "Daddy, can we go riding around the neighborhood?" I had to let the little guy down today. Best -
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Old 07-02-03, 09:42 PM   #2
Rowan
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Hey, brilliant Terminator. You sought the challenge and got there. And see, the drivers weren't really out to kill or maim you. Just the hills, and you can handle them.

You're still alive physically and emotionally. You have found that riding the roads can open up a whole new world for you.

Rest up, rest on your laurels a bit, and give it another go real soon (tomorrow?).

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Old 07-02-03, 09:59 PM   #3
khuon
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Congrats on overcoming your road-apprehensions. One other thing that can help you be more comfortable with riding roads is to find a group ride. Riding with others gives you the feeling of security in numbers while at the same time allowing you to observe from others how to properly negotiate traffic. Also, those daunting taunting hills that you overcame today will seem just a little bit easier on ever successive try. Soon you may actually come to like hills.
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Old 07-02-03, 10:29 PM   #4
Prosody
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Terminator
[snip]
I headed to the first 4-way stop, and this guy in a car pulls right up beside me at the stop sign. He made me mad, the way he did it. Before I could catch myself, I cursed him very loudly and asked him if he could see me sitting there. [snip]
One of the "benefits" of riding on the road: There are days when you get to practice your cursing as much as your pedaling.

If you do the things necessary to keep yourself safe, like turning from the left turn lane, taking the lane when you have no pavement to the right of it, following road rules and riding predicatably, riding on the road is not scary at all. I tell my wife, who worries aloud to me about my riding, that drivers don't want to hit me, and if a driver did want to hit me, it wouldn't matter where I was riding.

And those big hills, well, they're painful, but they make you feel so good when you crest them. Each time you ride one, you become stronger. Good riding!
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