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Old 04-05-11, 05:08 PM   #1
NegativeZero
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What do you wish someone told YOU when you were starting out?

It would be fair to call me a newb, I suppose. Im getting my first real bike ever, a Cannondale Adventure 3, and Im curious what you seasoned vets have figured out along the way that made you think, "Well that woulda been good to know."

What do you wish someone had told you when you were a newb?
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Old 04-05-11, 05:18 PM   #2
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I wish someone had told me to spend the $180 bucks getting my bike properly fit (not just eyeballed by the salesman), and to spend whatever it took to try a bunch of saddles until I found the perfect one.
I felt like a complete schlub after paying Nate Loyal that much money to shift my saddle and my cleats less than a centimeter apiece, but within two weeks I realized it was the best money I'd ever spent. (Certainly more beneficial than the Oakley Razorblades, tubular tires, and overpriced bling cr@p I was squandering my money on at the time.)
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Old 04-05-11, 05:26 PM   #3
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Don't buy Nashbar shorts.
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Old 04-05-11, 05:38 PM   #4
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Drink before you're thirsty; eat before you're hungry; rest before you're tired.

Learn how to repair a flat on the road BEFORE you have one. This means you'll need the necessary tools with you on the bike.

Don't overdo the mileage. Start with a reasonable distance and build up from that.

Put lots of miles on your bike because you'll be WANTING a road bike before you know it.

Buy quality shorts and bibs. No cheap stuff. Your butt will thank you.
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Old 04-05-11, 06:04 PM   #5
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I have only had vintage bikes, but I will contribute what I know.

If you are looking for your first bike, go find your local bicycle co-op. Have them teach you what they know and show you what they have for sale. Buy your first bike from them, because it will be cheap, fully functioning, and easy to replace if you mess up while learning something on it.

Never miss an opportunity to talk to your friends about the benefits of cycling to self and community. Make sure to point them in the direction of your/their local bicycle co-op.

If you KNOW something is very wrong with your bike, do not go on a 70 mile+ adventure.

If you are going to buy your main and only bike, get one with some big gears. Do not buy a fixie unless you know your commute is flat, and thats all you will use it for. Do not buy a beach cruiser pretty much ever. Do not buy a mountain bike unless you commute/excersize/adventure off-road. Big gears means something bigger than 24 on the largest rear cog, and the average 52 & 42 on the front. Get a triple crank if you are really concerned about hills, or are out of shape.

If you buy a vintage/classic bike, watch out for paint coming off when you swap parts or park it on a metal bicycle rack.

Dont buy overpriced junk, and look over all the parts on said junk carefully to make sure none are bent or broken. The top tube on my 77 Raleigh Grand Prix was bent several centimeters to the right. Lesson learned, I bought a new 83 Raleigh Olympian.

If you are looking for older bikes, make sure to look for mid-range to upper-range frames with 700c wheels. Anything mid-range will ride significantly better than anything thats cheapo. Riding on 27's is definetely doable, but riding on 700's is even better because you can buy them anywhere if you get in a jam.

Dont buy a bike that has shifters on the handle bar stem, or mod them out after.
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Old 04-05-11, 06:15 PM   #6
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If something you've considered buying seems like you'd enjoy it, try to borrow one from someone. If you can't find someone to borrow it from, you can always return it unused or sell it gently used on ebay to recoup most or all of your expense and you'll get to do more riding if you spend less time overthinking. Unless you're at work, and then feel free to consider whatever ridiculous idea you have for as long as you want. It's also fun to bait your know-it-all friend with stupid ideas.
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Old 04-05-11, 06:48 PM   #7
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Chamois butter.... Really wish someone had clues me in to that one...
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Old 04-05-11, 07:36 PM   #8
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"You're going to wind up randonneuring anyway, so you should just bite the bullet and buy a $3,000 bicycle now instead of working your way up to it."
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Old 04-05-11, 07:48 PM   #9
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Go Into Investment Banking, not the War.
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Old 04-05-11, 08:00 PM   #10
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Ride up hills.
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Old 04-05-11, 08:42 PM   #11
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You can ride much further than that ... much, much, much further.
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Old 04-05-11, 10:22 PM   #12
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You can ride much further than that ... much, much, much further.
Yeah that's a good one. When you first start out you'll have lots of people telling you stuff like, "what? You're going to ride HOW far?"

That kind of thing can be very deceptive. So hang out with the randos right away to get the right mindset.
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Old 04-05-11, 11:13 PM   #13
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I have only had vintage bikes, but I will contribute what I know.

Dont buy a bike that has shifters on the handle bar stem
Why not, other than them being bottom shelf?
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Old 04-05-11, 11:24 PM   #14
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Smiles per Miles is the only true scale to judge your performance by.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-06-11, 04:44 AM   #15
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Tubes come in different widths, as do tires. Make sure they match.
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Old 04-06-11, 05:15 AM   #16
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You're going to spend a LOT more than you think you will on this sport.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:12 AM   #17
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Don't ride in rush hour traffic while clipped in if you've never ridden clipped in before.

Look around and enjoy the scenery - you don't get to do that while driving a car. Smell the air (the manure in the country will clear your sinuses), moo back at the cows, say hello to the horses and most of all say hello to any other people you may pass (usually other cyclists or long distance runners in my case).

Unwind, relax and enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:38 AM   #18
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What do you wish someone had told you when you were a newb?
Spend more money. Go full-suspension.
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Old 04-06-11, 07:37 AM   #19
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1) You don't have to buy new.
2) If you've never taken a bike apart before, take some pictures so you'll know how it goes back together again.
3) Working on bikes is not as hard as it seems - get some decent tools and a manual (see the post above about the bike co-op).
4) Clipless shoes and pedals are fine; so are regular shoes and flat pedals.
5) N+1, baby. N+1.
6) Buyers remorse happens. Learn from it and move on.
7) The perfect bike is the one you'll want to ride.
8) 5 different people will give you 8 different opinions.
9) There is no correct answer to the following dilemmas: Steel v. Carbon v. Aluminum; Campagnolo v. Shimano v. SRAM; Lycra v. Wool; Bicycle Brand A v. Bicycle Brand B.
10) Bibs are your friend; don't worry about how you look.
11) Be good to your mechanic; he will save your ass one day. Bring him beer at least once a quarter, if not more frequently.
12) Ride your ride.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:01 AM   #20
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aside from riding my Royce Union, yeah I thought they were great bikes then too, for hours on end when I was in school I got into cycling, trying to race and long group rides a bit late. I did however have some great teachers, a great guy when I was young who tried to teach me to spin, and another who taught me to enjoy a great moonlight midnight rides. later the great guys I worked with and tried to race with taught me alot about riding fast in groups, climbing etc.

However as the title says nobody ever told me was how addictive this sport can be. both in terms of loving the free feeling of being out on a bike on a beautiful warm day. and the fact that if I was not carefull my apartment would be full of great steel bikes!!
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Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SOLD, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape
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Old 04-06-11, 11:31 AM   #21
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Forgive me for this possibly dumb question: what's "rando" mean?
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Old 04-06-11, 12:07 PM   #22
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Forgive me for this possibly dumb question: what's "rando" mean?
Refers to a randonneur, a long distance cyclist. [yeah, I cheated.. THANKS, GOOGLE!]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randonneur

Thanks for all the great tips, y'all! If you gots more, id love to hear them!

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Old 04-06-11, 12:40 PM   #23
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I wish someone had told me:

Get a cyclocross bike with disc brakes
Get a trunk bag and a rack
Don't waste money on rubbish!

I'm sure there is more, but one of the things with cycling is that everyone is different. You need to try it out yourself and you will realise within the first year of cycling what you want (Disclaimer: "what you want" will probably change the next year!)

Daven
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Old 04-06-11, 01:06 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by 1ply View Post
Don't ride in rush hour traffic while clipped in if you've never ridden clipped in before.

Look around and enjoy the scenery - you don't get to do that while driving a car. Smell the air (the manure in the country will clear your sinuses), moo back at the cows, say hello to the horses and most of all say hello to any other people you may pass (usually other cyclists or long distance runners in my case).

Unwind, relax and enjoy the ride.
This is truly great advice. I was an avid cyclist when I was younger but somewhere along the Road of Life, I stopped. I'm back at it now -- two months in -- and I can't figure out why I ever stopped. I'm positively addicted. I've been riding almost exclusively solo but Monday joined a small group that's led by my LBS. We started out at 5:30 p.m. for what I was told was a "leisurely" ride. For them maybe but for me, whoa they kicked my butt. It was only about 20 miles but since I ride by myself, I haven't been forced to "keep up" with the group so that was a test for me (passed) and then there were the hills (last up but passed again) - and I was the only one not on a straight road bike. It wasn't an easy ride for me but even when I was hurting, I had a grin on my face -- the vineyards whooshing by around us, the feeling of being in a pack and "flying" along the road, the burn in my legs, the late-day sun, the smell of spring in the air ... it was exhilarating.

I can't wait to go out there again. I don't know what I was thinking all those years I wasn't riding my bike but if I could go back in time, I would kick that girl's ass.
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Old 04-06-11, 10:22 PM   #25
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I wish someone had told me to spend the $180 bucks getting my bike properly fit (not just eyeballed by the salesman)...I felt like a complete schlub after paying Nate Loyal that much money to shift my saddle and my cleats less than a centimeter apiece...
Getting that stuff right is important, but $180? Whew. I think I would have experimented on my own for awhile. Though I probably rode my old Motobecane a thousand miles before it occurred to me to slide the seat forward half an inch. Made a huge difference.
Personally, what I wish I'd believed after an experienced friend DID tell me is that a newb can waste a lot of money trying to buy himself faster. I remember one time buying a titanium seatpost bolt for $13 instead of a steel one for $3. A lot of what we call upgrades won't make a difference you can notice. It's fine to put on better components when the old ones wear out, but if you swap all your mid-range Shimano parts for top o' the line, you won't notice much. Just ride the bike.
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