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  1. #1
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    runner flirting with biking

    Hi, I'm Chad. I've been looking at bikes for a few weeks. I started looking at them before the tour de france started and then the tdf really got me pumped up and seeing Floyd come back like he did really inspired me. Anyway, I've been saving some money to buy a bike and get started. I've been running for almost 2 years now and I'm training for my 2nd marathon (Chicago in October). I've really enjoyed running and getting into shape. I'm a little (ok a lot) intimated by biking and you bikers. Maybe intimidated is the wrong word. I guess it is more of respect really. I mean, with running sure there are some things to learn and I'll always be seeking to improve and learn new things, but basically you just put on a pair of shoes (hopefully shoes recommended by a real running store) and go out there and run. That's it. Sure you have to build endurance and at first it is hard, but basically it is that simple. But biking? Maybe it is that simple but I don't think so, at least not from where I sit now. I am a little nervous to get a bike and get out there... there's so much to learn and so many questions!!! Let's see, there are things that come across my mind like riding in a group and the rules and technique that go along with that, clipless pedals, gears (the only biking I ever did was some BMX racing, and I sucked, as a kid so gears on a bike really will be a big learning curve for me I think), picking out all the right gear and equipment, learning how to ride well and take curves, etc (what I thought was probably easy finally got my respect and appreciation after watching some of those guys crash and burn in the TDF this year), and the list goes on.

    Anyway, I'm writing a book here as is my usual fashion. Most of all, I just think biking will be fun. I love running fast and just giving it all I've got, so I can only imagine what it will feel like to be on a bike!

    Anyway, I've just started my flirtation with biking and I'm learning. I have decided that I definitely want a road bike, but I'm pretty much clueless as to what I should get and look for in a first bike, but hopefully soon I'll get all that figured out and I'll have me a bike and I'll start riding with a local group here in Greenville/Spartanburg S.C. Hopefully I won't break too many riders rules at first or cause anyone to crash (or crash myself). And hopefully I want get run over by a car. I've seen some car drivers (in frustration) go around a pack of bikers and get really really close just to send them a message. But, I've seen that too while running when there were no sidewalks to run on..... there are some real idiots out there that think they own the road.

    Anyway, glad I found these boards and I'm looking forward to learning a ton!!

    Chad

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Hi Chad, welcome to BF. Here is what I would do if I could do it over again. Go to a local bike store (LBS) in your area and try a few different bikes. Pay for a bike fitting. A 54 cm bike is not the same size with different companies. Then go on Ebay and buy a used bike, a middle of the line probably with Shimano Ultegra components. Next year when you know what you like, and you have seen everyone else riding (by now you have joined a club because you are competitive) and then buy a very nice bike and use the older cheap bike to ride in the rain and to train yourself to do your own bike repairs.

  3. #3
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    I agree with above. Paying for a fitting/sizing is money well spent. I made the same transition from running to cycling 2 years ago. I jumped in, bought a bike for $1600 and found myself selling it and buying a much better fitting and better quality bike 1 year later. Dumb mistake.

    As for group etiquette, you learn as you go. But you should assume the group is cooperative rather than competitive unless you know otherwise. Everyone hates the jerk who competes during a group ride. Group ride does NOT mean slow. I go on several that are plenty fast (e.g. average 20mph for 50 hilly miles) and there are faster and many slower ones.

    Learn all the rules about a paceline before you join one. Also make sure you are a very reliable rider before you join a paceline. You are right that you can cause others to crash. Just the fact that you have already thought of it makes me think you won't be that guy.

    You are pretty close to Charlotte (where I am) and there are TONS of group rides here. You could also join something like "per4mance" and get all sorts of training before going on the road. They are very good. Welcome to cycling. Running is a hell of a lot cheaper!

  4. #4
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    Here is their website: www.per4mancetraining.com

    I have ridden with the owner Chad (his name too). He is great out on the road, so I assume he is great as a coach as well.

  5. #5
    ...need...more...power... Red is Faster!'s Avatar
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    All good advice above. I was a runner who kept getting nasty lower leg injuries (plantar, IT, Achilles Tendonitis, etc...) so I followed my docs advice to "spread the damage out". It has been a blast, plus I found out I was FAR more competitive on a bike, than in running.

    A few observations:
    • My Helmet saved my life twice. Wear it. Yes you look silly, but we all do. It WILL save your life.
    • A rider told me it takes 3 years to "grow your legs". That is about right, I found.
    • No matter how fast you can run or what your VO2 max is, you are starting over. The sooner you accepts that, the faster you will develop.
    • Always tell the people you ride with that you are new. That way they can look out for you. Many groups are so consistant, that they assume "everyone" knows the bumps and turns in a route.
    • Always say you are sorry. Be humble. You WILL do something stupid. Learn. Don't do it again. Move on.
    • If you do not like the people you ride with, find another group. Every group has a personality, and a pace. Find one that fits you. I compare that to my favorite running group. The people are great, but there are sub groups. 9:30, 8:45, 8:15, 7:30 etc... Bike groups are the same.
    • Eat more than you would while running. Your stomach is still. Cycling can be a "Banquet on Wheels".
    • 3 hours on the bike equals 1 hour running.
    • Try to get in at least 100 miles per week. That helped me a lot. I would say thats like a runner doing 30 per week. Its a good number. No marthon races, but you can do almost anything from there.
    • If you spend $100 or $1000 on a bike, you get what you pay for. It's like going to Sports Authority and asking what sneakers are on sale and expecting to run the boston marathon. Read up here on the forum, and go ask LOTS of DUMB questions. Picture the difference between a $15 pair of shoes and a $150 pair.
    • Develop a GOOD RELATIONSHIP with a mechanic. Find a bike store you like. Find a mechanic - preferably at the same store - you like too. This guy will become just like a family member to you.
    • TRUST YOUR WHEELS (assuming you did not buy the $100 bike)
    • Nothing takes the place of ridding. Ride your bike. Ride it more. Ride it all the time. It becomes a part of you. Compare it to doing a trail run. You need to be agile to jump the holes, and roots. Similar thing when road cycling.
    • Oh yeah - ride as often as you can!
    • The bike store will show you a Trek 1000 or that Giant (I cant remember what it is called) for about $750 and it's brand new. Don't be "that guy". This is just my opinion, but you are better off buying an older bike that was "top of the line" 5 years ago for the same $$$. Take the money you save and buy a good helmet, and save some $$$ for good pedals and shoes.

    I had a rough start. I rode with a few groups that still would probabaly not welcome me back. It happens. Just be humble and ask questions. This Forum helped me a bunch on the technical side. Don't become too much of a tech geek though. Remember, "no es la felecha, es el indio" which means it's not the arrow, it's the indian. A friend of mine went to Columbia for a few weeks. He spoke fluent spanish and brought his rode bike. They had several group rides all over the place. He said he, BY FAR, had the nicest bike in the group. This guys was IN SHAPE in my opinion, yet he had is arse handed to him on guys who ride bikes that were more Duct Tape than anything else. It's you, not the bike.

    Best runner I know could run 16 minute 5k yet he could barley hold 15mph on a bike. I clocked him once running at 17mph, yet he cycled slower than he could run. It was because he never practiced on the bike!

    Now go out there and ride my man! It's so much damn fun!
    "I am Captain Edward Reynolds of the good ship Sea Stallion. We are hunting Pirates!"

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the great advice. I don't know now if I'm more scared or excited or both to get started riding!!!

    I did go to a store that showed me a $800 Specialized bike brand new. I was thinking of going down to buy it this week as I don't really have the cash to get what I really want. Actually, I don't know what I really want. Seems like there is a bike for every type of ride (time trial bike, etc). I can't buy multiple bikes so I'm in that paralysis of analysis stage I guess.

    I have a question about everyone's suggestion and agreement on going to a bike shop and paying them to measure me for a bike. If I understand correctly that a measurement in one bike may not fit for another brand, then it seems that I would need to first pick the exact bike I want and get measured for it and then go try to find that bike used elsewhere. But if the bike I would buy used that was top of the line a few years ago isn't offered in the store anymore, then I may get measured for a new Trek (for example) and then find a used Trek (older model) elsewhere at that measurement, but then get it and it not be the right size. Does this make sense? Have I totally misunderstood how fitting works?

    Thanks again to everyone!

  7. #7
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Yeah, don't worry about being slow, you will get faster as time goes on. Just keep racking up the miles, stay properly hydrated, and don't overstress your body.

    Oh, and carry tubes, tire levers and a pump/inflator...you will need them eventually.


    edit: a proper fitting is universal...just many shops refuse to give you a sheet with your measurements...that way you can't get fitted there, then go and buy somewhere else. I tend to dislike this practice. Thing is measurements are universal, just the bikes themselves will fit differently.

    There is variance in fittings for different riding purposes, but if you say wanted a touring bike...then regardless of it being traditional or compact geometry, trek or cannondale, etc..the measurements should match up to YOU....not the other way around.

    That's what the fitting is for, to know what tweaks have to be done to the bike to get it to fit you as nicely as possible.
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    Ring Ring, Ring Ring, the bell went Ring Ring Ring.

  8. #8
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    This is a great thread. Some great info for newbies.

    Regarding fit or even LBSs, many LBSs in my area offer this service, however:

    1) how do you gauge a good LBS
    2) I see that there are different schools of thought as far as fit, how does that work when you're looking for a bike and trying to figure out if it might fit you? Is there a more prevalent one or couple?

    3) Or if anyone from Northern California, the Bay area, can recommend a good, reliable shop to get fit by and perhaps to buy at, that'd be the shorter answer

    Tks and keep the great advice coming! And sorry if some of these questions are kinda lame.. but I have the newbie excuse?

  9. #9
    sandymcmahon
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    LBS in N. Cal

    While I'm pretty new to biking and to this Forum, I have a few friends who are very experienced bikers - regulars at the Markleeville Annual Deathride, etc. I went to the same shop that they use - Livermore Cyclery - two East Bay locations: Dublin and Livermore. I had done some Internet price shopping on the bikes that I was most interested in, and their pricing was right on the money. Also great advice and the opportunity to take whatever bike you want to look at out for a spin.

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