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My Maiden Voyage

Old 08-17-12, 12:54 AM
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My Maiden Voyage

It's been a while since I posted here, but I'm happy to report that, in light of giving up my layaway'd bike when I got injured and needed doctor money, my significant other's grandmother bought me a cheap walmart mountain bike for my birthday. Now, I'm not one to look a gift bike in the fork, so I slapped my lights on it, donned my helmet, and took it out for a spin last night. I was expecting a clunky feeling, maybe have something fall off, or get hit by a car. But none of those things happened. I felt more free than I've ever felt. For those that don't remember me from my first spurt of posting, I'm a nineteen year old girl who's working her way through life until it's practical for her to go to college. Having my own transportation is heaven. Except for the seat. Either the cheap stock saddle sucks or I'm just a wimp.

I felt like a little kid again. Except it's the bike I always wanted; gears and hand brakes! XD It was always my wish for those two things. I went out today and bought two lights for my helmet and a bottle cage(it gets quite hot here in Texas). One of my sets of lights came with one of those special tools, I can't remember the name for them, the ones shaped like hexagons(I'm sorry, I'm terrible with tool names, I tend to just describe them since I'm the only one of the two of us that uses them, which is funny since I'm the girl), so I lucked out on installing it. I also got a nice backpack with a chest strap that has tons of room, plus is emblazoned with the Mockingjay symbol from one of my favorite book series, the Hunger Games. A gift to myself on my birthday.

I had tiny heart attacks every time I crossed a road. I traveled through parking lots a lot since the two streets I live on the corner of were full of rush hour traffic. But far from scaring me away, it was exhilarating. I know that's the adrenaline talking, but I don't care. I know I want to swap my tires out for some slicks as soon as I can, I can't coast very far before the bike starts to slow. The 'suspension' fork on The Thing may as well be a rigid fork, unless I go over a curb there's no give to it whatsoever, and that's with 200lbs on top of it. It surprised me by not once bottoming out. The grips are terrible, but I have some decent gloves, so I'll survive until I get paid again.

The Roadmaster sticker HAS to go. I won't be seen with it in public, lol. But I like the butterfly decal(my mom loves butterflies, so it's nice to have something that reminds me of her) so I'll wait to make sure I don't mess it up. I would love to get a rack and rack basket for going to the store or when I want to get the backpack off my back.

I still need to get a pump, spare tube, tire levers, and a multi tool. I'll probably pick up some two dollar basic tools at the walgreens next to my work as well. I feel inspired. As tiring as it was, I felt good the next day. I think tomorrow before the SO gets up I'll ride over to a small local gym to see if I could afford their rates, sign up for a free month. See what I can do to try to eat at least a little healthier. I like salads, but I tend to load up on ranch dressing, so I'll need to correct that with something else yummy that isn't a heart attack parading as health. Otherwise, all I've got are sandwiches and ramen(poor) so I guess I'll make due. Even a few pounds off would be an improvement.

I feel inspired. All I keep wanting to do is go out and ride, even when I can't go far yet.
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Old 08-17-12, 02:14 AM
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Good on you! Fantastic to hear you had such positive feelings for your first ride out.
Originally Posted by SweetNightmare
...Except for the seat. Either the cheap stock saddle sucks or I'm just a wimp.
I think it would be a little bit of both. You are not used to riding yet, so it will take your butt a little while to get used to the saddle. Having said that, the standard saddle on your bike is a far way from top-end! Give your body a little while (2 weeks or so) to get used to it, and if it still bothers you, look into an upgrade then.

Some other comments. You are right about the tyres, slicks do make a big difference and are the way to go if you have no intention of off-roading it. As for the front forks, once again, if you are just riding streets, it is probably a good thing that they don't give too much, if they absorb too much, they also have a tendancy of absorbing the effort you put into riding!

Oh, btw, those hexagon tool things are actually sometimes called hex-keys, or hex-wrenches, but more commonly referred to as "Allen-keys".


Originally Posted by SweetNightmare
I feel inspired. All I keep wanting to do is go out and ride, even when I can't go far yet.
Great to hear it. It is not about how far you can go, it is about how often you get out there and do it!
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Old 08-17-12, 02:58 AM
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[QUOTE=
I felt like a little kid again.

I feel inspired. All I keep wanting to do is go out and ride, even when I can't go far yet.[/QUOTE]

Good on you! If you're lucky and you're like most of us here, those three feelings won't ever go away.
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Old 08-17-12, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SweetNightmare
One of my sets of lights came with one of those special tools, I can't remember the name for them, the ones shaped like hexagons(I'm sorry, I'm terrible with tool names, I tend to just describe them since I'm the only one of the two of us that uses them, which is funny since I'm the girl), so I lucked out on installing it.
"Hex Key" or "Allen Wrench".

Hex key is easier to remember
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Old 08-17-12, 08:55 AM
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I would suggest NOT buying the $2 tools at walgreens - go to Home Depot or Lowes and get one of their house brand tools. They're inexpensive but they're well made and will last forever if you take care of them.

There is very little in life that's more irritating than using poor quality tools. IMO.

Congrats on your new bike & happy riding.
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Old 08-17-12, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
There is very little in life that's more irritating than using poor quality tools. IMO.
^
This.

The second-most irritating thing is using the wrong tool for the job.

I've given up on buying 'tool sets' - even from relatively well-known companies. Instead, if I need a tool, I go buy the right one. Over time, my collection has grown.
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Old 08-17-12, 11:05 AM
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Congrats and excellent ride report.

I'm lucky in some ways as I'm married to a mechanic and so I have access to quality tools for when I don't have the need for bike specific tools. Been building up my bike tools one at a time. I now have a good multi-tool (park) to carry for both of my bikes.
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Old 08-17-12, 11:41 AM
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So, second ride out today. Pedaled my way over to a local gym, glaring at ever car as if daring them to hit me. It was somewhat early and not quite lunch time, so the roads weren't too hectic. One of their personal trainers greeted me, walked me around the gym, gave me some sound advice, and I'm getting a 'free' month for about forty dollars(not paid all at once) It actually is a free month because I don't have to pay diddly squat after that until November, and even then it's only twelve dollars a month for equipment that at least seems very well maintained. They're a small gym, only four of them exist, but it's nice, cool, and right across the street from my house. I also get a free personal training session. Oh, and the best part, they're not charging me for the intro price until I get paid. They were super nice, it's a place I could see myself going often. I might go tomorrow when I get off work.

After that I took to the roads again and pedaled over to a Gamestop to put down a payment for my Sony PS Vita. Sat at my very first red light surrounded by cagers. To their benefit, everyone who passed me did so at a safe distance. Talk about being blessed; I've heard lots of stories of first time bikers being run off the road. By the time I got to the store I was huffing and puffing. Downing the rest of my water I went inside and didn't leave until I'd cooled off. After that, I waited fifteen minutes to merge back onto the road and headed home. Originally I was going to try riding down to my work as well, but I'll save that for tomorrow, when I'm freshly rested and not sweating profusely already. xD

It still felt great. The world looks different from the back of a bike as opposed to inside a car. I hope I can work my way up quickly to more lengthy rides. There's a really nice trail a little further down from my work; my goal is to be able to ride there, then ride on the trail as well instead of just turning around and going home. xD I need to get some shorts first though.
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Old 08-18-12, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
"Hex Key" or "Allen Wrench".

Hex key is easier to remember
Not for me!
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Old 08-18-12, 06:48 AM
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Keep that SO just to keep the grandma! Congratulations on getting into riding. When shopping for spare tubes be careful if you shop Walmart. I went there figuring I could find a cheap spare 26 inch bike Schrader valve tube. They had plenty but all were filled with the evil slime.
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Old 08-18-12, 02:23 PM
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Commute to work was awful. Cars not wanting to share the road, nearly died halfway there from exhaustion, had to walk the last part because I couldn't remerge with the road... Hope my endurance builds up quickly. And still, I like the ride, even if I'm weak and people are morons.
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Old 08-18-12, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetNightmare
And still, I like the ride, even if I'm weak and people are morons.
This is something that becomes more obvious with the more miles you ride. Just make sure you are aware of things going on around you at all times.
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Old 08-18-12, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetNightmare
I still need to get a pump, spare tube, tire levers, and a multi tool. I'll probably pick up some two dollar basic tools at the walgreens next to my work as well.
Are you talking wrench and/or ratchet as well since the Roadmasters seem to all be bolt on wheels? (no quick release)
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Old 08-18-12, 07:11 PM
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Sounds like your on the right track. I have a 17 year old girl who chose to ride her bike verses driving, we live out in the country so she's got to go some distance before she gets to town. I do make sure she has plenty of water and she carries identification, and takes cell phone just in case she runs into trouble. I'm glad you are aware of the heat and take care of yourself by drinking water and cooling down! Some drivers are horrible to bicyclists and some don't understand the rules of the road, bicyclists have rights and it's our job to know the laws.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:08 AM
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Absolutely on the water; there are a few fast food places along my route that I stop at to refill the bottle.

Today it was raining as I was heading home, and I stopped to get a rain bonnet to cover the lights on my helmet to keep them dry. ((The bonnet in question was clear, so the lights could still shine, they're just not water resistant.)) A lady stops and says to me as I'm packing up my lock, "Riding in the rain?" I smile at her and say, "Well, it is my car, so..." She looked at me like I was crazy and went inside. Everyone thought I was going to die on the way home. xD I texted my coworkers to let them know I got home soggy but safe and they seemed so surprised!
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Old 08-19-12, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Are you talking wrench and/or ratchet as well since the Roadmasters seem to all be bolt on wheels? (no quick release)
Yes, those would be in the generic tools I need to get. I know quick release can be dangerous for leaving a bike outside, but it sure would be convenient.
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