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My Beginner Cycling Log....

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My Beginner Cycling Log....

Old 09-13-11, 07:34 PM
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LongIslandCamper
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My Beginner Cycling Log....

Hello everyone. I'm Chris from Long Island. About 10 years ago I bought some cheap Pacific mountain bikes for my girlfriend (now wife). We used them a few times but they have pretty much sat dormant for the past decade. About a month and a half ago I took the bikes out of our shed to tune them up with my limited knowledge. That meant making sure the brakes worked, the tires and chain worked correctly and that the tires were inflated. lol I also bought a trailer so that we each could take one of our dogs for a ride.




It was late July, early August and my goal was to commute to work by Labor Day which is about 5 miles. About 2 miles was residential with the final 3 miles being a 2 lane each way road but luckily I'm going against the main traffic flow. I was riding about 7-10 miles a day in the hardest gear because I thought the harder gear would better prepare me for my commute. My plan was to go harder then I normally would so that when it came time to commute it would seem easy. Is the harder gear considered low or high? lol Anyway, I had some things to take care of and we got hit with a hurricane so that kind of derailed my plans. I do plan on commuting to work next Tuesday though.

I'm a mailman and I can pretty much wear anything to work. It's usually shorts and a t shirt or jeans and a sweatshirt, depending on weather. My wife works in the same town as me so I am thinking about just having her drop me off at work on Monday with my bike and my clothes for the week. I can load up my work locker with the work clothes for the week and then ride home. The remainder of the week I would bike to work in cycling clothes, change into work clothes for work, then change back into my cycling clothes to go home. On Friday I would put all my dirty clothes in a backpack and bike to my wife's job, about 2 miles from my job. I'd drop all the dirty clothes in the car and then bike home as usual. That's my plan so far. Oh, I plan to leave home about 6:45am and leave work about 2pm so I'm pretty much in daylight.

In the course of my planning I've purchased some cycling items. I kind of bought these items without much guidance other than some internet searching so I'm open to comments.

My clothing








2 pairs of shorts





I also got cycling socks, a top tube bag, 2 slime inner tubes, cycling glasses, tire levers, handlebar mirror, helmet, hitch and bike carrier for my van. I also got a tiny pair of speakers to mount to my frame to plug my iPod into.

My pump is a Topeak Mini G MasterBlaster Bike Pump with Gauge.
I also have a Schwinn 17-Function Bike Computer.
For tools I have Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool.
Last but not least, here's my lighting.

Any comments or suggestions? If I really like biking then I plan to upgrade my ride within the next few months. Right now I'd say that's a great possibility.
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Old 09-14-11, 05:03 AM
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I'm getting my practice in. Yesterday was the first time I rode in the morning before work. I only did about 2 miles around the neighborhood just to see how I felt all day long at work. No problems.

I just got back from my second day or riding and did 3.5-4 miles. Still no problems. Hopefully I'm fine at work. I'm hoping to commute on Tuesday.

On a side note, I'm usually never cold. On my morning ride yesterday the temp was about 65. I was wearing shorts and a t shirt and right away I was a little chilly as I was going. A few minutes later I began to warm up. Today it was 68 and humid. I was again chilly and was cursing myself for not putting on some longer exercise pants to keep me warm. About a mile into the ride I was glad I didn't have the pants because I started to get warm.
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Old 09-14-11, 05:26 AM
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That bike should be fine for a 5 mile commute, though I'd try to stiffen up the rear suspension or lock it out completely and fit slick tyres for road riding. Don't forget to fit a rear light to the trailer if you use it at night. The trailer will be handy if you have lots of stuff to carry as well as for dog transport.

Be wary of riding in too high a gear. 'Mashing' the pedals can lead to knee injury over time. You're far better pedalling at a higher cadence in a lower (easier) gear- you should be pedalling at at least 60rpm, above that it's whatever's comfortable.

Looks like you've already made a good practical start with accessories and tools. I'd add fenders to the list to keep ground water off you and the bike. If you haven't ridden for a while, make sure you're up to speed with correct braking and shifting technique as well as riding in traffic. Hope you enjoy the commute!
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Old 09-14-11, 05:58 AM
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Just remember:

Wear jerseys and jackets that are too small and that ride up on your back so that everyone (and your dog) gets a great view of your ass crack.
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Old 09-14-11, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
That bike should be fine for a 5 mile commute, though I'd try to stiffen up the rear suspension or lock it out completely and fit slick tyres for road riding. Don't forget to fit a rear light to the trailer if you use it at night. The trailer will be handy if you have lots of stuff to carry as well as for dog transport.

Be wary of riding in too high a gear. 'Mashing' the pedals can lead to knee injury over time. You're far better pedalling at a higher cadence in a lower (easier) gear- you should be pedalling at at least 60rpm, above that it's whatever's comfortable.

Looks like you've already made a good practical start with accessories and tools. I'd add fenders to the list to keep ground water off you and the bike. If you haven't ridden for a while, make sure you're up to speed with correct braking and shifting technique as well as riding in traffic. Hope you enjoy the commute!

Thanks for the comments.

The bike was cheap and it's got to be close to 10 years old. I only plan on riding it for a few months, especially since winter is coming soon enough. I'm going to look into a better quality bike in the springtime so I don't want to add much more to this bike that can't be transferred to the new bike. That's why I'll probably pass on the fenders and tires for now but thank you for the suggestion anyway.

As for pedaling, I only had it in high gear for training purposes. I thought I would be getting more of a workout that way. When I commute I would be in a much lower gear anyway.


And here's a shot with both bike carrying our dogs. lol


Last edited by LongIslandCamper; 09-14-11 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 09-14-11, 02:59 PM
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Bozo!
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Old 09-18-11, 08:33 AM
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I just got an app called map my ride for my iphone. I'm sure it's been discussed on this forum before so I won't go into it but I love it. Yesterday was my first ride using it and I went about 5 miles. I just got back from my second ride using it. Today was my first attempt at cycling to work. I made it about 60-70% of the way there but ended up turning around. That head wind was a killer and there's a slight incline leading up to my job. I ended up going about 7.5 miles which is 2+ miles longer then my trip to work. The way back was SO much easier due to the wind. lol
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Old 09-18-11, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclingvirtual View Post
Not seen trailers used for dogs before



lol.

The white dog is a Maltese. He seems to love it. When I start riding he just lays down in the back of the trailer like he's the king.
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Old 09-27-11, 03:55 PM
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I'm really starting to like this stuff!

I got the tracking app on my iphone 10 days ago. Since then I've gone out 6 times for a total of almost 48 miles. My biggest trip was today. I went just over 12 miles in just over an hour. I did get hit by the occasional stop light so that slowed my average down, but other then that everything went really well.

I do notice that my endurance has increased. I'm sure it's partly due to my continued cycling as well as having something to eat right before going out. My speed has also improved and I was going about 16 mph fairly consistently for long stretches. It's a road bike with knobby tires. A few weeks ago I was lucky if I got near 12 mph for a few seconds.

So far so good and I look forward to more cycling.

Last edited by LongIslandCamper; 09-27-11 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-02-11, 01:47 PM
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I have done a new route twice this week. It's just over 12 miles and the other day I did it in about 1:03. I did it again today is 1:01 and that was including a headwind I had for 50% of the ride that I didn't have to deal with the first time.

Woohoo!
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Old 10-02-11, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cm11599ps View Post

It's a road bike with knobby tires.
Er, what is?
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Old 10-02-11, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Er, what is?
lol, my mistake.

I have a Pacific Mountain Bike. Don't know what I was thinking.
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Old 10-02-11, 02:22 PM
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OK. With regard to staying in high gear for training purposes, you'd be surprised. Going at the same speed in a lower gear, and therefore pedalling faster, is easier on the legs but harder on the heart and lungs. And leg strength is rarely a problem. So if you want to get fit faster, change down a few gears and try to maintain your speed with a higher cadence - which is cycling jargon for revs per minute.
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Old 10-02-11, 02:46 PM
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Hey there Buddy!

Three things you might wanna check before feeling extra confident:

1) Make absolutely certain that your chain is well-lubricated and is not kinked anywhere. There should be no sign of rust anywhere on the chain.

2) Make certain that your handlebars are good and tight.

3) I know you say that you checked your brakes, but check 'em again.

- Slim

PS.

The best time to buy a bike is NOW!!!
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