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Thoughts from a Newbie After 50 Miles

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Thoughts from a Newbie After 50 Miles

Old 07-17-05, 02:19 PM
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Toefuzz
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Thoughts from a Newbie After 50 Miles

As some of you may know, I'm new to the sport (bought my Trek 1000c Wednesday). I've now put 50 miles on my bike, culminating in a 21.1 mile ride in 94 degree heat with 60% humidity earlier this afternoon. Needless to say, I'm hooked and have already stolen my dad's car rack and clipless pedals (with shoes).

Here's a few things I think I thought while on my longest ever ride.

Older men and couples tend to be more friendly than younger guys... especially the in shape ones. They seem to be bicycling for
more than just the exercise.

When a roundtrip ride is uphill one way and downhill the other, be sure to START on the uphill portion b/c riding 10
miles uphill at the end of a ride isn't much fun.

Finding someone to ride with, even if it's unofficial (and by that I mean tagging along behind someone who's passed you) can
add 2 - 5 mph to your ride, easy.

There's nothing more fun than using a person who has blown by you to help set a pace. Then when they keep looking back
you're always right there with 'em, until they pull off to take a break and you keep pedaling by. Of course they could be at
the 50 mile marker and resting, but it's not nearly as much fun to think that way.

Not only is this hobby (obsession?) addicting, it's expensive as well! Fortunately I can justify it to the Mrs. by saying
'It's better than watching tv all day!'

It's strange to think I can watch a movie or go ride my bike 20 miles... the timeframe is the same, only one actually benefits
me, both physically and mentally. I'll let you guess which one

My fellow cyclists are some of the nicest people I've ever met. The sport just seems to draw affable and social people.

If you'd told me a week ago I would put in over 50 miles in my first 5 days on my new bike I would have laughed, especially
if you mentioned I'd cap it all off with a 20 mile ride.

My average speed is already climbing. Wednesday I was happy with 11 mph over 6 miles (mostly hills though). Today was 14 mph
on a 21.1 mile ride... not too shabby!

I'd always thought of cycling as a solitary sport, but it's much more enjoyable when shared with others.

According to all the online calculators I can find, I just burned between 1000 and 1800 calories on my 90 minute, 21 mile ride... That just
blows my mind! I wonder how many I burn watching The Godfather for the 30th time while eating Cheetos?

You can nevery carry too much water (unless your racing), especially on a hot and humid day.

If anyone has anything to add I'd love to hear it... I'm sure I had more, but my forgetful nature makes it difficult to remember
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Old 07-17-05, 02:23 PM
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I can probably second most of that from experience.
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Old 07-17-05, 02:47 PM
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Good for you, Toefuzz. I have a two-year old son and whenever I want to go for a ride my wife always gives me heck for it because she is left alone with our son. I'm pretty new at the sport also and I'm totally addicted. I want to go riding every free minute I have, but according to my wife I don't have any free time anymore. Keep up the good work.
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Old 07-17-05, 02:53 PM
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Well Alex's Dad... you need to get a seat for the little guy! I picked one up last week and attached it to my mountain bike and he absolutely loves it... plus the brownie points for giving my wife an hour of peace from me and the two year old (I'm not sure which of us is worse) certainly add up

Just make sure Alex doesn't learn the three dreaded words... "Faster daddy, faster"
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Old 07-17-05, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex's dad
Good for you, Toefuzz. I have a two-year old son and whenever I want to go for a ride my wife always gives me heck for it because she is left alone with our son. I'm pretty new at the sport also and I'm totally addicted. I want to go riding every free minute I have, but according to my wife I don't have any free time anymore. Keep up the good work.
How about getting a trailer for little Alex? I bet he'd love it, your wife would get some down time, and you'd be out on the bike!
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Old 07-17-05, 02:54 PM
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Great minds think alike Gee!
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Old 07-17-05, 03:56 PM
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Great minds do think alike because I already have a bike trailer and yes Alex does love riding in it. As much as I love taking him for a ride, it isn't the same as riding solo for 20 miles on country roads. My wife does indeed love it when I take Alex for a ride because she then has time to do what she loves most which is stamping and scrapbooking. Not my cup of tea but she seems to enjoy it. Happy riding fellas.
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Old 07-17-05, 04:17 PM
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At first I thought older folks and couples were more friendly on rides also, due to the "good mornings" and waving of hands as I passed the opposite way.

However when I'm in a zone I even find myself missing people go by the other way. I used to think the young guys just didn't care to say hi to a fellow biker until I cought myself doing it completely unintentionally.

Depending on if I'm having trouble dealing with pain I will go into a dream like state trying to focus on something other than the pain I'm feeling. I do try to stay aware of my surroundings to a minimum without losing my mind set. Recently I have had a few bikers go by the opposite way waving vigorously at me thinking maybe I wasn't friendly, when clearly I didn't see them until the last second.

So now I don't get to judgemental about hard core younger roadies flying by and not saying hi or good morning. I just figure they are in a state of mind that calls for 100% intensity and focus on what they are doing.

Sounds like your progressing nicely after only a few rides, glad to hear your digging the bike thing.
Keep us posted on how your doing.

Happy riding
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Old 07-17-05, 04:26 PM
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I was thinking something similar a while ago, younger ones are not as friendly. I think they are just in that zone at that time when you pass them. If you ever break down, flat tire etc and you are on the path where other cyclists frequently pass you 99% will ask if everything is alright and if you need any help etc.. the young and the old.
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Old 07-17-05, 04:30 PM
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When I pass someone riding in the same direction as me and I say "hi", 95% of the time the other person will respond similarly. This applies to all demographic groups on my local roads.

If I pass someone going in the other direction on the other side of the road, I would hope that their number one priority is saftey issues on their side of the road. Greeting people 2 or more lanes away from them should be pretty far down on the attention list.
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Old 07-17-05, 04:54 PM
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Hey guess what, I'm a newbie to road cycling, too. I have an old mountain bike from 11 years ago, but I only used it for getting groceries, really. I just got my 2005 Bianchi Pista (my first road bike) this past Friday and I've already put 50 miles on it in two days. On Friday I did 20 miles, on Saturday I rode it around practicing trackstands and whatnot, and this morning I did about 25. It's great I totally love it. I haven't been drafting anyone who's passed me by because I've read that it tends to annoy people, but also because I'm usually either too fast or too slow to draft anyone.

The one thing I can say is that my butt and the heels of my hands hurt. I'm sort of getting used the butt hurting, (it isn't muscular, just topical) but the hands are a different story. I'm hoping I'll just get used to it. Or I might slap down $30 for gloves.

I haven't been riding clipless, either. I wonder how that will affect the experience. I would like to use my hamstrings more so I'd have more control. But until I can rock a trackstand, I don't think I'll feel comfortable in clipless. I don't like the idea of caging my feet to the pedals, so I probably won't get cages.

I don't have a water bottle holder thing on my frame, and I sort of don't want to mess up the frame by drilling holes into it. So I just stop and hydrate every once in a while. I can imagine that getting annoying after a while. Maybe getting a pack with a side pouch for easy bottle removal and replacing? I can't coast on my bike, so I'd actually prefer not to drink while riding.

About cyclists saying "hi" while passing, I don't think people are being mean or purposefully aloof if they don't, but I love a pasty grin that screams "I'm lovin' it, baby." The only thing that annoys me about riding is CARS. I try to time myself so that I never have to stop for cars, just keep riding, you know, but it's hard sometimes--especially when people don't know how to drive properly.

Anyway, all this is just after 2 days... I'm sure things will get interesting later...
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Old 07-17-05, 05:22 PM
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I certainly wasn't saying the younger guys aren't friendly... just that they have something in mind other than exercise. I'm sure they are perfectly nice people and are great on a leisurely ride, it's just interesting to note how many of them seem to be serious about cycling.

So far I haven't fallen with my clipless pedals, but I've been extra careful to step out anytime I see I'm going to have to stop... I know I'll fall eventually, I'm just trying to prolong the inevitable for now

solostyle - Buy the gloves! I'd argue they are just as important as a decent pair of bike shorts. I wore a pair today and my right hand was fine for 20 miles... Towards the end my left was still bothering me a little, but the numbness would ease up if I took my hand off the bars and just shake it for a few seconds. As for the "I'm lovin' it grin"... that's me, to a T Towards the end of my ride today I was being passed by some hardcore cyclists who just broke into a big grin once they saw the look on my face
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Old 07-17-05, 06:04 PM
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I agree about the gloves, makes a world of difference. I have two track frames neither has water bottle mounts. I can't remember who makes them but there are water bottle adapter things that wrap around your tubes and have the screw holes to hold a water bottle. THere is also water bottle holders that attach to you're seat tube.
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Old 07-17-05, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by solostyle
I don't have a water bottle holder thing on my frame, and I sort of don't want to mess up the frame by drilling holes into it. So I just stop and hydrate every once in a while. I can imagine that getting annoying after a while. Maybe getting a pack with a side pouch for easy bottle removal and replacing? I can't coast on my bike, so I'd actually prefer not to drink while riding.
Here are some options you might consider:
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

I can coast on my bike, but I frequently don't bother while drinking, so it's not a huge deal.
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Old 07-17-05, 06:40 PM
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Toefuzz - yah especially since i'm on fixed gear, I'm also just waiting for the inevitable first fall. One day I'll just get way too confident. I think I'll try clipless next week or something.

What kind of gloves would you guys recommend? I tried on some that had air holes in them. They were pretty comfy since they were ventilated. They had green and silver and yellow rectangles on the back. I think they're some kind of special touring gloves. I also tried on some $30-$35 Pearl Izumi ones. Had more ridged padding. Then I talked to a fixed gear rider in the store--he said he finds the BMX gloves to be the most durable and protective (for falls). The LAKE bmx gloves had the most padding, but still significantly less than road-bike gloves. I've heard gloves wear out pretty fast. I've also heard that road bike shoes (with cleats) wear out pretty fast. I'm just not sure if I want to invest in this yet...
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Old 07-17-05, 06:43 PM
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I have a pair of Peral Izumi's I'm wearing now... they have a decent amount of padding, but I might consider upgrading in the future to see if I can fix the numbness in my left hand. I'm also going to play with raising the handlebars a bit tomorrow.

Here's a question for ya'll... In general, is Peral Izumi a safe bet? I've noticed quite a few people recommending their shorts and their gloves... seems to be a good brand, though slightly on the expensive side.
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Old 07-17-05, 06:46 PM
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Here's another thing: My lower back's been hurting since I started riding. Have you had the same feeling, Toefuzz? There may be something awry with the way the bike fits (or doesn't fit).
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Old 07-17-05, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Toefuzz
Here's a question for ya'll... In general, is Peral Izumi a safe bet? I've noticed quite a few people recommending their shorts and their gloves... seems to be a good brand, though slightly on the expensive side.
Pearl Izumi makes good quality stuff. Their prices are usually lower than similar quality Euro stuff. I don't like the cut of their jerseys and jackets, though. Too baggy for me. Some of their jerseys come in a traditional form fit, but all of their jackets are baggy.
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Old 07-17-05, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by solostyle
Here's another thing: My lower back's been hurting since I started riding. Have you had the same feeling, Toefuzz? There may be something awry with the way the bike fits (or doesn't fit).
Back pain is common with newbies. Usually happens because your bike fit is too aggressive for your fitness level. If your legs aren't real strong, you may need to raise your handlebars and/or move your saddle backwards a little.
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Old 07-17-05, 07:04 PM
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Yeah, I just saw this thread:
low back pain
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&page=1&pp=25&

Qi Gong is helping my lower back. If anyone else has these problems, I highly recommend holding some of the poses and focusing on buildling energy.
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Old 07-17-05, 07:07 PM
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Here's another link: http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/bikefitchart.html

So far (knock on wood) I am free from lower back pain. My neck and the soft area between groin and butt are both killing me after my long ride today though. I'm going to play with adjusting my stem and seat a bit tomorrow to see if that will help.
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Old 07-17-05, 07:31 PM
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good post
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Old 07-17-05, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Toefuzz
When a roundtrip ride is uphill one way and downhill the other, be sure to START on the uphill portion b/c riding 10
miles uphill at the end of a ride isn't much fun.
Great first post, and I agree with everything you said except this item. I'd rather save an uphill for the end of a ride rather than burn all that energy at the start of my ride and have to climb when I'm not warmed up yet. But that's just me.
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Old 07-17-05, 08:35 PM
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Right now I'm so out of shape that I'd rather tackle the hill first, get it out of the way, and then fly back down. I plan on riding the same route, from the opposite direction, next weekend... I'm interested to see if it's any faster. Of course it is a rail trail so it's not a huge grade... just one of those slight, really long ones that can wear on ya.
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Old 07-17-05, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex's dad
Great minds do think alike because I already have a bike trailer
What I like about our trailer is the fact is slows me down enough that a ride with my wife can be competitive. She can outrun me if there are enough hills, but that is rare.
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