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

Beginners guide.....

Old 05-06-03, 09:24 AM
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pwfish
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Beginners guide.....

Absolute beginner seeks basic advice on how to get started. Has bike but wants to know more. Where can I find this type of stuff out?
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Old 05-06-03, 09:36 AM
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ITALIA
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You can begin by searching this forum for previous posts, which is always helpful.

Try searching for books as well as videos at your local libary. The quickest way to do so, is on line. Once you access your libary's site, search under "cycling". Once You find what you want, place those items on hold.

Good luck.
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Old 05-06-03, 10:08 AM
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MichaelW
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Good general intro to cycling, with emphasis on commuting/touring/just riding along.
http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/

More encyclopaedic than any book is
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html

Help with repairs and maintaiance at
http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/index.shtml

Safety advice, rather than just helmet advocacy
http://www.johnforester.com/
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Old 05-06-03, 10:42 AM
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pwfish: Start slow and take it easy until your body adjusts to the new activity. You might want to start out just riding for time, say 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. Gradually work your way up and before you know it you'll be riding for an hour or more without any problems.

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Old 05-06-03, 11:02 AM
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Absolute beginner seeks basic advice on how to get started
Well, If you don't have training wheels, have your Dad run along side you while holding the seat. Then he gives you a BIG push and TaDa! your started.

If the above advice didn't help then you are more than an absolute beginner. In that case I would quote a famous racer (forget who). He said that there are 3 things to do in order to become a good rider:
1 Ride your bike
2 Ride your bike
3 Ride your bike
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Old 05-06-03, 11:32 AM
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Whatever you do, make sure you don't push those big chainrings. during your first season. Stay in the middle gear, and spin out at some reasonable rpm. 65-80 should be a pretty good starting point. Also get yourself a bike computer. No, I'm not talking about those rediculously overpriced Polar's or Specialized gizmos with heart-rate, power and cadence measuring attachments. (You'd need them later on though, if you hold out till than ) But get some cheap unit that reads instant speed. I can't stress more how important this is. If you're serious about cycling, this little featherlite gadget sticking out on your handlebars will have tought you a great deal by the time you kill-off your first chain and cog-set.

For the first year of cyling set yourself a goal to be able to maintain 21-22 mph on a flat course. Then learn to be able to CRUISE at that speed. I'm saying 'cruise' and by that I mean - learn to ride and relax at the same time. What it means is that after a 30+ miles ride you
1. Should feel not like falling off your bike and looking for a couch near-by to lay yourself horizontal,
2. Be still breathing through your nose
3. Be able to retort diplomatically to that verbal abuse hailed at you by a motorist that happened to get in your way.
3. Have a slight pink on your cheeks (not scarlet red!)

Don't try going any faster at this period. Because if you learn how to CRUISE at this speed, you'd learn how to do it at any other speed. This will have become a second nature to you, honestly. You'd need this skill in the race (when you get to the racing) Because there you should be able to maintain some 27-30 mph whilst sitting behind somebody's wheel - and still CRUISE, not race! And then you'll have plenty of reserves left to really start RACING when you need put the hammer down. And, I say, for every aditional mph you build up during your season training, there's about 25-30 watts more power that your body should be able to generate. This is why I advise you strongly against revving at high rpms or large gears from the start (there are plenty of other reasons for that as well), because you body may not be in the condition to be able to generate enough power to maintain high speeds.

And remember the old saying, I've actually had it engraved on my handle bar stem, would'ya belive it, 'Too much too soon means doom'.

And always make sure you eat something salty (say, a cheeseburger) after an hour or more of riding. We all drink plenty of water (and we should) during riding, but forget to replenish our salt supplies in our bodies. And if we don't really bad things can happen in the long-run.

Den Brewers
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Old 05-06-03, 11:51 AM
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i don't like ken kifer's pages.... alot of his stuff sounds like off-the-cuff personal opinions, not like authoritative information.
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Old 05-06-03, 11:54 AM
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Originally posted by denbrewers
For the first year of cyling set yourself a goal to be able to maintain 21-22 mph on a flat course.
Uhh.... those are pretty ambitious goals for a cyclist in their first year. Especially since my local cycling club's "A" ride cruises around 20 mph....
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Old 05-06-03, 12:18 PM
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Michel Gagnon
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Originally posted by deliriou5
i don't like ken kifer's pages.... alot of his stuff sounds like off-the-cuff personal opinions, not like authoritative information.

Maybe that comes from my experience, but I find quite easy to differenciate between his opinions, his experience and factual information. I take his opinions with a grain of salt, but there is a lot of factual information and real-life experience in his bicycling pages. I should admit that I like his idea (experience) of cycling on the road in normal clothes, with a bike that uses road bars, relatively wide tires and decent racks.

Another good beginners' site is
http://www.bicyclinglife.com
Lots of real-life experience too, but much less of the "opinion" side. Besides, there is less stuff, so it's easier to assimilate. Come back to Ken Kifer's site when you get more riding experience.

Regards,
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Old 05-06-03, 01:19 PM
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Thanks to all who have sent me through information, it has all been a great help. I think I should maybe provide some more infromation now about myself so that others could refine their suggestions.
I primarily am an athlete specialising in 800m track running with an indoor and outdoor pb of 1:56. I can run and race comfortably up to 7mile with a 10k pb of 35:12. My reason for the interest in cycling is the desire to diversify my sporting to trying duathlons. I have set a goal of a simple one next March as my first, 5k, 20k, 2.5k.
I have a Baracuda bike that I got cheap 2 years ago. It needs serviced which will be done in 2 weeks. I need advice mainly on bike maintenance, clothing, equipment, training suggestions that would tag onto my running but be realistic to fit in with a busy engineering final year degree. My budget is minimal and on the whole scale of things should be kept as low as possible for practical and prioritising reasons. I commute to uni. over a 20 mile undulating distance everyday. I would appreciate recomendations of actual pieces of equipment to purchase, i.e. manufacturer and name.
Thank you in anticipation
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Old 05-06-03, 01:25 PM
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There's an exellent article on getting oneself known with bicycle fit
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm, if you're interested.

I highly recommend it even to the advanced riders. A must-read for anyone new to the sport, for my money.

Another interesting article, although a bit stodgy in reading, is at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html#dontask

I've heard this article mentioned as the 'modern classics of bicycle fit reading'. Well, the information provided there is breathtaking indeed, provided you can latch onto it. I personally had to really read into it in order to grasp the concepts imbedded into the article. And although the findings put in it are revealing it does read like a fiction story, rather than a reference guide.

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- Well, it may if it chooses. I've no objections.

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Old 05-06-03, 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by denbrewers

For the first year of cyling set yourself a goal to be able to maintain 21-22 mph on a flat course. Then learn to be able to CRUISE at that speed. Den Brewers
Very fast for a first year rider. In the two local clubs I ride with this is considered an 'A' level rider. I have been riding for many years, as have most of my riding companions, and none of us averages this speed for long. If you can do 14-16 for 30+ miles at the end of a year than you have done very well. Our 'B' rides are 16-18 and that is for folks who have been riding for many years. 21-22 is for someone who is very fit and is "really" into riding hard. Takes a real commitment to training and more than 12 hours of riding/training per week to sustain such a level for 30 miles.

Do the best you can. Make sure you have good gear and that it fits you properly. Both the bike and the clothes. But above all, have a great time!!
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Old 05-07-03, 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by ParamountScapin
Very fast for a first year rider. In the two local clubs I ride with this is considered an 'A' level rider. I have been riding for many years, as have most of my riding companions, and none of us averages this speed for long. If you can do 14-16 for 30+ miles at the end of a year than you have done very well. Our 'B' rides are 16-18 and that is for folks who have been riding for many years. 21-22 is for someone who is very fit and is "really" into riding hard. Takes a real commitment to training and more than 12 hours of riding/training per week to sustain such a level for 30 miles.

Do the best you can. Make sure you have good gear and that it fits you properly. Both the bike and the clothes. But above all, have a great time!!
Thank you. I was starting to worry a bit. I can average 16-18 on a 30 mile ride and I was told that is good for a first year road biker. I can kick ass on the local fire roads and singletracks, but they are for shorter more intense riding. I was amazed how much different road biking was compared to mtb. I felt muscles burning that I didn't know I had.
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Old 05-07-03, 11:44 AM
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I commute to uni. over a 20 mile undulating distance everyday.

Exellent. Exellent distance, exellent reason for getting there 'on ya bike'.

I remember back some 10 years ago when a did a two-year course in college in England I had a choice of getting a train, bus or going by bicycle. The train took 25 minutes. And a return fare cost a fiver or so (pounds sterling). Bus took 45 minutes and it cost 2 pounds - single fare. 5 days a week - it'd set me back quite serious wonga, if I were to take any transport, and I only had less than 30 quid a week to spare. I got then my first ever bike for 25 quid from a pawn shop. And... well... I hated it. Both the bike and the journey. Because I hadn't realised at the time that the only road leading to the college town went through a ridge. (Don't laugh lke that, please, there R indeed some there). The total journey was about 15 miles - one way. And a good 2/3s of the route it was a gruelling 8 - 10% grade up-hill. And I just coldn't do anything about that ridge. And what else could I do? I just walked my bike and rued the day I bought it. But there was no way I could escape it now. It wasn't untill the end of the first when I've reaching the top of the ridge seating in the saddle. And I remember standing there and thinking to myself: 'Crikey, this is sure not the steepest climb out there. So I'd better go in search for one before I let myself go.' This was a pivotal point in my attitude to cycling. Since then I've built a serious love with my bike. Well, not actually exactly that bike I've been storming the ridge on. But rather a love affair with cycling. The point I'm trying to make is that had it not been for that ridge, I may not have ever become a serious rider, never mind a racer.

A point I'd like to make about club rides. I'm not sure whether you should opt for that. I don't think they do any good to cycling enthusiasts. They're exellent tool for developing oneself as a racer, that's very true. But for the guy wishing to take up cycling to stay or become more fit (exellent reason, by the way!) club rides are inferior to solo rides in terms of developing ones stamina, strength and discipline. For example, if you get confronted by a head-wind on a solo ride you'd have noone's back to hide behind or a wheel to sit on. You'd have to rely solely on yourself. Nowere else would you be able to learn how to grit your teeth and hang in there by your fingernails. In a club ride you can't push or coast when you feel like it as well. You won't, for example, get any chance to see how fast you can go in a tail-wind or when you put a hightest gear.

Den Brewers

- Good morning
- We'll see about it now...
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Old 05-07-03, 01:21 PM
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I'm glad to hear a different take (and more realistic from my perspective) on club riding. I see it mentioned so often, I was beginning to think it was essential to becoming a proficient cyclist, and was wondering where on earth I'd find people slow enough to ride with.
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Old 05-08-03, 07:53 AM
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Welcome! Lots of ways to get good info: forums like these, websites (good ones cited so far), local library for books, bookstores (Borders, Barnes & Noble, others), cycling magazines, getting on the newsletter of local clubs and going to some events, hanging out in bike shops and talking to other riders or staff. Those will give you a wealth of information. And after that, just ride the bike!
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