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newbie--a bit intimidated--need advice

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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

newbie--a bit intimidated--need advice

Old 09-06-09, 07:41 AM
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newbie--a bit intimidated--need advice

I need advice on how to handle a really pushy woman at my local bike shop. I went to her store to try on shoes and look at pedals as they have the largest selection in town. Every time I go in there, however, I leave feeling crappy about my skills as a cyclist. I'm new to the sport...I typically ride about 80 miles a week, about 15-25 miles at a time on average. The area where I ride has rolling hills, nothing major. I've been happily surprised at how my fitness level has dramatically improved in such a short period of time. To reward myself for my efforts, I went into the store to buy myself some real cycling shoes and clipless pedals. But, this woman!!!! She asked me about my RPM, which I said was about 85 and said I needed to get it up to 95-100 "...because I'm such a youngster" (I'm 36). Then she criticized me for using the smallest chainring on my usual route and said that I should only use it on "real hills"...and proceeded to tell me where I [I]should[I] be riding!! I'm all for female mentor-ship...I'd really like to have a couple of female riders to give me advice, okay? But this woman just undermines my confidence and makes me feel like a wimp. Other than avoid her store, how would you handle her (or other cyclists like her)?
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Old 09-06-09, 07:44 AM
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Life is too short to let things like this bother you.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:46 AM
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Punch her in the ovaries. That'll learn her.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:49 AM
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If she is the owner find another LBS. If she is an employee ask to speak to the owner and in a very polite way explain the difficulty you're having with one of the sales folk. The woman may be knowledgable and attempting to be helpful, but is turning away a customer. The owner would appreciate feedback.

If you're new to the sport and riding 80 miles a week you're doing just fine even for a "youngster". The main thing is to enjoy what you're doing. If the small chainring let's you keep your cadence at 85 or so at a comfortable level of effort, then you're in the right chainring. As you learn more (BF is a good place to start as long as your wheat/chaff filter works) you'll try some different things on your own. You'll find others to ride with and pick up on what they're doing as well. Enjoy the Ride!
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Old 09-06-09, 07:51 AM
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Hello Buffybike welcome to the forums
is she the owner? tell her thank you but I would rather deal with someone else. unless you have a triple in general there is nothing wrong with using the small chainring. I do a 20mile loop a few times a week and seldome use the big ring. (OH I use 42/53 not 'compact). as for the cadence "ideal" it should be in the 90s but as long as your not struggling to turn the scranks I would not worry too much about it.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:53 AM
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You need to tell that byotch to be cool. Just walk up to her and be like, "Hey byotch, be cool!"

Seriously, don't let it get you down. We all started somewhere. Ever hear the story of how Jordan used to suck at basketball? There's always someone faster than you. Fortunately, there's always someone slower than you too. Really, if you're happy with your progress, that's all you need to know.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rugerben
Punch her in the ovaries. That'll learn her.
Lolz, made my morning

I haven't gotten serious about cadence as to constantly monitor them to +/- 1 rotation every ten seconds, but I know there's nothing wrong with the small (assuming 39t) chainring. Good for 20+ mph, which is faster than many of the lolli-gaggers on the mup's around here.

Last edited by mrvrsick; 09-06-09 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:57 AM
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It sounds like she may think you were in need of her helpful advice and was unaware of how it affects her customers. Why let it bother? Listen to what you like and give your opinion on what you do not agree with. This type of communication may be helpful. I would tend to direct the person back to what I want to talk about and control the conversation. Shoes and pedals.

Last edited by cmburch; 09-06-09 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:57 AM
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Thanks for your responses. I DO have a triple chainring setup, and I sometimes use the smallest chainring when going up a hill to maintain my RPM. Is it more important to stay on the middle chainring and reduce my RPM or to downshift to the smallest chainring to maintain a RPM around 90? I hope this isn't a dumb question.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:59 AM
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Your confidence is only undermined if you think it is undermined -- you require neither skills nor knowledge to feel self assured. Just ignore the advice.

There's nothing wrong with your cadence for the type of riding you do. As far as using your smallest chainring goes, which cog are you using in the rear? If you are using the smallest one (or almost the smallest one), you should be using a different ring in front because cross chaining will increase chain wear and noise while giving you less gear selection. If you're using a cog that's at least a couple down from the end, you're fine as you are.

To get back to your original question on how to deal with her, just speak in declaratives. When she tells you what to do, just say "I like to do X, and it's hard to motivate yourself to ride if you don't have fun, so that doesn't work for me."
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Old 09-06-09, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Buffybike
She asked me about my RPM, which I said was about 85 and said I needed to get it up to 95-100 "...because I'm such a youngster" (I'm 36). Then she criticized me for using the smallest chainring on my usual route and said that I should only use it on "real hills
So she wants you to pick up your cadence but not to use low gears? Isn't that contridictory?
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Old 09-06-09, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Buffybike
Thanks for your responses. I DO have a triple chainring setup, and I sometimes use the smallest chainring when going up a hill to maintain my RPM. Is it more important to stay on the middle chainring and reduce my RPM or to downshift to the smallest chainring to maintain a RPM around 90? I hope this isn't a dumb question.
Generally speaking, your cadence and effort should remain constant -- use your gears to allow you to do this while riding conditions change. Your speed will vary continuously
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Old 09-06-09, 08:08 AM
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Cadence --> Do whatever gets you up the hill and keeps your legs fresh (or as fresh as possible)
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Old 09-06-09, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Buffybike
Is it more important to stay on the middle chainring and reduce my RPM or to downshift to the smallest chainring to maintain a RPM around 90? I hope this isn't a dumb question.
Not dumb at all. On the contrary, we can't really accurately give you an answer her on the internet. It kind of depends on the hill (how steep and how long) and your riding style. Chances are you'd become stronger if you stayed in the middle ring and powered over it, but as a "youngster" it's important to not grind too huge of gears because we still want to have functional knees when we're 60. Better advice would be to remind you to try and keep your momentum up with a little stronger effort, and only shift after your cadence has dropped. I would say she was just trying to give you sound advice, but then...
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
So she wants you to pick up your cadence but not to use low gears? Isn't that contridictory?
I agree with this. With those two comments, she seems to be simply telling him to ride much faster. If it was that simple, I'd have done 8 grand tours by now.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:18 AM
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Hey, maybe the salesperson is trying to help...? As a relatively new road rider myself, I am happy to take advice from anyplace I get. I may not always heed it - depends on the credibility of the person giving the advice - but no harm listening.

Wouldnt an "HTFU" be appropriate here? Ok, I'm kidding about the HTFU but not about the other bit... just cos you are getting advice shouldnt undermine what you've accomplished.

V.

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Old 09-06-09, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
So she wants you to pick up your cadence but not to use low gears? Isn't that contridictory?
My thoughts too.

For a "newbie", riding 80 miles per week is great. Don't let Miss Unsolicited Advice ruin your confidence. She sounds like she's just passing along generalizations to make herself sound a lot more experienced than you.

I prefer the passive-aggressive approach. Find out what day she doesn't work and make sure to shop on that day.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:20 AM
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Don't let that annoying woman bother you. Enjoy your riding, sounds like you're doing great!
Personally, I'd tell that #$@! where to get off and ask for the manager.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:30 AM
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I find it helpful to ignore people who annoy me. They get the message.
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Old 09-06-09, 10:17 AM
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give her your phone number and ask her out.. make sure to tell her you live in your mom's basement with your 9 cats. If she smiles and takes it leave immediately though I highly doubt that would happen.
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Old 09-06-09, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
So she wants you to pick up your cadence but not to use low gears? Isn't that contridictory?
Damnit! So that's the key!

If I just ride around in my 50/11 spinning at 100 rpm, I'll win more races. Why didn't anyone tell me?
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Old 09-06-09, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Seedy J
You need to tell that byotch to be cool. Just walk up to her and be like, "Hey byotch, be cool!"

Seriously, don't let it get you down. We all started somewhere. Ever hear the story of how Jordan used to suck at basketball? There's always someone faster than you. Fortunately, there's always someone slower than you too. Really, if you're happy with your progress, that's all you need to know.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by K&K_Dad
give her your phone number and ask her out.. make sure to tell her you live in your mom's basement with your 9 cats. If she smiles and takes it leave immediately though I highly doubt that would happen.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:28 PM
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Put 2 magnets on your front wheel and show her your computer.

That'll shut her up.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Atol
Put 2 magnets on your front wheel and show her your computer.

That'll shut her up.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:40 PM
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Ride 50 miles per day for 6 months. Buy a schwinn varsity. Find a group ride she's in. Keep up with her just fine on your 200 dollar walmart bike.
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