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

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Old 04-24-13, 11:37 PM
  #1  
Abstractworld
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Hey there

Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and also completely new to biking on the road.
I'm 23 years old and the last time I actually road a bike was probably when I was in elementary school.
I have a couple questions about biking because I really want to get a good workout and also save money commuting to work/school.

Sorry if this is a lot of questions, I just want to be safe on the road and learn all I can about bicycling.

1) What's a decent road bike for under $250 for beginners. (Also how do I figure out the right size for my body? )
2) How safe is it to bike on the road? I'm pretty scared to go on the road with a bicycle because cars might hit me resulting in my death :O
3) What are some important gear I should be wearing if I were to bike on the road (helmet, etc)
4) What are some tips I should know before riding on the road as a beginner
5) How to deal with angry drivers who will honk and scare me because I am taking up too much of the road.
6) Should I get a camera to place in front of my bike just in case someone tries to ram me so I have evidence? (I watched youtube where cars purposely rammed bikers and they luckily had cameras to record the license plate)
7) Do you guys get your bikes stolen often? I heard people usually get their bikes stolen within 2 years or so. It also seems fairly easy to break bike locks.
8) Any other things you guys think I should know as a complete beginner to biking on the road

Thank you for your time everyone
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Old 04-25-13, 05:33 AM
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Homebrew01
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1) Search "bicycle fit calculator"
2) Pretty safe. Wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, be aware
3) Helmet, comfortable bike shorts
4) Traffic rules
5) Ignore them
6) Some people swear by them
7) Never leave a valuable bike out of your sight
8) Be prepared to fix a flat tire on the road. Bring 2 tubes, pump or CO2, tire levers, knowledge. Ride lots
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Old 04-25-13, 07:44 AM
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danmc
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"1) What's a decent road bike for under $250 for beginners."

There are people on this forum that wear bibs that cost that much.
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Old 04-25-13, 08:21 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

I'd say you'll really enjoy it and learn, but as I'm sure you can already tell, the crowd can be kinda tough in here.

Irreverent posters (myself included occassionally) aside, there are in fact many helpful members and advice - you'll figure out who to pay attention to and who to add to your 'ignore' list.

For your questions:
  1. You will be hard pressed to find a decent road bike for under $250, even used. If you double your budget, you'll have a good chance at finding a very good beginners bike from REI or Performance Bikes, with a manufacturer's warranty, satisfaction guarantee, and free tune-ups. Plus, for both of those stores, you'l receive a 10% rebate if you join their clubs, which you can use for other purchases (and there will be other purchases).
  2. If you want to be safe, you must wear a helmet. Practice riding on low-traffic neighborhood streets. Avoid riding in traffic until you are confident on the bike and understand the rules of the road relative to cycling.
  3. Honestly, you can wear anything you want. You'll want to avoid jeans. You will be most comfortable in cycling-specific, close-fitting, sweat-wicking clothing (shorts, jersey, padded gloves, socks, etc.)
  4. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road relative to cycling. Are you a good & safe driver? If so, you'll likely be a good & safe cyclist.
  5. Don't worry about traffic so much. Once you are comfortable enough to start riding in traffic, avoid busy roads with high traffic speeds. You will occasionally come across temperamental drivers. It's best to just ignore them.
  6. Unless you really antagonize someone, it is highly unlikely that a driver will deliberately try to 'ram' you. Just be polite on the road, even if someone else pisses you off. You don't need a video camera. I don't personally know a single rider that has one.
  7. Never walk away from something you own that you aren't willing to lose. Of course, geography plays a role. If you live in the inner city, an unattended bike, locked or not, will be stolen. If you're isolated in the boonies, then maybe not.
  8. Learn how to change your tubes & tires and how to properly adjust your derailleurs and brakes.
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Old 04-25-13, 08:24 AM
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It's pretty rare for a driver to try to kill a cyclist; you saw some videos on youtube because unfortunately it does happen occasionally, but it's a "man bites dog" kind of thing, it's rare enough (and awful enough) to be sensational and get a lot of attention.

But people will honk at you occasionally. Ignore them, and don't put yourself in a dangerous position because someone is angry at you. Be polite, but be safe. Know they'll pass you before very long and that will be the end of that.
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Old 04-25-13, 08:27 AM
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pretty much what antmeeks said, good synopsis.

and welcome aboard
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Old 04-25-13, 11:56 AM
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As far as #2 goes, I used to be very afraid of riding on the road and would only ride on MUPs (multi-use paths) and trails where there were no cars. But then I got bored on those, and realized that they were just as dangerous, if not more, because of both dogs and children not on leashes darting in front of you and people not paying attention. So now I mostly ride on roads and just try to be as safe as possible by wearing very bright shirts and having blinking lights on back and front even during the day. Also wear a helmet and use a mirror (these issues, you'll find, are actually quite controversial here.) I ride mostly rural roads and haven't really had any close calls or very dangerous incidents in about 5,000 miles last year. Of course it all depends on what part of the country you live in, if you ride in urban or rural areas, etc. Take a visit to the Advocacy and Safety forum here and it will seem like automobiles are mowing down bike riders left and right but I don't really think that bicycle riding as a sport and hobby is much more dangerous than jogging or just crossing a busy city intersection while out strolling.
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Old 04-25-13, 12:24 PM
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pretty much all of the above...
except, my view on mirrors - way too distracting. better to be well aware of what you're riding into, be able to 'scan' the immediate environment in front and to the sides and and recognize upcoming issues - you'll see hazards and danger a lot earlier and better. A lot of problems can be avoided if the rider is well aware of whats ahead. I see a lot of riders swerve to avoid stuff which was obvious 30 or more yds before they react. Enjoy the ride more by not being clueless.
You really don;t want to know what's goin on behind you. If someone is intent on mowin you down, you won't know until too late.
Learning to cast a quick glance behind over either shoulder, before making a turn across traffic, and maintaining a straight line, is a good skill to develop.
You can find a decent roadbike for $250ish, but it'll be someone else's preowned... Find a friend who has some reasonable bike knowledge and ask questions, look locally. Everything is important, except paint color...
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