So, I am very new to cycling. I'm so pleased to have found this site but hope I don't annoy you with all of my questions!
Besides the typical department store special that you'd hop on to ride to your friends house when you were a teen, I've never actually purchased a quality bike for any purpose. My boyfriend is an avid mountain biker and has done a few adventure triathlons, and it is his zest and love of this sport that has sparked my interest in trying something new with him.
My sport of choice is Eventing with horses, so cycling is a little out of my comfort zone.
Spending the weekend at the National Bike Show got me so psyched to try road cycling. Prior to the show, I did some informal research on buying road bikes for beginners, recommended brands, price ranges, frame composition etc. I understood that a budget of around $1000 for an aluminum frame would be a good starting point for such a beginner as myself, which was my plan. But the show didn't offer anything in my size or my budget. But we did meet a wonderful triathlete fellow who owns a cycle shop in the city, and went to meet him the following week at his shop.
... to make a short story long, after being professionally fitted and sized, and trying MANY models, I ended up purchasing a Specialized Ruby, full carbon XL (I'm 5'9" and all leg). The Spec Ruby was THE bike that I wanted but couldn't justify affording being a beginner. But the $2700 bike was a 2009, and trying to get rid of an XL frame gave me the chance to buy the bike for a mere $1800. SOLD! And very excited to have such a bike for my first one!!
Well that's nice. I have the bike, the padded bum shorts, the clipless pedals and shoes, the gloves, the helmet, the computer and the camelbak. But....I have no idea how to ride a road bike!! lol. Oh gawd.
Now, I'm assuming riding a bike, is riding a bike. But riding a bike with your feet clipped into its pedals on roads frequented by vehicles/trucks, on a bike that weighs less than my purse is concerning.
I have lofty goals to do the 50K Becel Ride for Heart and some mini-biathlons around the city, but where do I start?? What distances should I start with? How many days a week?
Any tips for training the absolute beginner would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks guys, talk at you soon!
I suppose..... your road biking experience depends on too many things to give you one answer. I do hope you love riding. My suggestions are...
DEFINITELY ride clipped in!! You are going to fall, or more precisely, tip over up to 10 times before you thoroughly learn your lesson. the difference between riding cliped in and not...is truly night & day. Every rider I know won't ride if he isn't set with shoes. I recommend you spend $250 on the Garmin 500. Measure your progress. Go as far as you can...don't worry yet about how far thatis. A lot depends on you...mentally. Ride 35 miles to start. Do hills. For at least 3x :30 second inervals per ride, stand up and ride as FASSSSSSST as you can pedal. Push yourself. Never take it easy.....and NEVER stop pedaling. I hope you love your bike and love riding. Also...get into an organized ride of some sort and be around other people who share this passion. BEST of luck. Keep your tires pumped all the time.
Did you say you were fitted or measured. A good fit means you can jump right in there but stay on the back roads... maybe a 3 mile loop. After burning your knees and Quads and tightening your hip flexors and neck muscles, make time for stretching and recovery. One leg always unclips ....practice stopping....learn the rules of the road ...a mirror helps use traffic efficiently / safely
Welcome to the world of riding. I have been riding for about 3 years but i don't ride a bike that fits me. I took over my brothers 52cm and I ride a 54cm. The best advice I can give is ride in areas that are bike friendly. I personally stay away from the Los Gatos Creek Trail and all other trails because they get crowded and you can't get a good rhythym going. I like to ride on foothill expy in los altos and it's relatively flat. Also, look into a road id bracelet. Just do lots of reading and find people to ride with. I'm always looking for riding partners. Right now i ride alone because the guy i rode with turned everything into a race. I like to do easy rides. Email me if you ever want to ride together.
Hi. I'm just like you and have just started cycling. I bought a brand new $1,100 Cannondale hybrid bike on Craigslist for only $300 and I love it. I know it's not a "road bike" but from what I've read and heard from professional riders there is nothing wrong with starting off on a hybrid, or mountain bike to get into the sport and feel it out if it's something a beginner wants to pursue. Reading your post you really went all out and bought everything even clipless pedals (please let me know how those work out for you cause it's something I'm researching to buy) and I hope it's a sport you end up enjoying. Just want to wish you luck. Would love to hear about your progress. You can email me to my account if you'd like.
p.s - I'm also looking to compete in my first Duathlon later this summer.
What are you in for? You are in for a lifetime of pleasurable experiences (and some not so pleasurable but memorable nonetheless). Absolutely get used to your new steed. Give her a name, make her your own. Know how she works, how to fix a flat, how to change gears, how to clip out of those new-fangled pedals (and yes, to repeat, you will fall over a few times). Join a local bike club that encourages new riders. Check in with your local bike shop for clubs or just get information. Most important, just go ride. Feel the wind in your hair and the bugs in your teeth :-) Feel the freedom of rolling down the road. At least a bike is not hundreds of pounds with a brain of its own, like a horse. Wear your helmet at all times and don't ride with music in your ears (you need to be alert in traffic, not rockin' out to your favorite tunes). Ride a few miles one day; see how you feel the next day. Ride three days a week for the same distance. Ride longer on the weekend but don't overdo it. A general rule of thumb is to increase mileage by 5-10% a week once you have an idea of what is comfortable. Most of all, have fun! If it's not fun you won't ride anymore and that would be a shame. I have always ridden bikes since I was a little kid (I'm 50+ now) and have enjoyed every ride, even the ones where I fell or crashed because I was outside having fun!
BT BOB...Very very well said and written. The only thing is you really can't feel the wind in your hair AND wear a helmet. That's the only thing I didn't agree with. But very very well said.
I've been riding for 3 years now and concur with all that's been written before. You're in for a true adventure! I'd recommend getting cycling shorts and a cycling jersey. They'll make the ride so much better and enjoyable. Never ride without your helmet! Always ride with sunglasses or sometype of eye protection. A bug to the eye can be nasty. I live in the south were bugs can get big and crunchy. learn how to change a flat. I asked the bike shop where I bought my bike to teach me. They were more than happy to. Call me a pessimist but in addition to riding with a spare tube and tools in a seat pack, I also have some $$ in the seat pack in case I have really break down and need a ride home. I ride on some pretty desolate roads and have a wife who can be navigationally challenged. Bottomline, get out on the road and enjoy.
I've been riding for about 20 years, mountain and road. I commute about 90% of the time on my bike, and at times have not even had a car. Cycling is just a blast, most of the time! Here's some of what I've learned:
Where to start- back roads, roads with not a lot of traffic or preferably with bike lanes, traffic isn't something to fear, but it should be respected (and assumed they won't see you or can't stop...). Also, a lot of bike shops and clubs have beginners groups, or rides, which will help teach the basics and introduce you to some like minded people.
What to carry with you- I ALWAYS have my phone and some cash or a debit card. I also always have a small tool kit (I carry a crank bros m-19), a pump and a tube or two plus some tire levers. If it's going to be a long ride (later on...) water/gatorade makes a world of difference. Patch kits
Some interesting things I've seen- on one ride I had four flats, and wound up walking 10 miles. I don't say this to scare, it was fun though a smarter man would have called a friend :-) One ride in the snow this past winter was the most beautiful and breath-taking ride of my life.
Things I've learned- keep either a dollar or a small piece of paper, some flats you'll have to put the paper on the inside of the tire to keep the new tube from flatting. See the above statement, I didn't learn this for years!! Though dorky, my helmet mirror is a life-saver. Once you get used to not using cycling gloves, you stop getting those weird tan lines. It's usually more fun with friends riding with you.
Things of note- if you're going to ride by yourself (and arguably either way) make sure someone knows when/where you leave and when you should get back. Ride with traffic, most states consider cyclists as a vehicle. Cycling is a rather expensive hobby to get into, but with few exceptions after you've got the gear you'll need the costs level out. Though there's always a part that could be upgraded!!
All very good tips but I would like to add one more:
I am a firm believer in the RoadID for riding alone. It gives emergency responders contact information - you never know when you might get into an accident and not be able to repond. The "on-line" version even provides your medication history for those taking long term meds. The wrist strap or shoe tag shows a passcode for the emergency responder to access your medical and contact information via phone or web. I have nothing to do with this company, but love the product. You can access the RoadID web site to learn more. www.RoadID.com
I have never needed to use mine and hope I never do, but it is a feeling of comfort and piece of mind to know that should something happen, my emergency contacts are available quicky. Good luck with the riding!
I ride to work and home daily a total of 20 miles a day. Some days I take the longer route home just because I love to cycle. I tell all my friends interested in cycling to find a way to work it into each day in order to fall in love with it. I am signed up to do a 98 mile ride in June and it will be my first ride of 60 some odd miles in a singel day so I am training to sit in the seat and work on shortening my mile times currently.
I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable the ride is when you have the proper equiptment. get a good road bike, get some decent shorts, pedals, shoes and helmet and don't forget the sunscreen!
Biking is a hell of a lot of time and energy but so worth it in the end. There's nothing like the feel of the open road, but there's also nothing like the cramps and wanting to pass out in a weedy ditch by some sort of woe-begone forgotten highway. I found out the hard way that rehydrating properly is the key to success. I've tried alot of sports drinks, but I found that coconut water and specifically Vita Coco works the best. I rather enjoy the taste, and the nutrients and electrolytes give me the extra push I desperately need.