Newbie's second year of riding getting started-- reflections and more to learn
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Newbie's second year of riding getting started-- reflections and more to learn

    June of 2015 I hopped on my 30 year old Cromolly steed and began riding because jogging for a 55 year old body hurt too much. Riding was fun beyond imagination! 700 miles on my old bike and in the Fall, 700 on my new 2015 Giant Defy 1 Advanced (Ultegra Gruppo)

    So, I'm thinking about some take-aways from getting started: it was a combination of time in the saddle and good advice from other riders here and at my LBS. Heck, I didn't know what a "LBS" was at first. There's no way you can fully track with the advice or jargon you hear initially until you gain experience and put together what they are describing and what it actually means. Ultimately, there's no replacement for getting rolling, and slowly building up strength, stamina and finding the FUN in all this. I see people connect to this wonderful sport with excitement and they get all sorts of tips (most of which are helpful), but the greatest advice I heard and see here in this forum are the kudos and encouragement for getting started! So, Newbies . . . so glad you're here, enjoy the ride.

    Learnings from year one:

    Keep it simple, start with a "good enough" bike and ride, ride, ride.
    (don't waste time aching for cool gear to the point that you miss that the real passion for cycling comes from YOU and your experience getting out there)

    Find a group to ride with. My oh my, I never knew what a huge sub-culture cycling is, and riding with a group so propelled my solo beginnings into longer/stronger rides. I still love a solo venture, but look around and you'll usually have a group to join, it's so worth it.

    Don't hurry into the first close-out bike or Craigslist item you see. Get fit to the right bike for your body and style. I made myself ride all summer on a 30 year old steel framed bike and that was so helpful as I visited several shops and road lots of bikes. The longer I waited to buy a nicer bike the more money I saved and the better-informed I became about what I really wanted. Impulse purchases were so tempting, but would have wasted money or fit poorly and maybe made me want to quit (numb hands, feet, butt, etc) because I hurried.

    A stiff bike? I just wasn't tracking on that, seemed like it meant a harsh ride. Until I rode a Carbon bike up a steep hill or stood on the pedals to accelerate after a slow down. NOW I get it and love how responsive my bike is!

    Don't worry about your pace, and learn technique. My LBS group ride for newbies helped me learn about aiming for a 90-95 cadence and suddenly my legs were lasting way longer on rides and my 10-15 mile rides went to 25-35. Get that advice from experienced folks and try it out. (seeing group leaders using that cadence looked silly at first to see their feet flying so fast . . . until I tried it a few times and began to get the feel for a good cadence. A game changer!

    Filter advice you hear. If it's helpful, great, if not, ignore it (esp if it sounds like the person's trying to come off as the All Wise OZ). Pressure to "do it my way" is likely lousy advice, since you need to figure out your own preferences and think for yourself amid a sea of technology choices and opinions.

    Take it slow, hang in there and just enjoy the ride!

    Dan in Minnesota!

  2. #2
    Reputation: aplcr0331's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Good tips, thanks
    The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we're passing one another without a look of recognition.

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