Should I start?!

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Should I start?!

Postby GustavoZ » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:18 pm

Hi folks,

There are many things we should learn and prepare to get ready to ride, right? Probably yes.

I have never ridden a road bicycle before as I have just ridden a few times ('normal' bicycles) to get to school and/or to my job 10 years ago (after this just by car as I got too lazy). I'm crazy to buy a road bicycle and go for it, but I'm worried as now I have a budget just for the bike, not for everything else, I mean, properly shoes and clothes.

So my question is, can I start to ride or should I get everything else first? You could think that this is a stupid question but I'm really thinking about this as everyone I see during the day is like a pro :roll:


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Re: Should I start?!

Postby brumby33 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:30 am

All you need to do is buy a decent bike of choice, allow for the price of helmet 50-70 bucks, get bike shop to give you bell (legal requirement & cheap) ask bikeshop to do you a deal on a set of lights from and rear. All the rest of the stuff you can buy as you go...pending budget but you got the basics....don't worry too much about cycling clothes, shoes just yet...just take the bike some where quiet like a bike path area, and get accustomed to it, eg: gears, brakes, feel of it etc. Can be a bit unnerving if you haven't ridden for a good while.

Just take it easy if you haven't ridden in a while, don't try and push in too high a gear but in any case, ensure that the chain is on biggest back cog at the rear at least to start and just go through them one by one.
Ensure that the seat is up high enough so you're not loading your knees up too much, at bottom dead centre of pedal, your leg needs to be just slightly bent, not locked straight, if you find yourself rocking too much side to side as you pedal, just lower the seat a bit untill you're not doing it anymore.

I reckon another good accessory is a rear view mirror on your handlebars, so you can see anything coming from behind before you make a turn. I value mine.


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Re: Should I start?!

Postby g-boaf » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:17 am

And a light touch on the bars, no death grip on them. Use your core to help keep everything steady.

Just take it easy to start with and get used to how a road bike feels, they will seem a lot sharper than other bikes. I mean my Giant TCR Advanced SL in comparison with my Trek (both road bikes), the Trek feels like a great big ship of a thing. The Giant is so sharp in the way it reacts. Not scary at all, just really responsive. If you aren't used to that feeling, it might take time to adjust.

Also get used to riding on the drops, those will give you a lot more control.

If you do get started with clipless pedals (eg Shimano SPD-SL or one of the others), then here is a little video to help:

You always make sure you unclip (twist the ankle to the outside) ahead of any time you expect you might need to stop. You can back off the tension in the Shimano pedals quite easily. Some of their cleats have more float than others, yellow has quite a lot of float, red has none and blue is in the middle. For me, the blue cleats feel about right. Depending on your preferences, I tend to prefer getting going in a slightly higher gear as I have strong legs. If my other foot doesn't clip in right away, no drama, I'm in a gear big enough to keep going and get some speed. You can practice pedaling with one leg as well, you'll get used to the feeling of that and be able to do that pretty smoothly.

Those little road bike mirrors are okay, but you'll want to get used to doing head checks smoothly, like how the track riders do when they start off and are riding along super slowly and the guy in front is watching the rider behind him to see what he is doing and when he is going to sprint. Like Simon Van Velthooven is doing here:
Another example too:

brumby33 wrote:do you a deal on a set of lights from and rear.

Not all lights are equal, I'd be wary of some ones that might be bundled in. The best front ones I've had are Ay-Ups, really dependable for long rides at night. Real quality. Rear lights will depend on your bike, but Moon tend to do good ones. Lezyne also okay, but the way they fasten to the seat post on the one I had wasn't secure. It fell off one time not far from my home, fortunately I was able to get it back. Second time, gone for good. :(

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Re: Should I start?!

Postby Kronos » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:01 am

No need to go down the pathway of buying an expensive new bike... You can buy an aluminum bike such as a CAAD5 in your size (or any aluminum road bike built in the last 15 years) for under $500 that will keep you going for days. Road biking is a bit unnerving to get into if you've never ridden a road bike before. For one they tend to weigh less than the average mountain bike/commuter and they're thinner to boot.

The price of a good helmet is the next thing in line spending anything up to $100 and getting a floor pump and learning how to fill your tyres. The first few times most newbies will deflae their tyres back to zero and have to go through at least 200 strokes to get back to full riding pressure of 100psi :lol: However learning to fill your tyres with air is a skill that you will need to learn at the very least... Add how to patch a tyre/tube and how to replace a tyre as you progress as well as how to remove and fit a chain. That is your bare minimum bike skills you will need to ride on the road proficiently over time. Next is getting a tool kit for your bike so you can do that on the side of the road.

Just take it easy is a good point of advice if you've been off the bike for a number of years. You may fall/crash so choose a good bike path in your area where if you have to fall off you can do it on grass, and choose an inexpensive bike so if you do fall you don't break it... No carbon bikes for first timers I'm afraid.

Ensure that your bike is fitted comfortably before you set off, at bare minimum you should be able to stand comfortably over the frame and you should be able to pedal proficiently without locking your legs at the furthest extension point between you on the seat and your cranks/pedals at full extension, and your legs should be perpendicular to the pedals when your feet are in the middle of the pedals to avoid knee damage, your arms should not be locked, and your shoulders should be neutral to your chest.

Go slow at first until you build your confidence, no death grips period on the bars, or on the brakes, and save any dare devil descents until you've done at least 500 to 1000km of riding as a newbie being off the bike for so long. Your strength will come from riding. My training regime for newbies is a standard 1 day on 1 day off at least for the first few months while slowly increasing the duration of your rides.
With a 1 on 1 off training regime and gradually increasing distance you should get in the ball park where you can do 50-100km within 2 to 3months if you train every other day and longer if you don't. Then its a matter of more complex interval training to work on your watts. You can get to anything with a consistent 3xx in it if you want to ride in your local grupetto or anything with a regular 4xx in it if you want to consider any sort of competitive club racing.

I'm going to be controversial and say I wouldn't bother with clipless pedals and for the most part based on statistics they don't save you any real waste of power either (there's no benefit to upstroke pedaling). Rather than wasting time on buying shiny new shoes get a tight fitting cycling jersey, usually one size smaller than what you would normally wear, and wear that. A good cycling jersey (and later an aero helmet) can make you up to 5km/hr quicker which is more than a new wheel set that will make the difference of about .8 of kilometer difference at best.

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Re: Should I start?!

Postby Arbuckle23 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:34 am

Considering the OP made the one post 12 months ago and hasn't been back since, I doubt whether your advice will be seen by them :D

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Re: Should I start?!

Postby Kronos » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:50 pm

Ah well, you win some you lose some, the fact that a 12month old thread is still on the front page though :shock:

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