Ok, I've been lurking around here long enough, finally bought a road bike and am now out 'in the wild' so to speak.
It's my first foray into cycling in over 10 years - back then I used to ride my MTB all over the place and spent a fair bit of time up in Morialta falls on some of the trails up there. So I'm not new to riding and not new to riding on the road either but the ol' drop bar is a very different experience.
I'm a strong runner and usually do 30kms or so a week pounding the pavement so have no doubt in my cardio ability but obviously I need to build up the cycling leg muscles (which hopefully the running ones will help with a tad).
I live Eastern suburbs and know about all the favourite climbs - Norton Summit etc. My biggest fear is not doing the right thing out there when it comes to interaction with other cyclists. I don't want to come across like a complete newbie just because my bike is shiny and I have new gear but also wouldn't mind letting other people know 'hey, I'm new and may not be the perfect road sharer you expect me to be'. When I run and come across fellow runners I always nod the head or give a quick g'day, thankfully on my ride this morning somebody passed me with a 'good morning' and I reciprocated.
MY biggest fear about tackling the climbs is getting in the way of anyone who is perhaps not so understanding that I'm still learning. Are there any appropriate signals to give or things to do if you notice you are being pursued by an eager bunch and can't really pull over and they are not within earshot?
Are there any 'safe' ways to go climbing for a newbie? If you live East, would love any hints and tips for any 'local' rules.
If they are overtaking you then they need to take care. Hold your line and you will be fine.
There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass
from my own personal experience, when I look to see who said "passing on right" or "G'day "I tend to turn my wheel which takes me off my line.
Concentrate expect to be passed and hold your line to avoid any surprise.This is critical at speed and on bends when descending.
When climbing look up not down at the road as other cyclists descending may be needing some more room if there riding fast.
Saying Hello, nodding, or waving is practiced by most and frowned on by others.It seems to depend on how many cyclists are out and about.
Clearly indicating your intent like stopping, turning and moving to the side of the road when things are crowded are appreciated so others can pass safely.
When cyclists have a mechanical problem or in need of first aid it is polite to offer them a hand. You may be the next one in need.
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
What they said. Keep left and ride in a straight line and you will be fine. Say hi if you see me (Matt Black Daccordi, Norwood Parade cycles Knicks), happy to have a chat and help out a newbie.
Certified Brand Snob
Now come on! There's a whole sponsored team of you guys, and a Saturday ride. Just say hello to you all, I suppose.
Ha, no just me. I'm the coolest. . I wish I was sponsored!
Probably easiest if you see me out solo. I'm usually in the hills, only ride the flat Saturday morning for our coffee ride.
Certified Brand Snob
Cheers for all the tips, very helpful and all noted. Gives me a bit of confidence knowing there are at least some out there who will be understanding.
Sunday mornings will most likely be my day as I tend to go for a longer run on a Saturday morning. Might venture up Norton Summit and see how I go - or is that not a good idea until I get a bit more experience? From what I know, not many cars but obviously the climb will be a challenge for a first-timer and I figure I need to start somewhere.
Got it in one.
Enjoy it and be aware of other people and common sense.
Weather forecast is a bit all over the place, but the te weekend should be fine !
Thanks to both of you.
BOM says 19 and Fine and Sunny for the moment - just have to watch the descents if the roads are still a bit slippery from a few days rain I guess.
I don't have a computer to measure cadence but my aim will be to start out grinding my way up to try and build up those leg muscles then as it starts to get more difficult and the lactic acid builds, drop down the gears and spin away and let my cardio strength kick in to help me up - does that sound like a reasonable plan?
In the 50 odd kms I have done since getting the bike on flat and gradual inclined roads eg. Greenhill to Hallett Rd, up Hallett Rd, up Glynburn, up Parade to Penfold then up Penfold etc. I have been trying to get used to gearing combos that work for me - i'm running a compact crank (34/50) and an 11-28 cassette so I've got a lot down low to help me up the hill, just got to learn to use it properly!
Again, cheers for all the advice.
There's a Livestrong ride on Sunday going up NS with quite a few riders so it might be fairly busy. I'd be wary about using too big a gear if it's your first time climbing NS but you obviously know your fitness levels, the hardest parts tend to be the switchbacks and lots of riders take these a bit wider so just watch out for that. Enjoy the ride.
Scott CR1, Kuota Kharma
Don't really need one.
I'd start spinning, and do it that way. Grinding up can create more issues. Just spin and enjoty the beautiful scenery. You'll know a good cadence when it feels good.
you cannot be sirrus - thanks for the heads up!
Might ride the flat then on Sunday down to Glenelg to get the kms up and save the hills for Monday morning if the weather holds out. I'd rather not put myself under pressure up there!
Noted - will give it a go that way.
The Livestrong ride is open for anybody, don't be daunted by the prospect of meeting up with what will be a very mixed group. There'll be riders of all abilities and in my experience of the CVSA riders all are more than friendly and helpful.
Head for the hills, you know you want to.
Scott CR1, Kuota Kharma
as noted by Michael et al, this is probably the wrong way round. Use your superior cardio to spin the gears, try and keep a good smooth cadence >80 going up hills as you become acclimatised to the demands of hills and build a little leg strength. You'll find it hard going anyway, cycling uses very different muscle groups to running and they take time to develop, as does (as you wisely noted) getting full control and use of your gears).
One thing to note: if you blow a gasket when hill climbing (ie run out of puff or energy) you cannot get back up to speed after a brief rest. When you crack (as it is termed) on a hill climb you stay cracked.
Have fun trying it all, and yes, when coming downhill don't commit to a speed or position on the road you might not be able to handle. NS is bumpy, sometimes narrow, and often has rock faces close to the road. Better to be prudent and in one piece than a bloodied hero, especially until you know precisely what you and the bike are capable of.
Thanks rusty. I am a bit fearful of descents at speed and have found myself riding the brake quite a bit.
I was thinking of doing the loop when I do head up there and coming back via the top of Greenhill - from what I know that is also one stretch you need to be extra careful on with increased traffic, narrowness etc.
Would you recommend coming back down the way I went up on my first time?
I've found my 2c for this thread...
I would go up Norton and then down Greenhill just so you experience the two roads. I came down Norton Summit today for the first time and it wasn't nearly as enjoyable as Greenhill as it was bumpy, narrow and the views to me, aren't as good. Take care with Greenhill the first time as there are a few blind corners. Remember you can always go faster next time.
Another suggestion would be to go up Norton all the way to Mt Lofty and then come back down via Eagle On The Hill.
I can thoroughly recommend the enormous melting moment biscuits near where you order the coffee should you drop into the Mt Lofty cafe.
Aaaahhhhh, so thats what's goin on with all those flabby MAMILS I keep passing on climbs.Weird how there expensive carbon bikes don't seem to help em any.
seriously the run up Norton and across to lofty and descend eagle on the hill is a great way to start. Nice and wide and clear coming down that way to learn cornering. Norton down track is just to bumpy and unsafe at real speed IMO.
It didn't use'ta be, of course. It used to have nice clean lines and smooth tarmac but has degraded terribly in the last 4 years, mainly due to all the building activity there and further up the hill (trucks!!). The worst part IMO is the ripples from gum tree roots and subsidence lower down past the ex-pony club, they csn throw you off the saddle too easily.
A nice loop also is Norton S, Ashton Road, left onto Marble Hill Road, Marble Hill, Montacute, down Montacute Road. The top of Montacute is steep and dangerous road surface in parts, but it's perhaps the best descent around.
I can vouch for the MM bikkie, but the coffee was not so good.
The run from top of Greenhill Rd to Norton Summit (incl. Woods Hill Rd) is a PEARLER !!! If you don't like descending NS, go down Old NS, as it's a bit smoother, less traffic, but steeper
I love descending Greenhill Rd
We all have different opinions. I refuse to use old NS. Last time I went down there it was so rough I lost a water bottle and my pump , plus I found the cars impatient compared to new NS. However I agree that Greenhill is the best decent. And yeh, the coffee at the top leaves a bit to be desired. Try the shop on Hallett Rd opposite Newland reserve, awesome.
Certified Brand Snob
I agree. It's rough as bags and 90% of cars use it as its shorter. I always ride the New NS.
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