My first ride...

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My first ride...

Postby dhat » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:05 pm

I only had time for assembling the bike and a short 1/2 hr ride on the weekend. In short it was fun and more difficult than expected. I need a bit more practice before taking the bike for a commute to work next to traffic.

I figured out that I need to relax my upper body and not pull on the handlebars on hills (I know I am doing this because the grips below the shirters were sliding down about 1cm from pulling). Push against the seat when pedalling seems to work best.

Also starting on steep hills is difficult and need to be done just right o/w you fall over quickly.

I did not have a computer mounted - this makes comparing it to the MTB very difficult as I have no idea of how fast I am going. When you look at the road you get a much greater sense of speed than when looking at the trees, so to achieve the same sense of speed on the recumbent appears to be more difficult than on the MTB.


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Postby europa » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:14 pm

What beastie are you talking about Dirk? One assumes it's a bent.

And on that assumption, you're half an hour up on me ... though I could show you pictures of kalgrm wearing out my new bent :D (it's still in Perth).

Piccies would help too. I know you're within the 'can't post piccies' phase, so go to FAQ - posting pictures on the forum to read the guidelines and how to's, then PM the links to me and I'll put them up for you.

So, new bent, new rider. Scared? Terrified? Shocked? Wowed?

I plan to mount mine in the wind trainer first, just to get used to it without it trying to play dead on me :oops:

I had a good bike ... so I fixed it

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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:40 pm

Hi Dirk,

Congrats on getting the new 'bent up and running. Did you get the Giro or the Giro 26?

Your timing is impeccable. Richard is also about to get his first 'bent, so you and he can roll about and fall over together! :) If I may, this looks like a great time to post the information from the email I just sent Richard.

I wrote:Now that your bike is nearly there, I'll give you some tips on getting started.

* Put your seat into a position which is quite upright for the first few rides. That upright position is less daunting than lying flat out for a new rider, and you can manage just a little body English when you're upright. I never had the benefit of a trainer to play with, but I reckon you could put the bike on the trainer and get yourself accustomed to the strange riding position before taking it outside.

* Find a gentle decline to ride down on your first try on the bike. Do not grab the bars in a vice-like grip or try to pull on them - your upper body must be relaxed or you won't be able to control the bike easily . Sit on the seat (not in it just yet) with your feet off the pedals, take a deep relaxing breath, letting it out gently as you glide down the hill slowly, gradually reclining back into the seat as you get more confidence. Tension (from nerves) is your biggest enemy, so RELAX!. Walk the bike back up the hill. (Your idea of grass is not a good one because it means you need to both pedal and balance the bike at the same time. You need to learn to ride before you can learn to fall - and I haven't fallen since I got the bike.)

* On the second glide down the hill, lift your feet up onto the pedals and rest them there (don't pedal just yet). Repeat this a few times, gradually pedalling without applying power.

* Repeat the last step, but replace the flat pedals with clipless. You really do want to go clipless as soon as you can, because it's much easier to start the bike under your own power when clipless pedals are used. It lets you apply power with one leg still outstretched to maintain balance. So, as you coast down the hill now, practice single leg pedalling with your "starting foot" in the pedal, in preparation for getting under way from a stop under your own power.

* On a flat, wide area like a parking lot or quiet road, try starting from a stopped position. The best starting gear is middle chain ring, middlish rear gear (I've got a 12-26 cassette, and start in the 22t or 24t cog most of the time. Any other gears are either too short to give you momentum on the first stroke or too hard to push.).

* The easiest way I've found is to straddle the bike on both feet, push the bike forward underneath you, sit on the seat as it passes by, swing your shoulders back to maintain the bike's momentum, lift your feet and start pedaling. The preferred pedal should be in the correct position before you start off (you can move it there with your hand as you straddle the bike.)

* The next easiest way, which does not require such acute timing, is to sit on the seat in an upright position with my preferred foot clipped in and at 11.00 o'clock when viewed from that side (ie, I start with my right foot clipped in, so it's near the top of the cycle and towards me a little, ready to push). I then push forward off the ground slightly with my left foot while pushing my right pedal forward and reclining my body. I'm not too concerned about clipping my left foot in or even getting it onto the pedal in the correct location, since I pull on the right pedal to complete that revolution.

* The hardest way (and this is what I was doing for the first couple of weeks. D'oh!) is to start from your riding position of being reclined in the seat. It doesn't let you lie back as you get underway and push your centre of balance forward to maintain momentum.

* After you get the hang of starting, make your way to a parking lot and ride slowly in figure 8s for a good 20 - 30 minutes. Getting slow speed handling under control is the hardest thing on the bike, and it's where you're going to feel least comfortable. Starting from lights in traffic is daunting when you know you can't ride slowly in a straight line, so your highest priority is to learn to ride as slowly as possible. Riding fast is easy and you'll have no problems with that. At every opportunity, you should practice riding at walking speed for the first 2 to 3 months.

I hope that helps get you up to speed more quickly.

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Postby Hotdog » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:49 pm

Hi Dirk, I'll add my congratulations on the new bike too. Looking forward to seeing you riding it round Sydney soon.

Graeme's advice covers most of what I'd say to someone learning to ride a 'bent. Sounds to me like you're figuring it out pretty quickly anyway, you're quite right about the importance of relaxing your upper body.

Pushing against the seat is indeed preferable to pulling on the handlebars when climbing hills, but you shouldn't be pushing too hard. To climb effectively on a recumbent you should gear down and spin a high cadence, rather than muscling your way up by mashing away in a high gear. It should be like seated climbing on your MTB, rather than like standing climbing. It'll take a little while to get up to speed on the 'bent, especially uphill, as you'll find yourself using your muscles slightly differently. You'll see dramatic improvements over the first few weeks of regular riding, and if you're like me noticeable improvements in your 'recumbent legs' for several months. Don't worry though, it'll be fast and fun almost straight away :D

Starting off and slow riding are the hardest part to learn, and uphill starts are probably the hardest part of all. Best advice I can give for uphill starts is make sure you're in a good gear for the slope, stay relaxed with a light grip on the handlebars, and don't rush to get both feet up on the pedals. Clipless pedals are a huge help. At very low speeds I found sitting up off the seat so that body English can help more with balance is useful, especially when you're fairly new to recumbents. Once you've got more experience you'll probably find you rarely need to do it anymore, but it might help to begin with (it did for me).

I'm sure you'll pick it all up quickly, anyway, and the best way to do so it just to ride as much as you can (including lots of stopping and starting, awkward as that may be to begin with) :)

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Postby John Lewis » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:43 pm

Hi Dirk,

Congratulations. Always good to hear of another bent out there.

I was going to give some tips too but I think Kalgrim and Hotdog have pretty well said it all. Relaxation and not having a deathgrip on the bars go a long way towards eary riding. Also I find it a good idea to have the brakes applied while stationary and the front wheel turned a bit to the side opposite the foot on the ground.

Go out, practice and most important of all. Have Fun

John L

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