Newbie needing some advice

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Newbie needing some advice

Postby Smurfet47 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:21 pm

Hey guys,

I'm thinking about ditching my car and riding to work to keep fit but I am coming across some obstacles and was hoping for some advice. Firstly my poor neglected mountain bike is a bit rusty and I'm not sure whether to try and revive it or not before forking out what appears to be $1000+ for a road bike and then gear as well (It looks like my bike is a Norco pinnacle i think, not sure if that means anything).

The main thing that I'm concerned about is riding in traffic. I haven't really ridden a bike since high school and have never ridden in traffic before and I have been looking at my route to work from the Sutherland Shire to Botany and there are quite a few lane changes I'll need to make (general holmes drive area is my main concern both north and south bound) which in theory shouldn't be that much of a problem in the morning as it will be quite early (I work from 7-3, plus random overtime) but I could be wrong, the afternoons I will be in pretty much peak hour traffic which scares me a little. Is it a silly idea to try and ride to and from work through this traffic or is it less scary than I think. Also does anyone have advice for ridding in traffic or can you direct me to somewhere that I can get some more information.

I'm sure there are many other things that I havent considered yet so any and all information will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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by BNA » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:56 pm

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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Apple » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:56 pm

Don't do it.
If you are not a confident rider I think you are taking a risk. Start riding on weekends and early mornings, get to know the roads.
Find out if there are bike lanes nearby. That part of Sydney is dangerous in peak hour, especially for a novice who has never owned a road bike.

I can't believe you asked that. :roll:
Please tell me you are taking the piiss out of us.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby wombatK » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:13 pm

Smurfet47 wrote:Hey guys,

The main thing that I'm concerned about is riding in traffic. I haven't really ridden a bike since high school and have never ridden in traffic before and I have been looking at my route to work from the Sutherland Shire to Botany and there are quite a few lane changes I'll need to make (general holmes drive area is my main concern both north and south bound) which in theory shouldn't be that much of a problem in the morning as it will be quite early (I work from 7-3, plus random overtime) but I could be wrong, the afternoons I will be in pretty much peak hour traffic which scares me a little. Is it a silly idea to try and ride to and from work through this traffic or is it less scary than I think. Also does anyone have advice for ridding in traffic or can you direct me to somewhere that I can get some more information.

I wouldn't go as far as Apple suggests - do it, but moderate the risks you take by taking an incremental approach to it.

General Holmes Drive is the bit that would worry me - particularly the lane changes if you have to get across 3 lanes to Foreshore Rd in the morning, and across the M5 two exit lanes in the afternoon.

As a rule, congested peak hour traffic that is crawling is not so hard to cycle in. For example, riding down the M5 at the times you suggest is a snap - you'll be riding faster than the traffic. But I'm not so sure about the General Holmes Drive area around the airport - I'd expect it would be moving reasonably freely at the times you are looking at, as most of the M5 congestion is back-up from the tunnel. There is no shoulder in the tunnel under the runways, and you'll have traffic squeezing into your adjacent lanes that will make your lane changes quite difficult.

I'd add a few more km's and take the bicycle paths around the northern side of the airport (Marsh St, then Qantas Drive, Coward St up to Botany Rd, then south to where you need to go. From Taren Point Bridge to Cooks River, you can ride on off-road cycleways for most of the distance (may one or two local streets before Dolls Point). South of Taren Point, there are great cycleways around to Kurnell. Maybe if you can be more specific about your starting suburb and destination streets, others could help with clearer advice.

There are cyclists from the Eastern and inner suburbs here who ride on General Holmes Drive and Southern Cross Drive regularly for training etc, so hopefully they'll chime in with something if I've overstated the risks.

Also, have a look at http://www.bikely.com for routes, and the opencyclemap.org - the latter shows the marked cycleways which are worth using.

With riding in traffic, the best advice is to check out the Theory of Big (google it). I'm assuming you have a drivers license - if so, try to behave like a car and be visible. As others here will vouch, take the lane (il padrone has previously put up some links to some excellent video's on this, maybe he'll repost them for you or you can search this site for them). If you don't have a driver's license, go learn the road rules first so you know how to behave.

I'd do it, but just look for the safest ways of doing it - avoiding conflict with motorists as much as you can, even if that involves adding 5 km or so to your ride.
WombatK

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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Apple » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:20 pm

wombatK wrote:I wouldn't go as far as Apple suggests - do it, but moderate the risks you take by taking an incremental approach to it.


:lol: :lol: :lol: , wombatk you are so politically correct, you are killing me.
Look make it easy for you Smurfet47 just catch a bus
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:35 pm

Apple wrote:
wombatK wrote:I wouldn't go as far as Apple suggests - do it, but moderate the risks you take by taking an incremental approach to it.


:lol: :lol: :lol: , wombatk you are so politically correct, you are killing me.
Look make it easy for you Smurfet47 just catch a bus

that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby x8pg2qr » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:37 pm

Sounds like you’re in Sydney area. Go for that City of Sydney confidence course.

http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Abou ... ourses.asp

And get one of the local council maps.

There was a thread on the Sydney bicycle discussion board a while ago. Should still be relevant (doesn’t mean it’s all correct).
http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topi ... or-newbies

Even if you don’t cycle to work, you can still cycle elsewhere.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Apple » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:54 pm

Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby trailgumby » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:03 pm

+1 for the incemental approach. It takes quite awhile to feel comfortable riding in traffic and it's not something you should push. You need to learn how to read traffic and pick your gaps when travelling at a lower speed, and that takes a little while when you add the other differences like balancing, hand signalling, different braking distances and so on into the equation. "Keeping your head on" when pushing aerobic boundaries is a skill that takes time to acquire too.

The biggest tip I can give you is to ride your bike and place it onthe road as you would your car - in the middle of the lane.

That protects you in two ways: 1) it forces traffic to treat you as a vehicle, and change lanes to get around you instead of trying to brush past 2) it's where drivers look, and they are therefore nore likely to register your presence. It's amazing how much difference that metre further out from the kerb makes to being seen.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Christine Tham » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:12 pm

Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten


ROFL!

Question: how large is a size 10 apple?
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:32 pm

Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten

Really? Thats not what I heard on facebook :wink:
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Apple » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:36 pm

Missy24 wrote:
Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten

Really? Thats not what I heard on facebook :wink:

I assure you that those diet drinks are amazing. I will get CT to take a photo on the next ride for you.
lots of training and feeling good.
Weight loss has set me back to puberty
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:41 pm

Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:
Apple wrote:No not yet, but I am a size ten

Really? Thats not what I heard on facebook :wink:

I assure you that those diet drinks are amazing. I will get CT to take a photo on the next ride for you.
lots of training and feeling good.
Weight loss has set me back to puberty

the things ppl do to avoid menopause.... love your work
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Apple » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:53 pm

Image
Menopausal and looking hot.
I would be happy to look like that at her age.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:01 pm

Apple wrote:Image
Menopausal and looking hot.
I would be happy to look like that at her age.

you are every bit as beautiful
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Jen » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:27 pm

+1 for the cycling confidence course. I helped organise a few similar courses at work and learnt useful tips.

Personally, I'd start the your current bike, just have it serviced, do the course and get a bit more comfortable riding around. By the time you've done all that you'll have more of an idea about whether or not your current bike will suit your needs, if not you can then decide what type of bike will suit you.

Don't start riding in heavy traffic until you have more experience, perhaps you can link up with a bike buddy to help you find a safe route. Good luck, once you get started on cycle commuting you won't want to use other options.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby The Womble » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:33 pm

Missy24 wrote:
Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten

Really? Thats not what I heard on facebook :wink:

Geesh Pat. Dont hold back now hey? :?
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby wombatK » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:34 pm

Apple wrote: I will get CT to take a photo on the next ride for you.

But CT's been ignoring your pleas to go for a ride. You'd better get the photo before we go for that chocolate ride - won't be a size 10 after that :D

Cheers
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:36 pm

The Womble wrote:
Missy24 wrote:
Apple wrote:No not yet, but I am a size ten

Really? Thats not what I heard on facebook :wink:

Geesh Pat. Dont hold back now hey? :?

You want me to tell them what I heard about you on facebook?
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby The Womble » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:43 pm

:mrgreen:


Good luck with it all Smurfette
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:47 pm

The Womble wrote::mrgreen:


Good luck with it all Smurfette

+1 smurfette -

May you have many tailwinds! And puncture free days!
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Drunkmonkey » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:15 pm

Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten


:lol:

US or Australian size 10? :lol:
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Missy24 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:30 pm

Drunkmonkey wrote:
Apple wrote:
Missy24 wrote:that time of the month Apple? Oh wait... your about the age for menopause right?

No not yet, but I am a size ten


:lol:

US or Australian size 10? :lol:

I think the uk is different what about the French?
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby trailgumby » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:31 pm

Missy24 wrote:
Apple wrote:Menopausal and looking hot.
I would be happy to look like that at her age.

you are every bit as beautiful

Awwwwww! :mrgreen:

re: photo of Ms Stone - Amazing what you can do these days with a scalpel, a few metres of fine fishing line, and some deadened nerves, eh? :wink: Oh, and mustn't forget the HRT.
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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:51 am

Get yourself some confidence on the bike before tackling heavy traffic Smurfet! :idea:

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Re: Newbie needing some advice

Postby Smurfet47 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:38 am

Thanks so much for all of your replies guys. I have seen some bike ways along brighton beach but wasnt sure of the best route but ill get onto some of the sites that people have suggested and try and get a better idea of a safer route even if it does add kms to my trip. WombatK, I start at caringbah, pretty much straight on to taren point road.

Jen, any ideas where I can find info on the courses? I think your right about my bike, I never actually thought to get it serviced so ill do that as soon as I can and get started.

Does anyone know of any good groups to start with on weekends to get some confidence up in my area? I know that cronulla triathlon club has certain days that they ride but from memory the rides are too late in the mornings for me to get to work and to start with would rather ride weekends or at quieter times.

Thanks again for your advice.
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