My new Toscana 2026, newbie's first 'bent experience

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My new Toscana 2026, newbie's first 'bent experience

Postby Cyclaholic » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:05 pm

I picked her up this morning from the truck depot, went home and put her together in about an hour.

Fortunately I live on a quiet street with a gentle grade so I rolled her up the hill, settled in and hung on for my first run..... I think I went all of about 6 inches before keeling over onto the nice soft grass on the median strip. :lol: Got back on and did it again, this time I got maybe 2 feet but just steadied myself with my feet and sort of walked myself along.

About half an hour of coasting down the road and pushing her back up eventually led to enough stability to do the whole 100 meter run with my feet on the pedals, yay!... and for my next trick? figure out how to actually steer this thing. :D

So I took her up to the local park a block away. This is a small suburban park with a swing set surrounded by a bit of grass, nothing special about it except for the somewhat circular concrete path that's about 200 meters long running around the perimeter, nearly flat all the way around, perfect for kids (or kids at heart v! :oops: ) to learn how to ride a bike. :P Over the next couple of hours I did countless laps.

Starts were wobbly and tense at first, then I'd make a conscious effort to relax into the seat and feel the bike, loosen up the death grip on the bars, and build just enough confidence to get cocky and go for a tumble into the grass which drew applause and cheers from the local kids that had now converted the jungle-jim into an impromptu grandstand..... a pattern that seemed to repeat itself often at first, until after a couple of hours something interesting happened. I stopped thinking about it and just rode laps, somewhat wobbly at times, but under control none the less! I kept alternating directions - clockwise and anticlockwise. Once the 'unscheduled dismounts' evaporated, so did the local kids, with parting comments along the lines of "cool bike, mister" 8) I allowed myself to gradually build up speed, even shifted into the middle ring! :shock: :lol:

The hours passed quickly and daylight started fading so I rode home, yes I actually rode an entire block on the road under control (more or less :oops: ). You know when you were a kid and you rode your BMX around the neighborhood with the neighbor's kids and then as evening fell your mum called you in but you didn't want to go in? well, mum mum's not here to call me in :lol: so I went around the corner to the quiet but wide dead end street and practiced turning, figure eights, slaloms around imaginary orange cones (and I didn't knock over a single one :wink: )

Tomorrow I might ride 5 kays up the local bike path to my mate's place for a bit of show-and-tell. Fair dinkum, I feel like I'm 10 years old again. Life is bloody grouse! 8)
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by BNA » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:33 pm

BNA
 

Congrats!!!

Postby Low Racer » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:33 pm

Hi Cyclaholic,
Congrats on your successful 1st ride on bent. When I got my low racer, it took me many hours before I am able to peddle with both feet. By then I have bloodied elbows and ankles. So well done without getting yourself hurt.

Stop start is still a bit tricky for me. I have to plan well ahead and knock the chain to middle chainring and high gear. If not it would be embarrassing trying to start from low gear and big chainring.

When you have enough posts us all would be eager to have a look at some pics of your new bent.

Now keep cycling and be safe on the road.

Chong
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:20 am

Nice work. Keep it up!

On my first trips on the bent, I used my mountain bike arm and leg armour as insurance (luckily, I didn't use them ....). I'm also lucky enough to have a nice gentle hill outside my home that I could coast down with both legs spread wide.

I quickly progressed to a ride to the local park, where I spent 30 minutes doing figure 8s at low speed.

Once you naturally lose the death grip, things will get better very quickly. You'll be fine.

Cheers,
Graeme

(PS - send me the link to your photos and I'll post them for you.)
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Postby Jeremy » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:15 am

Sounds like fun mate, well done! :D
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Postby John Lewis » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:33 pm

Great to see another convert Cyclaholic.

I was lucky progressing from LWB to the SWB and it wasn't too bad. Definitely relaxing the death grip and relaxing into the seat makes a big difference.

Then you have to learn the starting and stopping tricks and in my case anyway how not to get the heel in the front wheel.

Be sure to keep us posted on your progress.

Good luck,
John Lewis
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Postby Uba Tracker » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:45 am

Hi Cyclaholic, welcome to the fold. As John mentioned it's great to see new converts to the 'Bent side of the force. I'll just mirror what everyone else has already said, practice, practice, practice and never forget why you do it, 'cos it's fun.

cheers

Harry
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Postby Cyclaholic » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:49 pm

I've nearly completed a week of commuting on the new 'bent which represents about 250km and 2 flat tyres so far.

What a huge difference a week makes! I can ride a somewhat straight line now, and even stick a hand out to indicate a turn.... that probably sounds funny to you experienced guys but a week ago taking one hand off the bars would have induced an unscheduled dismount. All that's holding me back now is the legs. Even though I'm actually riding less distance per day at the moment, I sit here in pain.

The craziest thing so far has been the reactions from people. I've had tourists take photos of me, school kids cheering from buses, people not overtaking but pacing me with their heads cranked around for a look (which is really unnerving, actually), in fact it's rare for people not to gawk.

Kalgrm, I'll send you some links to photos soon, probably this weekend.
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:48 pm

Cyclaholic wrote:.... I can ride a somewhat straight line now, and even stick a hand out to indicate a turn....

The craziest thing so far has been the reactions from people. I've had tourists take photos of me, school kids cheering from buses, people not overtaking but pacing me with their heads cranked around for a look (which is really unnerving, actually), in fact it's rare for people not to gawk.

:)
Remember before you bought the bike? Some people would have said "They're not safe because they are hard to see." How do you feel about that now? Have you been worried about drivers cutting you off? Turning across your path? Overtaking unsafely? Failing to give way?

You're experiencing the "Wow - look at that thing!" factor. I always feel safe on my 'bent (unjustified perhaps) because I'm no longer invisible. Just be really careful when you get back on a "normal" bike. It's easy to forget how invisible a common bike is to drivers and you may get sucked into hitting a car.

Oh, and riding one handed comes later. It took me about a month before I was totally comfortable riding with only one hand on the bars.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Uba Tracker » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:57 pm

Cyclaholic wrote:The craziest thing so far has been the reactions from people. I've had tourists take photos of me, school kids cheering from buses, people not overtaking but pacing me with their heads cranked around for a look (which is really unnerving, actually), in fact it's rare for people not to gawk.


I sympathise, I recall when I first began riding I was so conscious of the scrutiny, I mistakenly thought onlookers were having a chuckle at me and my choices. I found out later that most onlookers are fascinated with 'Bents and really wished you'd stop and let them have a decent squiz. One morning a lady walker ventured the comment jokingly, " Sitting down on the job are we?". Which went a long way towards dispelling the the feeling of being the only fish in the bowl. The reality is people will think what they think and there aint diddly you can do about it, you're doing this for you, live it up.

cheers

Harry
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