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Hello and Thank God for padded bike shorts!!(32 posts)

Hello and Thank God for padded bike shorts!!Delia
Apr 25, 2001 10:49 AM
Hi guys,

Well let me begin by saying that I am extremely new to road biking. Actually, yesterday was my first day. My biggest problem is my clip-less pedals. I mean I'm sure you guys can imagine a novice 23 year old falling down at every intersection yelling to her friend "Uh I can't get my feet out .... splat".

So needless to say, every part of my body is aching and my ego is a little bruised as well. I've been trying to read anything I can get my hands on magazine and internet-wise on the subject of road biking but I thought I'd ask you guys for ANY suggestions for a beginner.
Keep it upLazy
Apr 25, 2001 11:08 AM
Well, the best news is that it gets better. I remember a few years back when I picked up a bike again after several years of goofing off my aching butt was the worst part. So that part will improve with time, and rather quickly too if I remember correctly.

As for falling over at stop lights, that's a rite of passage. Most of us have done it, though you might be the first to do it every time :-). Depending on what kind of pedals you have, set the release mechanism tension to a very low setting until you get used to doing it without falling over.

And, you may have read a thread regarding Kristen who also just picked up her first road bike and suffered some knee discomfort right away. So, in order to avoid that, don't push big gears (stay out of the big ring),and spin at a pace of 90-100, This may feel really fast at first, but keep with it. You'll get used to it and you'll benefit from it in the long run. Don't try to keep up with any cyclists who have been riding for years either. Go at your own pace. You'll get faster.

The two most important things though, above all:

1) Keep with it and have fun.
2) Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem a little silly.

Welcome to the sport!!
Welcome!Greg Taylor
Apr 25, 2001 11:11 AM
Hey, welcome to the club! Addictive, ain't it?

Best advice -- keep riding. Just go out and do it. Drop that keyboard now! Go ride to the store...your friend's house...the bowling alley (ok, maybe not the bowling alley)...anywhere! Magazines and Internet are great for stoking the ol' enthusiasm and answering the occasional technical question, but nothing replaces the joy of just going for a ride. THAT's what it is all about.
re: Hello and Thank God for padded bike shorts!!Barney Gumble
Apr 25, 2001 11:36 AM
Drink Duff beer before riding. BURRRRRRPP
Not to worryBrian C
Apr 25, 2001 11:44 AM
One day this summer, you'll lash your steed to the wrought iron fencing at your favourite patio bar, make that distinctive clicking sound as you walk across the paving stones, grab a table and quench your thirst with an iced tea.
Then, it's time to saddle up and head off into the sunset.
Happy trails, pardner.
(Okay, maybe it's a Fosters, but you get the picture.)
Apr 25, 2001 11:44 AM
When I learned to use clipless, I could have used padding on the sides of my shorts. But you will learn it quickly and it is well worth using clipless.

Make sure your bike is set up correctly for you (e.g. seat height, handlebar height, stem length, etc.) and build up your milage in a reasonable way. Consider a mirror on your helmet, glasses, or bike to watch for traffic. Otherwise practice looking behind you without changing direction too much.

Ask questions. We LOVE to answer questions, and we even answer them when we don't actually know the correct answer. What more could you ask?
Stupid question coming right at yaDelia
Apr 25, 2001 12:36 PM
Stupid question:

Bear with me cuz I don't know all the technical terms but

I have an older Raleigh and I don't know whether I'm supposed to be able to ride with my hands on the horizontal part of the handle bars as opposed to in the curve. If so, could it be that my brake levers are not riding high enough because if I can't access them any other way?
Apr 25, 2001 12:55 PM
Its best to ride with your hands in a variety of places on the handlebars to keep your hands from tiring. Many people ride frequently with their hands on the top horizontal part, but not when they expect to be braking. The top part of the brake assembly that extends forward from the handlebars to the brake handle is called the tops and most of us are able to operate the brakes from riding in the tops. I say most of us because I know that those with smaller hands sometimes cannot reach the brake levers and apply them with enough force from the tops. I believe that some brake levels are adjustable for reach to address this problem, but yours probably are not. The point being that you can pretty quickly reach the brake levers from the top if your hands are on the horizontal part.

If you can't reach the brake levers from the top, your bike does not fit you. The frame may be too big or the stem (the part to which the handlebars are attached) may be too long.

Riding with your hands in the curved part is called riding in the drops. It is much easier to apply force to the brake levers while in the drops. The drops give you an aerodynamic position for speed. Most people do not ride in the drops too much of the time because the position is pretty tiring after a while.
Stupid answer coming right back at yaJofa
Apr 25, 2001 12:57 PM
Welcome delia. The highly technical terms for these bits of handle bar are the 'tops' and the 'drops', respectively. Most people spend most of their time riding in the third way... on the 'hoods'.This is where your hands are wrapped around the top of the brake levers, on the rubber bit, so your fingers can still operate the brakes. You can move between the three as you like; the tops, as you say, have no access to the brakes (this is normal), and tend to be kept for steady climbing, and the drops put you in a more aero position for when you're going fast, on the flat or downhill (or if you're a professional, uphill).

Of course, as DCP said, it's entirely plausible that I'm completely wrong :)

Thanks for asking that stupid question, DeliaBrian C.
Apr 25, 2001 1:22 PM
I just learned something.
(Been wondering what they meant by drops and tops.)
Tops, Hoods what's the differenceDCP
Apr 25, 2001 2:02 PM
I goofed. I said "tops" in my response, and I meant to say "hoods." Hopefully I ride better than I think.
Is there a lexicon of terms somewhere? (nm)Brian C
Apr 25, 2001 3:20 PM
Stupid question coming right at yaDelia
Apr 25, 2001 12:56 PM
Stupid question:

Bear with me cuz I don't know all the technical terms but

I have an older Raleigh and I don't know whether I'm supposed to be able to ride with my hands on the horizontal part of the handle bars as opposed to in the curve. If so, could it be that my brake levers are not riding high enough because if I can't access them any other way?
From one newbie rodie to another - WelcomeKristin
Apr 25, 2001 11:51 AM
This boards a trip aye? I've been clipless since Saturday. Being locked to my bike introduced me to a whole new level of anxiety! The first thing I did was adjust my pedals to the lowest tension setting--which is still plenty tight enough.

Another thing I do--if I'm only going one block to the next stop--is to keep my left foot clipped out. Then, with my right leg in the 3:00 position (knee up), I can plant my left leg on the ground to stop.

Besides all the falling, this is fun isn't it? :)
From one newbie rodie to another - WelcomeDelia
Apr 25, 2001 12:20 PM
It is fun. I rode about 2 hours and by the end of it, I was doing okay. The thing is, I think that my pedals can't really be adjusted. I got them cheap and at first I thought it was a steal but now I get the feeling there was reason that they cost as much as they did. I took a few stationary spinning classes at COD so, the sprinting and the hills are not bad. Traffic is a '*****' though. How do you guys deal with traffic? I'm thinking of biking during the mornings at first (I mean crack of dawn no traffic mornings)...just till I build enough confidence to battle the suburban 'drivers'.
COD as in College of Dupage??Kristin
Apr 25, 2001 1:07 PM
If so, thats right in my neck of the woods! Send me an email, we could hook up and ride sometime!

COD as in College of Dupage??Delia
Apr 25, 2001 1:16 PM
Just sent you an email.
Apr 25, 2001 5:39 PM
Cycling in the early morning is my favorite time to ride. Roll out of bed, grab an energy bar or something light, and go out into the fresh morning air. It's always quieter, seems like there's less wind, and very little traffic. Keep with it; you'll get the hang of it! As for traffic, it's all about being alert,expecting the motorist NOT to see you, expect them to do the unexpected, and attitude. Be assertive (not offensive!), look like you are in control, signal when you turn, stop at lights and stop signs (when there is traffic around), and be confident. Most of all, have fun!
alternate dismountsimstress
Apr 25, 2001 7:52 PM
I prefer another dismount. Try this: Unclip left foot. When you stop rolling completely, place right foot at 6:00 (at bottom), slide forward off the saddle, and step on the ground with your left foot.

I like that better because I can dismount in a close crowd without taking up any more space (no need to lean to one side). Also, when I am ready to get going again, I find I can get a stronger initial push while standing than sitting on the saddle.
alternate dismountdustin73
Apr 25, 2001 8:51 PM
another thing i do that seems to help from flopping over is i turn my front tire to the right (with the left foot unclipped). that way, if your bike starts to roll a little and you kinda lose balance, it'll roll towards where your weight is, and not away. i think that's why i can stay balanced. it works for me.
DOH! Thanks for the correctionKristin
Apr 26, 2001 7:36 AM
Though you didn't frame it that way. Simstress is correct. I realized on my ride this morning that I got it backwards. I unclip left and then put my right leg down (at about 7 o'clock) before dismounting onto my left foot. I tried it the way I suggested just for kicks--not pretty.

Sorry for the misinformation!
Clipless PedalsMeDotOrg
Apr 25, 2001 12:14 PM
As someone with a rebuilt knee, I have a lot less lateral leg strength than I used to. My first pedals were Shimano SPDs, and I had a lot of trouble with them. (And yes, I did fall).

I got Speedplay Frogs. They're mountain bike pedals, but they work great and they are much easier to clip/unclip.

After a while, unclipping becomes automatic. Stay with it.

Even if you are training, allow yourself some time on the bike where you are doing nothing but ENJOYING the ride. This is supposed to be fun, dammit!
Anybody who says he never fell over at a light is lying...Retro
Apr 25, 2001 1:53 PM
And if he hasn't, I've done it enough that he can have one of mine.
uh, no thanks, trying to quit.bill
Apr 25, 2001 2:29 PM
I've got enough slo-mo, oh-no-I-can't-believe-it's-really-happening-again-I-hope-no-one-is-looking-but-how-can-they-not-be-they're-right-there-it's-almost-worse-when-they-don't-say-anything to last me for quite awhile.
re: Hello and Thank God for padded bike shorts!!manuel rodriguez
Apr 25, 2001 4:40 PM
If you want to learn more about riding and training and how to set your position on the bike you can pick up one of many cycling books in a bookstore. One of them is Greg Lemond's complete book of bicycling. It has all kinds of things in it. It shows you how to position yourself on the bike, how to pedal, how to train, how to ride in traffic, what equipment to buy, etc. It is very complete and very interesting and easy to read. Good Luck with your new hobby, It will bring you plenty of pleasant experiences and memories you will never forget. I've been doing it since i was very young and love it more every day.
I have never fallen over...Erik W
Apr 25, 2001 5:15 PM
...except those few times when plenty of witnesses were around to see. Happens to most of us, but if you simply can't get your foot out of the pedals, no matter how hard you yank, I'd adjust them or get new ones.
Apr 26, 2001 5:55 AM
Even though manufacturers usually claim you can get out with any kind of movement, most pedal/cleat combinations really have a "move" they like best. For example, my Campy Pro-Fits like me to lift up and twist inward, while my SPDs prefer an outward twist and don't require as much "unweighting."
Most falls that result from a failure to unclip happen because the rider waits too long, then panics and forgets the release technique. Plan your stop, and start thinking about what you need to do to unclip before you're stationary.
You could also practice your trackstands, but you've still got to get off the bike sometime!
what's a trackstand?Delia
Apr 26, 2001 6:30 AM
What's a trackstand? Also, when you clip in and out do you do it at 6 o'clock when your pedal is in the down-most position?
what's a trackstand?Hap
Apr 26, 2001 6:45 AM
A trackstand is a maneuver developed on the track, where putting down a foot is illegal, to come to a complete stop on the bike without putting your foot down. Only the gods amoung us can do this, but they are able to "stand" for very long periods of time.

When not pedaling, I keep my feet in the 3 o'clock/9 o'clock position. I clip out from here, typically my right foot which is the back foot. The key is to anticipate the stop and clip out before stopping. Sudden unexpected stops will cause you to fall over. Anyone who says they have never fallen is either lying or very lucky.

A trackstand is...boy nigel
Apr 26, 2001 6:53 AM
when you ride slowly to a complete stop and balance on your bike without using the brakes and without putting your foot down or unclipping.

It takes a little while (and lots of will) to do. It's only dangerous if you don't like tipping over at zero mph. Most roads/streets are slightly banked for drainage, meaning that they're a bit higher in the middle and lower on the sides. One way: roll up slowly to a stop on the right side of the street (street climbing up slightly to the center/left). You should be on the "hoods" (brake hoods, the rubber part). You can brake to come to a complete stop. While stopping, turn your wheel about 45 degrees towards the center of the road (left). With your left foot forwards at about 10 o'clock (looking at the bike from the left), apply slight pressure on the pedal. It's a delicate balancing trick that bike messengers use a lot in the city. It does take some practice (and I wouldn't advise trying it if you just got a new bike), and lots of patience. You roll slightly (!) back and forth while shifting your body weight and making incremental adjustments to your handlebars.

Tough to picture, maybe, but that's what a trackstand is. I've been riding for years, and finally made myself learn last fall. It's a GREAT feeling, kind of the ultimate roadie trick.

Welcome aboard, Delia, and KEEP RIDING. Enjoy the ride, and don't get discouraged; it's worth the wait. You'll find yourself automatically comfortable with clipless soon, too, and wonder how you ever could've fallen over.

Naw--not the ultimate trickKristin
Apr 26, 2001 7:44 AM
It's cool, but I have to say, there's another trick I like even better. I know this guy (Brian - just incase he's reading) who rides off the left side of his bike and then mounts while moving. It blows my mind when I see that. Does this manuever have a name?
Naw--not the ultimate trickB. Love
Apr 26, 2001 11:19 AM
I've heard it called a cowboy mount. I use to do it all the time, but then read in an unreliable source that it's bad for the wheels. Don't know if that's true, but figure better safe than sorry. Which reminds me, be careful dismounting this way with clipless pedals. Ouch!!!!!!!