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A few newbie questions(8 posts)

A few newbie questionsRandyMH
Jul 4, 2001 11:02 PM
As most of you know by now I am new to the sport of cycling. At this point I am so impressed with those of you that can ride 50 plus miles at any given time. How long does it take to reach this type of proficiency? At 5 miles I'm getting fatigued. I just have a few questions I would like for you more experienced riders to answer.

1. When riding long distances (50+ miles) what is your average cadence?
Today was my first time out just riding with no destination and I tried to maintain about 50. Good or bad

2. Should there be any bend in your arms when down on the horns?
I don't really feel stretched out but I'm getting soreness in my triceps and traps while riding.

3. Is it ok to raise the stem a little?

4. How bad is cable stretch on a new bike?
For the last two days I have had problems with my front derailer not going to one cog or another. I read a few books and adjusted the little screws along with pulling the cable and all was fine when I left for my ride. The rode around me is pretty flat so I stayed in low gears, but by the time I got back 7.5 miles later it wouldn't go down onto the small ring.

5. Is Zinn And The Art Bike Maintenance the best book out?

6. In your opinion, being new should I ride everyday? Or give my muscles time to rest.

7. I'm not really getting a sore rear end but I'm getting irritated, any suggestions?

That's it for now, I'm sure I will have more questions soon.

Advanced thanks to any of you that take the time to answer any questions.
re: A few newbie questionsmackgoo
Jul 4, 2001 11:30 PM
1. I Don't worry about cadence. No way to measure it. I will be going complete Record this winter with the brain then I will monitor it, but I won't be ruled by it.

2. With a correct fit you shouldn't be supporting your weight on your arms, although it's possible you are getting tired and just laying on your arms. See how you feel after your endurance increases.

3. What ever makes you feel good.

4. It sounds like you need to fine tune the front. Go to park tools web site they have an excellent maint. section.

5. Never heard of it but sounds interesting.

6. Ride

7. Don't quite understand what you mean about irritated. Diaper rash? For the first time this year for some reason I seemed to get it, couple of squirts of baby powder did the trick.
If you mean more like saddle sore, ride your rear will adjust.
re: A few newbie questionsGregJ
Jul 5, 2001 12:34 AM
Pedal faster, 50 is way to slow, shoot for 80 or 90. Zinn is a good book. You should have some cycling shorts if you don't already. It is OK to raise the stem if you have the quill type(inserts into the steering tube) if you have the threadless type(clamps onto the outside of the steering tube)you will need to get a stem with some rise to it to get the bars higher. Your arms should be slightly bent with your elbows in line(not sticking out to your side) if you want to get lower in the bars you can bend them till your forearms are parallel to the ground when you are on the brake levers, when in the drops you should be able to get some bend in the elbows. I would pick up a general book on cycling, I think Davis Phinny wrote a good one and so did Greg Lemond, amongst others.
re: A few newbie questionsDougal
Jul 5, 2001 2:24 AM
"I Don't worry about cadence. No way to measure it."

No offence to the poster, but ignore this comment. Cadence is one thing that you HAVE to raise. And with regards to messuring it: count how many times ONE of your legs rotates for ten seconds. Then multiply this by 6. Ta Dah! That's your cadence or revs per minute. 50rpm is awfully slow and must be very tiring.

You won't find a quick, fit cyclist riding les than 80rpm and most of them go from 90rpm upwards. If you're getting tired after five miles, you really shouldn't be in your big ring all the time. You'll be pushing a fairly big gear, at a relativly low cadence. Instead of working your lungs and your heart you're only working your legs. That could well be why you're getting tired. What you want to do is spin faster and take some of the strain off your legs and on to your heart and lungs.

With regards to the ride vs rest: At this point just ride when you feel like riding. The best way to get fit is simply to put miles in your legs, but don't do it at the expense of enjoyment.

Good luck.
My .02.......Len J
Jul 5, 2001 5:23 AM
1.) I think Cadence is one of the more importzant things in cycling. There is an old addage "Work on form first speed second" Good Cadance is part of good form. Work on getting your Cadence up. I would try to ride each ride at a somewhat faster cadence. Drop down a gear or two if that helps. Try to work your way up to 90 to 100 . I ride consistantly at 100 to 110. You will be amazed, once you get there as to how much speed fast cadence can get you. Have patience (SP) you are developing fast twitch muscles.

2.) Your arms s/b relaxed and there should be a bend when you are in the drops. It will take your body some time to acclimate to this position. Some initial soreness is OK. if it persists check your bike fit.

3.)Yes. but do it in small increments.

4.)Cable stretch does happen. sounds like you need someone with more experience to do the adjustment. You might have over adjusted the low limit adjustment screw . Either keep playing or take it to your LBS.

5.)It is the best I have found. (BTW there is a great section on front der. Adjustment. ) Also try the parktools.com web site.

6.)It depends on how hard you are riding. At your stage of riding development, make sure you are enjoying it. Ride with a purpose. (i.e. today I am going to ride hard, today I am going to work on spinning a high cadence etc.) You can work on different things on different days. If you are enjoying it do it. Pay attention to your body. Part of the learning is learning what your body can handle.

7.)What is irritated? Small adjustments in the saddle make a big difference. Saddle fit is the most personal & therefore hard to generalize about. Are you wearing cycling shorts? Are you wearing them without underwear? (one of those things that never seems to be in the books).

Good luck.
Shorts with no underwearMabero
Jul 5, 2001 6:35 AM
I just finally was told about 2-3 months ago to ride with no underwear in cycling shorts...but what is the purpose? It feels better on my "buttocks"...
Purpose....Len J
Jul 5, 2001 7:25 AM
is so that seams in Underwher do not create sore spots. Also no bunching up.
ok, i'll biteHaiku d'état
Jul 5, 2001 7:36 AM
summer before last i would ride a 10-ish mile route in 85 degree weather and have to stop halfway, shaking and on the edge of a technicolor yawn. last summer 'twas the same with 20 milers. this summer my regular training ride is a hilly 18-miler at 17-19 mph, no problems, only limited by free time. my long ride so far for 2001 has been 102 miles, which was unthinkable last year. build up, if slowly, and track your progress. it's a great motivator!

1) my cadence, provided i'm not anaerobic, is whatever's comfortable. i've read here (and elsewhere) that your average cadence should be just high enough to feel that you're barely spinning too fast. i have cyclocomputers on my bikes, none with cadence functionality. i also do not use a heart rate monitor. checking speed, comparing it to my average, checking cadence, heart rate...when would i have time to enjoy my ride? guess it's all about objectives. sorry i can't provide any numbers!

2) soreness comes with overuse (relative to disuse), as well as "death grip". wrists, elbows, shoulders should be relaxed. elbows flexed. posted here (or perhaps on the SS board) a few days back (paraprhasing): bent elbows are to road bike riding as suspension forks are to MTB!

3) raise the stem 'til you're comfortable, provided it can be raised. when you're more used to laying over a road bike, and if you're stretching post-ride like you should be, you'll probably lower it back later!

4) adjusting derailleurs is no fun! i'm still learning...took 1000+ miles for the cables to stretch on my new bianchi, but i suspect GVH does some pre-stretch stuff during assembly. give it another shot!

5) zinn's book is good. i also have the (gasp) bicycling magazine maintenance issue from last year (think it was 2000), which has helped me with derailleurs. i wonder if their bike maintenance book is similarly written...?

6) rest when you're tired. if you're training, buy a book and follow the directions. i took a day off, back on the bike yesterday, but suffered and suffered and labored those cranks around. goal was 70 miles, i rode 30. if it's not fun, don't do it. suffering can be fun, often it just plain sucks!

7) do an archive search here for "saddle sore". wear clean shorts, get out of 'em right away after rides, shower, keep your hind quarters clean and dry. for new irritations, apply rubbing alcohol and follow with polysporin. for aged ones, apply witch hazel and follow with with either aloe lotion or bag balm. ride with either a lubricant or a powder in your shorts, whatever works for your "south 40".