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your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?(75 posts)

your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?DougSloan
Oct 9, 2002 2:02 PM
I was thinking on a recent ride how many things I believed about cycling that have proven to be so wrong. Maybe we can learn from these if we share them.

1. That I have to have the lightest bike possible. Sure, a light bike is fun to build, and does feel a little better pulling away from a stop, but I can't for the life of me get that super-light bike to put me over the top of climbs well ahead of everyone else; plus, super-light comes at a great cost, be it time, money, or risk of failure; further, it's always a moving target -- every few months a lighter this or that comes out, making the light carbon or Ti gizmo you just bought "obsolete." Now, I build up decently light bikes, but other considerations are primary.

2. That more mileage is necessarily better. High mileage will certainly get you butt in shape to sit on a bike all day long, but won't necessarily make you faster. Quality workouts are far more important than mileage, at least in my experience.

3. The the higher the pressure of tires, the faster you go. Besides blowing some Supersonics right off the rims, I've found all sorts of reasons not to get excessive with the pressure -- bad cornering and braking, rough riding, more cuts, with handling so bad sometimes it was outright scary. 120 psi seems to work fine, even with tubies rated for 200.

4. That I had to use a double ring to be a strong rider. While this is very controversial, since trying a triple I have been able to float through long hilly double centuries with much greater ease. Of course, having another bike set up as a double helps.

5. Glueless patches. Forget it.

6. Mini(micro) pumps. Forget it.

7. Lightweight tires. You might get away with them, but durable, puncture resistant tires provide much greater peace of mind and far fewer unplanned stops, and the performance loss is minimal.

8. Light colored handlebar tape. It's a mess in a week.

9. wireless speedos. Got a drawer full of ones that won't work.

10. Conversely from item 2 above, that riding hard all the time is essential. I've wasted myself so badly it's taken a month to recover using this plan. Gotta have appropriate rest and slow days.

11. If a little (carbo/sugar) is good, more is better. I have had some horrendous stomach and bowel issues using this theory, either using too much or too great a concentration of carbo drinks, gels, or bars. There is a balance that is ideal, and you must find it.

12. The a super low time trial position is always best. This is fun and fast for a while, until your upper body screams for relief and you have to sit up.

13. That I had to take manly pulls to be respected by others. I can't count the number of time I've done strong, long pulls at the front of a racer paceline, only to be spat out on a hard surge or up the next hill. It's more respectable to use your brains.

14. That the Masters race group would be good for a newer 37 year old racer, vs. Cat 5. Only made that mistake once.

I'll probably think of lots more. Anyone else able to eat crow and admit to being wrong?

re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?No_sprint
Oct 9, 2002 2:19 PM
Good stuff Doug. Just a couple here, then I'm gone.

1. That I'd ever feel comfortable and really confident ripping down a straight with 70+ enemies at 35+, banging elbows and seeing a f$#king tight turn straight ahead. Really just lean and pray.

Don't know about all you other racers, but just some the myriad of noises in a nasty crit is really creepy.

2. That I could drink as much as I did this past season and see the podium.
You can't judge a book by it's cover.Von Zip
Oct 9, 2002 2:26 PM
I've gone out on several group rides and before getting to know the riders I was trying to determine who would be fast, who would be slow, or who would be steady. I've found that the body type or attitude does not always tell the story, but the riding does. I try now to just keep a very open mind when in this position and enjoy the ride.
very trueDougSloan
Oct 9, 2002 2:49 PM
I've seen this countless times. This summer, we did a 2,500 foot hill climb time trial. An old fart with gray beard and spindley little legs showed up. I thought to myself, how nice that the old guy comes out to ride with us.

The fastest time of the day went to a semi-pro cat 1 at around 37 minutes. I was dragging my butt in at 57 minutes. The old guy? Second, at 39 minutes, with about 15 riders between him and me. Damn he was fast.

How much distance on that climb? nmPdxMark
Oct 9, 2002 2:57 PM
How much distance on that climb?DougSloan
Oct 9, 2002 3:00 PM
About 6.5 miles; sections up to 15%; elevation to about 4800. I was very slow. was a minute faster the next week on the same hill, while on a 100 mile ride, just by using lower gears.

"gray beard and spindley little legs"?Qubeley
Oct 9, 2002 4:42 PM
You sure that wasn't a mountain goat? Old fart da man!!
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?paper warrior
Oct 9, 2002 2:36 PM
if you are an old man like me trying to avoid muscle cramps from wracking your body remember this- Rollaids is better than Tums because Tums is pure calcium and rollaids is calcium plus magnesium.
Thanks, paper warriorMe Dot Org
Oct 10, 2002 7:42 AM
Good what am I going to do with my bottle of tums?
Thanks, paper warriorpaper warrior
Oct 10, 2002 9:49 AM
You're welcome! I was afraid somebody was going to challenge me for medical evidence which I don't have any. But if tums works for you might as well ask the docta or PT rather than me I'm sure.
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?TREKY
Oct 9, 2002 2:36 PM
There is no place to ride.I grew up in the city and moved out to the suburbs when I got married.When I started riding again I rode bike trails or the neighborhood side streets.I always wanted to ride road but was intimidated by the traffic on the main roads out here.

A friend finally talked me into riding with him a few times.He's an experienced roadie and I learned alot from him on how to handle traffic and what roads to ride and not to ride.

Since then I've got my road bike and all the geeky clothes and shoes I swore I'de never wear.

I ride the roads that I wouldn't ride before and I find new ones every day.I wear the clothes I swore I'de never wear.

The last thing is something my friends and familly still can't understand but most of us do.I SHAVE MY FREAKIN'LEGS!!!
Nice post Dougfbg111
Oct 9, 2002 2:37 PM
Great info, especially for us noobs.

"5. Glueless patches. Forget it."

Darn, I just bought the Park Tool glueless patch kit yesterday, after blowing out my 4th tube in 2 months. Haven't used a patch kit yet, so what's so bad about these things?

"7. Lightweight tires. You might get away with them, but durable, puncture resistant tires provide much greater peace of mind and far fewer unplanned stops, and the performance loss is minimal."

Yup, I just ditched my stock tires for a pair of Ultra Gatorskins. Whatever time I lose due to the extra weight, I expect to make up by not having to deal with flats. And anyway, the Gators even have a nicer riding feel to them.

"9. wireless speedos. Got a drawer full of ones that won't work."

Hmmm, that's one thing I plan to add to my bike over Christmas. Hate wires strung all over my bike. What's wrong with wireless ones?

Von Zip:

"2. That I could drink as much as I did this past season and see the podium."

Nice post DougThe Human G-Nome
Oct 9, 2002 2:42 PM
. And anyway, the Gators even have a nicer riding feel to them. >>>

i love my gators, but i admit that the Vittorias had a nicer feel.
both probably better than my old Hutchinson Carbon Comps... nmfbg111
Oct 9, 2002 4:32 PM
more infoDougSloan
Oct 9, 2002 2:52 PM
5. just won't hold air. No explanation.

9. Just kept "not working", particularly when trying to mount them on aerobars. I hate wires, too, but value reliability.
9. wireless speedos...NJRoad
Oct 10, 2002 2:10 PM

Do it his way and you're wires will disappear.
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?The Human G-Nome
Oct 9, 2002 2:38 PM
5. Glueless patches. Forget it. >>>
i feel genuinely sorry for anyone who hasn't figured that out yet.

6. Mini(micro) pumps. Forget it. >>>
i thought that, but then the 3rd mini finally did the trick.

7. Lightweight tires.>>>
i will never again be caught without my Conti Gators

12. The a super low time trial position is always best.>>>
if you're uncomfortable and your breathing is more strained then normal, how can you be riding faster?

15. i'll add this one: that i'd have to be riding a DeRosa Merak with record to reach my cycling goals. seriously, how foolish can one be???? i've since learned that a DeRosa with chorus will do just fine in a pinch.
Which mini?stan_b
Oct 10, 2002 8:27 AM
did you find the best? I am on my third one also. The first one died very quickly. I don't know what choice there is though. I don't want to carry those air cartridges. The mini is really just an emergency device to get enough air into the tire till you get home.
Keep talking myself out of new things ...Humma Hah
Oct 9, 2002 3:03 PM
... often for the opposite reasons you do, and often my reasoning is self-contradictory.

All thru my cycling life, I've considered lighter, faster, geared bikes. But I've not gone that route because I've always convinced myself that

1) Weight DOES NOT make much difference (except, of course, when you're on a 45-lb bike, it DOES), and that I ride for exercise, not speed, so heavy is better (except, of course, that I can never resist the urge to try to catch other bikes, and when I can't, I tell myself its because of the bike)

2) Gears don't make power, so all I gotta learn to do is pedal faster in the flats and harder on the hills. The 'harder on the hills' part actually works OK up to about 8% grade, but the 'faster in the flats' does get kinda tiresome after a mile or two at 120 rpm.

Like you, I've not gotten that much faster by trying to ride more. However, I've found a great benefit from the effort: I got to ride more. (But never more than about 1/3 as much as you ride.)

Re the tire pressure thing: when running balloon tires with thorn-resistant tubes, a change from 45 to 60 psi DOES make a noticable difference, and does NOT blow 'em off the rims.

I run black rubber handlebar tape (if you've never seen this stuff, I bought it in the '70s and its still on there)

Speedos: you wanna see a drawer full of junk, check out my history of cable speedos and cog odometers.
I don't need to clean my chain... just add more oil nmPdxMark
Oct 9, 2002 3:08 PM
Question for you re triplevindicator
Oct 9, 2002 3:10 PM
What cassette range do you use with that triple?

I'm a noob, and here's my story so far. I listened to my buddies (the ones who got me into this whole thing) tell me how I didn't need a triple, they were for wimps, once I got in shape I'd never use the small ring anyway, etc. Well, a little research here and elsewhere convinced me that that was likely bullsh!t, so I went with the triple.


I figured that the small chainring would cover me on hills, so there was no need to wimp out on the cassette, too. So I went with a 12-23. I also loved the idea of the small gaps between gears (and still do).

Well, now that I'm riding it, I can get up the hills on my regular training rides in the 23, but I have to grind on the steeper ones to do it, and I'm huffing and puffing to make it happen. I'm shot when I get to the top, at least temporarily (and definitely anaerobic/past lactate threshold/all that stuff). No way I could do one of those grades for 20 minutes or longer like many of the climbs I read about here, and I'd also like to be able to do the third one without dead legs from the first two.

I know everyone's different, etc., but what do you think is a good rear setup for a guy with a standard Ultegra triple up front, if I want to someday be able to get through long hilly centuries, and also to tame some of the shorter steeper hills on my regular rides so I'm not so shot at the top? Of course, I still want some fast gears that aren't too far apart, and I know that can be contradictory.


Oct 9, 2002 3:22 PM
First, check and see what actual speeds you are riding up the steepest hills. Then, check out my chart posted here: Plug in the minimum cadence you want, choose some gears for example, and see what speed results in those gears. If you have to drop below about 60 rpms, then you probably need lower gears. This is fairly objective, if you know the speeds you really are riding and the cadence goal.

There are two considerations: Speed and training effect. If you want to get up a hill as fast as you can this one time, get the gears low enough to allow at least a 70-90 rpm cadence. If you want to train to get stronger and stronger, then higher gears will certainly help. Now, everyone always has higher gears available (barring single speeds), so with discipline, you can get the same effect choosing higher gears, e.g., don't use the granny, as putting on a double or a straight block cassette. So, if you want one setup that will always work, albeit with a lot of discipline, I'd use a triple and a 12-27 cassette. I've used a triple and a 12-25 for doubles with big (monster) hills, and never regretted it.

A triple may not offer lower gears than a double . . .Look381i
Oct 10, 2002 4:55 AM
In preparing for several weeks of big climbs this past summer, I debated changing my usual Campy 53/39, 12-25 set up for a triple, leaving the 12-25 on the back. As I recall, the triple would have required a new crankset and bb, new rear and front ders, a new chain and new brifter. The alternative was a 13-29 cassette and a new chain and rear der to handle it. Although cost was a minor issue, my main concern was whether my lowest gear would be adequate for the climbs. After consulting tables like yours, I concluded that the 39-29 combo was only a few inches higher than the lowest triple combo I would have. (In other words the 39/29 ratio of 1.34 is not that much greater than 32/25 or 1.28. ) I stayed with my double and threw on the 13-29. It worked fine 99% of the time, but there several moments on Mont Ventoux -- the 16% pitches -- when I would have traded one of my kids for a lower gear. I guess my point just reinforces yours: do the calculations before deciding. A triple will give you more gearing options, but without careful selection of cassette, it may not offer the low gears you expected. With a triple, you might as well go as wide as possible with the cassette range.
By the way, a couple of the guys I rode with had Shimano double cranksets with an XTR rear der and a 32 or 34 big cog cassette.
Of course it does. You didn't take advantage of it is all. nmMB1
Oct 10, 2002 5:19 AM
Any other new equipment needed?vindicator
Oct 10, 2002 7:02 AM
Thanks for the advice and the link.

I have an all-Ultegra setup (2002 model year) which was initially installed to go with the triple crank/12-23 setup. If I want to keep the triple, but move to a 12-27 cassette (and assuming I buy a new Ultegra 12-27), do I need any other new parts besides the cassette itself (chain, rear der., etc.)?

Thanks again,

Misconception: THE CARS CAN ALL SEE ME!!!!!onespeed
Oct 9, 2002 3:26 PM
Wireless and Triples and glueless patchesMGS
Oct 9, 2002 3:29 PM
I use wireless on my aerobar. Try the Specialized Speedzone Pro wireless computer. I've used it for two years. No wires and no problems.

I never got a triple with my new setup. I simply got the 13-29 rear cluster on the Campy cassette. That with the 39-53 front chainring allows me to have the near effective range of a triple, and still have the aesthetics and ease of a double.

Glueless patches are ok in an emergency. Until you get home, that put on a real patch, or toss the tube.
They do work for about 1 day.
I think I love youBill is in Denver
Oct 9, 2002 4:22 PM
I've been quite happy with my bike since buying it...the only concern has been that I do use the smallest front, largest rear fairly often on the hills around here and on occasion it's a real PAIN to reach the top. I keep telling myself that I'll get in better shape and not need that triple...especially with the cost of converting campy centaur to a triple.

I've been tossing the idea of changing the cassette or maybe front chainrings out since I seldom use the big dog up front anyway (I cruise at about 18 on flats with 90 cadence..I know, wuss..but I'm working on it). I was going to post a question on what size rear cluster would work..and poof here you post the answer.

Thanx. nmfbg111
Oct 9, 2002 4:30 PM
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?filtersweep
Oct 9, 2002 3:41 PM
Fall/"winter" riding

15. It is always colder on the bike than I thought it would be.


16. Getting hit by a car wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

In a group ride:

17. That helmet that stinks was MY OWN!
That everything in my seatbag is still in good shape.MB1
Oct 9, 2002 3:48 PM
Glue dries, tubes get abraded (never carry superlite tubes as spares), tools rust.

Check all this stuff at least once a month. Replace the tube and patchkit at least once a year.

True story, Miss M takes both tubes out of my seatbag to tie up the tomato I discovered 30 miles from home. Had to use her 26" tubes in my 700C tires to get home.
Size mattersgrzy
Oct 9, 2002 3:49 PM
Goes along with the "Mine's Bigger Syndrome" - and we all know where *that* leads.

Other lessons from school of wretched excess:

The idea that anything worth doing is worth over doing can really cost you.

It pays to be skeptical.

Pigs get slaughtered.

Most of these reflect what Doug and others have stated, but probably the biggest mistake I see in cycling (and life) is the simple idea of that one shouldn't forget to have fun - otherwise why are you doing it? I see way to many people who are so serious about damn near everything that you seriously wonder why they torment them selves so. I'm not advocating that everyone needs to be a village idiot on a bike, but learn how to laugh at your own crashes and mistakes in spite of the pain.
200K isn't much farther than 100 milesMelMo
Oct 9, 2002 4:04 PM
I did a 200K brevet as my first century. Longest previous ride was maybe 75 miles. Damn, those last 30 miles hurt.

The other part of this lesson was that when it comes to hills, quantity is sometimes more deadly than elevation. I did a Topo chart of the ride and thought, hey, those are dinky little hills, no sweat. But somehow it didn't dawn on me that a zillion 200 ft hills can be as bad as a couple of big ass ones.

Oh, one other misconception: dress more warmly because it's raining out. Hello, even the most "breathable" jacket is a sauna when you're working hard.

a few moreSmoothie
Oct 9, 2002 4:17 PM
great post Doug - good topic!

some additions:

1.) no matter how hard you train what you eat CAN affect your performance. Took me a long time to understand why I got so tired on rides when I should have been getting stronger. Changed my diet and the energy I had was amazing and got me over that performance rut I was stuck in.

2.) blindly riding with no set goals will burn you out. Give yourself some goals and set time for spinning active recovery rides each week - don't just go out and try to mash 100 miles everyday. Again learned the hard way.

3.) never get cocky - there is always somebody better out there. And chances are they will ride right up along side your brand new bike w/record 10 on a bright pink rusted steel frame with frayed cables :)

4.) Proably controversial but: all the cars aren't out to get you and kill you. Took me a long time to understand this and get over my fear. Yes I've been hit, yes drivers suck, but it's not a game of quake (video game) like I used to think.

5.) Chorus 10 is just as nice as record 10. Yes I drool over all that carbon but it's only 172 grams lighter and over $300-$400 more. I did cheat and get the record ergo levers though :)
I am (not) invincible.....DINOSAUR
Oct 9, 2002 4:21 PM
No matter how experienced you are, no matter how long you have been riding, I am not invincible, shit happens and sooner or later we all crash.

Lightweight bikes-I came back to steel, comfort makes it a priority for me. A 16 pound bike might be good for a kid riding in the pro peloton but not for an old geezer like me.

I am a mileage junky but I'm learning to alternate high-low mileage weeks.

High psi tires-I've also found that my bike rides a lot smoother and is more comfortable by lowering my psi by 5 pounds. High psi tends to eat up my tires faster and the ride is more jarring.

Glueless patches-I was thinking of trying them, now I won't.

Mini pumps-I pack c02 with a mini as a back up. I still don't completely trust the c02 yet, and the flat gods shy away if you carry both (knock on wood).

Black is my preference for bar tape.

Wireless computers- I have a basic Vetta RT88 and no problems. Basically you just have a cleaner looking bike but the wired kind work just as well and don't need a battery for the transmitter.

I use a double- the word is Campy triples don't work worth a hill of beans.

Diets- I'm a Zoner.

Old guys like high bars and a more forward riding position.

Pulls- I ride alone and have no one to pull for me (accept an imaginary Fausto Coppi on occasion).

Respect- Lot's of wolfs out there riding in sheeps clothing. Be humble and show respect to all.

You are never too old to learn. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.
warningBill is in Denver
Oct 9, 2002 4:28 PM
That light at the end of the's a train.

Thought you might need to know

Oct 9, 2002 10:03 PM
Oct 10, 2002 6:05 AM
That might explain why my screen saver is a photo of an old steam locomotive coming at me full blast with steam coming out of the smoke stack and yes, it's light is on (no kidding)...
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?desmo
Oct 9, 2002 4:51 PM
In total agreement with all you points Doug, but I don't care how dirty I'm never giving up white bar tape.
So true. Here's another.look271
Oct 9, 2002 5:19 PM
Newer is always better. While I love my kg271, the bike I have the most fun riding is my 20yr old Bianchi fixed. Go figure. (My wife just can't understand why I am going to do a century on it.....)
My Random Top 10 List...5ive
Oct 9, 2002 5:39 PM
1. That Sprinting is about turning BIG gears (vs. leg speed).

2. That the fastest rider will win the sprints.

3. I will never bonk.

4. Those fast guys can't be THAT much faster than me, can they?

5. Man, this new Italian frame is going to make me so much faster!

6. That UltraSuperGel Saddle gotta be sooo comfortable...

7. That guys sure talks alot, he must be a good rider...

8. There's no way I can hang on to this group.

9. Why would I EVER shave my legs?

10. This cycling thing will just be a hobbie.
buying anything for looks/image rather than form/function. nmsn69
Oct 9, 2002 5:52 PM
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?LC
Oct 9, 2002 6:13 PM
Guess I can tell this story now that a few years have passed and I can look back on it and laugh. Before I started racing, I started riding on training rides with some of the race teams. They would ride 14 to 16 mph max and I started thinking that these guys did not know how to ride and were in pretty bad shape. I had been riding "recreationally" for quite some time, so I figured I was just hot $hit riding off the front at like 18 mph for all my legs were worth. They said they were mainly Cat 3 and Cat 4, so I figured hmm, maybe I should just start racing in Cat 1 or 2. They tried to tell me that racing was much harder, but I did not listen since after all, I was one of the faster riders in my rec club. First race; of course I get dropped up the first small hill like I am riding a tricycle with clown shoes!
lol. Why were they only riding 14-16mph? nmfbg111
Oct 9, 2002 6:26 PM
Riding slow now makes you faster later.LC
Oct 9, 2002 8:43 PM
They feel that you either ride as fast as you can, or you go slow to recover. Either your building up, or your recovering and avoid the "junk miles". They ride that way Oct, Nov, and December to recover from the race season and then go back into the build phase for next season as part of a yearly periodization. Kind of fits in with what others said about not burning out by going out hard every time.
I see...fbg111
Oct 10, 2002 6:03 AM
That actually makes sense to me from both a physical and mental standpoint.
Agree with misconceptions 1,3,5,6,7,8,9,13,14 the mostTig
Oct 9, 2002 7:00 PM
Plus a few of my own:
It will be just a short ride so I won't need that gel flask/power bar/extra water bottle/more than 1 or 2 spare tubes... You know!
mtbs and index shifting are a joke nmgtx
Oct 9, 2002 7:50 PM
Great list Doug, I agree on all points, here's a few more...rwbadley
Oct 9, 2002 8:41 PM
1. It's more expensive, it must be better.

2. That driver must have seen me. He looked right at me. Ouch...

3. Parts that don't fit, were meant to. They just need more force to understand it.

4. If more force doesn't quite do it, try again till something gives.

5. Bike shops will always take back parts that didn't fit, even if they're kinda messed up.

6. If you have more than one bike, and not all of them have full spare kit (tube, tools, pump) you can get away with just switching spare kit from bike to bike...

7. Why is my spare kit always on the other bike?

8. My bike is (newer, cleaner, lighter) than that guy's, I must be faster.

9. I beat that guy last year, I still can.

10. I need this new part to be a better rider.

My biggest stupid mistake has got to beKen of Fresno
Oct 9, 2002 9:07 PM
thinking that I could take that corner at full speed without remembering to check the tire pressure before the ride. You guessed it. Splat. That one hurt. I just thought I was feeling a little sluggish. Not a good time discover that it was actually a slow leak in the front tube.

Ranks up there with the time I figured it would be okay to ride at night without a light on an unfamiliar road. Yep. Splat. What brilliant engineer would think of running a railroad track almost parallel to the bike lane. Probably the same kind of person who would ride at night on unfamiliar roads without a light. :)

It's good to be humble,
My Listbigrider
Oct 10, 2002 4:13 AM
You can eat all you want and not gain weight when you are riding a bike
Reality: You eat more than you burn you gain

lighter is better
Reality: lighter is lighter but often breaks or wears out faster

Race tires are the best
Reality: They are the best if you are racing and some guy has a wheel for you when you flat. Go puncture resistant

Biking is merely good exercise
Reality: When I started riding a bike again it was the only time I felt like a kid on the first day of summer

Biking is a religion
Reality: Some people get way carried away with how important biking is to them. Lets keep it in perspective with life, and no biking is NOT life

Bicycling magazine gives you accurate info
Reality: They are whores for the bike industry. You pay them and they will be kind to your product.

A good bike makes you a lot faster
Reality: A good bike makes you a little faster, very little.

Bike fit isn't that important
Reality: millimeters make a difference when riding long distances. Your body will tell you when the fit is not correct.

Pros aren't much faster than me if I trained a little more
Reality: Riiiighttttt!!!!

Biking is a recreational sport
Reality: In most of the world it is transportation for the masses.
misconception = can't ride AND be a dad...biknben
Oct 10, 2002 4:17 AM
I didn't like hearing all the grouches tell me how my riding would reduce when the kids came. I enjoy watching their jaws drop when they find out that not only am I riding, I'm riding MORE.
Cycling can't get you in shape.PEDDLEFOOT
Oct 10, 2002 4:30 AM
I ran for many years before crossing over full time to cycling.I ran marathons and so many races that I ran out of room for the t-shirts.I would ride only for crooss training.

I just got tired of being sore,beat up and hurt every year.So I decided to try road cycling.I mean how hard could that be.Man was I wrong.I'm in the best shape I've been in for years.My legs are stronger and my VO2 max is higher along with my RHR being at its lowest point ever.

All this and not feeling as though someone took a baseball bat to my legs.This was the best move I've made.I'm not going back to running again.
That I really NEED everything that I've gotMel Erickson
Oct 10, 2002 5:38 AM
Works for life in general, too.
Learned lessons from a bike addictBipedZed
Oct 10, 2002 5:51 AM
1. You can BUY performance.
New light, trick stuff is fun but new stuff alone won't make you faster than the next guy. It may motivate you, it may make you want to ride more, it may make the next few rides more exciting, but you won't magically start climbing faster than the other guys. I still like the new stuff, but tens of thousands of dollars later I know the only thing that made me faster was dedicated smart training.

2. Lightweight above all else.
Light stuff tends to use less material. Less material means components are more fragile/less stiff. Less stiff means less confident. Less confident means less fast. The biggest example of this are my Zipp 303 tubulars. Sick light but they are scary in technical corners and particularly long mountain descents. I'm actually slower on these than my relatively heavy training wheels. Next year I'm racing on 32h Reflex/Hugi wheels.

3. Rest is not important.
Still have trouble getting this through my head, but it's probably the most important lesson. I consistently ride myself into the ground until my immune system is overwhelmed and I get sick and am physically forced to rest. Stupid, but I keep doing it.

4. I'll never be fast.
Three years ago I was a pack a day smoker and weighed 45lbs more than I do now. Three years of hard work, dedication, and a good dose of heartbreak and I'm a sponsored Cat 3 road racer with a bronze medal in the Colorado State Time Trial. Dedication and hard work - that's what it takes.
That nutrition and electrolyte replacement wasn't important.MXL02
Oct 10, 2002 6:06 AM
Started cycling with plain H2O in my bottles, and didn't eat anything before my rides.(trying to lose weight). Thought all those guys using cytomax and clif bars were wimps...WRONG!
things I used to believe and now don'tColnagoFE
Oct 10, 2002 6:09 AM
-TI is the best material for a bike--bar none.
-Quality Cycling shorts, helmets, gloves aren't worth the money
-cushier wider saddles with a cutout are more comfortable
-sports drinks are unneccesary--just use water at all times
-You might as well not go for a ride if you only have an hour to spare
-lightweight wheels make me faster
biggest mistakes? how about the Star fork? (nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 10, 2002 6:11 AM
didn't think that one needed re-mentioning nmDougSloan
Oct 10, 2002 6:17 AM
ok, I'll bite...what's up with the Star Fork?MXL02
Oct 10, 2002 6:20 AM
ok, one more timeDougSloan
Oct 10, 2002 6:39 AM
Built my new Geo C40 myself; assembled the fork, headset, and stem; measured down from the top; disassembled, re-measured and cut fork; reassembled; steer 1" too short; hmm; transposed numbers when re-measuring. Fork not fit 54 cm frame know, maybe 48 cm. Buy new fork at $750 dealer cost. Learned lesson: don't measure -- mark.

OUCH! Sorry for asking you to revisit a painful experience. nmMXL02
Oct 10, 2002 9:33 AM
Put it up on EbayNo_sprint
Oct 10, 2002 9:46 AM
It's not too short to fit a really small bike with a short head tube is it? There are plenty of 49s and/or 50s out there.
if I ever get a C40, I'll get back to you. nmweiwentg
Oct 10, 2002 6:25 PM
re: A better bike would make me a better rider.dzrider
Oct 10, 2002 6:20 AM
The weight I was gaining was bigger quads.

Everything would be ok if I just had enough time to ride.

I need to know how many miles I've ridden or how fast I rode them.

Fitness is more important than patience and determination in doing ultras. It helps to be in shape, but there are some pretty beefy guys finishing long damned rides because they just keep going.

Glueless patches don't work. Applied carefully they do fine.

Lighter stuff is better stuff.
Major mistake: that steel is "real"JohnG
Oct 10, 2002 6:33 AM
I've dumped my steel road bikes (Colnago MXL and Dean 853) and NEVER looked back. My Ti/carbon and Al frames are all much lighter and actually ride better than my steel frames ever did. OK, I'll amend that a bit....... the Dean was a pretty nice 'ride'. The MXL really sucked though.

Major mistake: that steel is "real"flying
Oct 10, 2002 5:21 PM
wow you said it ;-)
I think both you & I were maybe to small or light? for MXL's
Don't ride with others until you are a better cyclistms
Oct 10, 2002 6:45 AM
I started riding 2 1/2 years ago. Until this year, I would decline invitations from other people I knew who rode because I was too slow, inexperienced. This year, I began accepting the invitations (with disclaimers of my lack of speed and skill). Many of the rides I have done with others this year have been very difficult for me -- it is both physically and mentally hard to be giving it your all and be the guy struggling to keep up. But, I am a much better cyclist today than I was a year ago. If I had not been pushed by riding with others (and learning from the tips they have given me) I never would have progressed as far as I have. I had assumed that other riders would have disdain for me until I was better. I learned that many people (at least the people I know and the guys at my LBS) are willing ride with you, even if you are not fastest or most experienced rider, if you are willing to work hard and keep on trying.
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?C-mond
Oct 10, 2002 7:20 AM
never overlap wheels. Not even for second, not even if the old guy in front of you is not riding smoothly.

I was young and stupid.....wait that was last year.ahhhhh

Cycling was meant to be a recovery/ cross training/ active rest activity.

But if your going to do something do it all the way.....

And yes being the kid riding bball shorts and t-shirt I can still be a hammer on the 50+milers and do my part pulling for the group.
I'll add a couplebrider
Oct 10, 2002 7:25 AM
* The strongest rider wins. NOT! The smartest rider that uses their strengths ot the greatest advantage wins. There's a local hot shot who's been racing for quite a while, has a couple national titles to his name, etc. Very strong rider. I'll never win a drag race with this guy. But I HAVE beaten him by NOT playing his game.

* Winning is the greatest satisfaction. Actually, I've found that being the leadout man can be MORE satisfying. Even though you don't make it to the podium, being a key person and being able to see the finish play out in front of you is a great feeling.
My biggest misconception ...sacheson
Oct 10, 2002 7:40 AM
Hot chicks dig cyclists.

Skinny, leg shaven, always spending that extra buck on a new bike part, always spending those extra minutes getting a couple of extra miles in (not to mention the sleep that follows a nice, hard ride), can never watch Friends because it takes the same time slot as OLN cycling ... I could go on, but I think most of you know what I mean ...
One that comes up time and time againrtyszko
Oct 10, 2002 8:47 AM
That I can predict what kind of ride I'll have when I first jump on the bike. It never fails that on the days that I all but drag myself out to the bike to get going that I have the best "legs." I've stopped thinking that I could predict how my ride will go. I've also stopped listening to my brain when it says that it doesn't really want to go out today because it "probably won't be all that good any way."
That rest is a waste of time...n.m.koala
Oct 10, 2002 11:34 AM
Winning a bike race is worth the sacrifice. . . notripSRV
Oct 10, 2002 12:18 PM
IMHO winning a real bike race was a huge letdown. In the early 80's I raced everything regionally for 6 years and can claim 1 victory in about 140 starts.

I enjoy myself more now as a commuter and tourist than I did back in the "serious" days. I also remember puncturing out of the breakaway in district RR and being happy and relieved for a reason to quit. It was just too hard up there but my pride and the expectations of others kept me up the road.

Looking back, I'm glad I did the races, but the complete sacrifice to training and racing isn't worth it. Like everything else in life . . . moderation is the key.
re: your biggest mistakes/misconceptions about cycling?Fredrico
Oct 10, 2002 1:53 PM
If you want to go faster you have to make your legs stronger, by training in big gears. I learned a few years later that to go faster you simply pedal faster, simple as that.

Doug, you are so right about the others, especially about weight and high pressure tires.