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Riding with a newbie(9 posts)

Riding with a newbiefiltersweep
May 31, 2003 6:19 AM
I was at a small dinner party when one of the hosts said he had just purchased a road bike. He was telling about how fast it could go, etc. He knew I rode (but likely has no idea how much) and wanted to show me the bike. In short it was an entry-level, Sora equipped tank.

Anyway, I apologize about the perjoratives, but I was just a bit bothered by a few facets of our coversation. On one hand, he wants to go out for a ride together. He is at that stage we have all been at at some point in our lives where 10 miles is a LONG ride. He went on about not wearing a helmet, even though he owned one. I quickly explained how being married, riding 40+ mph down hills around here, etc. probably warranted a helmet. He went on and on how he didn't need padded shorts and implied they were unnecessary for most people. Went on and on about what great shape he was in. He also hasn't grasped that road bikes ride on the roads. I was explaining some of the routes I take, and he kept trying to figure out what MUTs those would be (they don't exist).

The troubling thing is that while he really knows he is new to all of this, there is just a part of him that won't listen at all. I was very respectful and low-profile about trying to clue him in on a few key points. I didn't tell him that my front wheel cost as much as his entire bike, or make any negative comments about his beliefs or equipment. I kept saying things like it is the engine, not the bike, etc.

He knew I came from a group ride earlier in the day (a fast A ride that waits for no one) and he was hinting that he wanted to be invited to a ride. I don't want to discourage him or sound arrogant, but he'd probably be dropped before the ride left the parking lot. I'm nervous about riding one on one with him since his bike handling skills probably need some work (he's had ONE ride out- he's full of enthusiasm).

If he offerred some deference to the fact that I might know something, that would be one thing, but he strikes as someone who insists on learning everything the hard way. (When I encouraged him to maybe start out with a C ride if he were insistant on a group ride, he kept saying he was in "excellent shape.")

I'm just curious about what other people have done as friends have entered the sport. My solution to riding with friends has been to make NEW friends at club rides.
I'd tell him the truth about the ride and invite him along...94Nole
May 31, 2003 6:56 AM
then when he gets dropped like a bad habit right out of the parking lot hopefully he'll exercise a little humility and realize the difference in cyclists and abilities regardless of physical conditioning. My guess though from his know-it-all attitude (and IMHO stupidity with the no helmet issue) during your conversation is that he wouldn't learn from it and would just go have the same conversation with someone else at the next dinner party. He's obviously one who talks a good game but fails to walk the walk.

Let me tell you, from one who still considers himself a newbie after about 6 months, my first ride huffing and puffing around at 12-13 mph was a real eye-opener for me. Now, I can motor around at 19-21mph (still about 30-35lbs overweight but working on it) but still got blown away by a group (25-30 bikes) that came by me this morning at what I figure was 25-28mph (I caught 'em but was spent when I got there and they dropped me like a rock). That's okay though. I know what I have to do to get there. Talking about it won't get me there. And I always wear a helmet.

However, my approach might cost you an invite to the next dinner party though. I'll bet if you asked him about his golf game he would say that he carries a 14 handicap but if you went golfing with him that couldn't break 95-100 if he tried. Gosh, I have met so many people like this!
Take him for a "moderate" ride.....Alexx
May 31, 2003 7:05 AM
...and make a point of letting him know that this isn't a really hard ride. You don't want to tell him that it's really going to be a fairly easy ride (or his ego will be hurt), and you want to keep just far enough ahead of him to be able to keep an eye on him. After about the 3rd time you have to wait for him to catch up, suggest that you call it short and turn around. Mention that you can always finish your ride later. After this, if he has ANY interest in cycling at all, he'll work on his stamina. If not, well, good riddance.
Under no circumstances invite him on a fast ride! He'll end up pissed off, and so will all the other riders.
re: Riding with a newbiekjr39
May 31, 2003 9:13 AM
I'd also let him know that you don't ride with anyone that doesn't wear a helmet and that if he wants to go with you, he has to wear one...
re: Riding with a newbieMD80
May 31, 2003 2:08 PM
Take him out for a ride and proceed to drop him on every hill and wait on top of the hill. Ask him every time what took him so long? He'll get the point. He might get pissed off at you though.
Shhhh!! Don't tell him about the...patch kit.PseuZQ
May 31, 2003 9:17 PM
I worked with a guy like this once. He had a rep for being a big talker. (Once you got to know him, he was actually very sweet and humble, but until then..ARRGH!!) Anyhow, he gets a new 'dale, whatever the top frame was at the time (2000). Talks and talks about his new ride, how he's getting ready for long-distance riding, sends all-office e-mails bragging about it, etc.

Cut to our office's summer outing at Stinson Beach. Guy brings his ride. Turns out he flats on Hwy. 1 after riding, oh, six miles. In purchasing his new steed, had neglected to cough up an additional $2.99 for a patch kit and had to call someone from the party to pick him up.

Don't think he rode much after that.

We actually wound up being pretty good friends, but I never did ride with him.
That's the way to expand our sport (sarcasm intended)Walter
Jun 1, 2003 5:28 AM
Don't brush this guy off. We talk about expanding the sport but just about all you guys are talking about are ways to get this guy OFF his bike. Now obviously I don't know this guy but I don't know you either Filtersweep so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's just a victim of the "ignorance is bliss" syndrome. The fact that your "front wheel costs more than his bike" is irrelevant. And why should he show you deference? How many rainbow jerseys do you own?

If you can't stand him and don't want to be around him then don't take him for a ride, and I might suggest not accepting invitations to his dinner parties as well, but at least point him towards a local club or LBS that has rides. Tell him to go with the beginners and if he drops them he can ride with a more advanced group next week. Since he probably won't drop them he'll realize what's up on his own.

In short the only thng I agree with in your little character analysis is the helmet deal. The rest, like the shorts, is all things to be learned thru experience, not smart-a$$ riders sitting at top of hills asking why he's so slow.
You are missing the point-filtersweep
Jun 2, 2003 6:16 AM
I'm willing to teach him everything I know (such that it is), but he will need to be willing to learn and be open minded. The guy has the opportunity to skip some harsh lessons.

My point is, the guy asks me what he needs- I suggest padded shorts and he ARGUES with me. I suggest a helmet- he says he purchased one but won't wear it. I suggest gloves, and he looks at me like I walked out of a spaceship. He was going on and on about how light his bike is when my mtn bike weighs less. I don't want to and didn't pee on his parade or shoot him down or spoil his enthusiasm in the least. I'm not posting to rip this guy to shreds, or to feel better about myself. Deference? Not because I'm some "world champion," but maybe because I've ridden thousands and thousands of miles and might actually know something?

Finally, almost everyone here makes fun of Freds. Well, here is an opportunity for someone to largely SKIP the stage of Fred-dom. It is no accident that most people would never consider riding a century in cotton shorts, cotton T-shirt, no flat kit, no gloves, is it?

I won't argue that it is probably ignorance is bliss, but to a certain degree is appears to be willful ignorance.
sounds like what he needs is a lessonJS Haiku Shop
Jun 2, 2003 6:33 AM
i'm all for furthering the sport and being a cycling ambassidor, but it sounds like rupert needs a lesson in keeping his mouth shut. if he's asking for your advice, but rejecting it all with a know-it-all attitude, he doesn't really want your advice--he just wants you to hear him talk, or is perhaps trying to impress you.

of course we were all (ok, most) sucking air through a straw and bonking on a "long" 10-mile ride at one point. i was, for sure. but...it sounds like might be sitting on a big investment that hasn't seen much use. really, does he have and use a speedometer? numbers are important.

you can't buy into cycling, unless one is willing to ride 11-13 mph for 25 miles every saturday, and be satisfied. to ride with the A/B groups, a "newbie" have to earn into it. a $2k bike, team kit, shoes, pedals, and a good weekly leg shaving won't keep newbies in a 20 mph paceline--fitness and learned skills will do the trick.

i'd agree that you need to drag him in over his head, but i'm not sure moderation is the key in this scenario. how about a nice, hilly "A" ride (with a map or cue, so he can make it back to the car). after he grovels back to the ride start, arrange for an "easier" ride--maybe a spirited "B". let things play out from there.

many of us (me) have to learn the hard way, then learn the hard way to listen, to avoid learning the hard way any more. (try saying that three times after a six pack.)

some of the most valuable lessons are accompanied with a strong dose of "shut the f@#$ up"!

-J