Observations of a newbie cyclist

In an effort to incorporate some cross-training this time around, I’ve started putting in some time on my bike. I bought it last March and rode it maybe 3 times – until recently! I went out a few times with hubs and dawdled along with him while he ran, but I went for my first real bike a couple Fridays ago. We loaded it into the car and I rode for just over an hour along the trails. I took it easy and just cruised for the most part, hitting the brakes on even the slightest declines

The following week I got out for another hour-long ride and I was slightly less chicken. This is something I’d like to continue regularly if my arse every stops aching!

The view from two wheels…

  • riding downhill is scary; maybe I’ll get over this eventually, but for now I am basically riding the brakes any time I don’t have to pedal.
  • the (summer) temp feels sooo much better on the bike; that breeze provides a great cooling effect.
  • hitting a swarm of bugs at the higher velocity is no fun *cough choke gag*
  • other cyclists rarely acknowledge me, even when I smile/nod/wave; I always make an effort, on foot or on wheels. maybe they are just intimidated. šŸ˜‰
  • no, this does not mean I am venturing towards the dark side!
  • I still haven’t mastered the art of retrieving my water bottle, taking a sip and putting it back while in motion.
  • How on earth does Emily take self-portraits while riding?
  • I kind of wish I had bought a mountain bike – my hybrid tires feel unstable if I hit dirt/gravel or a bump. Maybe I just need to get used to it.
  • it would be faster to run up (some) hills!
  • this is FUN! I feel like a kid as soon as I strap on that helmet and straddle the seat.
  • I think I need to get a basket for the front. And a bell.


50 thoughts on “Observations of a newbie cyclist

  1. Yes a basket and bell are a must! LOL! Then you can just ring your bell at people instead of nodding – I bet that will get a reaction! šŸ™‚ Fun to hear you are out riding your bike! Love it!

  2. Okay, I once knew this guy that was going downhill and his brakes didn't…. Oh, never mind! Cyclist are snobs, just kidding. You have to look like a cyclist before they acknowledge you. Go out and spend $$$ on cycling stuff and they'll notice you. LMAO………

  3. I ride my future father in laws hybrid all the time when I visit and I love it. I don't know why I haven't gotten one yet. Great job getting out there! I don't know why cyclists don't wave or say hi. They are just a stuck up group I think!

  4. I wonder if the lack of wave or nod is due to the fact that out on the path you never know what might jump in front of you…I like to keep my eyes on the path/road and watch for obstacles. Maybe I'm just a chicken?Oh- and I JUST semi mastered the art of the water bottle reach and drink…though I haven't been brave enough to try on a corner or a hill…

  5. I haven't ridden a bike in, honest to god, years. They say you don't forget how, but I kinda think I have! Best of luck incorporating it more!

  6. I always wave at cars or people that let me cross the street, etc. when I run…but can't do that on the bike, as that would require not having both hands on the handles. EEPS.You'll get used to the bumps/tracking. I went from a huge men's mountain bike to a road bike, with little itty bitty tires, and I'm totally used to it now. Or almost.I got these shorts to, uh, fix the sore bum problem. Did 17 miles no problem, no soreness. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002KT3ZYM

  7. ahahaha, the dark side! I'm totally losing my husband to it… I haven't ridden a bike in probably 15 years so I have no intention of starting now. Ultras hold more appeal.

  8. I love my bike…it is a spin bike so I don't have to worry about downhills.Get some hockey cards for the spokes and streamers for the handle bars….THAT would be sweet.

  9. You do get over the scaryness of downhill I promise, it will just happen one day. My friend told me to think about it like a car, you don't ride your breaks going downhill in your car right, you just gage your speed and how you have to take the turn…

  10. that is awesome Marlene that you are getting out on the bike, it does take a wee bit of time to get used to riding especially down hills which I have not mastered yet either. Good Luck and keep on running/cycling…….

  11. Wooohooooo! I often add in biking, especially in summer months, and I am SO not from the dark side and will not be going there. Sounds like you're just a bit inexperienced. It won't take you long and your confidence will grow in leaps and bounds.

  12. I've started riding my road bike to and from work a few times a week and on the way TO work I go DOWN a massive hill (and ride my brakes the whole way) and on the way home I go back UP said hill and travel at about 4 miles per hour (according to Garmin). Could definitely run faster than that! It IS good cross-training though and I find after a LONG bike ride my legs don't feel as beat up as they do after a long run. I do wish my butt would stop hurting though!

  13. WOW! You are so much like me!!* I haven't mastered downhill riding either, I freak out at about 15mph and ride the brakes.* I have found that some other cyclists acknowledge me, some don't. I think more do than would if I were running instead. Runners rarely acknowledge me when I'm on the bike.* I also don't know how to get my water bottle. I'm lucky because I finally can at least take my hand off the handlebars to wipe my eyes or something. Water bottle? NO. I wonder why I even bring it sometimes. Oh yeah, the bugs.* "it would be faster to run up (some) hills!" I KNOW! I feel the same!!*I'm with you on the basket/bell. Or a horn that goes "AWWOOOGA!"

  14. I think a basket and a bell would be nice. Especially if the basket is lined with gingham and is filled with daisies, bread sticks and other picnicky items.

  15. don't forget the streamers……….and I'll be the first to greet you when you visit the doors of the dark side b/c it WILL happen….. HA HA HA (sinister laugh)

  16. Look at you in your cute bike helmet!! :)I notice cyclist "nod" at one another as they pass, I learned the hard way you never take your hands off of the bike to wave! Ha.

  17. Yes, you must get a bell for your bike! Maybe even a horn that goes toot-toot!I still haven't taken my bike out for a spin this summer. Eventually I will.

  18. YAY! i think we are bike twins? if not, close! i rode my bike two weeks ago and had fun. i might have to take it for a spin tomorrow night… except my booty hurt. must buy padded shorts!

  19. I really, really want a bike! I think I'll go for a mountain bike because even our paved roads are so pot-holed and full of logging truck debris around here! I just mastered the art of drinking from my water bottle while running – I couldn't imagine attempting while biking!

  20. I really, really want a bike! I think I'll go for a mountain bike because even our paved roads are so pot-holed and full of logging truck debris around here! I just mastered the art of drinking from my water bottle while running – I couldn't imagine attempting while biking!

  21. You are brave! I must admit I don't cycle anymore after a really bad experience years ago. I don't think I will ever cycle again. So glad you added the point about not joining the dark side.

  22. They actually make a tire that can handle both road and off road. Do a search and I am sure you can find them.Fastest I have ridden down hill – 42mph. Yes you get use to it but man it is still fast.Where glasses of some sort always. Have seen some nasty things bugs can do to your eyes even at slower speeds.Come on over to the dark side. It is SO MUCH FUN!!

  23. emily is super talented. i can hardly get my water bottle out of the holder while riding.my bike came with a bell. and kickstand. you know you want one!

  24. The view from two wheels is VERY different than the one on foot šŸ˜‰ It took me a while to get used to grabbing the water and going downhill, but you'll get comfortable quickly if you keep riding – trust me! The aching-ass…that never goes away, haha.

  25. Yes, you certainly need a basket for the front!!!And yeah, the downhill thing, doesn't get any better after you crash at 25 mph into a ditch. Just saying. A little trick that helped me was to head down a hill and release the brakes for a three count. Then on the next hill release for 4 count, then break then four count. The next time release for 5 and 6 and so on. Eventually you go all the way down a hill without braking!!Great job!!!!

  26. I pretty much gave up cycling because I am a wimp but I agree with ALL your comments. I wish I had the motivation to get back on my bike. I haven't been on it since my sprint tri almost THREE years ago!! Keep it up!

  27. I just wrote a blog about drinking from a water bottle while moving. Would you risk your life for a sip of water?Maybe I'm just overly friendly, but I always at least nod, smile, or say "hi" when I encounter other runners, bikers, or anything else while riding my bike. i'm not a mean/rude exerciser. But I never wave. I have a hard enough time keeping myself in control with both hands on the handlebars. I don't need to test my balance with just one hand, thankyouvermuch!

  28. Unfortunately cycling is susceptible to cliquey behavior and often that can show out on the road. When I'm out the other roadies and triathletes almost always wave or nod, but I've never got any response from mountain bikers I pass along the way. After being snubbed repeatedly people tend to stop trying, which just further reenforces the behavior.As for the hills, just keep working at it. Climbing does take some getting used to, as (a) cycling uses different muscles than running so it takes time to build the necessary strength and (b) getting the timing on the shifts right takes some practice (too early and you bleed off momentum, too late and you're stuck in a high gear). Descending does take some time to build up the necessary confidence, but when you do it can be a heck of a lot of fun šŸ˜€

  29. Can I just say that I'm scared of the bike. Not the actual bike… I think I could handle it with proper practice, but I wouldn't know where to ride it safely. Definitely not on the streets… at the lake, I'd have to avoid runners and the crazy cyclists who go 25mph. I need to live out in the country where the thought of cycling doesn't include my life flashing before my eyes.

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