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My first bike ride..... (you'll laugh)

Hi everyone!

Just incase you want an update - I came on here a few weeks ago and asked for advice etc. I wanted to do an ironman, can swim and run a bit, but didn't own a bike.... You guys were all lovely and gave me loads of hints and tips...

So anyway, I bought a bike at the weekend. I was full of all the usual excitement and wanted to take it out for a spin, but it was my grans birthday and one thing and another.... So I figured I'd just use it as my mode of transport for today (monday) instead. No problem.

I was due in at work (7miles from my house) at 7am, so I thought I'd give myself plenty of time and set off at 6:15am. Got up, ate porridge, packed a bag (mainly of food!) and set off out the door in the dark. I was full of admiration for cyclists everywhere, it's bloody cold at this time of year! I also had a strange sence of achievement for having travelled (allbeit only briefly at this point) under my own steam. I felt as if I was doing my bit for the environment (although the washing machine would be working extra hard after all this??) It was only when I reached the end of my road that I realised I didn't know how to change gear.... at all.... The bike has tri bars and is a road bike. I was looking for something to twist or click.... nope - nothing. So I rode the 7 miles to work IN ONE GEAR.... Not good when I haven't ridden a bike at all since I had a paper round. My legs were in bits when I arrived - but I was laughing at myself thinking "who buys a bike in december, and then picks a dark morning to try it out, when they don't even know the basics of how to operate it???" I must be mad. Distance travelled: 7miles

Anyway, after the Leeds appointment, I was due in Bradford at 9:30 - so onwards and upwards. Quite literally - I had never realised that Bradford is UPHILL from Leeds, don't forget I'm still in one gear, unable to make it easier to pedal. I was also under the impression that it would take about the same amount of time as it does in the car - I seemed to have absolutely no concept of how far it was, or how long it would take. There were moments when I wanted to stop and cry. If I had a taxi number I probably would have called a people carrier to take me and the bike to work. Just when I thought mu legs couldn't hurt anymore, and I couldn't be any colder, it started to snow. Had not anticipated that at silly o clock this morning when I set off. And yes, I'm still in the same gear.... Destance travelled 8milessa

After being at Bradford, I asked the maintenence manager how to change gear - he kindly figured it out for me (in case any of you are wondering, a little click thing for your thumb on the handlebars, shove the brake leaver sideways) I never guessed the brakes moved sideways.

Also - what is the runny nose about??

All in, today I rode 22 miles on a bike, 15 of which were in one gear!


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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Not laughing..wincing.

    But guess what? You did it & survived to tell us all, I can see a long & fruitful triathlon career stretching ahead of you.

    The runny nose is the very reason there is towelling type material on the thumb side of most cycling gloves..its the cold in winter & hay fever in the summer.
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    AgnessAgness Posts: 27
    Fabulous[:D] Sounds like the sort of thing i'd do! Can you change a tire & fix a flat?

    What sort of bike did you get? Ive got a 2nd hand giant ocr debating whether or not to buy a tri bike but am worried that i'll end up buying the wrong bike.

    well done!

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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    Yeah, I had this problem. I could go down gears, but not up. I completely forgot the pushing the brake lever thing, even though I'd seen it done in the shop!

    Fortunately I worked it out eventually and didn't have to have a sheepish trip to the bike shop.
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    Hi Leeds lass

    With that kind of unbeatable determination you will have no problems doing an ironman. Bravo[;)]

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    Thank you all (again) for not making me feel as stupid as I felt yesterday...!

    My ass hurts today - I didn't know about that - guessing I need a trip down the bike shop to get either a gel seat or padded shorts... Still chuffed with my expedition yesterday - although I felt like I must have ridden 50miles and was gutted when I put it in the route finder afterwards and it said 23!!

    I also may need to investigate other routes - I went the exact way I would have gone in the car - because to be honest, I didn't think it through. I'm sure there are much better, possibly shorter, certainly not with such fast traffic routes I could have a go at?

    I expected my legs to be sore today - not so far, but who knows what this afternoon or tomorrow will bring!

    Agness: No - I don't know how to change a tyre or fix a flat.... surely my AA cover will stretch to that...?? Ha ha ha - I blagged the bloke in the shop to give me un puncturable tyres - he said they'd be ok as long as I didn't ride through a patch of glass....?? Time will tell I suppose?

    Thanks again everyone - glad I'm not the only one who didn't know about the gears!
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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    You could have a look at the Sustrans website for cycle routes.

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    RockieRockie Posts: 40
    Yep I had the same gear problem on my first ride. Fortunately the only other cyclist I encountered on my wimpy 6-mile ride was able to sort me. 23 miles on your first cycle in years... I bow to thee, Lass.
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    Bet it was such a buzz though!!

    Keep going!! People will think you are mad which makes it even more worth it!!
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I bet you could make it in Coneheads book with this kind of stories.[:D]

    Big up for determination, Leeds!!!!
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Brilliant! Who needs to buy a single-speeder for training days when all you have to do is forget how to change gear!

    Well done... 10 out of 10 for attitude!

    Also, you now have your first training measurement: you will be able to get to work much quicker by using your gears properly, but in a few weeks' time you'll be thinking "How much quicker am I than before? Best try out the 'single gear challenge!'"

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    AndreAndre Posts: 103
    Classic!... Anyway, I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned Leeds Lass, but riding in the 'wrong gear' is a useful training tool at both ends of the gear-selection-spectrum: a very easy gear improves pedal action and increases cadence, a hard gear develops strength and resistance to fatigue. Perhaps you should just select a gear at random every time you head out on your bike?
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    Leeds Lass wrote:

    Agness:  No - I don't know how to change a tyre or fix a flat.... surely my AA cover will stretch to that...??  Ha ha ha - I blagged the bloke in the shop to give me un puncturable tyres - he said they'd be ok as long as I didn't ride through a patch of glass....??  Time will tell I suppose? 

    Thanks again everyone - glad I'm not the only one who didn't know about the gears!

    I think this was a bit tongue in cheek, but you actually can get recovery cover for cycling. Your AA cover doesn't cover this as standard though I think...
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    Just thought I'd update you on my 2nd and now 3rd bike rides.....

    The 2nd one - saturday 6th dec morning, 8 mile trip to work. I was now ok at changing gear (thank goodness!) which made things a lot easier. So in my head, I was now a "cyclist"... and should, as I have seen others do.... lean around the corners....!!! So the first left hand corner I came accross, I leant into it - and before I knew it, the bike had skidded off without me, and I was lying on my side in the road. I couldn't stop laughing at myself, had a quick look around to see if any of the neighbours saw me (as I was about 20m from my own house) and sheepishly retrieved my bike from the other side of the road. Funny how in the car, I would have been driving extra carefully on an icy morning - yet on a bike, that common sense didn't seem to kick in, and I thought it would be great to lean into the corner...!!! Oh dear! So, I dusted myself off, still giggling, and promptly fell off at the next corner too... I didn't lean on that one, that was just the ice. Even though I'd fallen off twice in my own street, I still made it to work in one piece - and back again! Phew! Total Distance: 16miles

    The 3rd ride - Wednesday 10th dec, afternoon, 15mile trip to work. I had to leave it a few days due to bruises, aches and pains from falling. No excuses today though. I'd done a bit of internet shopping and a lovely gel seat and padded shorts had arrived - so on they went. Right, this is it now. As I was riding, I had a nasty thought - what if what I perceive as a 'hill' now, is actually only an 'incline', and really there's steeper stuff to come.... yuck. I was doing quite well on my way to work, climbing the hills with much less effort than last time, but still taking ages. I figured my time would be better if I stopped braking as much when going down hill. That would definitely help - only problem is I feel slightly out of control (especially coz these tyres are so damn skinny...!) On my way home from work, I officially overtook 2 cyclists. Admittedly one was on the pavement riding a 'shopper' and the other had plastic bags with beer in hanging from the handlebars - so the chances of me overtaking them were pretty great anyway. - still though.... Wicked!

    Hope you're all well. Thank you in advanve for sny tips etc.

    Heather xx
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    Every time I use one of my Mountainbikes and get back onto the road bike I think that the thing is skittish and on the edge of control. You get used to it pretty quickly though. At first it's a good idea to take it easy down hills, when you get more used to the bike you'll be soon seeing how fast it will go down them. 49.7mph is my record before i ran out of gears and couldn't spin any faster.
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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Leedslass, you are a shining beacon to us all..if I was still smiling after falling off just once Lady Britspin would consider having me committed, because I didn't stomp around all day bemoaning my fate & showing my bruises.
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