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I'm not a cyclist, I just play one on the weekends....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When I have a goal in mind, I usually hold on to it like a dog with a bone. Ever since I bought my mountain bike 2 months ago, I wanted to ride 30 miles. I don't know why 30 instead of 27 or 28...like I said, dog with a bone. I had trouble at first because my butt hurt, then I got bike shorts and a new seat (yes, $$$$$). Then, I decided I needed clip less pedals because I needed clip less pedals ($$$$). So last weekend, I made my pre-ride breakfast and the dog ate it. I made another pre-ride breakfast, ate it and headed out for my first 30 mile ride.

Oh ya, so my first 30 mile ride ever and my first time with clip less pedals. So if life was a pool, I would be the one who ran full speed to the edge of the pool and belly flopped in. Not the fun belly flop where everyone laughs and gets wet, but the type of belly flop where I'd trip on my own feet and fall in, making a terrible wet smack that makes everyone cringe and go "Oooow, that's gonna hurt".

Back to cycling...I'm jumping in, belly first. I got my right foot in first try which kinda surprised me and then I was afraid to put the left in because what if I got stuck? So, I got to the first stop sign and a car had the nerve to pass at the same time, making me stop. I usually put my RIGHT food down first, but it was clipped in, so I started falling and panicking, frantically wiggling my right foot. JUST in time, I got it out and caught myself. Phew!!

If I were to grade my feet on how they took to the clip less pedals, I'd give my right foot a B- and my left foot an F. Not a 55% type F, but a 32% type F. It took about 3.5 MILES before I could get my left foot to clip in! Maybe I was nervous, knowing that both feet would be stuck to the bike. Either way, I had real trouble with that foot. I am visual, so I'm trying to watch my foot while pedaling and line up the velcro with the pedal. Anyway, it happened slowly, but I think I figured it out.

I clip the left in first, while the pedal is down, then the right. :-) I remember my friend saying it's like squishing bugs. That is how you get your feet in and out of the clips. I squished a lot of bugs that day and seemed (only next time will tell...) to get the hang of it.

At about 14 miles, my feet started burning and feeling really sore. Of course, I am not carrying my regular pedals or regular shoes, so I need to experiment. When is the best time to experiment with new equipment? 14 miles of a 30 mile trip, yup. That is Amy, doing a belly flop again. So I took off one sock, to see if it helped the pain. If you see a cyclist with one sock, cheer her on! She needs it. It seemed to help, so at mile 15 (1/2 point, yay!) I took off the other one.

The ride back was much easier, as the wind was at my back. I pedaled about 13 miles going east and 17 miles on the way back. I was very happy as the trip, with the sock experiment and stopping to look at my left cleat every mile, was taking much longer than I thought.

All in all, it took about 2h 45 m, much longer than I expected, and my feet were really the only parts that were sore! My legs were wobbly for a few minutes, but nothing an hour on the couch couldn't fix. I didn't fall, not once! (this time.....) I learned that the bike shoes need to be snug, but not so tight that they cut off circulation. Wind can be my friend. And maybe next time I only try one new thing at a time.....

Oh the title of my blog, was a thought that popped into my head as I was starting my trip. I only had one foot clipped in and I was doubting my abilities. It's a riff off a commercial from 1986...I don't know why it popped into my head. But on the way back from my trip, I felt like a cyclist. A newbie, but a newbie cyclist!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh sheesh, you rock! 30 miles in a couple of hours and change? You go girl! You persevered and got the job done. I bought a hybrid last year because I wanted a change from my road bike, and switched out my clip-less pedals from the road to the hybrid. Oops--it was entirely different feeling--I switched them back and cycled in my running shoes on the hybrid during the summer. lol
    1521 days ago
    Hi Amy,

    Way to go! Thirty miles on a mountain bike is a great achievement! What type of clipless pedals do you have? On my mountain machinery, I use SPD. The SPD shoe cleat is small and is recessed into the shoe tread. This allows for walking in the shoe, which is very important when riding on steep and nasty trails.

    I also found that the cleat on my right foot needed to be adjusted toward the inside of my foot. This non-centered adjustment on my right foot was required just because I move my right and left feet differently. I also lower the spring tension in the pedals to the bare minimum that keeps me in the pedals.

    I have experimented with my pedals. I also buy multi-release cleats.

    Great job on the mileage!

    Thanks, Bruce


    1524 days ago
    Man what an awesome ride!!!! You rocked your first 30 miles and your new clips! You are a cyclist emoticon my riding friend.

    Ride strong and pedal safe~your next ride will be that much better.

    1524 days ago
  • GHK1962
    Hehe ...HillSlug ... didn't you mean to say, "Where there's a WALL, there's a way?" hehe

    Anyway ... I agree with HillSlug, if you did not fall on your first ride out with the clipless ... you are doing well. (I did a blog about my first ride out ... hehe ... stoopid trying-to-put-the-wrong-foot-down-s
    o-you-fall-over pedals.)

    I figure ... I have fallen once ... almost a 2nd time. I gave myself a total of 3 times that I expected to bite it. But I have since revised ... clipping in and out now feel pretty natural ... but every once in a bit ... I get into a "panic" situation .... and almost fall. So I have revised the amount of times I will fall to +1. Which basically means, one more time than the last.

    Nevertheless ... I LOVE having them. Do they help? I think so. Do they make me faster? Uhmm. ... not sure. Do they make me a better biker? In my head they do. Do they look awesomely cool? Likely not ... most people don't really notice I think (except other bikers maybe). But ... it does make me feel more like a cyclist .... small victories ... but we should take them :)
    1525 days ago
  • HILLSLUG98239
    I've carried a bike up and down the stairs to a third-floor apartment where I hung the bike on the wall. Where's there a will, there's a way.

    Unless I missed reading it (which I may have), it sounds like you did not fall over despite the new clipless pedals. If that's the case, you're doing better than most of us veterans. Remind me to tell you about the time I ended up head-down on a built-up road bed with a bunch of cows looking at me like I was crazy. On second thought, scratch that: I have *never* fallen over because I couldn't get my feet out the pedals. Not at an intersection. Not while trying to manuever around a gate on a rail-trail. Not while trying to dab to avoid hitting a tree. Nope, not ever, not me.

    It sounds like you had a great ride - good job!
    1525 days ago
    I want to get into cycling so bad, but I too, live in an apartment- on the third floor!- with nowhere to keep a bike. It sounds like your ride was a blast, minor mishaps and all! Glad you enjoyed yourself. Have a great day!
    1525 days ago
    Dude! You are amazing! I live on a second floor apartment with no storage unit so I don't own a bike, but that sounds like a fun challenge!
    1526 days ago
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