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NORMAVI's Photo NORMAVI Posts: 94
1/8/10 9:13 P

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Learning to check over your shoudler is important when cycling in traffic. One trick is to drop your left elbow and shoulder and then look down, and then around your shoulder instead of just trying to rotate your neck around. Practice in a parking lot trying to see behind you without turning the handle bars.

As for hills, another poster talked about getting your weight back (push back on the seat). This puts more weight on the rear of the bike which gives you better control. Apply the rear brakes harder than the front. On long hills, practice putting the brakes on and off to control speed.

For gearing, remember when the chain is closer to the bike, it is easier to peddle for uphills; farther from the bike is harder for going down hills.

Have fun!!

Edited by: NORMAVI at: 1/8/2010 (21:15)
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KAYZAKCX's Photo KAYZAKCX Posts: 1,302
1/7/10 2:15 A

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Congratulations on buying a bike! People have given you some pretty good advice so far. You might want to check with a local cycling club for recommendations on a local bike shop. Building a relationship with a bike shop is very important. They can help you in ways you can't even imagine, yet.

I use a mirror mounted on my glasses. I find it very easy to just glance up and to the left to see it.

As far as the hill, take it easy. Don't force it. Try riding up it every day and don't worry about having to start walking mid hill. One day you will get to the top. When walking, remember you're getting a different work out than you would on the bike. Look at it as adding variety to your exercise program.

One more thing: PLEASE WEAR A HELMET. In the days before helmets, I had a nasty, low speed crash that put me in the hospital with a head injury. Had I had a helmet, I would have just got up and rode away.

Mark

"It's cyclocross. You're supposed to roll around in the mud." CX Magazine


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VAXWELL's Photo VAXWELL SparkPoints: (7,322)
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1/3/10 10:46 P

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Congratulations on starting something new. :D

Bikes can be a little tricky at first, but you need to have faith in the bike and gravity. I've found that for steeper hills, it's better to stand up on the pedals so you have better control over how your body balances over the bike. Usually, when you go down a steeper hill, you let your your butt hover a little further back over the seat. This allows you to put your feet in a tow up, heel down position, so you feel a little more secure on the pedals. Keep your elbows and knees slightly bent to help take the shock of any small bumps as you go down the hill, and always keep your index fingers on each of the brake levers. It's VERY important to know which is the front brake and which is the rear, because if you clamp down too hard on the front brake whilst going down a hill, you might topple over the handle bars. It's best to 'feather' the brakes if you need to slow down slowly - just apply gentle pressure and you'll be perfectly fine. :) Sorry if that was hard to understand.

All in all, just practice, practice, practice.

If I'm a day ahead of you... Don't get confused. I'm just a time traveller... :D


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DAVISJH's Photo DAVISJH Posts: 64
8/3/09 10:18 A

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I've also found http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/ (from USA Track and Field - somewhat geared towards runners) a convenient tool to determine mileage when something malfunctions with my bike computer (typically operator error!). John

Edited by: DAVISJH at: 8/3/2009 (10:19)
2009 Cycling Goal: 2,750 miles (3,500 miles 8/15)
Year to 10/2: 3,255 miles
Previous Goals/Miles:
2008 2,500 mi/2,419.1 logged (80.9 miles short)
2007 (1/2 Year): 1,000 mi/ 1,002 logged!!


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BIKEKEN's Photo BIKEKEN Posts: 226
8/1/09 10:38 A

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mapmyride.com is also a good way to determine mileage.

CHICKYSOUP's Photo CHICKYSOUP Posts: 273
7/29/09 11:34 A

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The poor woman's bike computer - trace your route on gmap pedometer to get your distance, then figure how long it takes you to bike the route. Then you can calculate your mph. Of course, this really only works if you bike the same route like your commute. I also try to race myself against those speed machines that are sometimes placed on the side of the road to warn drivers about their speed. Ah, its the little things...

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DAVISJH's Photo DAVISJH Posts: 64
7/20/09 3:48 P

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I used to bike commute to Crystal City along the Mt Vernon Trail - worked in Crystal Mall #3. If you are talking about the short steep hill that goes under the VRE tracks and then veers towards National A/P & ped/bike bridge, I would strongly urge you to continue walking your bike down until you are very comfortable/self-assured with your bike handling skills. The main challenge, as I recall, is the narrowness of the tunnel at the bottom and the likelihood of ped-bike traffic emerging as you gain speed at the bottom. Don't worry about missing that short stretch of your bike ride, there is plenty of more open space along the trail to get your exercise after you've navigated that hill and tunnel.

John

2009 Cycling Goal: 2,750 miles (3,500 miles 8/15)
Year to 10/2: 3,255 miles
Previous Goals/Miles:
2008 2,500 mi/2,419.1 logged (80.9 miles short)
2007 (1/2 Year): 1,000 mi/ 1,002 logged!!


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JOPAPGH's Photo JOPAPGH Posts: 4,066
7/16/09 10:15 P

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Regarding riding up hills. Take some time on the flat surfaces playing with the gears. Change with the left hand and look between the pedals to see when the chain goes. Do the same with the right hand and the back wheel.

Once you understand what the shifters do, the key is to to be in a easy pedaling gear in anticipation of the hill, rather than when you are part way up the hill. Keep trying different gear combinations. Let the gears do the work for you. You will get the hang of it.

for ing does Look down

"John" or "JoPa" if John only makes things confusing.
Pittsburgh, PA

Personal Bests:
* 5K. May 31, 2014 - Stride for Pride 5K. 21:37
* 10 mi. June 16, 2012 - Baltimore 10 Miler. 1:23:12
* HM. June 7, 2014 - Deckers Creek. 1:41:05
* Marathon. October 19, 2014 - Columbus, OH. 3:45:56



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BEVPRESLEY's Photo BEVPRESLEY SparkPoints: (131,502)
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7/15/09 11:55 P

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Yup, get a bike computer. Your bike shop should have some very reasonably priced ones that will keep up with speed and miles. Cycling is supposed to be fun, don't worry about walking hills. As you gain confidence you will learn to ride them easily.

beverly

One Day at a Time:
1) 10,000 steps daily
2) fruit & vegie at every meal and log
3) aerobic or strength train every day
4) 7 hours sleep daily
5) check in with SP daily

My resolutions for Nov are
1) track nutrition daily
2) 30 min of exercise daily
3) finish cleaning sewing room


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RMD172's Photo RMD172 Posts: 16
7/15/09 11:08 P

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Hi Roxy, I do understand walking down steep hills. It has helped me to train on some relatively flat areas as a confidence booster. I tend to find more courage for the hills when other cyclists are around. So, even though you want to bike on your own, perhaps you can have a friend or family member ride with you a few times. I've also found that the longer I ride, the more confidence I have, so it may help to go for a much shorter ride, and then try going up and down the hill a few times at the end. Congrats on your bike!!!

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BRTRAINS's Photo BRTRAINS Posts: 488
7/15/09 6:28 P

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Congrats on getting the bike! I bought a Specialized hybrid bike in April and am on it almost every weekend trying to average about 30 miles per ride.. Just enough to burn about 1400 calories.
I bought my small bike computer on Amazon, maybe It costs about 28.00, it tells my time, average speed, distance, miles traveled etc. I love it!
I use a heart rate monitor to figure my calories burned.
I bought my mirror at Target(5.99 compared to 12.99) at the local bike shop.
Also one important tool you will need is a small attached bag(again I bought it at Target) that attaches under your seat, this bag should contain a spare tube for a tire that could go flat , a co2 cartridge to pump up a tire after you change the tube an an allen wrench that you can use for just about anything on your bike )This should be the most important thing you have on your bike in my opinion. Even if you can't change the tire yourself there are plenty of riders that will stop and help you and having these important items like a tube will be essential.
You will master the hill in no time, it just takes getting your body and legs stronger.
maybe think of joining a spin class at a gym That's how I got my leg strength up,
Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing



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IRIEGAL's Photo IRIEGAL SparkPoints: (0)
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7/15/09 6:24 P

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You're probably right dremargrl, I don't need to be worrying about pushing myself just yet! haha... I have somewhat of an impatient and competitive personality, which is not a good mix! :)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions thus far!

Carlatl- I live in Crystal City near the entrance to Mt. Vernon Trail, but other trails are pretty nearby too.

Edited by: IRIEGAL at: 7/15/2009 (18:25)
Rox
~Believing I am worth it will lead to my freedom~





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MAGELLAN1's Photo MAGELLAN1 Posts: 550
7/15/09 6:18 P

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get a bike computor, the simpler the better to start off with. i think i paid 15 dollars for mine.

a heart rate monitor is also a great way to track your calories. sparkpeoples tracker is high for me for riding when compared to my hrm, but its low for me for running compared to my heart rate monitor (probably because i am an effient cyclist and an ineffienct runner!)the site also doesnt take things into account like wind/hills ect..

regarding the steep hill that you are talking about, are you on dirt trails (like mountain bike trails) or paved trails. going down a short steep mtb trail takes a little finess.
if it is a short paved trail, just be sure the trail is clear and stay relaxed. if its real steep shift your wt back a little to the back of the seat. the main thing is once you decide to do it, dont panic, just point and go. look ahead to where you are going. once you have done it couple of times you will think its fun and feel proud that you ride it.

there is no shame in walking up or down it. you are out and being active, thats the main thing.

for the short steep climb,get up your speed and get into an easy gear, you may need to scoot up to the nose of your seat, and go right up (okay, may sound easier than it is).
those are some mtb techniques but may help you. good luck, have fun.



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SARAHGMD Posts: 834
7/15/09 4:52 P

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If all you're looking for is speed most computers will do. You'll want to make sure you get one that does average miles per hour. (Some of the low end ones just tell you what your speed is now.)

As far as the hill do what's comfortable for you. As you bike more getting up the hill should become more doable. Dropping into a lower gear will help.

I'd always take the bike with you when you're getting something for it, but the ones my husband has are supposed to be one size fits most.

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MRSSUZSTAR's Photo MRSSUZSTAR SparkPoints: (53,418)
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7/15/09 4:41 P

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Roxy way to go! So glad to see more people on bikes. :) We have bike computers on all of our bikes. We actually purchased every single one of our from Target though. :) While we frequent our fave LBS so much that we are first name basis with all employees and I tutored the owner's son in Advanced Placement Physics, the things that we can buy other places for much less we do. My hubby had a handle bar mirror on his first bike (it is now on my daughter's bike) and he also has a mirror he can attach to his sunglasses or his helmet. I personally cannot do the mirrors, preferring to look back, but I know for my daughter it is not comfortable for her to do that so we put the mirror on her bike. My hubby used his because he was typically the lead bike in our trio so he wanted to be able to check on us without having to constantly turn his head around.

As to hills...wow...that is one you just have to work on. We were just out in the Hill Country of Texas this last 2 days and on our family ranch. We road there and since much is well...hills...we had to be able to do them. You will get there, in time, but don't freak when you can't do them initially. You will have to try them to build up to them though. Just try the up first, that is harder on the legs but easy to learn to do personal opinion. Once you can go up at least once then you are golden on the down. :)

Suzan

Recommitted and re-energized to get back in shape!

Proud team moderator for Catholic Moms Team

I care for rare - Sophia is rare!


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DREMARGRL's Photo DREMARGRL Posts: 11,550
7/15/09 4:30 P

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Congratulations for finding the biking is so enjoyable and you don't have to have a partner. There are speedometers that you can attach to your bike. I have a PROTEGE 9.0....by Planet Bike attached on mine. This little gadget has been a good one. If I may be so bold to suggest that you wait a bit before finding your calorie burning "niche". Until you can manage the bike without wobbling, can glance in the mirror for rear riders, and go up and down hills without being apprehensive, you are not ready. I like the mirror that attaches on the bike rather than the helmet, but it is a personal preference. When we began, we did an easier ride of about 6-8 miles with lower grade hills going at a nice speed. As we got more in condition, we rode that further to about 12-20 miles. Then we started going for the hilly one that we ride now. We are 61 and 65 and also do a couple of 50 mile rides in the Spring and Fall. You will know when you are ready to go fast....when you can handle the bike with ease, learn the biking rules, and feel comfortable going with speed. Rock on!!! Biking is so much fun!!! Good luck with your new endeavor. XO Mary Ann

CARLATL's Photo CARLATL Posts: 741
7/15/09 4:27 P

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Hi Roxy,

Your local bike shop should be able to hook you up with a decent bike computer and a mirror. I got my bike computer at my local shop and it really wasn't all that expensive. There are pricey ones, naturally, but it just depends on what you are looking for. I just wanted distance and speed.

As for the hills, you'll get there. Years ago I'd have to walk up a steep hill too, but not anymore. The one at the entrance to the trail sounds challenging, ha! Isn't there another entrance nearby?? Which trails are you riding??? I live in Ashburn, VA...right off the W&OD trail. I love riding it every weekend.

IRIEGAL's Photo IRIEGAL SparkPoints: (0)
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7/15/09 4:16 P

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Hi all! I've been on sparkpeople for awhile now, but just joined this team because I decided a few weeks ago to buy a bike!

I bought a Trek Fitness Hybrid bike and love it. There are alot of trails for me to ride in the DC area and I've gone out a couple times thus far...

My main reason for buying the bike: On the weekends, I enjoy playing tennis or going for a hike... but both those activities require a friend/partner and I wanted something that I could do on my own outside- hence the bike.

Right now, I'm just once again trying to find my groove on a bike so I've been going on very leisurely rides thus far, but I do want to get to a place where I'm burning similar calories to what I burn in my other activities. I'm a very competitive person, so I like to push myself and see my progress.

I've got some questions and would love everyone's advice and tips:

1. How do I figure out how fast I'm going on the bike? Like I mentioned above, I'm not entering this activity on my fitness tracker, but I will want to do that soon but I'm not sure how to determine my mph. I'm riding mostly on area trails. There seems to be a bunch of gadgets, how do I know which to buy?

2. On the trail that I normally do, there is a super short hill, but it is very steep-it's at the entrance of the trail. I get very nervous going down it (although I have done it once, normally I just walk my bike down). And at the end of my bike ride, getting up the hill has been impossible and have had to walk my bike up the hill too!

3. Mirrors? I don't have the core stability to look behind me without my bike swerving and so I've been toying with the idea of getting a mirror for my handlebar... do the mirrors come in a one size fit all type or do I need to get one specific for my bike? (I'd rather not have one on my helmet).

I probably have a ton more questions, but this will do for now!

Thanks,

Roxy

Edited by: IRIEGAL at: 7/15/2009 (16:16)
Rox
~Believing I am worth it will lead to my freedom~





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