Takes some time to get used to, find a buddy that's been doing it a while, or join some group rides/recreational events. You'll pick it up and find out your comfort level.
Gnats. They're there. You'll eat some. If you want to rock a mosquito net hat, do it. Who cares what others think...as long as it doesn't impede your ability to see or hear your surroundings. Or get used to bugs, that would probably be easier.
First off, you don't learn all this stuff at once. I rode for a couple of years with friends of mine, so as long as I had a tube and a pump, someone would help change my tire or fix something. It's amazing how self sufficient you become when you are all alone and have the tools. And it's getting dark! I have fixed a chain (you need a good multitool- I swear by Topeak), ripped a drive train apart and turned it into a single speed because I trashed the derauiller (opps), and changed tires. And more tires. You will need to get a kit that either you carry in your pack or as a saddle bag. In it have a spare tire, 3 tire levers (make sure the prying end is nice and slim) and a method of inflation such as a pump. Start with a pump then upgrade to a CO2 system, which I now use. And a multitool, which is awesome. Get one with a chain tool.
The bathroom: there are none, so learn how to drop and go. Yeah it's not very romantic, but with all the hydration you'll need to learn how to use the outdoors. Actually I prefer it to the smelly portapotties. P-U!
bugs: I hose myself down but the bugs in your mouth? Not sure.
And the walking a bike uphill? Two things come to mind: Where there's a biker there's a hiker. and No shame in walking. When I started riding I was 40 lbs heavier than you are. And let me tell you, I was walking up lots of hills. But each time I rode that way, I would pick a spot and try to ride past it. So slowly I was going up the hill.
I also looked at time to try and get a little faster.
If you have a mtn bike and knobby tires, you aren't going to go fast on the road and 14 mph is pretty darn good. You can get slick tires if you want to ride on the road more but you don't sound that happy about it. Just don't ride against traffic. If you are too nervous, like someone said, go to a quiet street to ride. I am building my commute to work and I drive my bike 8 miles to avoid a bad section of road. Why? Well for one I'm not ready for 8 more miles, and two, it's too dangerous at that time of the morning.
Lastly, if you can't make a left turn on a road, I just make the right turn go down until I can make a U turn and come back. Left turns always turn into a bad event for me and there is just no shame in playing it safe!
I was thinking about joining a bike club I just wanted to try to get better 1st so I won't be too embarrassed or left way back.
I rode to my LBS today and asked about the free clinics they have some so I will have to wait for the next one to come around.
As for the hill killing me...iI was literally hyperventilating so I was prob pretty close to fainting. My lung capacity is not good compliments of years of smoking....I am hoping this will improve eventually. Aside from that I'm in good health...oh and the excess weight that is *sigh*
BTW...rode 18 miles today and made it up 2 big hills one not too long but STEEP had to ride it standing up the whole time and one loooooooong and gradual.
current weight: 189.0
Fitness Minutes: (6,595) Posts: 101 3/20/12 2:59 P
Glad to have you in the group. Welcome to biking! Best of luck to you in making a lifelong hobby. As for the bugs, yeah, that part sucks. I guess if I could breathe through my nose instead of panting like the out of shape bum I am, I wouldn't have a bug problem.
Speed and confidence on the road comes with time and experience. And actually your speeds are respectable. Joining a bike club is REALLY helpful. They'll have a repository of ride routes and lots of fun company and knowledge to share.
Both bike clubs and Local Bike Shops (LBS) offer bicycle maintenance workshops fairly regularly where you can improve your mechanical skills.
Bikely.com ( www.bikely.com/ ) offers a repository of cycling routes which have been posted and shared for your use and could give you some ideas where to consider cycling in your area.
Try tackling road riding in quieter areas first to build your confidence. Riding with a bike club really helped me in this department as I learned to follow suit as I saw cyclists navigating intersections, left turns and such. Wearing blinking lights helps to improve both your visibility and your confidence on the road. I've learned to love my cycling commutes both for health and $$$ benefits!
Looking forward to hearing from you both, re: questions, stories, trials, tribs and SUCCESSES!
ps...I've done Spinning all winter and STILL those hills are knocking my socks off...oof!
Edited by: DDOORN at: 3/20/2012 (09:07)
Co-Team Leader for All Health Pros, Binghamton Area Losers & Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams
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Happy that you are biking. If possible, contact others in your area via bike-club, local bike shop, to learn answers to questions. It is amazing what is learned from other riders. Everything from chamois (right ones vs wrong) to hydration, chain lube, etc. I rode with many different cycle friends, before doing a lot of solo (which makes friends nervous when I'm in the woods alone). For the record- you learn secluded spots for nature breaks (checking for wild critters first), hydrate with a camelpak, eat nourishing food items. Take tools & tubes to fix bike, or be wear you can walk it out or call. Keep the cell phone handy. You aren't doing bad at that average speed, considering your tire size. Enjoy your rides.
Welcome to both! This is a great team. You'll get lots of help and feedback here. Remember that hills are your friend. That can be your mantra. Won't be long and you'll wonder what the fuss was about. "whoppers that make me puke (seriously I puked)! I know I need em and I am ashamed to walk my bike up some but I have to call uncle when I am hyperventilating and my extremities are tingling...I'm pretty sure those are bad things?" I strongly suggest that you get a check up to make these aren't bad things - but please accept my compliments for pushing that hard! If you're afraid to ride on the roads, don't. Pretty simple. Don't risk injury because you think you should try. Learn to fix a flat and do normal maintenance on you bike. Go to a free clinic at the local bike shop or buy a book.
Ride, ride, ride.
Fitness Minutes: (1,777) Posts: 107 3/20/12 5:04 A
I just started biking (had a brief go at it for about 2months 6 years ago). I am an ex-smoker...just quit a month ago, who is positively in love with riding! I am a total newbie and don't know what I don't know so any tips are appreciated. I just started riding my mountain bike Gary Fisher Tarpon and put 58miles on it since Wednesday.
Some insights I have so far...
I want to see where the trails lead...it's HARD to turn back and the main reasons I do is fear. I don't have a way to repair a flat or fix my own chain for that matter and even if I had the materials to repair a mechanical issue I don't know how! Bathrooms or lack there of get me worried too
Hills!!!! Darn those hills...I live in an area that has a bunch and some are whoppers that make me puke (seriously I puked)! I know I need em and I am ashamed to walk my bike up some but I have to call uncle when I am hyperventilating and my extremities are tingling...I'm pretty sure those are bad things?
Speed. How the heck do people go that fast? I average 12miles and hour I can hold 14 for a fairly long time, to me that is. i sprinted down a flat street and I hit 20mph, but for the most part I feel like a slowski. In my defense I spent 20 years trashing my lungs with smoking and I'm 50 pounds overweight.
Roads & cars. I am scared to bike on the road. Call me a wimp or a chicken or a wimpy chicken but I am. I live by a few bike trails so I stick to those, but they are already getting a tad boring so I know I will eventually have to learn to bike on roads. But not now. For now I will gladly stay a chicken.
Finally...BUGS. YUCK, I am terrified to open my mouth which can make breathing difficult when I am gasping for air. The trails I ride are by forest preserves, prairie paths, and a river. Guess who hangs out in abundance? BUGS. Guess who swallowed a few? Me. Gross! Would it be uncool to wear a hat with mosquito netting?
Anyway sorry for rambling but I am hooked, I may be slow and a total newbie but as soon as I leave work I race home to get out on my bike and I LOVE it!
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