Any tips for a very, VERY new beginner

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by RoyMunson, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. RoyMunson

    RoyMunson New Member

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    Hey everyone. I'm Mike. I have just recently been getting very interested in biking and mainly long distance road biking. I ride an old bike i got from my uncle about 5 to 10 miles everyday but only b/c i have no car so it's my only transportation. Anyways I really love riding and it just seemed logical that i should do it more seriously. So any tips on starting out (ie. buying a bike, books to read, training tips)? anything is very much appreciated. thanks in advance!
     
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  2. stealie72

    stealie72 New Member

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    Well, do a lot of web searching, a lot of reading, pick up a copy of some bike mags to get a general feel for the sport (I like "Bicycling" for it's broad appeal and "Dirt Rag" for it's down home-ness), then head over to a good bike shop (if you're in NOVA/DC Area, there's a bunch of good ones, post if you are and I'll give you some recommendations, and some rides) and start chatting up the folks there.

    As a brand newbian, I'd probably find a used bike to ride for a season to see if you dig it. $500 should get you a fairly sweet ride, used. Also, don't forget a tube, a pump and some kinda tools. But depending on what you're riding now, $100 at the bike shop for a tuneup/mild overhaul might work wonders.

    Then get on your bike and ride. This ain't hockey. You got a bike, you're a cyclist!!!

    Beyond getting a bike, I'd also recommend joining a bike club and going on some rides. It gets you into the saddle with a bunch of folks who've got a lot of experience and can help you through your first roadside flat, your first close encounter of the automotive kind, etc.
     
  3. Mehrdad Wieske

    Mehrdad Wieske New Member

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    Piles of nice rides and riders around DC. Just ask a local Pro shop who kann hook you up and ride and learn. Read the coolest Bike Mag on the planet..... DIRT RAG.....Potomac peddlers club, as i remember, orgenized rides for all levels.

    Grab a Moutain bike and ride the C and O canal westwards....great scenes.

    have fun

    Mehrdad from Berlin/ Germany
     
  4. mmpc001

    mmpc001 New Member

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    stealie72's post said everything I would've - the part about finding a good bike shop where you like dealing with the people is very important, IMO. Not only will they be able to give you recommendations on equipment, they can put you in touch with other riders/clubs, suggest routes to ride, etc.

    A couple of other points related to your comfort and safety:

    1) Have your new bike (if you go this route) setup for YOU. Most bike shops can do a proper fit for things like saddle position, stem position, pedals, etc. It's crucial that your bike is properly setup if you're going to be putting a lot of miles on it. Otherwise, you'll be in pain in short order.

    2) Don't overdo it! I was guilty of this one myself. :( When I got back into mountain biking last October after about 10 years away, I was riding every day, feeling like a kid. Well, I had to take some time off a few weeks ago due to knee issues (tendonitis). I had been pushing it waaaay too hard for my fitness level and had to pull back a bit.

    Enjoy yourself and watch out for those cars!
     
  5. BanditManDan

    BanditManDan New Member

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    I would suggest keeping a cycling diary. Nothing too fancy, just a log of when you ride, how many miles, and average speed. I found it pretty cool to know how many miles I've riden over a week, month, and year. You'll be amazed how quickly those miles add up. You can pick up a bike computer pretty cheap.

    Dan.
     
  6. RoyMunson

    RoyMunson New Member

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    Hey thanks so much for the advice. Right now i am going to college in blacksburg (its in southwest virginia) but my parents live in northern virginia about 30 minutes outside DC and i still go up there a lot and for the summer
     
  7. RoyMunson

    RoyMunson New Member

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    hey thanks for the advice everyone! I really appreciate it and will use it.

    -Mike
     
  8. stealie72

    stealie72 New Member

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    Hey mike, are you in NOVA/DC, or are you in the other 95% of the state?
     
  9. RoyMunson

    RoyMunson New Member

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    Well i go to school in Blacksburg which is in the Southwest part of the state, but my house is up in the NOVA/DC area, in Manassas.
     
  10. stealie72

    stealie72 New Member

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    Hmm, haven't ridden in blacksburg, but let me give you some DC area info.

    If you're looking to buy used, Big Wheel bikes on Lee highway right by 66 (3119 to be exact) had some pretty good used stuff in there last time I went. If you go, get a slice of pizza at The Italian Store next door.

    For high end stuff, I love Bicycle Pro Shop in georgetown, on M street right in front of the Key Bridge (although they are a little pricey/snobby, but they've got a lot of stuff in stock). Also, Citybikes in Adams Morgan has some good deals now and again, but they're more focused on commuter/casual types.

    As for rides, there should be a lot of nice rolling country-type stuff if you start in Manassas and head West, although things are getting pretty built up out there. For a list of trails in the area, check out the Washington Area Bicyclist Assn's website (http://www.waba.org/new/paths/index.php). Also, you might want to join them, because you get a discount at most area bike shops.

    My two fave rides are the Mt Vernon trail (which hooks up with the WO&D trail in Arlington), which runs right along the patomac, down to Mt Vernon, and the C&O canal trail (which is small gravel, so put on the wide tires). Both get busy on weekends, so be warned.

    Let me know if there's anything I can help with. Always glad to have another person on a bike!!
     
  11. RoyMunson

    RoyMunson New Member

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    Hey thanks so much! I really appreciate all of the info and advice. I went to the website for the WABA and the websites of the shops you recommended and they all look really helpful. Thanks again.

    You in the NOVA/DC area??
     
  12. stealie72

    stealie72 New Member

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    Just moved after 7 years living in DC. Otherwise I'd be trying to sell you my old skool cannondale cheap :D

    Unfortunately, I don't know a ton around Manassas.

    One thing I forgot to mention: you might want to check out the DC cycling newsgroup. It's something like alt.cycling.dc. There's probably a link on the citybikes site, or on the WABA site. There's a lot of active cyclists in DC.
     
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