Help! I feel foolish, but I need help riding a road bike :)

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by sahmad88, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. sahmad88

    sahmad88 New Member

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    I am new to cycling, but I am really enjoying it. I have been using a mountain bike for my riding. The longest rides I have done are about 25 miles. I decided to get a road bike because of the limitations of the mountain bike.

    So now I have a Giant OCR2 that I got last night. But I have a couple of questions.

    First, and here is the really foolish part, does anyone have any hits or tricks for getting on and off the bike? I feel so much higher up on my road bike than my mountain bike, it is a bit unnerving. I know I will get used to it, but any tricks for a newbie? I can do it, but I am not very graceful at it. I am just using the flat pedals for now until I get used to it.

    Next are the positions for the bars. Where does one do most of the riding, usually. Do you ride most of the time on the top part of the bars? I also feel a bit nervous being far away from the brakes like that. Are these normal concerns for a newbie?

    I know practice, practice, practice...but any other ideas to help me along? Thanks.
     
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  2. mattjf

    mattjf New Member

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    I'd say the whole getting off thing can be tricky the first couple rides on a first road bike. One tip I can give you is, make sure the pedals are parallel to the ground. If they are perpendicular and you lean the bike too far when trying to get off, you can dig the crank arm into the cement.

    This is assuming the bike shop fit you for the bike. Did they set the correct seat height and whatnot?

    As for hand placement, it's where you feel most comfortable. I am big (tall, broad shoulders), so I am not comfortable staying low on the handle bars for a long time. I usually place my hands on the top about 8 inches from the center or on the break hoods. But play around and find what feels best for you. I also change my hand position quite a bit as I ride, to keep from getting stiff.

    -Matt
     
  3. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Welcome to the sport. :)

    Think of it this way: the seat is only for use when *riding.* When you come to a stop, or you're sitting in the parking lot, or you're getting ready to take off you should be standing over the top tube (aka cross-bar) of the frame. When approaching a stop, have your pedals up and down, put your weight on the 'down' pedal, take your foot off the 'up' pedal and reach for the ground with your toe while you use the brakes to slow down. When you finally stop, then slide forward off the seat and step down on the foot that was reaching for the ground. Now you have one foot on the ground and the other on the 'down' pedal, while you're standing over the top tube of the frame.

    The most comfortable position is 'on the hoods' if your handlebars are equipped with this position. You're not really gripping the bar at all, but you're riding with your hands where the brakes connect to the bars (see attached pic from http://velonews.com/tour2005/gallery/articles/8380.0.html ). If you drape your fingers over the brake levers like Lance is, then you have quick access to the brakes in this position.
     
  4. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    A shot in the dark, based on this portion of the post.

    I am only taking a couple of short rides on my road bike so far, but I find the transition pretty easy (other than my gut on the way). I think the reason why is that I have the seat on my comfort bike (basically a wimpy mountain bike) with a seat set at the height expected for a road bike, and not the lower position that seems to be used often on this type of bike.

    You may want to take a few days on your old bike with the seat up at a similar height in case it helps you to get used to the higher seat on a bike you feel comfortable on.
     
  5. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I've been riding a racing bike for so long that until I read your question it has never crossed my mind how I get off my seat when I come to a stop, so I paid attention to it on my ride today. I realized that I slide forward off my seat exactly as the bike comes to a stop and put my foot down. But, that's probably hard to do as a beginner, so I worked on a couple of alternatives that would be less intimidating. I think I found something that will work for you. As you're approaching a stop, put one foot at the bottom of the stroke and unclip the top foot. You can then slide forward off the seat and support your weight directly over the bottom bracket with the leg still clipped in as you're coasting or braking. When you come to a stop, it's just a matter of putting your foot down because you're already off the seat. I tried it -- it works.

    As frenchy suggested, most riders put their hands on the brake hoods, with the brake levers in reach at all times. Sometimes when I'm on a long climb and there's nothing to brake for, I'll put my hands on the horizontal part of the bar, in close to the stem. But, I only ride like this when I don't see any need to brake. About the only time I ride on the drops is when I need to get aero for speed, but I don't enjoy riding in that position so I don't do it very often.
     
  6. karries

    karries New Member

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    I totally agree with rapdaddy but make sure that you unclip your foot closest to traffic.Don't make the mistake I did and unclip your other foot, I fell over into the way of traffic passing from behind and could not get my foot unclipped.I was lucky and did not get run over.Just a thought to think about.:)
     
  7. sahmad88

    sahmad88 New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I really feel stupid. I had a friend show me how they did it. I have been going up and down my street practicing and I pretty much have it down I think. Now I just need to get to the point where I don't even think about it. Thanks for not laughing out loud. :p
     
  8. kjbetz

    kjbetz New Member

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    I know you feel foolish asking these types of questions... but these are the type of things I'm looking answers for myself being a new cyclist. I just got a road bike and only have been out once so far. This week is my week to get out and ride and feel how out of shape I really am!

    But these are the same types of questions I've been wondering about myself.

    Thanks for posting the questions and thank you for the useful replies!
     
  9. neednoexcuse

    neednoexcuse Member

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    Well, you guys should not shy. Many of the people are complaining about the same thing. You don't need to take out your bike only once a week. You can take it out multiple days a week and the most important part, practise.
     
  10. north woods gal

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    Nothing foolish at all about those questions. Most of your questions have been answered, well, but I'll add a few things.

    Those drop bars are designed that way for a reason, one being to allow you to use a wide range of hand positions. On a long ride, by changing hand positions, it really does help reduce fatigue and hand numbness. Another is streamlining when dealing with a head wind. Getting down into the drops (the bottom rear facing bars) really makes a difference, sometimes as much as two or even three gears, depending on the wind. As someone who rides both road bikes and MTB, these are very useful advantages for the road bike.

    Road bikes are designed to put your body in the most power efficient position for road riding, but if you are new to road biking, it does take time for the body to adjust to the position. It may feel a bit awkward at first and there may be some aches and pains along the way. Go slow at first - short, but frequent rides.

    Note also that there are all sorts of subtle adjustments you can make on a road bike to get the fit you want. Most of us hardcore roadies get pretty finicky about seat height, seat tilt, handlebar tilt, position of the hoods and so on. That comes, later, though. Just make sure your bike shop sets you up with proper adjustments to get you started.
     
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