Looking for some cycling advice

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by ZeppelinFan29, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. ZeppelinFan29

    ZeppelinFan29 New Member

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    Well first off, hi! I typed in cycling forums and speak of the devil this popped up. I'm actually from the States but really sports are universal so that's not a problem I guess.

    So I was going to ask:

    I'm a junior in high school (17) and I am interested in taking up cycling as a sport/hobby. I'm actually a runner (mid-distance type stuff) and I love doing it but at the same time cross training is wonderful for muscle groups and as anybody in here who runs knows, running routes are far more limited and after the umpteenth time they tend to become a bit jaded. Cycling would be something new and fun for me and that's why I'm interested.

    I'm mostly interested in the fitness benefits but if I eventually decided to compete that would be great too and I'm interested in taking up swimming as well.

    What stuff would I need to get started? I have a mountain bike, should I ride that (assuming it still fits) for awhile and then progress to a road bike? Or should I just start off with a road bike and just work with that? Also, typically how do runners and noncyclists transition into the sport and what kind of training specifically would help me do better and last longer on rides? Also, how expensive is cycling? Obviously I assumed it is more expensive then running or swimming. Any wisdom y'all could share would be greatly appreciated.

    I always just sort of envy those bikers I see out early in the mornings riding and if I want to do it too I feel like I need to learn what I can first
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Guess what, probably half of the participants in this forum are from the States so your in good company already. There are a lot of Aussies, Canadians and British to a lesser extent, and a lot of other good people from other countries not mentioned. There are even a few trolls, but you'll know them when you read them.

    Your best bet wouild be to stop at your local bicycle shop and talk to them. You can take your MTB with you and they can see if it is still a fit for you. One thing to remember is that fit is everything. If the bike does not fit you, it will be uncomfortable and you will eventually stop riding it.

    As far as equipment is concerned, first you need a bike obviously. You also really need a helmet. And you need yourself too of course. This is all that you really "NEED". The nice things are as follows:
    1. A hydration system such as water bottles or a camelbak
    2. A cycling computer to let you know how fast you are going and how far you have gone. Most of them have many more funtions too.
    3. Clipless pedals and cycling shoes that will accept the clipless pedal cleats.
    4. Cycling shorts and jerseys for maximum comfort.
    5. Gloves to protect your hands.
    6. A seat bag with an emergency flat kit which can consist of a spare innertube, patches, inflation device, and tire levers.

    If your MTB still fits, then its OK to start there. It would definitely be less expensive. A good entry level bicycle usually starts around $600.00 US. You can get good bikes less expensively if you buy a used bike off eBay or Craigs List, but you need to know what size bike you need and what to look for. Just a word of caution, there are several bikes that can be found at discount department stores for a couple hundred dollars. They look good and the description in the store makes them sound like they are serious equipment. They are not something that I would recommend. The quality of the components is questionable and the bicycle assembly is usually less than acceptable to a serious rider.

    Transitioning into riding is simple. Just ride! Ride as much as you can and then ride more. You will be sore for a couple of weeks as you use muscles you didn't even know you had. Your backside will be sore until you get used to your saddle. Just make sure that you eat right and that you stay hydrated. Take food with you. Cycling jerseys usually have pockets in the back which is a great place to stash a couple of apples or pears, and at least one banana!

    As a runner, you are part of the way there as you have your stamina already built up. You will need to ride long distances to enhance your endurance. Everyone rides different distances but it seems as though most riders ride 10 to 30 miles a day according to their training schedule. On weekends, they typically ride twice that distance or more.

    Once you endurance is built up, you can improve you speed by riding intervals. We all love intervals, don't we guys? Intertvals are like wind sprints. Basically your pedalling cadence should be 90-100RPM. To do an interval, you increase your cadence and shift to a higher gear for a preset distance (anywhere from a half mile as a beginner to several miles as you become advanced). After the speed phase, you ride in a lower gear with your cadence around 90-100RPM to recover. After the recovery phase, you do another speed phase and repeat several times.

    There are other training techniques for whatever events you may want to compete in, but intervals are usually a part of any training program.

    Anyway, the big thing is to find your bike and ride it. If you do decide to compete at a higher level, bicycling can be fairly expensive. It can be relatively inexpensive if you just want to ride recreationally.
     
  3. ZeppelinFan29

    ZeppelinFan29 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll need to check my bike for fit. However, my biggest beef right now is that we've started the track season a couple of weeks ago and so I'm usually running in the afternoon and as much as I am interested in taking up cycling I can't just abandon my first sport.
     
  4. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    So fit it in when you can if you really want to cycle.

    You might also want to investigate joining a bike club. You'll find it more enjoyable with like minded people who can give you advice.
     
  5. webbhost

    webbhost New Member

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    Hi,

    Just thought I would add to your list of required parts a bike lock.

    If you have one already, great. If not get one. Sooner or later you will have to leave your bike in a public place, and we wouldn't want to see a thread on here the following day saying "Who stole my bike?"

    good luck with the new hobby, personally I would say get used to your mountain bike first, then goto a road bike. Dont make the jump straight away.

    Firstly because using a mountain bike requires more energy than a road bike, thus you're getting more of a work out, and secondly because if a few weeks down the line you decide you have changed your mind, you haven't spent alot of money on your bike already.

    Nay
     
  6. RedRider2009

    RedRider2009 New Member

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    Hey...I am 16 and I just started road biking in mid July 2007...all you really need is a bike that works well...because if you have a crappy bike it is more likely to break...and being a long distance from home when that happens sucks...you will probably want a pair of gloves, a helmet, I enjoy having a mirror on my helmet because my neck gets sore after having turned around looking for cars a billion times...you will probably want a small tool kit...a hydration pack...maybe a camera, cellphone, ipod...w/e else you really want...feel free to e-mail me... [email protected]
     
  7. iglagol

    iglagol New Member

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    ZeppelinFan29, I think you have not mentioned what style of riding you prefer:
    -- trial (ride and jump)
    -- street (low frame and seat, riding and standing on pedals)
    -- MTB (dragging up and down mountains)
    -- cross-country (riding through the crossed location)
    -- road biking (riding a roadbike along highways)
    -- tourism (ride for fun and getting inspired and excited on seeing new locations)

    If you are interested about the last-mentioned style and someday come to Odesa, Ukraine, I believe, I could help you a lot.

    2 all: You have given so many prompts, but you seem to have forgotten the main thing: strong wish and belief that one could cross the world with the bike.
     
  8. iglagol

    iglagol New Member

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    Well, nobody has cancelled the necessity of having tools with yourself - right?
     
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