New: So I decided to start cycling (long)

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by student, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. student

    student New Member

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    because I'm fat. :(

    I've been on 3 rides so far and I think I really enjoy it. Previously I've been riding on a stationary bike for about 25 min. Getting to 25 min. on the stationary bike really seems like a chore because it is incredibly boring, whether it's while watching tv or listening to music. Though while riding on the road 40-50 minutes go by like a breeze and I don't even need music with me. I'm really having trouble on even slight hills, I have to move alot of weight and my legs are weak.

    It was sort of humiliating today when I was passed by a jogger, and once he passed my he was long gone.

    I'm using a pos mountain bike. Mabye someday I'll get road bike, but I have no money. I'll get my chops down on this mountain bike. Before my second ride I went and bought a helmet. During my first ride I was so wobbly and inexperienced I knew there was potential for an acciedent.

    but what I don't get is shifting. I've searched some cycling sites for shifting explanations but they use all this technical jargon I don't understand. My basic understanding is that you shift to a low gear going up hills. My short experience tells me I should shift to a higher gear when peddaling becomes too easy. The left shifter thing has 3 levels, but I never use that. The right shifter has 7 levels and becomes rikkety on the high levels. It sometimes stalls the pedals too. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or something is wrong with the bike.

    How do I know what gear to use at cetain situations?
     
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  2. fauxpas

    fauxpas New Member

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    Good to see another 'Need to lose weight' man... Stick with it as the pounds will come off and hills will become easier...

    Today, I managed to ride all the way up a hill so steep I hit 87kph riding down it. Its so steep, even skateboarders and rollerbladers don't dare ride down it... But after weeks of persistence and heart attacks, I got up it... Next goal is to do it every day...

    As for your question, you pick a gear suitable to sustain a certain cadence (pedaling pace in rpm). That cadence is totally up to you. Too slow and you stall and fall off the bike... too high and you pedal faster than the road runner and go nowhere...

    Time will help as you discover how the front and rear sprockets work. The chain does not like being on too weird an angle though. So if you are on the smallest front sprocket (far left) and the smallest rear sprocket (far right) the chain will not like that and it would be better to move the chain to a larger front sprocket and at the same time picking a larger rear sprocket. This will give you similar gearing but better for the bike.

    Best play with gearing on the flat roads so you don't embarrass yourself falling off the bike choosing the wrong gear halfway up a hill...

    All the best mate... keep it up...
     
  3. kk4df

    kk4df New Member

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    If your gears are labelled like mine are, you want to use the lower numbers to climb the hills. This is considered a higher gear, only because the gear ratio is "higher". But you pick a lower number on the handlebar shifters to climb hills. You should be using the left shifter as well, 1 for steep uphill, 2 for normal, and 3 for faster speed downhill.

    What you really want to try and do is keep your cadence (pedal rotations per minute) up pretty high. Use your watch, and count how many times your right foot passes the bottom of it's cycle in 15 seconds. Multiply by 4. This is your "cadence". For someone starting out, I would try to get my cadence above 80. Once you get more time on the bike, you'll probably want to increase the cadence to 90 or higher.

    Keep up the good work. I've been riding about 3 months, am now riding about 150 miles per week, and have lost over 25 lbs.:D
     
  4. ABG

    ABG New Member

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    So far, cycling is the only sport I've done which I don't ever find boring. Stick with it, explore new trails and roads, and you will lose weight without even thinking too much about it - because you'll actually have fun for once!

    You may want to talk to your LBS (for us cycling geeks, that's "local bike shop.") Your "derailleur" may need adjusting. Yes, I know, technical jargon; the derailleur is the contraption on the right side of your rear wheel that goes around your chain and takes up the chain's slack; it is the thing that actually shifts your rear gears. The right levers control the rear gears, and yes, most of the time that's what you will want to use. If it's out of adjustment, it may get "rickety" - if you just got on a bike that you haven't used in a while, it may need a few tweaks at your bike shop anyway. The alternative is to learn the bike mechanics yourself, which you may want to do at some point, but maybe later, not now, right?

    As for the left shifters, which control the 3 front gears located near the pedals, basically you may want to shift down to "1" (the easiest front gear and the smallest chainwheel) when going up a hill, to "3" (the hardest front gear and the largest chainwheel) when going down a hill, and on relatively flat terrain stick with "2" - the middle chainwheel. Whenever you shift, you want to "pedal lightly" - that is, coasting without exerting pressure on the chain, but still pedaling forward. If you take your bike into your LBS, which it sounds like it may need, they will be glad to explain all this to you. Still, to shift right definitely takes some miles of practice, but you'll get the hang of it. Happy trails!
     
  5. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    It will soon be time for that most enjoyable of activities....BIKE MAINTENANCE!
    Riding a well maintained bike is a joy and a delight.Having the ability to maintain and repair your bike will increase your confidence a lot.Riding a poorly maintained bike can be ,literally,"hell on wheels".
    As a student,you probably don't have a lot of cash to splash about.The LBS is going to end up getting some of that cash anyway,but it's preferable to have something tangible (new bike or gear) in return,rather than the faded memory of a maintenance session that shouldn't take more than 1/2 hr. a week.
    You will need a few basic tools which won't break the bank and which will quickly pay for themselves:
    A Phillips head screwdriver (or 2) which you will need to adjust brakes and gears and a few other things. The ones without chrome plating are usually the best.You don't need to buy the most expensive ones.
    A set of hex keys (Allen keys) metric sizes for tightening and removing/replacing socket (cap) screws/bolts.They're the bolt thingies where the hexagonal shape is in the centre.Hex keys are cheap.
    An adjustable spanner (crescent wrench,shifting spanner) to remove wheels if you don't have the quick-release type (often the case with cheaper bikes).A cheap one will do just fine for starters.
    A pump and tyre-levers,and some stick-on patches.This is where it's worth spending some money.A frame mounted pump costs less than a track pump (The ones that you hold in place with your foot),but it takes longer and requires more effort.More physical effort=more weight loss...well,marginally anyway.Flexible tyre levers are less likely to damage the tube.Cheap pumps quickly give up and IMO are a false economy.
    Chain lube.I don't know what's available where you are so I won't recommend a brand,but your LBS will help out here.An old toothbrush is useful for chain cleaning,as are some rags.
    If you plan to remove and replace the chain...a chain breaker.You can buy very good ones which will last a lifetime,or there are some OK ones which will eventually fail,but will be reasonably good value until then.By the time your first one fails you will know enough about tools to be able to get a good one,and by then you will probably be a committed cyclist and won't mind spending the extra.
    The Most Important Thing...KNOWLEDGE.In the unlikely event that it's not already on this forum somewhere (Search button at the top of page),ask and you will usually receive.Your local public library will have books on bike maintenance.Some are better than others (Zinn's books are well written and intended for beginners IMO) It's worth reading them before something goes wrong ...they will help you to understand how your bike works and how to ride it.
    Here's a link to Park Tools which has a very useful "repairs help" section.
    Lastly...a Local Bike Shop ...ask local cyclists for a recommendation.Buy consumables (tubes,cables,brake pads,tyres,chain lube) at the LBS.you might save a few pennies shopping at a discount store,but they can't give you advice.Most bike shop owners aren't there to get rich but they have to make a living too.If we don't support them then one day they won't be there when we need them. (NO,I don't own a bike shop)
    :D
    http://www.parktool.com/
    Welcome to Park Tool Company
    Park Tools Link
    Good luck with your cycling and exercise program! :)
     
  6. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    Faaaaark...did I just type all that? Time for some malt-based rehydration!
     
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