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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    11

    New to boards and cycling! Suggestions for length of first long ride?

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    Hi!

    About a week ago, I got my first road bike! I named her Penny, I'm already in love with her! She was a little out of my initial budget, but I justified it by saying that it felt better than any other bike as far as the fit and my reach.

    I'm planning on training for a sprint tri next year and hopefully a duathlon or a bike race in the next year or so (I'm a runner, somewhat)

    It's a Trek Pilot 2.1 WSD.

    I rode the Specialized WSD and the Trek 2.3 and 1.2 but the Pilot was definitely the most comfortable to me. Plus, she was a 2008 and I got a 10% discount for Team in Training so all in all, I felt it was a great deal!

    Now, I'm new to this and am a little scared on the bike because it goes SO FAST!

    Any tips on the length of my first long ride on the bike? I'm guessing shoot for 15 miles?

    Should I avoid hills initially?

    Thank you!!

    *Diane*

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    47
    My first "long" ride was 11 miles. I thought I was going to DIE before it was over with. There were some hills on it but nothing major. Or at least not major to me. My major hills may be nothing more than little bumps and dips compared to some of you that live places other than Florida.
    Aimee

    A bicycle does get you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun. ~Bill Emerson, "On Bicycling," Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Purdue
    Posts
    84
    My first road bike ride was about 10 miles, but I could have done more. I was already hybrid-riding 10-15 miles daily though. Let us know how it goes!
    My bike is my Benz.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    You don't tell us whether you've been riding a bike before this, or what kind of shape you are currently in, etc.

    If you have little biking experience, I would suggest you start with a very short perhaps 5 mile ride in a low traffic area with no big hills. Be sure to eat a little first, and bring water, sipping it frequently.

    Enjoy!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    361
    My first long ride was 20 miles. I was so tired at the end, that I lost my concentration and fell (to date, that is my worst fall yet). The path was also very windy and sandy, so that contributed to me falling.

    Where abouts in So Cal do you live Diane? I don't mind joining you for your first few rides and giving you a few pointers and tips here and there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    11
    THank you for the responses so far!

    I would say I am in pretty decent/good shape. Just last week I reached my weightloss goal of 38 pounds! (been trying since January 2007). I have good cardio capacity, I race half marathons and shorter distances, have done 1 marathon, work out 5 to 6 times a week.

    But cycling is so new to me and I feel slightly unsteady. I've ridden bikes before, last long ride was a mountain bike ride in about 2006.

    Should I do it by time and not mileage? Aim for a certain cadence?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Fujichants View Post
    My first long ride was 20 miles. I was so tired at the end, that I lost my concentration and fell (to date, that is my worst fall yet). The path was also very windy and sandy, so that contributed to me falling.

    Where abouts in So Cal do you live Diane? I don't mind joining you for your first few rides and giving you a few pointers and tips here and there.
    THat would be great if we could meet! I live in south orange county but I would totally drive! Where are you in LA?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    361
    I'm in Culver City, but frequently ride around the Westchester and beaches area. I usually drive to my ride my bike. Lol. I also like to ride in Orange County (much better roads and drivers aren't as crazy as in LA).

    So we can meet somewhere halfway! That would be cool!

    Also, another thing I did when I started cycling...I just tried to have fun. I only started looking into cadence, speed, etc. when I got more comfortable on the bike. From my experience, I find that people who start riding and don't allow themselves some "fun" time at first, end up losing motivation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    You sound very much like me when I first started riding. I too had just lost a bunch of weight (congrats, by the way!) and was in good cardio shape.

    My very first ride outside my neighborhood was a weekend ride of 15 miles of rolling terrain. I took my husband with me and he HATED it. He almost put his bike in the car to return it to the LBS that afternoon! I, on the other hand, loved it and was ready to go right out and ride again.

    I rode another 15 miler with a few guys at work a couple of days later (they took it easy on me) and then a 10 miler later that same week (man, did my sit bones HURT!). I did my first 'long' ride of 36 miles that second weekend. That ride was an organized training ride for our MS150, so there were tons of other cyclists and rest stops and everything...that made the distance a lot easier to handle. I'm sure I wouldn't have gone nearly as far that quickly had there not been other riders out there (and rest stops with porta-potties!).

    Oh, by the way, my husband didn't give it up and now rides regularly - 4 years later.

    My issue wasn't my strength or my cardio capacity - it was getting used to the position on the bike and getting my butt accustomed to the saddle. I worked my way up slowly after that first week so that I could ride in the MS150 a few months later. Having been in really good physical shape before I started riding really, really helped me adjust quickly. In fact, I find it harder to get started after a few months off the bike now than I did when I first picked it up just because I was in such good shape then (and I'm not now!).

    Welcome!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,321
    I started out in maybe the 25-30mi range for "long" rides. I say don't worry about time or miles at first. Just get out in a safe, low traffic area and just get used to the bike. That's what I did a lot at first. Maybe just 10-20 miles on a trail, and I'd stop mostly because I'd get bored. I was just trying to practice some handling skills and getting comfortable then. It wasn't so much about fitness. Then when I felt a little more competent, I joined up with some groups, hit the road, and tried not to get dropped..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    I'm in So Cal also. Rancho Cucamonga. You should try hooking up with a cycling club to get some experience and tips from other riders. You might try Orange County Wheelman. http://www.ocw.org I think they have rides that start in Irvine and some that start somewhere else. My husband said he thinks there's another club in south OC called Santiago Cycling or something like that? My sister is in a Tri class of some sort down there where they train together for triathlons. She's in Mission Viejo.

    I highly recommend you ride with others as you learn to navigate roads and cars, etc. That would be awesome if you could ride with Fujichant, and I wouldn't be opposed to riding with you as well. However, with a club, you can ride regularly with people in your area and, not only glean from their experience, but also build friendships. Riding with my club motivates me. I also have a couple of friends I ride with. Any time you have others to train with and make plans with, you'll stay more motivated to stick with it. My friend and I just did our first century together. We, therefore, kept each other accountable to show up for training rides at 6:00 a.m. to prepare.

    With your level of fitness, it wouldn't be any problem at all for you to ride 20 miles. However, you might want to do a five to ten mile ride for your first one to get your feet wet, get used to the gears on the bike, riding in traffic, etc.

    I would avoid hills at first, not because of fitness, but, again, to get used to the bike. Take it easy at first until you feel comfortable on the bike. Get used to shifting to keep your cadence consistent as you do go up inclines. (It's hard to completely avoid them unless you are on a flat bike path, like maybe at the beach.)

    It would be REALLY great if your first time out you can ride with someone. Either way, be safe and let us know how it goes. Congrats on the new bike!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    Training by time is a good way to start off... I would suggest that you start off riding three, maybe four times a week. One time a week do your "long" ride. Aim for an hour and a half on the long ride, and see how far you go. That will also give you a little something to measure yourself by as you get stronger and start improving... you can go farther and farther in your 90 minutes because you're getting faster, and not getting so tired, either...

    I end my Road I classes with a little quote from 5x Tour winner Eddy Mercxx, which goes something like this: "Ride as long as you want to, or as short as you want to... and as fast as you want to or as slow as you want to... but go out and ride!"

    Tom

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    511
    I think 20-25 miles is reasonable for someone starting off in pretty good shape. The key, of course, is pacing. You should be thinking 'this is too easy' when you first start. Also, don't be afraid to stop for a moment or two.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    Quote Originally Posted by ilima View Post
    Also, don't be afraid to stop for a moment or two.
    Ditto the stopping! There's no reason you can't stop to take a break every now and then. And make sure you have enough water/sports drink to drink about a sports bottles worth an hour. Dh and I like Cytomax Lite.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Orange County
    Posts
    11
    Thanks everyone! I contacted the OC Wheelmen and they said that I should be able to comfortably ride at least 12-15 miles at a 12mph pace before I'd be ready to ride with their team. I have a 10-14 mile route planned for Sunday, and it's an out and back so if I get tired I'll just turn around and head back.

    I'm super stoked! I'll report back and share some photos of "My First Ride", can't wait!!!

 

 

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