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Thread: Newbie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    8

    Newbie

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    So I am super new to cycling, got a mountain bike and road bike last fall, and now that spring is here, I can get to riding. I was having some balance issues last fall on my road bike. That is when I got the mountain bike - seemed less 'scary'. Has anyone else had this issue. I know they say you never forget how to ride a bike, but apparently you can forget how to balance. I know with practice it will get better - but the few spills off my road bike were quite embarassing! Any tips, tricks, or encouragement would be greatly appreciated - I really hope to begin cycling to get exercise, and have signed up for a duathlon in September.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    pacific northwest
    Posts
    249
    Welcome to TE! I started riding on a hybrid,then got a roadie a few months later. I was nervy on the roadie because it was light and fast and I just started riding clipless. I had a few minor crashes that were embarassing but funny now. I just figured oh good now I've gotten that over with. When I first started out I read everything I could and pestered my DH with questions then I found TE. I think its great you are doing a duathalon. I don't know where you live but you might see if any local bike club has any beginners rides. Plus your local bike shop may have classes. Good luck!
    I like bikes, sometimes more than my husband

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,821
    Welcome. I'm not sure exactly what your balance issues are stemming from, but one basic thing that might help is to look where you want to go. If you're looking right at the ground, and not far enough ahead, that might be a problem. Also, if there's something you need to avoid, like a pot hole, rock or other debris in the road, don't focus on it. Look for the way around it.

    The other thing you might want to do is add some core work. A strong center will help your balance.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,193
    Welcome Tomaskova! Those skinny tires on the road bike make it a little more difficult to balance at slower speeds. Your mtb will help you with a smoother pedal stroke and balance on fatter tires. Perhaps you can practice balance techniques on your road bike on the grass which will soften the fall. And don't feel about falling. It just happens. I mastered the art of slo-mo falls on my road bike--in public.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    8

    Thanks!

    Thanks ladies! I think the balance issue does stem from just being nervous and new at this again. I will try focusing further out too. And I do laugh at my falls, and it was a good way to teach my kids that even I fall, and have to get up and keep trying. Of course having the SUV full of teenagers slow down, honk and yell at me didn't help much at the time Such is life! I am in MN and we are having rain/sleet/snow today, so my time on the bike is still delayed. I hope to also try some spin classes too, and I have just begun working on my core too.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    Welcome - both to TE AND back to the bike As others have said, don't be embarrassed about falling, we all do at one point or another... I also think the balance thing can also be affected by bike fit. My first bike was too long for me, this was the bike I learned how to actually ride on. I was never comfortable cornering and so forth - just felt so unstable. The first time I stepped over my LHT, a bike that DID fit me, my balance "problem" resolved itself. Even though further fit-related work had to be done with that bike, no more balance problems.

    Oh yes, have fun

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    8
    I plan on getting off my mountain bike and back on my road bike soon...hoping the balance is all mental, and I won't need a new ride! Thanks for your input!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    47
    I am living proof that you definitely CAN forget how to ride a bike. I learned when I was a kid, but I never rode much on my own; my dad and I would go out on the tandem often, but that didn't teach me balance, steering, etc. As an adult, I got a bike and found out that I didn't really remember any of it, and I pretty much had to learn again.

    The advice you've gotten so far has been great- don't push yourself to try things you're not ready for, and enjoy whichever bike you're riding.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Whitmore Lake, Michigan
    Posts
    920
    You're getting good advice here and it's a plus you have two bikes to ride on because if you only had the one that you feel less stable on you wouldn't be out practicing. It sounds like you have some level of comfort and are ready to practice with your road bike. Like Alice said, take it slow and don't rush yourself.

    It is embarassing to fall, however I care more about the danger of falling, like breaking bones or otherwise seriously hurting myself than the embarassment of it. I had my share of falls last year when I was starting out. It was a combination of not being acclimated to a bike from years off of one and a bike that was too big for me. A trip to your local bike shop requesting that someone observe you riding can help to dial in your bike like seat and handlebar adjustments and then you can rule out fit. Riding, riding and more riding will gain you confidence and comfort on your bike but it sounds like you already have that.

    And welcome to TE!
    Bike Writer

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