Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97

    Unhappy I'm really a beginner! Please help!

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Two weeks ago I bought my first road bike. It's beautiful and I love it! Problem is that while I can now pull my feet out before I fall over (2 zero mph crashes later), that's about all I can do! I love riding it but could use some basic beginner insight!

    How far should I ride and what should I strive for - speed or distance? I can currenlty ride an hour at an average of 14.8 mph. I have no idea my heart rate. How do I set realistic goals for imrpovement? My boyfriend keeps telling me that people improve their fitness level remarkably fast on a bike - but what does that mean "goalwise." (he rides on a whole different level - I can't even keep up on his recovery rides!)

    Another real question I have is how in the world do you ride standing up? I keep trying it and it kills my quads!! Kills them! I'm exhausted in seconds!!! I have to be doing something wrong!

    Please help - tomorrow I go on my first beginner group ride. I'm convinced I'm going to be the one that topples us all like a row of dominos!

    Thanks for any advice you can give - I tried this on another site and some guy told me I wasn't riding unless I was at an average 20 mph!! nice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97

    sorry!

    I just realized there was a better place to post this - and answers to my questions too!!! I'll pay more attention next time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    First don't worry about speed or distance - just have fun! And get comfy on the bike. Once you're comfy then decide what it is you care about. I like to do long rides and look at stuff. I'm not a speed demon. It's just not the way I'm built.

    As far as out of the saddle goes - think about what gear you're. Is it a gear you can comfortably spin 80 RPM or higher? A lot of new riders like to mash (I know I did) that's not really good for your knees long term. It is more work to be out of the sadldle and less efficient. Think about your position on the bike. I'm still working on this one. I bob up and down and you want to sway from side to side. I try to make myself look like Lance .

    If fitness is an issue then I think a heart rate monitor is a must. I'm a totally geek about mine (actually my hubby's) It has an altimeter, speed sensors, temperature, plus heart rate. All the info downloads to the computer. I use it to track my progress. I'm averaging about 2.5 miles an hour more then I did when I got my bike in April. I use Thom's whenever I ride my single. My heart rate monitor also will download to the computer but it's not cycling specific so doesn't do speed or the altimeter.

    Mostly though enjoy your time on the bike and don't worry about the other folks.


    Veronica

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    13
    Already 14.5mph average? That's awesome? I'm at about 12.5 and I've been riding for years. I like to say it's because it's a mt. bike and I'd go way faster if I had a road bike :-)

    I agree w/the post above...Just keep riding until your comfortable. I like to ride for fun and "mental release" w/long rides. (50-100 miles)...The book that Carmicheal wrote (Lance's coach) is good if you want some goals and ideas on how to improve your riding.

    You'll get better w/the clicking in and out as you ride more. And yes, please remember to spin, not try to crank out hard gears. I did that for years and killed my knees!

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97

    Thanks!

    Thank you both! I want to buy Carmichael's book but my boyfriend owns it and loaned it to a friend. The friend keeps saying that he'll bring it to his weekly ride - 3 weeks - still no book!!

    First group ride is tonight - I'm nervous and of course guess what came today......isn't that always the way it works.

    There are a lot of hills on this ride so I'll try standing again I'm sure. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    58

    standing

    Hey, I've been riding for a little over a year and 1/2 (well, I guess about a year since I don't ride in the winter here, but you get the idea ) I rarely, if ever, stand to climb a hill--any kind of hill, no matter how big or steep. I feel much more comfortable seated and climbing and don't really see any reason to stand up. Although, a friend of mine stands every time he climbs even the smallest of hills...I guess it's all in what you're comfortable with. If you don't feel comfortable standing and climbing then why bother. However, I live in a fairly flat state, no mtns. here So, it might be a different strategy if you're climbing more than 1-2 km at a time...good luck...do whatever feels comfortable, push yourself a little so that you make some progress, and most of all have fun!! Cycling Rocks!! And group rides are a great way to learn from those around you and meet new riding buddies--enjoy!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Brighton, England
    Posts
    672
    Hi Grasshopper - I've been riding for about 2 years but it wasn't till the start of this year I was able to stand out of the saddle. I had the same problem - I could manage a couple of strokes then my legs would just collapse.

    Ealier this year I started spinning and was also totally unable to stand, but after a few weeks I finally got the hang of it. I was so pleased! I think it was helped that my legs had got a bit stronger, but also down to improved confidence, balance and bike handling.

    The more you ride and get a feel for your bike the better, so your confidence will improve and you'll soon be standing out of the saddle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97
    Well, this gives me hope that it's not "just me." I'm convinced I'm doing something very wrong in my technique - but I also know that my legs could stand to be a lot stronger!!

    I'll keep trying with every ride and hopefully it will fall in place over time. Thanks for the advice everyone!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    13
    If you want to build up strength in your legs..go Mt. Biking! WOW! that's a killer and you HAVE to sit down on those steep hills!
    Have fun...Believe it or not, it will all come together. I stand only rarely,and mostly if I screw up and don't shift in time to spin up a hill!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97
    I want to try Mtn biking again with a bike that fits me. I borrowed one for my first trip and the two things combined left me with a TON of bruises! I loved it though!!

    I did a road ride last night (first one) and got basically dropped on the first hill - very frustrating!! How long does it take to build strength on the hills?? I was riding at about 20 mph on the flats and feeling strong and good but as soon as theres a hill I bonk!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Brighton, England
    Posts
    672

    Dropped on hills

    This is something I know a lot about as it happens to me all the time. On the flat I'm fine, but even the smallest incline and I'm being shot out the back.

    Now, they always say you should practise what you preech and I'm own up now and say that, as yet, I haven't done this, but practically everyone I talk to tells me this is the best way to respond to changes in pace, or times when you need to increase your effort - eg when the road starts to roll. In a word - intervals.

    If you're not familiar with how these work there's plenty of literature around on the subject, and I'm sure there's plenty of people out there who can give you a more detailed description than this, but it basically involves a short period of intensive effort, followed by a short recovery, then repeat. For example :

    1 minute max effort on -
    1 minute recovery
    2 mins on
    2 mins recovery and so on

    By the way this is just a very crude idea of how they work. You can vary it a lot , for example increasing time 'on' and gradually reducing recovery time.

    The idea behind this is you train your body to respond to sudden changes in pace - eg sprinting up a hill, jumping on someones wheel who might be going for a break etc. It also greatly improves your recovery time.

    I'm sure the mtb riders will put me right on this but I think a good lumpy mtb ride, where you have a lot of changes of pace would have a similar effect.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,510

    Hills

    To get better riding hills you have to....ride hills! Here's a few tips I've learned:

    Keep pedaling! Don't just coast down and then huff & puff up after your bike has come to an almost complete stop. You'll be surprised at how much MOMENTUM will get you up the hill! Same for flats - keep pedaling at the same cadence and use your gears.

    Concentrate on pedaling in a circle, not just mashing down. (It gives you some thing to think about other than the never ending hill.) Seriously, it does help.

    Get your butt back on the seat and use those strong gluteal muscles that we women have.

    If you need to stand, shift into a slightly harder gear, stand up & keep your butt back as much as possible. When you need to sit, you can shift back into the easier gear. Standing uses more energy than sitting, so save standing to pop over small steep hills, or when you can't sit & pedal anymore.

    When you're sitting, keep your hands on the top of your handlebars. You'll open your chest more & your lungs can expand more easily.

    For long, never ending hills, spin. Don't mash. You'll wreck your knees & your lower back. Even if you're going slower than the pack, spin. You'll get faster.

    If I think of other things, I'll post again.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Plainfield, IL
    Posts
    84
    Just to add, I love to ride when I can see my shadow on the road - seems to inspire me, for some reason! When I'm on flats, I mix it up by focusing on getting the knees up high with each revolution, doing pull-ups for a few strokes or "scraping the gum" motion on the downstroke. Keeps my speed up while working on form!

    Angie

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Brighton, England
    Posts
    672

    shadows

    Talking about shadows - does anyone ever have a quick glance at themselves when they go by big shop windows?

    I felt I ought to own up to this. It often really gives me a confidence lift, because no matter how much of a novice I might feel ,when I see my reflection in the glass I always look so good.....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    97
    no! but I saw my reflection in the side of a car - right before I fell in the grass. I'm staying away from traffic for a while!!

    Oh, I did look good though!

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •