Step 4: Learning to ride a road bike. I guess because I had no idea what I was getting myself into, so NO preconceived notions of the difficulties in riding a road bike (really stupid of me, btw) I just bought a road bike, got the peddles changed, put on my spin shoes (the ones I had been using at Goodlife to do the RPM -aka spin classes) and got on the bike, tried to clip in annnnddd FELL! Soooo not the romantic start to my biking career that I had envisioned. Then I decided to back up a few steps, again I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before falling, but this time I got Mark to adjust the seat. From what I understand when positioning a bike (again from my RPM days) is that you want your leg that is pushing the peddle all the way down - while you are sitting- to be almost straight, and when your foot is up at the top, there should be a like a plumb line running from your knee joint down to your ankle. Disclaimer: I don't know if this is in fact the true measurement for a road bike, but it is for a spin bike. Now this time I took it for a spin around the block using my running shoes! Much better idea. I literally went around my block 10 times, playing with different handle bar positions, learning to change my gears.
|120$ for 25 year old steel road bike! Needed new inner tubes and tires!|
Ohhhh the gears!!!! stupid gears! I was totally spoiled on my hybrid bike, because all you had to do was turn a little dial and voila! gears changed, nice and smooth. Well not so much on a 25 year old road bike. I have these two levers between my handle bars, and they like to stick, and make noise and they do not like me very much! so that aside, I rode in circles until I felt confident on my new seat position and bent-over-arms-reaching position. Then I put my spin shoes on (they have a little metal thingy on the bottom). I sat on the bike, holding onto the van door and just practised clipping in and out. I've done it a bit in the past on a stationary spin bike, you have to torque your heal outwards to unclip. However again spin bike..., stationary... road bike... being held upright by two tiny wheels and MY BALANCE!
|Gear shifters! I am not a fan! But can't complain for such a cheap bike!|
|My 2 year old spin shoes that miraculously fit in the pedals I got at Bikefest for 1$|
|Took the old pedals off and put these on, you can still ride with running shoes too!|
Now I was ready to take my bad boy (because it's steel and blue) out for real test ride with shoes and clips. I was smart and did take off and practise getting in and out on our front lawn, then I just got on the road and went around the block another million times. In terms of speed I didn't notice a huge change. And I do remember seeing road bikers pull up the the curb to unclip so they keep one foot in and balance on the unclipped side, so I practised doing that!
Fast forward a few days and I am not setting out for my first "big" ride, something far from home! My plan is to ride to Mountain Equipment Coop because it's has a bike shop and they are open till 9PM. So shoes on - check, helmet on- check, water,phone and credit card in camel pack - check, cute lululemon shorts- check, MEC long sleeve moisture wick shirt on- check, black fleece overtop- check... I take off... On back roads to get to Brant street. Now little did I know how steep the freakin incline is on Brant street (here in Burlington), I've always been in a car! What a shock! My bike speedometer/computer was clocking me going nearly 50kms an hour!!! (ok really 47km and hour) but still. Holly cow! I was fn petrified I was going to die, seriously seriously scared. I did push my breaks a bit, but then I got scared they wouldn't work properly (which was why I was heading to MEC in the first place to get a tune up). So I did the only thing I could think of... flex my abbs like I was going to die... I just locked everything in, had a death grip on the handle bars, and hoped to GOD I wouldn't hit some grate in the road or something else. And finally I made it to the store! In one piece! So by now it's about 8:20, not dark out but overcast and rainy. I got them to look at my bike and do a half tune up on the spot (because for a real tune up, they would have kept my bike for a couple of days). Since I was at MEC anyway, I decided to buy a pair of bike shorts (because even that short 10K to mec- downhill) was enough to convince me of their value. Another thought that occurred to me was the fact that I didn't want to get hit by a car, so I looked for the brightest vest they had (I could have worn one of those orange targets - you know the crossing guard ones- but couldn't bring myself to the dorkyness factor of that) so settled on a really bring yellow one! Good heaven's, I bought the cheapest shorts and vest and the cost was almost as much as I paid for my bike!
Anyway, now I am the proud owner of some swanky bike clothes, a steel bike (aka... really heavy), and shoes and clips. As a side note, last weekend was Bikefest at Spencer smith park held my MEC so they were getting rid of bunch of second hand clothes and equipment,(you know returns and such that they didn't want to store anymore) and I totally scored a stupid amount of amazing gear for next to nothing. Got my bike peddles for 1$ (a 50$ value) just to give you an example. My camel pack was a prize won my my super awesome daughter for a bike runner race they had! Note to self!!! must return next year for Bikefest to stock up again!
|Holds 2L of water! and it was FREE!!!! thank you MEC|
|You can't really tell but I swear the yellow actually glows it is so bright in reality.|