“Who’s bright idea was this?!” I could hear my dad saying, only those words weren’t my dad’s, they were mine – as I bumbled my way on the bike up the quiet cycle path. This was of course after the comedic exercise of getting on the thing in the first place where I nearly ended up in a tree! I am not a natural-born cyclist shall we say. I prefer exercising without gadgets favouring running where all you need are the clothes on your back and a vaguely decent pair of trainers.
Any cycling I have done before was as a child on a fixed-gear bike or more recently on a mountain bike, although I’m not sure 2 cycling outings amounting to a total of 15 miles counts for much?
My lovely road bike arrived last week. I’d ordered one the week before, but when I went to pick it up it was far too big for me so I had to order the next size down. Here she is in all her glory – isn’t she a beauty?
I took her out for an inaugural test spin and here’s what happened:
On my mountain bike, the gears are numbered and there’s a front and back lever, but the road bike isn’t quite as user friendly. After reading the utterly useless handbook, which seems to focus on whether or not you are wearing a helmet rather than showing you the features of the bike, I resorted to YouTube and I’m so glad I did. You see on my road bike, after much research, I’ve established there is a tiny switch for going down the gears and you have to push the break levers sideways to change up (totally obvious right?!).
It seems I’m not alone in having no clue about road bike gears – many people are not shown how to use gears properly at all, especially as most of us start out on fixed-gear bikes. Even the chap in the fantastic video I found here admitted that he, rather embarrassingly, had to go back to the shop to be shown how to use the bike. So later today or tomorrow I hope to be back on the saddle and give some of the tips a go!
So what did I learn on my little bike ride?
– Read the manual or failing that have a good look over the bike and check out videos on YouTube if unsure how to use the gears
– Road bikes are not as scary and wobbly as I thought they would be – I have nailed the getting on and off, and breaking to a gentle stop already
– I need to start building my confidence and get out on the road more (once I have got used to the gears that is!)
Never forget how to ride a bike eh? My arse!
I’m taking part in the Lexus Reading Dinton Duathlon on 17th November.