I need to point out, I haven’t ridden a bicycle regularly since…. junior high, maybe? Maybe even elementary school? It’s been a long time. Until we bought our road bikes this winter, I haven’t even owned a bike in many years!
(I finally have pictures of our new babies though… here’s mine)
And this is Bruce’s all carbon fibre beauty!
But although they are beautiful, learning to ride them has been an experience. The first few weeks were all about breaking in the body parts – legs, behind, and back. With -40 temperatures and mountains of snow and ice, our indoor trainer became our best friend. Eventually, even long rides didn’t leave me a quivering mass when I was done – I thought I was getting good at this!
We’ve had some decent weather lately, and the snow is finally starting to melt. Bruce took his first ride outside last week. This week, I decided I would try this outside business too!
We rode a route Bruce had done before, that takes us mostly through residential areas and along a very nice quiet road with little traffic and a long, flat straight stretch good for practicing cadence and trying to pick up speed. Total distance was almost 10 miles. All in all, it was a good if somewhat scary experience! The things I learned…
1. I love my indoor trainer! This balancing business takes practice!
2. Good sunglasses are a must – the whole way back we were facing the setting sun, and I couldn’t see anything.
3. When your feet are clipped to the pedals, unclip them before you stop! (I managed not to fall, but it was a real near miss!)
4. Good gloves are a must, as are good socks – although slightly above freezing, by the time we got back my fingers were frozen and very painful. My gloves were obviously not good enough.
5. Ear warmers are a good idea too!
6. Riding outside can be fun – getting up to a decent speed on a nice flat road, the wind in your face, this was cool!
7. Riding with an iPod would be dangerous! (No, I didn’t… but now I know I never will either).
8. Riding outside uses different leg muscles than riding inside. I’m guessing it may have to do with balance, but I sure noticed different muscles screeching at me when we were done!
All in all, my first outdoor ride was a success, I think. I’m not so sure about my original plan to ride my bike to work a couple days a week once it warms up – I work 25 KM (15+ miles) from my office, and the roads could be busy.. I need to gain a lot more confidence first.
Hopefully spring really is here, and the weather will stay nice enough to keep riding outside more often than not. I’ll still have to use the trainer sometimes after working all day until it stays light longer.
But I have to say, it really is NOT just like riding a bike!