Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My First Ride

Like Riding a Bike right?

So today was the day. I got home from work a bit early and the days are getting a bit longer, and it was sunny out and it was almost 30 degrees. I'm thinking the stars are aligning for me to get out on my first ride of the season, not to mention my first time on a road bike.

I know that time isn't on my side at this point as it was almost five o'clock and the sun wouldn't last past five-thirty, so I rush in the house and start figuring out what I'm going to wear for this milestone ride. Turns out, being the non-cyclist that I am, besides not owning a bike, I don't own any proper bike riding garb either. Looking in my closet the best thing I can find to work in a pinch is a pair of Nike wind pants and an Under Armour jacket. I do have a helmet so I'm covered there, but as I'm getting ready to pull out of the garage I realize without some sort of gloves I won't make it far. Searching around, a pair of my leather garden gloves seem to have a light shining down on them and without hesitating I pull them on my already numb hands and I grab the bike.

If you've taken to reading this blog you may have come to the conclusion that my common sense is somewhat lacking, but if you know me, you hopefully think that there is some intelligence in me somewhere, so before pulling out of the garage I give the bike a once over. I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for, but flat tires and any wires not connected would have been a red flag I think. Not finding anything catastrophically wrong with the bike, I hop on and pedal out of the garage.

First Impressions

It's not like riding a bike at all. I'm used to a stable, solid feeling mountain bike with fat tires. What I was riding was a bit different. Just keeping this thing going in a strait line was a challenge. The way you hold the handlebars on a road bike made it very foreign feeling and every time I took a hand off the bars to shift or wipe my nose, I felt like the town drunk trying to pass a sobriety test. Also, I'm starting to realize why bikes have evolved. Having the gear shifters on the down tube is a royal pain in the ass, not to mention that these old gear shifters don't click into place or anything when you have successfully changed a gear. You just have to finesse it until it's done. So far this first ride is doing two things. Number one, making me aware of just how far I have to go to get ready for this 100 mile race. Number two giving me a healthy respect for the history and roots of the sport. If I had just jumped on a brand new, perfect, $1000 bike I may not have gotten this schooling.

So that's the equipment, now on to the operator. If you could have been in a car driving by me today, you would have gotten a real treat. I'm sure watching me roll by was quite a sight. I already mentioned how I didn't look the part at all, now on top of that, about a mile into this "ride" the cold, my weak legs, and my pathetic lungs were conspiring against me.

Determined to at least ride the 5K loop I normally jog, I stuck it out a bit longer. I found out why gardening gloves aren't the glove of choice for most real cyclists... they don't do anything. They didn't help me grip the handlebar and they certainly didn't help against the cold. Also, I now know why people don't wear wind pants while riding a bike. They get caught in the chain. So after stopping to tuck my pant leg into my sock I'm even more dubious looking. At least by this now, I'm past the halfway point, and the end is near.

The one positive that came out of this first ride was that while I did feel like a fish out of water on the road bike, there were glimmers of hope. It was cool to feel how a road bike could take the energy from my legs and efficiently transfer it into motion. I feel like there is a lot less wasted output compared to a mountain bike. Also, while right now I have no real business near a real race or even other cyclists, my appetite is wet and I look forward to the day when I might be able to hang with someone that knows what they are doing on a road bike.

I made it back to the garage having only logged about 3 miles. Most real cyclists don't even realize they're out for a ride until about 5 or 10 miles in but oh well. I survived the first ride so that's a win in my book.


  1. Nice start! Keep at it, and welcome to the world of Cycling. :D

  2. Heh, We were all newbs once. In spite of your troubles it seems like you're having a good time anyway. That's what gets you hooked on cycling.

  3. Thanks guys. Ya, so far so good. With the bike purchase yesterday, I'm hoping things continue to pick up. 153 days to the century ride!


Custom Search
Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center