So nice of you to ask. I have been very active this week – as in physical activity for fitness purposes.
Two weeks ago I bought a brand new road bike, a Trek 1.2 WSD (that’s a beginner Trek bike with woman specific design, such as shorter in some places and longer in others). Along with it I got the clip-in pedals and the computer to tell me how long I’ve been riding (usually not as long as it feels).
We also bought a trainer, which is a handy little contraption that lets us use the bicycle inside (when it’s too cold, too wet, or too hot). I like it because it holds me up and I can focus on getting in and out of the pedals and adjusting my rear because my bum is sore.
But, what’s a road bike that never hits the road? So, last Saturday I prodded dh out of the bed and we loaded it all up and headed for a nearby business park. I like this place because the road is wide (4 lanes) with little weekend traffic and it’s a big circle so I don’t have to stop at intersections or turn onto new roads. DH finds it BORING. I find it comforting and SAFE. (We’re different like that.)
DH was very good about spending a few minutes in the parking lot reminding me how to get onto and off of my bike. I know, what’s so hard about that. But with clip-in pedals the routine looks like this.
- Stand on the left side of the bike.
- Position the right pedal at 6 o’clock.
- Put the right food on the pedal and click in
- Now bring the pedal back up to 3 o’clock (that’s toward the front). This means I can push off and get some momentum. Speed is my friend (yeah, crazy, but I keep repeating it thinking maybe some day I’ll believe it)
- Now, while the bike is moving (with me on it, sort of) get that left foot up and clipped in
- If the left foot doesn’t clip in right away, pedal normally to keep up the speed (remember, speed is my friend) until I can get that foot clipped in
Now that I’m moving, stopping requires a lot of planning as well.
- Get up some speed (yep, speed really is my friend)
- With the left foot at the top of the stroke (12 0’clock) jerk the shoe out of the pedal clip. I still have some difficulty with this so I start preparing to stop long before I really need to stop. I can walk the bike the last few feet if I have to.
- Now start braking and lean to the left to put the left foot on the ground when I stop
- Then unclip the right foot
All of this was practiced numerous times at the bike shop as the guy there walked me through it and then watched me do it. I wrote it all down while we were at the store. I have some very real and valid fears about this part.
DH is telling me the fears may be real but they aren’t valid, this will all become second nature to me in no time. Then we practice in the parking lot and I do really well. We finally end up over at the exit onto the road and off he goes. I position my pedal, clip in, pull it back to 3 o’clock to get some momentum and off I go. Only, I didn’t really move much at all (just a slight little itty bit of incline) and I can’t get the other foot up and all my weight is on the right and I know how this is going to end, but I can’t do anything about it. So down I go.
A small part of me is saying “see, I told you so. this is ridiculous, and at your age” but it’s hard to hear that voice over the tears that are coming. Then dh whips around (and gets his foot unclipped with no problem at all!) yelling “that’s number 1” like my first fall is some great achievement and I’m well on my way to the cyclist hall of fame now that I finally accomplished my first fall. I really love that man!
State changed, tears gone, elbow not really scraped worth talking about, bum bruised, and knee red but not actively bleeding, I pick my bike up and tell him we’re going to finish this ride. (Yes, my age is showing, 10 years ago I would have gone home and mourned all that money wasted on a good bike.) I did point out that my fears were apparently real AND valid.
I have to say, it was much worse than the picture looks. I think the camera lies.
The next 30 minutes were a lot of fun because I actually moved fast enough that DH could ride next to me, rather than taking off and coming back around the circle once in awhile.
However, it was also a lot of work figuring out how to work the brakes and the gears and, of course, dreading the point when we would actually stop and I would have to get my feet unclipped and get off the bike.
I’m sure it meant nothing to DH, but I did notice when we finally coasted into the parking lot that there were 4 women getting their bikes ready. So I had an audience if I decided to end my ride as well as I started it. But, I managed to get my left foot out of the pedal, then brake, and stop (well away from our truck) and walk the bike on over.
I’ve been back on the bike on the trainer twice this week, riding about 8 miles each time. Then I got some crazy idea about signing up for a local 31 mile ride on June 6. That’s just two weeks away. DH thinks it will be a lot of fun and we should be able to knock it out in about 2.5 hours. I’ll let you know how that goes.