Monday, August 8, 2011

Biking 3.0

After 2 years of breaking my badonk racing bike in, it was clear that the best course of action was to get a new bike that was a bit more suited to my skill level.

But since that one was actually a wee bit small, I got this one instead.

*I bet I could take it off some sweet jumps.

Note, if you will, the downward slant of the tube toward the seat, allowing me to actually stand over the bike with my feet on the ground.  I point out the brakes because I can reach them on this bike and squeeze them to my heart's content.  I also have fancy 'rapid-fire' shift changers which make shifting technically easier...more on that in a bit.

This year I am no longer bailing (much). But until about a month ago, I was still working on the dismount.  I would slow down, take my foot off the lower pedal, stand on the top pedal, and somehow climb up to get off the bike. Like yay:

Totally normal, right?  Well, TriGuy decided it was time for me to do drills--nothing crazy: start-stop,

and go in a circle.

I spent a solid hour and change working these little details out...on the street in front of my house. My neighbours were totally confused impressed.

My fancy racing bike had label-less gears so I (was supposed to have) memorized the direction of which way to click them to make pedaling easier or harder.  So with my new bike I have the "advantage" of seeing numbers, in addition the rapid fire gear changes.

Don't lie, you all know you're jealous of my rapid-fire gears.

So.  Armed with my shiny new bike, TriGuy and I went on a nice hour and a half training ride a few weeks ago on a loooong bike path.  The ride out is a gentle slope up, then obviously a gentle slope down on the way back.  I've been on this path before with the old bike so I knew what to expect.  This new bike is not as sleek as the other one so I also knew it would require more pedaling (ok with me because then I have better control and am not focusing on balancing while careening out of control...uphill).

After a 3 mile warm-up I decided to really work my legs and see how hard and fast I could pedal.  I started playing with the gears so that I felt some resistance and moved back and forth until I was sure which way was harder and which was easier.  I took two breaks so I could stop and drink (you didn't actually think I was going to drink while moving on my bike, did you?) By the end of the 10 miles I was really huffing and puffing.

I stopped, took a minute to drink choke on some water, then walked the bike around until I was facing the other way.  I'm sounding more like a real cyclist by the minute.

Since the rest of the ride would be either flat or mostly a gentle downhill I decided I'd switch gears again to give myself some traction. I really don't like feeling out of control on the bike. I didn't notice much change on the first couple of gears so I kept shifting down...that's right. I said:

And as I did that I noticed the pedals were spinning faster and faster with less and less resistance. Which means I was pedaling uphill for the better part of 10 miles in the toughest gear.

This may explain why I've never been able to drive stick.

*Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for getting Napoleon Dynamite lines stuck in my head all week :P



  1. Ha, I barely understand bike gears (I should probably learn to stay upright first), but even I know that sounds unpleasant! I guess that means your legs got a REALLY good workout?

  2. Ha ha ha! I love it! Totally loved the onomatopoeia for the rapid-fire gears. Hilarious!

  3. I love your drawings!!

    I do not have the rapid fire gears but I still consistenly go the wrong way with my gears too! Sucks when going uphill that's for sure!

  4. Hahaha when I first stepped up to a better bike (read: not from Walmart) it took me foreverrr to figure out shifting :(

  5. No shit I am super jealous of your rapid fire gears!
    That should just be obvious...

  6. I WILL admit that I'd love my rear shifter to have numbers. I can't even say how many times I've looked back to see where I am ("Do I have another gear?"). Usually I just test the shifter to see, but if the number was there, it'd be that much easier.

    But I guess for a "road bike," that would just be "extra weight."

  7. Gears with numbers you can see is a good idea.

  8. The "dismount" description caught my attention. Not that I bike all that often but, when I do, I always have this huge fear of seriously injuring my 'girl parts' if I land on the bar during dismount. Not to mention how un-cool I would look while falling.

  9. you know you can put handle bar "pom-poms" on your new bike. they look cool and make you go faster ;)

  10. Wonderful! Awesome!
    Nice post! Nice pics!

  11. runningonwords: Yep, sure got a great workout :)

    Lora: Thanks! Don't yours do that?

    Erika: Thank you :) It is so nice to know I'm not alone :P

    Yvonne: I don't know why it's such a challenge but it is, isn't it?

    Amanda: Yeah you are :D

    Kurt: I guess the extra paint for the numbers really weighs the bike down. I must admit, I am impressed you can look back at your wheel while riding.

    Tony: You have no idea how good.

    Allie: That's why my road bike had padding on the top tube :) (didn't help with looking un-cool though)

    Steve: Hmm, I'll have to think about that one. Although I'm all for looking cool ;)

  12. I know this has nothing to do with how poorly you managed your newly acquired gear shifting skills, but without fail, your hair in these pics always makes me happy.

  13. *^_^*: Thanks!

    Vapid Vixen: I'm so glad :D

  14. That's all a bit hi-tech for my 'skill' level - I think I'll stick to a bike like that FAAAAAABULOUS pink one!!!

  15. I totally need the pink bike with the streamers hehe. I'm deathly afraid of the gears when I get a fancy schmancy bike, as well. It's kind of intimidating. I'll never be able to drive a stick either :P

  16. Red Nomad Oz: I think you have some competition for that pink one :)

    Meg: You gotta fight Red for it. I find the gears really confusing...but the stick driving was just scary. Glad we're of like minds on this too!

  17. Bahahahahahahaha-
    I think I did that on a mini-bike when I was like, 10?
    I ran into a tree showing off for a friends older brother.

    So glad it wasnt just me!
    Thanks for stopping by:)

  18. StardustSavannah: Some of us just develop later than others, Tracy. I was definitely not this cool at age 10 :P

  19. 10 miles?! You are amazing! I managed 4 on my bike today, on a 80% flat road, and thought I was going to pass out by the end of it.

  20. Lindsay: I started going to spin class in the winter. That helped build up my endurance.


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