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



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