New to the open road....finding it hard on iron bike.....

Singing Mulefa
Singing Mulefa Posts: 9
edited September 2008 in Road beginners
I have recently sold my car and started to cycle to work. I am a teacher and I am setting up the cyle to work scheme and through the scheme am buying a new bike.

I am currently killing myself on an old Bear Valley SE, an iron framed monster that goes fast down hill and on straights but up hill is another story.

I have already been to my local bike shop and sellected my new bike. A Cannondale CAAD9 Optimo 3. It is the 2007 model and therfore was considerably cheaper than it could have been. I got it for £935 with a set of SPD pedals and shoes thrown in......I am pretty happy with the deal and can't wait to get my new bike.

I had planned to go from my car straight to my new and amazing bike but due to a delay in paperwork my "voucher" has not arrived I continue to ride my the rain....going slow..

Just thought I would touch base on a site such as this and ask all you knowledgeable people the following questions:

1. I know it may seem like an obvious question but my Marin has three "cogs" at the front by the pedals and my new Cannondale only has two....also the larger cog on the Cannondale looks massive (obviously to increase power to the drive wheel). Will I need to ride/ pedal the Cannodale differently? Is there a different technique?

2. At work locking up my bike will not be a problem.....what is the best way to lock up a bike such as the CAAD9? A long secure rope going through as many parts of the bike as possible?

3. What is the best kind of insurance to get for my new bike? Should I put it on my home insurance? Due to the fact that the bike is my only form of transport I would need to get a replacement if it got I would need the best policy that would replace it quickly!! (I could of course use my Marin as a stop gap - a little like going for a holiday in purgatory)

4. I am quite a big bloke and I weigh 15 stone....I need to get to 13.....I think the bike will the Cannondale CAAD 9 Optimo the right bike for me and my weight?

5. I am currently cycling 14-40 miles a there anything you would carry with you all the time....I am currently carrying spare inner tubes, a puncture repair kit, a lock, a pump and lights for night riding....anything else?

I know that is a lot of questions....

Kind Regards



  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    Hi Mulefa, welcome

    1) Not really a different technique, just try use the gears to maintain a fairly fast "cadence" (say 80 to 90 rpm) rather than trying to push too big a gear, and "grinding" away, it is bad for the knees and is inefficient..

    2) Use a D Lock to secure part of the frame to a solid object (the Abus Granit X Plus 54 is probably the most secure for your money), get a cable (like this one, 4 foot is long enough), pass it round the front rim, pass the end of the cable through the loop so it has the rim within it, pass it through the rear rim, then secure the loop at the other end in the D Lock. The other lock I would recommend is the Kryptonite New York 3000D (currently including a cable free at Wiggle).

    3) Dedicated bike insurance is very expensive with premiums upwards of £150 being fairly typical. Household contents policies can often do much better for little or even no cost. M&S is supposedly the best including insurance for any number of bikes up to £4000 each in value. Even if changing to M&S costs you a small amount more it will still be less than any stand-alone policy. I use CIS contents insurance, they added my bike for about £1.50 per month. But whatever, make sure you check your policy out carefully, and there may be conditions about how or where it is locked (often they specify Sold Secure Gold locks (both of those I recommended are).

    4) I can't really comment, I would expect so, but ultimately any bike is only as good as it's fit for you.

    5) Your list seems pretty comprehensive, I would add tyre levers (you probably have those) and a multi-tool like a Topeak Alien and a KMC chain link (get one to suit your chain, 9 speed or 10 speed I imagine). Add to this waterproofs, mobile phone, some money, water.

    NB: The multitool and chain link may be seen as overkill by some, but you should be able to fix most issues with this. The chain link is easier to use than Shimano chain pins, and is reusable. Even though you don't need a chain tool to fit one, if the chain breaks (which is rare, but happened to me last month) you need the chain tool on your multitool to remove the broken link to allow the new link to be fitted.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    The Cannondale CAAD9 is a very good choice. It'll serve you well. The CAAD range of frames are far better than a lot of more expensive frames, including carbon fibre frames.

    Have fun...
    I like bikes...