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Another Convert....

iclestuiclestu Posts: 503
edited June 2009 in Commuting chat
Hello All,

Another newbie.....

Been reading your posts for a couple of weeks now and thought I'd introduce myself and convey my sincere thanks for all the (indirect) encouragement/advice you have given me with your posts. Thank you!

Thought I'd share my 'newbie' experiences with you and anybody else who may find themselves in a similar situation to myself in the future.

I am currently somewhere between 18 & 19 stone and grossly unfit. I am going to turn 30 later this year :shock: and thought it as about time I got myself in shape. I'd tried gym membership before but struggled to find the time to keep it up so hit upon the idea of cycling to work. For my own commute it is not a time-saver compared to driving (and never will be!) but I figured that I’d still cram more ‘excersice hours’ into the day because I’d not have the time lost in the car. Make sense?

Now at this point I should have looked for a forum, found a LBS, or in some other way, sought some experienced advice, right? OOOPS! I went straight in at the deep-end and bought myself a bike (or is it a BSO I bought? – you guys tell me!). I play a fair bit of online poker and had enough 'Frequent Player Points' to get myself a £250 amazon voucher. So got it and bought myself this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Land-Rover-Torr ... 103&sr=8-2

Ok - you tell me? is it gonna break on me? cost me a fortune replacing sub-standard parts? I dunno. To my mind, it was a 'trusted' name and about as much as I was prepared to spend - FPP's or no. Gotta be better than nothing, right? The annual flexible benefits options for work come out in Jan (the once-a-year opportunity to get a bike on the C2W scheme with my employer), so if I'm still at it then I might consider a 'proper' bike. Surely this will last till then?

Anyways, so my new toy arrives a few days later and suddenly it hits me.... "That's a 13 mile* trip each way to work and you ain't ridden one of these things since you were 14!", but being a thrifty Scot there was NO way this thing was gonna sit in the shed unused. So on I hopped for a test run. 8 Miles later, 2 things amazed me:

1. I had travelled 8 miles. 8 miles. Me, under my own steam, with no engine. 8 Miles! I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid.

2. At that point in time, the limiting factor hindering further travel was not how much power was left in my legs, but the fact that I now needed a surgical procedure to separate ar$e and saddle.

Now, 3 weeks later I have done the 26 mile* round trip commute 3 times (Each was much easier than the last) and have about 40-50 more 'leisure miles' under my belt. I intend to start doing the bike commute Mon, Wed & Fri and hopefully build up to doing it everyday. I already feel like a new man and, although I have yet to notice any weight loss (I dont have scales - so cannot say for sure), there is no going back.

OK - Having rambled on for ages already just a few more experiences to share as a newbie:

1. The second you put foot to pedal as a newbie cyclist the world instantly splits in half. The uphill half and the downhill half.

2. Even for the grossly unfit - A bicycle is a phenomonally efficient machine. I was staggered how easy it was to cover a few miles on a bike. If you are thinking about starting this. Stop thinking and JUST DO IT! It is easier than you think, paritcularly if you measure your accomplishment in miles, not in miles per hour.

3. I owe 'serious cyclists' a heartfelt apology I (very very unfairly, I am happy to concede!) would have imagined the thigh-bulging, Lycra clad, super-cyclist with all the gear and a road machine that weighs exaclty 1.5 penny-weight to be elitist and purely into thier 'sport'. I would have imagined them sneering with derision at my BSO and 19 stone frame as they shot past me at 50mph. Nothing could be further from the truth. 2 of these "Lycra Condom's" have shot past me at unimaginable speed and both have actually managed to speak – I generally lose the power of speech 100yards into my bike-ride. The 1st was going the other way and I got a 'Good Evening' that I had zero chance to respond to. But the other was even more special.........

Last night on mile #24 of my 26 mile round trip. I have a small mountain to climb (well ok, its only a slight incline when you going down it in on mile 2 of the round trip, but this way round it as a huge, steep, never-ending bohemoth of a mountain). I am in my second gear pedalling like f*ck and moving at precisely 1 inch per minute closer to the top with sweat dripping off my chin when out of nowhere I heard a "Stick at it, mate!" as this other super-cyclist shot past me giving me acres of room and more engouragement than he could ever know with such a simple gesture! I tried hard to muster the breath to shout "thanks" at him as he dissapeared over the hill, but doubt he heard.

3. Squirrels are stupid. The wierdest thing happened on my way to work yesterday.... I was ambling along & saw a squirrel at the side of the road just scratching around and being, well, being a bit squirrelly. It kinda ambled onto the road as I was approaching and, without a word of a lie, jumped (& I mean JUMPED) at my front wheel as I was passing (did it think that there was a gap it could jump though because it never saw the spokes?) It kinda bounced back off the rim or spokes with a little bit of a twang, presumably dead. WTF?! Suicidal maniac!

Anyway – thank you all for your encouragement and advice (the washing at work with no shower facilities was a godsend!) you have given me, albeit indirectly.

Iclestu.

*It's actually 12.4 miles each way, but I reckon I get to claim that extra 0.6 as a fat [email protected] allowance...
FCN 7: Dawes Galaxy Ultra 2012 - sofa-like comfort to eat up the miles

Reserve: 2010 Boardman CX Pro
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Posts

  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 18,147
    iclestu wrote:
    The second you put foot to pedal as a newbie cyclist the world instantly splits in half. The uphill half and the downhill half.

    Doesn't it just. :lol::lol::lol:

    Your bike would seem to be a BSO however this is infinitely superior to a carbon uber bike which resides in the shed. A quick glance at ebay will show how many would be cyclists tell a sorry tale "....thought I'd start cycling...it's only taking up space in the shed..."


    Excellent first post, keep up the good work
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 18,147
    iclestu wrote:
    but the fact that I now needed a surgical procedure to separate ar$e and saddle.

    Buy padded shorts, seriously, your ar$s will thank you for it.
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • JonS123JonS123 Posts: 171
    edited June 2009
    Looking at the bike, I have seen alot worse out there. I would suggest taking it to a LBS and asking if they could give it a quick once over, my dad got a mail order bike and some of the spokes were lacking tension - though if you got £250 in frequent player points playing poker, a few good wins and everything could be sorted!

    Good luck with the cycling
  • sarajoysarajoy Posts: 1,675
    WELCOME :D:D:D

    What a first post, good man!

    1) The bike will do you fine, if you're happy riding it, just carry on for the time being. Why not give yourself a target of a time you have to beat, or a distance you want to ride - and once you hit it, get yourself a new bike as a reward :)

    A shiny new expensive bike is likely to be lighter and /easier/ to ride. Quite the treat!

    I had a "Claud Butler Classic" for several years which only ever got its chain oiled, no other care. It rusted in places, was heavy as hell, didn't have the best parts... but worked fine until I felt I needed different.

    2) You been doing it for 3 weeks is that right? You'll feel yourself getting stronger by the week - I'm nearly 4 months in, and:
    - I've lopped 10 mins off my commute (only 8 miles)
    - I can power my way up all the hills on the way without dropping to the lowest chainring
    - I can overtake people!

    It only gets better :D I've not lost any weight because I've been eating like a horse, but I figure I'll sort that out later, I think to begin with it's important to make sure you eat /enough/ - cutting down can come later...


    Bring it on, and enjoy :)
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • AndyMancAndyManc Posts: 1,393
    Cycling will change your life .. if you stick with it.

    You've raised loads of issues, I'll just comment on a few.

    First .. the bike, if you're covering the miles you already have on that bike then once you 'upgrade' to something more technically advanced then you will be challenging for next years tour de france.

    Seriously though, you are doing exceptionally well commuting that distance on a bike that I consider is more suitable for posting a letter half a mile down the road.

    Anything over a 10mile (each way)ride is a serious commute, I wouldn't want to do it.

    It looks like you're a natural, get your new bike a.s.a.p , look to spend a minimum of £500 , meanwhile, your present bike will give you a punishing workout, when things look tough, remember life on your new bike will make life much easier and more fun.

    (a change to a firmer saddle should have a major improvement on your present ride)


    .
    Specialized Hardrock Pro/Trek FX 7.3 Hybrid/Specialized Enduro/Specialized Tri-Cross Sport
    URBAN_MANC.png
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    I think I now have a new best mate :D


    THAT was a brilliant first post!!! :lol:


    The bike is fine - you've made the right decision a perfectly fair choice and by doing so have brought a HUGE smile to my face.

    Just to note - when I started my 14 mile commute I was the same - it took me 1hr 20mins the first time. I am now down to 50-55 mins on a good day, always less than an hour even on a bad one.


    You've just reminded me of something that happened on the way home one evening this year.

    I passed a mother and father clearly taking their young daughter out on a bike for the first time (quiet bridleway) and she was wobbling and looking terrified.

    Picture me in my full cycling kit, CX bike, panniers, the lot - I came steaming up behind, and slowing right down gave the poor girl LOADS of room and said gentley to her "it gets MUCH easier you know, and is really LOADS of fun!"

    The parents both had HUGE smiles on their faces and the little girl beamed up at me as I accelerated away. I could clearly hear the father say "look HE thinks it's great" and the mother shouted a cheery"THANKS!"

    Of such small things... Well done mate - that made my day that day, and your post has made it today. :D
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • Eau RougeEau Rouge Posts: 1,118
    The bike is fine, you know you aren't going to get the best bike in the world for that money, but it's fine. We can get you on to a drop-barred roadie in January ;)
    A 26 mile round trip is not to be sneezed at at all. I was quite pleased with myself for doing a little over 30 this evening on a ride!

    iclestu wrote:
    1. The second you put foot to pedal as a newbie cyclist the world instantly splits in half. The uphill half and the downhill half.

    The moment you drop the "newbie" tag is when you realise you actually prefer the uphill half to the downhill half. :D
  • CafewandaCafewanda Posts: 2,788
    iclestu wrote:
    I am in my second gear pedalling like f*ck and moving at precisely 1 inch per minute closer to the top with sweat dripping off my chin

    :D:D:D This just cracked me up :D:D . Reminds of my first time going up Balham Hill (so not a hill, but who cares :roll: ) towards Clapham South back in September. I thought I was going to die, my legs felt like jelly and I wanted oxygen so badly :lol::lol:

    Welcome :wink:
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Eau Rouge wrote:
    The moment you drop the "newbie" tag is when you realise you actually prefer the uphill half to the downhill half. :D


    You do?

    Ah.

    That's me boned then. :?
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    iclestu wrote:
    Hello All,

    Another newbie.....

    3. Squirrels are stupid. The wierdest thing happened on my way to work yesterday.... I was ambling along & saw a squirrel at the side of the road just scratching around and being, well, being a bit squirrelly. It kinda ambled onto the road as I was approaching and, without a word of a lie, jumped (& I mean JUMPED) at my front wheel as I was passing (did it think that there was a gap it could jump though because it never saw the spokes?) It kinda bounced back off the rim or spokes with a little bit of a twang, presumably dead. WTF?! Suicidal maniac!

    ...

    I killed a squirrell too, in very similar circumstances - its a right if passage - you are no longer a newbie (I'm very disillusioned - all that Tufty Club stuff was lies):wink:
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    Eau Rouge wrote:
    The moment you drop the "newbie" tag is when you realise you actually prefer the uphill half to the downhill half. :D


    You do?

    Ah.

    That's me boned then. :?

    I do, though my love is steep hills, 20% and more but most of the faster types seem to like the longer alpish hills, which frankly i suck at, no problem getting up, but fairly slow at it.
  • OldSkoolKonaOldSkoolKona Posts: 655
    Excellent first post! You're bike is fine, nothing like a BSO from Halfrauds or Lidl. But, once the bug has bitten, no doubt you'll be drooling over a new steed, but in the mean time enjoy!
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Eau Rouge wrote:
    The moment you drop the "newbie" tag is when you realise you actually prefer the uphill half to the downhill half. :D


    You do?

    Ah.

    That's me boned then. :?

    I do, though my love is steep hills, 20% and more but most of the faster types seem to like the longer alpish hills, which frankly i suck at, no problem getting up, but fairly slow at it.

    Okay, you need to stop posting in this thread now, as you are clearly insane and will scare people.





    :wink:
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • Great banter, Iclestu.

    To be honest I don't think the bike looks all that bad, compared to the sh!t you can pick up in Asda- I mean, at least the components are branded. I wouldn't say it was a BSO, but I might not be inclined to spend too much money on upgrades. You can't polish a dead squirrel, after all. (Oh, except with the miles you're doing you should definitely get a better saddle, and some padded shorts.)
  • nationnation Posts: 609
    iclestu wrote:
    Even for the grossly unfit - A bicycle is a phenomonally efficient machine. I was staggered how easy it was to cover a few miles on a bike. If you are thinking about starting this. Stop thinking and JUST DO IT! It is easier than you think, paritcularly if you measure your accomplishment in miles, not in miles per hour.

    Bang on. I think more people would cycle if they realised this. My commute is a bit over seven miles, but I can do it on the bike quicker than getting the train in terms of door-to-door time.

    The bike is fine, but as mentioned, I wouldn't go pouring money into it. A decent saddle is always a good investment, though, because it can follow you from bike to bike, and the saddles that come fitted to stock bikes are usually censored in the lower price brackets. The thing to bear in mind is that a softer saddle is not always more comfortable. In fact, the opposite is usually true.
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Eau Rouge wrote:
    The moment you drop the "newbie" tag is when you realise you actually prefer the uphill half to the downhill half. :D


    You do?

    Ah.

    That's me boned then. :?

    I do, though my love is steep hills, 20% and more but most of the faster types seem to like the longer alpish hills, which frankly i suck at, no problem getting up, but fairly slow at it.

    Okay, you need to stop posting in this thread now, as you are clearly insane and will scare people.





    :wink:

    He does keep saying 'I love hills', but there's no proof.

    Iclestu - good on you! Whereabouts do you commute?

    And I totally agree - when I first started out I nearly died on any slight incline... but stuck at it!

    I also completely agree with the just do it... and chapeau for the distance!
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Welcome Iclestu but be warned this cycling larky is more addictive than crack :wink:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • CraggersCraggers Posts: 185
    I now needed a surgical procedure to separate ar$e and saddle

    I feel you buddy! I just bought myself a charge spoon saddle (£25) which looks like something from a masochist's toybox but actually is way more comfy over my 11 mile commute than the old sprung settee that I was bouncing round on.........remember aswell that there is nowt to stop you transferring any upgrades over to a new bike if you get one
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    That's a superb first post Iclestu, welcome to our world. 13 miles is impressive, and should see you build up a decent level of fitness over the summer. For weight loss inspiration, search out posts by someone who posts on here with a username like Gaz_185 or something similar [help me out here guys]. Here's a chap who kicked off at 30+ stone and is looking to lose 20 of them. He's getting there too.

    In the meantime, add yourself to our Stats Engine. You might be nearer the lower end than the top but if you don't measure it, you can't see how big it's getting. </plug> :)
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488

    In the meantime, add yourself to our Stats Engine. You might be nearer the lower end than the top but if you don't measure it, you can't see how big it's getting. </plug> :)

    Shameless plug CiB :wink: But certainly worth recording your stats as you'll be amazed how far you've travelled in a few months.

    Welcome Iclestu - keep us updated on how you progress. Posts like yours is what makes the forum so good to be a part of.

    Don't worry about the weight loss at the moment. Your body is probably doing an internal "WTF?!", so you may notice a change in shape before weight.

    And it's completely addictive. After a few months, you'll be trawling through cycling magazines looking to find the latest carbon bottle cage... :D
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • Fireblade96Fireblade96 Posts: 1,123
    iclestu wrote:
    ...Epic Post...

    Welcome, and congratulations on a truly excellent introduction !

    Your bike looks fine, I've been commuting on a slicked MTB for 5 years and it's perfect for the job (also looks [email protected] so less likely to get nicked). Keep it well serviced, ride it till things break, fix 'em if economical, and save for the next one. However, if you keep at the cycling the upgrade bug / need for a better "good" bike will strike, I give you less than 6 months :-)
    Misguided Idealist
  • OzzehOzzeh Posts: 12
    iclestu wrote:
    I am in my second gear pedalling like f*ck and moving at precisely 1 inch per minute closer to the top with sweat dripping off my chin

    When I started commuting to work a few months ago I was disgustingly unfit (as opposed to just being horribly unfit like I am now) but refused to get off and walk up my own personal Mount Everest. The first time I went up it I was in bottom gear on my MTB, sweating and panting like I'd just done a triathlon and I was overtaken by a pair of pensioners who gave me a very odd look. This was bad enough, but the fact that they were walking really took the biscuit.

    Now I nip up there quite happily and get an immense sense of satisfaction from getting up to the top, but I've not seen those to pensioners to get them back.

    To all the SCR people, how does one score a pedestrian pensioner with a wheely-trolley-thingy? :)
  • LbaguleyLbaguley Posts: 161
    Brilliant first post - welcome to the Game :)

    I can identify with so much of what you have said and I affirm what the posters have noted too. I have been commuting for two years (although a fraction of your distance - just 7.5 miles each way) I didn't really notice any weight loss to start with, but my metabolism went through the roof.

    Hills - do get easier and now not something I'd actually avoid anymore! (I'm almost ready to admit that I might enjoy going out for hilly rides at the weekend as 'training'! :shock: )

    Anywho, welcome aboard again and ride happy!

    L
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    Good on ya fella. Stick with it and you'll reap the rewards.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    Iclestu's going to be a demon funny poster I can feel it.

    Uphill/down hill - nicely observed and weighted.

    Welcome.
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
  • Am I the only one who thinks the "friendly" roadies with their cheery "Good Evenings" and "Keep goings" were trying to goad him into racing a bit? Am I obsessed?
  • CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    Welcome and thanks for a superb 1st post.

    I just echo what others have said. Stick at it and you will like it more and more. 13 miles each way is superb for a commute. Tell the people you work with and they will think you are mad to ride "that far".
  • risirisi Posts: 231
    Nice first post, but I think we're overlooking something. What happened to the 'flat half'? I quite like that bit. Not that there's much of that on my commute (http://www.bikehike.co.uk/mapview.php?id=3592) also 13 miles-ish each way.

    I started on my trusty old (heavy) Trek mtb this time last year when I realised (admitted to myself) that I was getting a bit, ahem, porky.

    Moved to a road bike (on ctw) a few months after. This week I have ridden every day (& set a pb of 39:10!), I did the Forest of Dean Spring classic in May, and last week rode down to the New Forest (80-odd miles) for the hell of it. It gets you in the end & reels you in. There's no escape...

    So keep at it - it only gets better!
    Specialized Allez
    Trek 6500
  • iclestuiclestu Posts: 503
    Wow - Thanks for all the replies....

    I'll try to answer some of them:
    Buy padded shorts, seriously, your ar$s will thank you for it.

    Ack. I'm getting used to it now and besides - If I punish my own ar$e it will save me having to shell out a fortune for "Mistress Severe" to do it later, right?
    though if you got £250 in frequent player points playing poker, a few good wins and everything could be sorted!

    Ah but there inlies the problem - in my experience an online poker player has two choices. Win slow, or lose quick. No good trying to push for that extra $100 profit or you'll lose $200. The poker gods dont like you when you think your going to win.
    We can get you on to a drop-barred roadie in January

    Complete with full Lycra condom?! Really??!! My colleagues already think I'm mad, but I know there is a grudging respect growing there. Fat boy cycling 13 miles* to and from work - thier only jelous! One of them came out with a corker today though.... I was giving her the "well, its really only 12.4 miles, but I get the 0.6 as a fat [email protected] allowance" line - her reply? "Ah well, if you keep it up in a few months you'll be a skinny [email protected]". Nice. Good to know that cycling may change my frame but not my status as a [email protected]
    Whereabouts do you commute?

    Yorkshire - Just outside Barnsley to just outside Wakefield (more or less). Not a city commute, back roads and country lanes really. (with hills - did I mention the hills? Never noticed they existed in the car.....)
    ... username like Gaz_185 or something similar ...

    Yes, I saw that guy's post & watched his video montage. Frankly, that guy's achievement, motivation and determination would be an inspiration to anyone. I feel a huge sense of achievement now, but it just pales into insignificance next to that. Sir, if you are reading this I doff my cap.

    Oops.......

    [\CycleBabble]
    Sir, if you are reading this - a big chapeau to you!
    [\CycleBabble]
    In the meantime, add yourself to our Stats Engine.

    Hmmm maayyybee- but does it factor in my fat [email protected] allowance?
    Am I the only one who thinks the "friendly" roadies with their cheery "Good Evenings" and "Keep goings" were trying to goad him into racing a bit?

    eerm no - those guys can push quicker than me.... Where's the sport in that? It'd be like the mighty lion abandoning the gazelle to chase an onion.
    What happened to the 'flat half'?

    It got all messed up and hilly when I started leaving the car at home....


    But above all, and all joking apart, sincerely thank you to all of you for making me feel so welcome.

    *See original disclaimer for the 13 miles claim...
    FCN 7: Dawes Galaxy Ultra 2012 - sofa-like comfort to eat up the miles

    Reserve: 2010 Boardman CX Pro
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