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New to road riding, feeling a bit all(some) of the gear, no idea!

BokersBokers Posts: 37
edited August 2017 in Road beginners
Hi all,

I'm new to road cycling. I've done a few trails each year wth my friends but in a bid to get fitter, and as a by-product slim down a bit, I've decided to start road cycling too. It's mainly for fun in the evenings and weekends for now but when I can build up to a hilly 13-mile commute, I'll go for it.

Having the luxury of a cycle to work scheme, I've purchased a bike and a few accessories. I should have posted on here and researched before diving in as I'm feeling a little out of my depth already.

So I have a Hoy Aomori 003 in XL. I have just flat pedals, for now, a helmet, some lights and a pair of gloves.

I also bought an FWE hi-vis jacket, a jersey, cycling shorts and I have some base layers which I already own from going to the gym.

So. I have some gear, I have the bike and it's just time to ride, yes? Well, I've been on some shorter rides (5-8 miles) and I'm getting the hang of being back in the saddle. After getting a puncture already I've invested in some spare tubes and a repair kit, the walk home last time wasn't too fun haha.

I'm after some advice on how to use the bike properly and get the most from cycling so I can enjoy it and get fitter.

So, before I jump on my bike, what the hell do I wear? Being a big sweaty chap and no stranger to chafing (don't imagine that...) should I be wearing anything under my cycling shorts? Underarmour base layers ok? Or longer legging type base any better? What about the top half? Base layer top, jersey and a stashed rain jacket? I just want to know what's best so I feel as if I can attack the cycling.

As for the bike, it was setup when I purchased it on a trainer so I'm happy with the saddle height etc. I'm usually pushed forward onto the bars with my hands over the top.
So when do I use the lower bars? Are they for the down or up the hill?

And finally how long into a ride (30-40 minutes currently) should I be drinking water, or carbs?
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  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,137
    Lots of questions and the only thing you need to do is get on the bike and see whats right for you? The only consideration is to make the ride as enjoyable as possible.

    Just don't wear anything under your bike shorts and you might want to try some chamois cream.

    layering and what to wear all comes down to you, if you run warm, cold and the conditions and tempo you ride at.

    For the time and distance your currently covering you don't need or should really take on nutrition


    Just get out, ride and enjoy and increase your miles and time on the bike and listen to your body
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Haha, well, I thought I'd get them all out at once...

    Great response too, thank you. Sounds like it just comes down to getting some more miles under my belt for now then.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    Bokers wrote:
    Haha, well, I thought I'd get them all out at once...

    Great response too, thank you. Sounds like it just comes down to getting some more miles under my belt for now then.

    Best not to overthink it, it's just riding a bike, no more than that.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    SheffSimon wrote:
    Best not to overthink it, it's just riding a bike, no more than that.

    Good to know. I'll get on with it then.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Bokers wrote:
    Hi all,

    I'm new to road cycling. I've done a few trails each year wth my friends but in a bid to get fitter, and as a by-product slim down a bit, I've decided to start road cycling too. It's mainly for fun in the evenings and weekends for now but when I can build up to a hilly 13-mile commute, I'll go for it.

    Having the luxury of a cycle to work scheme, I've purchased a bike and a few accessories. I should have posted on here and researched before diving in as I'm feeling a little out of my depth already.

    So I have a Hoy Aomori 003 in XL. I have just flat pedals, for now, a helmet, some lights and a pair of gloves.

    I also bought an FWE hi-vis jacket, a jersey, cycling shorts and I have some base layers which I already own from going to the gym.

    So. I have some gear, I have the bike and it's just time to ride, yes? Well, I've been on some shorter rides (5-8 miles) and I'm getting the hang of being back in the saddle. After getting a puncture already I've invested in some spare tubes and a repair kit, the walk home last time wasn't too fun haha.

    I'm after some advice on how to use the bike properly and get the most from cycling so I can enjoy it and get fitter.

    So, before I jump on my bike, what the hell do I wear? Being a big sweaty chap and no stranger to chafing (don't imagine that...) should I be wearing anything under my cycling shorts? Underarmour base layers ok? Or longer legging type base any better? What about the top half? Base layer top, jersey and a stashed rain jacket? I just want to know what's best so I feel as if I can attack the cycling.

    As for the bike, it was setup when I purchased it on a trainer so I'm happy with the saddle height etc. I'm usually pushed forward onto the bars with my hands over the top.
    So when do I use the lower bars? Are they for the down or up the hill?

    And finally how long into a ride (30-40 minutes currently) should I be drinking water, or carbs?

    Regarding hand position on the bars, most find that hands on the lower bars (drops) works well on descents. Most spend 90-ish% on the tops or on the brake hoods. Tops is usually good for easy cruising along on the flat or climbing. On the hoods is kind of an all-round useful place to have your hands. You can change gear, brake, ride in and out of the saddle, it's quite comfy and you can get a lower position if you want to. You'll quickly find out what you like to do.

    Sounds like you have what you need to get started. Enjoy!
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Alex99 wrote:
    Regarding hand position on the bars, most find that hands on the lower bars (drops) works well on descents. Most spend 90-ish% on the tops or on the brake hoods. Tops is usually good for easy cruising along on the flat or climbing. On the hoods is kind of an all-round useful place to have your hands. You can change gear, brake, ride in and out of the saddle, it's quite comfy and you can get a lower position if you want to. You'll quickly find out what you like to do.

    Sounds like you have what you need to get started. Enjoy!

    Great, that's useful. Thank you.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,942
    I'll just recycle what's been said above, ride and enjoy it as the summer aproaches and think yourself lucky you haven't been riding in the rain/snow/sleet/apocalypse like the rest of us
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    I'll just recycle what's been said above, ride and enjoy it as the summer aproaches and think yourself lucky you haven't been riding in the rain/snow/sleet/apocalypse like the rest of us

    Haha, fair enough. Cheers.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Alex99 wrote:

    Regarding hand position on the bars, most find that hands on the lower bars (drops) works well on descents. Most spend 90-ish% on the tops or on the brake hoods. Tops is usually good for easy cruising along on the flat or climbing. On the hoods is kind of an all-round useful place to have your hands. You can change gear, brake, ride in and out of the saddle, it's quite comfy and you can get a lower position if you want to. You'll quickly find out what you like to do.

    Sounds like you have what you need to get started. Enjoy!

    yup - but a lot of people have initial worries about descending on the drops - probably because the steeper descents where they worry mean their head is significantly lower compared to their censored than it was on the horizontal - probably making them feel like they're going to go over the bars and their head/eyes are closer to the ground where the increased speed is more noticable.
    Whilst sitting up on descents does increase drag and is therefore a natural brake - going on the drops lowers your centre of gravity making you more stable and - cruicially, gives you better leverage on the brake levers - meaning you can control your descent speed without feeling like you can't brake hard enough (typical when on the hoods).
    Of course, to offset the feeling you're going over the bars - you could stick your censored further back on the saddle - or off the back if you like!

    On the subject of what you need - seems like you've got most of it - just take some water - or if you're sweating a lot - squash (something to replace the salts you're excreeting!)
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Great. Cheers for that.
  • It's all about enjoying the ride. Don't worry about positioning on the bike. Do what feels comfortable for you. Your position will probably change with experience and confidence. As for hydration and fuelling, water has served us all well for many years.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Haha ok, good point about the water. Cheers.
  • JoshgavJoshgav Posts: 158
    Do you find the bike comfortable? Did the shop setup the saddle position etc. They don't always get it right and as you get more comfortable on the bike you will probably want to raise it anyway.

    Out of interest, how tall are you? Just wanted to make sure that an XL was about right.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Joshgav wrote:
    Do you find the bike comfortable? Did the shop setup the saddle position etc. They don't always get it right and as you get more comfortable on the bike you will probably want to raise it anyway.

    Out of interest, how tall are you? Just wanted to make sure that an XL was about right.

    Yes, I do. I have found that small adjustments have made it better. Originally it was a lot of pressure on the bars until I moved the saddle a little. I'm happy with the bike as a whole.

    I'm 6'2"/188cm.
  • clickrumbleclickrumble Posts: 304
    Find some routes that will take you to interesting places (eg a view, nice cafe etc). I use OS maps for this and also look on Strava to see what routes others are using.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Find some routes that will take you to interesting places (eg a view, nice cafe etc). I use OS maps for this and also look on Strava to see what routes others are using.

    Great idea, thank you.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    Bokers wrote:
    SheffSimon wrote:
    Best not to overthink it, it's just riding a bike, no more than that.

    Good to know. I'll get on with it then.

    this is the best advice ever, clearly you're having fun with cycling so just go out and do what feels right that day
    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.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    No one has yet suggested you may benefit from joining a cycling club. This might or might not be for you but it's worth considering. You'd meet others who's experience and companionship could be of value........
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    itboffin wrote:
    this is the best advice ever, clearly you're having fun with cycling so just go out and do what feels right that day

    I certainly am!

    How do the stationary bikes in the gym relate to road cycling? Is there a certain resistance or speed I should train at?
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Svetty wrote:
    No one has yet suggested you may benefit from joining a cycling club. This might or might not be for you but it's worth considering. You'd meet others who's experience and companionship could be of value........

    Good idea. I have looked at some local clubs but I'm unsure that the beginner rides are suitable for me yet at 10-15 miles.
    I was going to work up to it and then give it a go.
  • pbassredpbassred Posts: 208
    How do the stationary bikes in the gym relate to road cycling? Is there a certain resistance or speed I should train at?
    Ah, now, that's where science meets misery. I'm just about to go down that road myself. Firstly, like the man said;Just enjoy cycling.
    I've witnessed gym cycling turn a muffin into a hottie. She says she does 50km several nights a week, but neither she of I could tell you what the settings were relative to an actual road. For that you would need heart rate, power monitors and speed sensors. Turbo trainers are a lore unto themselves. She also had nothing else to do.
    I intend to use indoors as a substitute for outdoors (wet /dark) but with a more focused approach, but really, establish a base fitness and core strength over time, which means .... go ride your bike

    Its doesn't come easy. In my own limited experience, It certainly doesn't come fast. Over training is a bad thing. Look up "interval training" and "rest days".
    For fun and knowledge: try You tube's Global Cycling Network - Just don't spend all your time on the web.
    Go ride your bike.
  • Another vote for subscribe to GCN.

    They have a lot of videos that cover all the basics, done in an entertaining way.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    pbassred wrote:
    Its doesn't come easy. In my own limited experience, It certainly doesn't come fast. Over training is a bad thing. Look up "interval training" and "rest days".
    For fun and knowledge: try You tube's Global Cycling Network - Just don't spend all your time on the web.
    Go ride your bike.

    Thanks for this. I'll just take it as supplemental training then and not get hung up on seemingly comparing apples to oranges.

    Had a quick flick through some GCN, subscribed! Great idea. Cheers.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    Another vote for subscribe to GCN.

    They have a lot of videos that cover all the basics, done in an entertaining way.

    I agree, just watched a couple to start, very good. Cheers.


    Also, glad I have joined this place, cheers all! Don't stop though, keep it coming please.
  • yiannismyiannism Posts: 345
    I really HATE indoor training. Bicycle is all about to be out with your friends and discover a new places, and have fun. I am lucky that i live in a shiny country, and i can understand the need for the British.

    The clubs will help you a lot, thats how i started, ive meet several people all over Cyprus and i went on a places that i never knew that exist. Thats the beauty of bicycle. As others said it will not come easy especially the 1st 3-4 months,l but after that if you are consistent you will get stronger and you will love it. So dont think too much, just RIDE
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    YiannisM wrote:
    As others said it will not come easy especially the 1st 3-4 months,l but after that if you are consistent you will get stronger and you will love it. So dont think too much, just RIDE

    Haha, I will do. Cheers.
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    I'm up to 9-10 miles for half hour a couple of times a week. Drop in the ocean for some here...

    Two things now, one, clip in shoes/pedals helped a lot, but I need to get better at clipping in and the first couple of rides my feet got a little numb. Is this just over tightening from me? Or something wrong with the shoe sizing?

    Secondly, I seem to have a problem keeping a lot of weight off of the handlebars. My arms start to get really painful around the lower triceps / upper elbow from leaning on them too much. Is this a bike fit issue or how I'm riding, or likely both?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    You can progress quicker than you think with cycling. Even if you were running you'd have been able to up your mileages more than you have.

    Your bars may be too low or too far away ?
  • BokersBokers Posts: 37
    I'll be upping the mileage from next week I hope.

    I've heard they should be rotated up a bit, they're not currently.
  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    Pain in the arms can be a bike fit issue, but it can also be a core strength issue. The stronger your core the less you need to lean on your hands. As you get fitter you should be able to relax your elbows a bit and let your core hold your upper body, i do training in the gym specially on core and back and it has improved my cycling massively.

    Also expriment with hand positions. I move between the brake hoods, the straight bars and I also sometimes hold onto the corners of the bars which all help to alleviate hand and elbow pain. Also try rotating your wrists forward so your hands aren't constantly bent upwards.

    As for nutrition and water, you shouldn't need to be eating until you can start doing 2+ hour rides. You definitely want to be drinking lots of water, and a zero cal salt tablet in your drink is a good idea. I use the zero highs brand. It's quite nice.

    For what it's worth I started this year quite unfit and 146kg. I'm now 130kg and have the fitness to do 100km in under 4 hours. If you keep at it you can progress very quick. Don't overtrain. Make sure to rest. Sleep and eat well.

    Loo into fasted riding too. It's a great way to lose weight.
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