Back on the Bike, Revisited

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January 28, 2008 at 10:29 am

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First off, if you missed my entry from December 21, entitled “,” you might want to pop over there to read it, and wander back.

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Hey, good to see you again!

So, I’m not proud to admit that I hadn’t gotten back in the saddle since

off the paved roadway and into the gravel just before Christmas. For awhile, my excuses were valid and I held firm–I was physically beat up (knee, hip, elbow and shoulder, plus a pulled muscle in my lower back); then I was sick for awhile; then it was insanely windy and/or cold, and I can’t justify investing in all the expensive road cycling gear Justin owns until I get back to my “fighting weight”; then the excuses ran out. Justin had floated the idea of just having the clipless pedals removed from my brand new road bike, so I could ride it using plain old platform pedals (the kind you probably rode on as a child–nothing fancy, no special shoes required.) I hated the thought at first, seeing it as a failure (still do, kinda,) but the fact of the matter is suddenly my MENTAL BRUISES from the fall were all that was left in my excuse pile, and that’s a crappy reason not to get on a sweet new bike (that we received a $400 reimbursement for from Justin’s current/my former employer) and just.ride!

So, yesterday at noon (when our favorite local bike shop– opens on Sundays,) Justin brought my Felt FW35 road bike in and had them replace my clipless pedals for a cheap pair of platform pedals. Cost? $0.00 Sweet! (Truth be told, with a little elbow grease, I’m sure I could have removed the clipless pedals myself, but I didn’t have any platform pedals to put on as a replacement.)

So, yesterday I finally got back on the bike and got to enjoy a good, solid 13-mile road bike ride with Justin and my brother-in-law, David. Riding without the clipless pedals, and thus not having to worry about forgetting to clip out at stop signs/lights or dodgy situations (eg. dog running into the road or whatnot), let me focus on all the other things about this new bike, and road biking in general, that I need to get used to. Much of it is physical, or more aptly, physics–you get moving at high speed a lot faster, and a lot more easily, on a road bike than on a mountain bike (which is MUCH heavier, has a lot of drag with its fat, knobby tires, and doesn’t place your body in as aerodynamic a posture); you have vehicles, including semi’s and F-350’s speeding by your left shoulder while you focus on staying well to the right in the bicycle lane (when you have one!) yet not so far that you hit every piece of debris or ruined roadway that collects there; when you turn your head to look over your shoulder (to check for vehicles or fellow riders), you can’t whip your head and upper body around like you do on a mountain bike unless you’re ready to send yourself careening this way and that while you regain your balance and stability. Etc.

Lots of easily surmountable things that just take a little time and some miles under your seatpost to get in check, but lots of things that I was fighting in addition to the FEAR FACTOR of clipless pedals, particularly after my December wipeout.

I posted two pics related to yesterday’s ride on Flickr. One shows me , and the other shows me back , happy to have finally removed the one obstacle keeping me from getting into a bicycling routine.

It was terrific to finally join my brother-in-law and –who’s been a weekly road biker for 2 years, now–on a 13-mile road bike ride — . Since I forgot to turn my GPS on sooner, also check out .

I may always be a mountain biker at heart, but road biking lets me burn more calories faster and with less driving to a locale to START my rides.

Watch the “My Latest Exercise” section in the sidebar on the upper-right side of GeekHabitat.com’s pages for the GPS track/map, speed and heart rate data for each of my road bike rides. The one for Sunday’s ride downplays the actual ride, logging just shy of 8 miles of the full 13-mile ride we did… nimwit here forgot to turn her GPS on so it started tracking a little late.

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