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 Post subject: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:55 pm 
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Just Loathin' Around!
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Anyone else out there? I know there is a bike thread but it seems to be for people who are doing a lot of riding and races.

I am buying my first bike in about 15 years and have ridden a few times in the past week or so. Who else out there is excited about riding and still trying to figure out what you're doing? Have any good info to share or equipment recommendations? Proud moments of riding a few miles? Share it here!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:55 am 
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I just started riding bikes a few years ago for the first time since junior high (I'm a senior in college). This past year I've started riding a lot more frequently, since I moved to a town with paths and lanes all over the place. I don't do super long distances, but I ride my bike to school every day (6 miles round trip). I ride a 3 speed Linus Mixte. My city is pretty flat but I wish it was an 8 speed sometimes, I would be a lot faster. I swapped out its stylish seat for a big squishy royal gel seat. It's kind of ugly but it doesn't hurt my butt.

The only equipment that I think is necessary are some decent lights. I have a Cygolite Expilion 400 lumen, it cost me $100 but it is well worth it if you'll be riding when the sun goes down or for early morning rides. Or if you live in Oregon or somewhere that rain a lot. There is a newer version called the Cygolite Metro that has 420 lumen (so bright!) and is $89 dollars, and a 300 lumen for $69 dollars. It has a mounting bracket that you attach to your handlebars, and then you just clip it on and off. It's easy and I love it.
I have the Planet Bike super flash turbo red light for a back light. It can be steady, or blink. I feel a lot safer with lights, and use the back one pretty much whenever it's not bright and sunny.

I would suggest attaching a rack on the back if possible, and getting a set of panniers. I use Ortlieb, and they are easy and waterproof. Kind of pricey, but they last forever. Panniers make running errands on your bike more fun, because you don't have to carry a heavy backpack, and they don't mess with your steering like a front basket can. A little front handlebar pouch can be nice for your camera and keys and snacks. Mine was stolen off my bike though, because it was very easily detached.

I'm excited that you're getting into riding! It's so much faster than walking and is really fun. Good luck!

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I also wear a safety vest from IKEA that my boyfriend sewed some patches onto, because I'm a dork and I like feeling visible.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:59 am 
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Location: Eugene, OR
I forgot! U Locks are the best, chains and cables can be cut easily. Kryptonite is a good brand, they have awesome customer service and you can insure your bike if it's new. Also it's good to register your bike with the city if you can, in case it (knock on wood) ever gets stolen, it makes it more likely to be recovered. And always lock it through the frame, not through the wheel.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:01 pm 
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ha! My bike is blue and yellow. We would totally match. I am getting a rack installed on the back in a week or so.
As a driver, I love people who wear those vests or have reflective strips sewn on their jackets. I drive in the early hours and a guy in my neighborhood wears one and is super visible.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:18 pm 
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sisterlegume wrote:
I forgot! U Locks are the best, chains and cables can be cut easily. Kryptonite is a good brand, they have awesome customer service and you can insure your bike if it's new. Also it's good to register your bike with the city if you can, in case it (knock on wood) ever gets stolen, it makes it more likely to be recovered. And always lock it through the frame, not through the wheel.

I have an extra-long U lock and I lock through wheel and frame. Wheels go missing a lot around here!

Also your bike is so pretty!

PC, I would totally recommend taking a beginners bike-fixit course (I haven't, but it's something I keep meaning to do!), and getting comfortable doing things like putting your chain back on, adjusting seats, filling tires. All totally simple things, all things I had major anxiety about until I made myself do them. And I usually carry a tool or two with me if I'm going on longer rides.

A couple other things that made my life as a cyclist a hell of a lot better were getting a good raincoat and good pair of gloves for cycling. I live somewhere even rainier than Portland and biking in the rain is no fun, but it's doable if you commit to the right kind of clothes.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:54 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
PC, I would totally recommend taking a beginners bike-fixit course (I haven't, but it's something I keep meaning to do!), and getting comfortable doing things like putting your chain back on, adjusting seats, filling tires. All totally simple things, all things I had major anxiety about until I made myself do them. And I usually carry a tool or two with me if I'm going on longer rides.

If you have an REI, they have a (very basic) free bike maintenance course. It doesn't cover a whole lot and naturally their goal is for you to buy stuff while they have you in the store. But it's free and you at least learn about changing tires, fixing chains, cleaning/lubing your bike, etc...

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:30 pm 
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I will definitely look into the fix it class. I talked to JP yesterday and am also going to look for a basic riding class too. I know a bunch are offered around here and it would be good to get a whole lot of info condensed into a couple of hours.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Also, check your local Meetup for social rides to get the hang of riding with a group! Fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:37 pm 
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I second the U-Lock. My best friend got his bike stolen TWICE because he only used the cord kind. I'll ride with you, Panda!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:40 pm 
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Also, program the non-emergency police number into your phone, so if someone tries to run you down you can report them.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:22 pm 
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I will be dusting off my bike again when the weather gets warmer, but I definitely consider myself a beginner and only take little leisure jaunts and run errands, no serious riding. I will say my bike hurts my crotch! I hope to ride my bike more this summer so I can build up some crotch callus and ride more comfily for longer distances.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:42 am 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I will be dusting off my bike again when the weather gets warmer, but I definitely consider myself a beginner and only take little leisure jaunts and run errands, no serious riding. I will say my bike hurts my crotch! I hope to ride my bike more this summer so I can build up some crotch callus and ride more comfily for longer distances.

If your bike hurts your crotch, you might want to shell out a few bucks for a bike fitting. And experiment with different saddles until you find one that's less hurty. Riding more helps too, but you should start out as comfortable as you can get, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:54 am 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I will be dusting off my bike again when the weather gets warmer, but I definitely consider myself a beginner and only take little leisure jaunts and run errands, no serious riding. I will say my bike hurts my crotch! I hope to ride my bike more this summer so I can build up some crotch callus and ride more comfily for longer distances.

If your bike hurts your crotch, you might want to shell out a few bucks for a bike fitting. And experiment with different saddles until you find one that's less hurty. Riding more helps too, but you should start out as comfortable as you can get, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:55 am 
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I'm such a bossy know-it-all that posted twice.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:23 pm 
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I definitely recommend learning basic bike fixing skills. My suggestion is that you check to see if your city has some sort of community bike project, where people will likely be pretty stoked to show you how to make repairs for free or very little money.
Also, yes on the u-lock if you don't want your bike stolen.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:28 pm 
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The u-lock is spendy, and heavy, but... It gets the job done.

I was a beginner biker a while back, biking every day for about a year... Now due to lifestyle changes (not commuting to the same job any more) and now I haven't ridden for more than 10 minutes here and there in almost a year. What's worse is my bike's been outdoors but sheltered from the rain, but the chain has gotten super rusty anyhow. I dunno if I have to replace it now or what or if that's even a thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:31 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I will be dusting off my bike again when the weather gets warmer, but I definitely consider myself a beginner and only take little leisure jaunts and run errands, no serious riding. I will say my bike hurts my crotch! I hope to ride my bike more this summer so I can build up some crotch callus and ride more comfily for longer distances.


I had this problem when I was riding before, and people in the other bike thread talked me through it... A combination of getting a different saddle + changing my posture while riding pretty much took care of it. The saddle is one of the easiest things to change yourself, and they're not too expensive, so it might be worth looking into!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Yeah, your crotch definitely shouldn't hurt/you shouldn't have to build up calluses unless maybe you're going on long bike tours and sitting on your bike for hours a day. I now have the WTB Speed She saddle on a couple of my bikes and it's definitely more comfortable than others I've used. The boy version is my sweetie's favorite; he's been a bike mechanic for the last 6 years and is constantly trying out different brands of things and talking to his customers about their experiences with different things. He is also constantly encouraging me to try making tiny changes to my bike like tilting the seat in a different direction, raising it a tiny bit, or sliding it back or forward, which can make a surprising difference in where your weight is on the seat, and the pressure on other parts of your body. Having done that more over the last couple years, I've gotten much better at having some idea of how to reposition things to make an uncomfortable ride way more comfortable. Having a saddle and a saddle position where your weight is on your "sit bones" instead of your vulva makes biking so much better! Stopping in your neighborhood bike shop and asking them to take a look at your positioning could definitely be useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:16 am 
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I was sick for a week but got back out yesterday for a ride. I am looking into a local riding class as well as a repair basics class. I also got a helmet that I find really comfortable and am getting a rack installed this week I think. I am loving some of the bike paths here but am still not riding in traffic.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:55 am 
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When I first started riding in traffic I was freaked out but once you're out in the road (and hopefully a road with a bike lane or sharrow) the nervous feelings seem to go away and it's nothing like my mind worried about. I hope that's somewhat how your experience goes too when you do ride in traffic.
Story: I was riding downtown without a bike lane and got too close to a car, hit my bike bag on their passenger side mirror and was so embarrassed that my response was to act mad and be like AHHHHHHHH and then ride away.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:17 pm 
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yeah, riding in the bike lane isn't too bad but being on the streets downtown I find overwhelming. I think a class will help with a lot of that. I also just need to get more comfortable being on the bike and starting and stopping a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:21 pm 
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Thanks for the crotch tips, folks. I really do want to attend a bike repair class because I was thinking I'd want to do stuff myself on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:50 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
yeah, riding in the bike lane isn't too bad but being on the streets downtown I find overwhelming. I think a class will help with a lot of that. I also just need to get more comfortable being on the bike and starting and stopping a lot.

riding downtown here sucks. even with bike lanes, it's often pretty hostile.

my only real advice is to be confident in your actions and be as predictable as possible (which is easier said than done!). if you commit to an action, see it through. if that means taking a lane and inconveniencing a car, so be it. if you're indecisive, it creates confusion with other road users, then they will hesitate, and then you'll second guess, and that's when danger *really* occurs.

safe riding!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Oh man. When I was a newbie urban cyclist I didn't properly stop at a stop sign because I was distracted by, well, everything, and just trying to follow everyone else on their bikes (it was in the Wiggle in SF). I just wanted to make it to work! I was pulled over by a cop on a motorcycle and yelled at. crepe, don't do what I did. But I agree with jlegume that the confidence comes pretty quickly, though I am still intimidated by bike culture and get worried about decisions I make in heavy traffic.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:31 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
The u-lock is spendy, and heavy, but... It gets the job done.

I was a beginner biker a while back, biking every day for about a year... Now due to lifestyle changes (not commuting to the same job any more) and now I haven't ridden for more than 10 minutes here and there in almost a year. What's worse is my bike's been outdoors but sheltered from the rain, but the chain has gotten super rusty anyhow. I dunno if I have to replace it now or what or if that's even a thing.

You certainly can replace your chain! In fact chains get stretched and have to be replaced semi-regularly.


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