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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:37 am 
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So I did the longer route again today, and guess what? I didn't hit anything! No pedestrians! No bridges! Not even the off-leash dog that jumped directly in front of my forking bike, causing me to slam my brakes on quite suddenly. (Cute dog, but sheeeeesh dog owning guy... you're going to have your big, jumpy dog off leash on the busiest part of this multi-use trail?)

I really was genuinely nervous about doing it again after Tuesday, but you know what, it was fine. It was so much better than standing around for the train and then sitting on the train and then riding against a 10mph wind on a crummy old road.

Thanks for the suggestions re:bikes to try. I'm hoping to go out to a couple of places this weekend but it's going to depend on scheduling with my family and whatnot.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Keep us posted C+S!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:23 am 
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A bit late but find a bike with all the features that you want, that’s also in your price range, and a bike that fits and you want to ride. All modern bike are pretty nice these days, some are a better value than others but most bikes at your local bike shop are going to have similar componentry. I agree that going new is a bit more expensive but usually the way to go for people. Going used can blow up in your face even if you know what youre looking for. Go test ride some and check those models out online to see what other people like/dislike about them.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Now it's looking like I probably won't be able to afford a new bike at all any time soon. (Well, I could buy another $300 bike, like the piece of shiitake I have now. Then I could hate that one too!) I'm upset and disappointed. I am working so much this summer, and I never buy shiitake for myself, and this is actually something I need from a utility perspective and ugh.

My ride today was crummy too. I went the short route because I felt kind of crappy this morning, and then the wind blew so hard against me the whole time that at certain points I could really barely move forward. And then I had to pedal to continue moving DOWN the one big hill in the ride. (This isn't the first time this has happened but it still blew my mind.)

Biking is generally the one consistently happy part of my day but fork balls I am having a bad day.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Aww man, suckage. Feed the kids less and keep every piece of spare change in a piggy bank. I will also send you my spare change!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:52 am 
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Okay, I am feeling better today. My ride home from work was pretty good (only mild wind!) and that helped my attitude a lot. Then we fussed with my brakes a bit and I feel sort of better about them too.

Today I rode the longer route in to work again and it was great! I felt like I hit a good balance of being cautious in the right places (where pedestrians tend to be, or where I know some tricky maneuver is necessary) and going fast on the stretches where no one ever is/the trail is flat and visibility is good. And I made it in about 1h15m again.

One totally crazy thing: I saw a baby mountain lion on the trail today. Holy fork! I almost took a picture of it and fortunately my brain intervened in time and was like NO CRAZY PERSON DONT STOP AND GET YOUR CAMERA OUT FOR THE LION. Living in this part of California, I'm super familiar with what to do if you meet a mountain lion on foot... but I realized I have no idea what you're supposed to do on a bike. Stand up maybe. Slow down? I dunno.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:05 pm 
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Do you have a bell on your bike?

Wild about the mountain lion. I think I would have had to go for a photo op!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 am 
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OMG amazing! What you do is pack up the baby kitty and bring him home!!

Wait, no. That's not right. But with adult mountain lions cyclists have to be careful because we are seen as prey. So yes, make noise, ring bells and keep the bike between you and kitty.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:55 am 
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My bell broke in pieces when I hit that bridge last week! I am so puzzled about what exactly happened, because I crashed into the bridge on my right side-- but the bell was on the left side of my handle bars. Also, having ridden past there a bunch more times now, I can't figure out what the fork I was doing wrong except probably riding too fast.

I get paid tomorrow and I am going to buy a new bell and a little odometer thing! I can't decide if the latter will be encouraging or discouraging but I can always take it back off later.

Yesterday there was another cyclist on my route home, which never happens. He had a nice bike and was wearing a jersey, aaaaand the 17mph wind seemed to be forking with him almost as much as it was me. I kept pace with him most of the way til I finally overtook him-- and realized from his expression, etc, that he was just chillaxin'. And I was busting my asparagus. It made me laugh really hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:05 am 
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I haven't checked this thread in a while, but thanks for the tips on seat adjustment/stopping properly. I had been wondering how the heck you were supposed to stop if your seat was high enough to fully extend your legs when pedaling! I didn't realize you were actually supposed to come off the seat. I will definitely start trying to do that, and raise my seat back up.

Unfortunately I haven't really had a chance to ride much anyway, the weather's been too crappy to ride to work and now wyvern's parents are in town so they've been driving us around everywhere. I can't wait to get back on my bike though!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Lovely little ride this morning on a path I haven't done in a few weeks. It was definitely easier today so I know my legs are getting stronger as I've been riding more and commuting to work 2 days a week.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:09 pm 
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Those in Portland, there's another opportunity to watch some bike racing this weekend: http://www.obra.org/flyers/2013/st_honore_crit.pdf

I think I will be racing in the 3:00 race. It's nice because it's pretty central, and it should be a gorgeous day! Also, there should be a lot of ladies out racing, since this race is part of the Oregon Women's Prestige Series (a big competition between women's racing teams). Crits are really fun to watch because the course is really short, so you get to actually see a lot of the action, instead of having to wait 10 minutes or longer between each time the pack passes.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:49 am 
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I biked to yoga and back last night. Not very much mileage at all but very hilly ride, especially the way there being mostly uphill. Only one hill on the way defeated me where I had to get off and walk--right near the peak! Then I had a challenging hour long flow class and then biking on the way home was mostly coasting because it was all uphill the other way though another hill right near my apartment defeated me too and I had to walk a bit of it before getting back on and riding the rest of the way home. I'll get them next time!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Yeah you will!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:13 pm 
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I work most Saturdays, but keep posting those Jordan and maybe I'll have a day off soon. I'd like to go watch.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:31 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I biked to yoga and back last night. Not very much mileage at all but very hilly ride, especially the way there being mostly uphill. Only one hill on the way defeated me where I had to get off and walk--right near the peak! Then I had a challenging hour long flow class and then biking on the way home was mostly coasting because it was all uphill the other way though another hill right near my apartment defeated me too and I had to walk a bit of it before getting back on and riding the rest of the way home. I'll get them next time!


Yeah you will!

There is only one hill on the shorter route to/from my work, and it's steep when you're going one direction and gradual but forking long the other way... every time I get to the top of it, regardless of which direction I'm coming from, I wish there was someone there to high five me!

(Actually there are often cows by the side of the road at the top of the hill, but they don't high five.)

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:27 am 
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I have recently become a dilettante biker, commuting to work on days when there is daylight and it isn't pouring (which in Hamburg is about 3 days a year, heh). It's a 25 minute ride (interrupted by 10 minutes on a ferry) to work and about 35 minutes back. Seeing as I was completely sedentary during the winter, I am quite happy with myself!

Question for those of you who bike to work: how do you deal with the sweat? Do you bike in special clothes? Do you just stop sweating so much once you get fitter? I have taken to packing my shirt & makeup and putting those on at work, and refreshing my deodorant. But I'm still a dripping mess for the first 10-15 minutes I spend in the office.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:20 am 
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I don't actually sweat too much on my ride to work. I try to get there about 10 minutes early so I have time to cool down a bit and have a drink of water. I wear shorts and a t-shirt to work though. And my ride to is easier than my ride home. I know that a number of people will pack clothes to change into. Maybe also take a small towel or something to help dry off?

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:25 am 
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I take a second set of clothes with me. If I bike the short route (probably similar to yours? It takes me 20-30 minutes depending on the wind), then I just change clothes at work. When I go the longer route, I am so immensely sweaty (clothes soaking wet etc) that I take a shower! Which works because my workplace has a locker room.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:54 pm 
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Today I went for a 20-some mile street ride! I went to a state beach I hadn't been to before... It should only have been about 7 miles from my house but I got lost. It cracks me up that I can get lost in a town I've lived in for six years but everything looks different on a bike. (Maybe it doesn't if you drive? I don't drive at all so I'm used to seeing things at a walking pace.)

The weather was perfect. Most of the route had bike lanes and I felt confident in my decisions when there wasn't a lane. There was one incident that really pissed me off, where I arrived at an intersection, signaled that I was turning left (no oncoming traffic) and started to turn with my arm still out-- and some jack asparagus in a car barreled into the intersection behind me and turned right. Smooth move bro. I reacted okay I guess, veered right myself, but lost my balance and ended up falling onto the curb.

Also, I got a cyclocomputer odometer thingy. So now I know that my average pace is actually faster than I thought! At least on the street, even with traffic, I was averaging 14mph. I had thought I'd been going like 10.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:23 pm 
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14mph is awesome! And yes, everything looks way different on a bike, even for drivers. When I have to be somewhere at a specific time I map out my route and plan meticulously knowing my propensity for being weirded out by the where-am-I thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:10 am 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
There was one incident that really pissed me off, where I arrived at an intersection, signaled that I was turning left (no oncoming traffic) and started to turn with my arm still out-- and some jack asparagus in a car barreled into the intersection behind me and turned right. Smooth move bro. I reacted okay I guess, veered right myself, but lost my balance and ended up falling onto the curb.


People can be such jerks! Glad you are okay. Do you usually position yourself on the left side of your lane when you're going to turn left? I do this a bit before signaling, this way no one will try to overtake me (hopefully).
I have problems with cars overtaking in random and dangerous ways, too. Like, before or in the middle of intersections, at the top of hills, or while I overtake obstacles like a car parked right on the road (another huge pet peeve - and those tend not to indicate when they leave either).

As for the sweating issue, the main fix seems to be to wear way less clothing than I did at first. It's quite cool early in the morning (maybe 13-15C) and I was afraid of catching a cold biking in just a T-shirt, but so far so good.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:48 am 
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aelle wrote:
People can be such jerks! Glad you are okay. Do you usually position yourself on the left side of your lane when you're going to turn left? I do this a bit before signaling, this way no one will try to overtake me (hopefully).
I have problems with cars overtaking in random and dangerous ways, too. Like, before or in the middle of intersections, at the top of hills, or while I overtake obstacles like a car parked right on the road (another huge pet peeve - and those tend not to indicate when they leave either).


It depends on the configuration of the intersection. I am a super big wuss about left turns, so if it's possible (like at a 4 way intersection with lights), typically I cross straight first, then stay in that corner and angle my bike and cross the other way when that light goes. I think that was my plan here! But I don't really remember because it was a few days ago.

Sometimes I like to joke that biking is bad for me spiritually, because it makes me mad at everyone! Maybe because I am just hyper aware of what other people are doing (since I'm trying not to hit the pedestrians and trying not to be hit by cars or other cyclists), but I notice sooooo much bad behavior and it makes me want to shake my fist like the cantankerous old person I am deep down inside.

Today's best (worst) behavior awards all go to pedestrians because I was on the multi-use path, including a person who was walking the opposite direction I was riding-- eg towards me-- who inexplicably decided, about ten feet in front of me, to cross and walk in my lane. (Still towards me.) Ha ha, what?

Also, I've measured it twice now with my little bike computer and my longer route isn't 16 miles. It's 18. I am going FURTHER than I thought! That is exciting to me. I am also going a really steady pace aside from having to slow way down in pedestrian heavy areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Okay, I will stop spamming this thread but... guess what? I calculated out how many miles I've ridden so far this week: 119! One hundred and nineteen! I have seven more to go today so I should sail right past 125.

For a still pretty much total beginner, I am feeling pretty awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Bikers
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:50 pm 
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That's great! You ARE doing awesome!

As an aside, it's still a couple months off, but start to keep your eyes peeled for local cyclocross races. There are some great races in Santa Cruz, and they're super fun to watch. There are also often kiddie races as well, if either of your little ones has a strider bike and might enjoy that kind of thing. The races can be a great place to meet other cyclists and get tuned in to cycling stuff going on around you (things like mellow group rides, which maybe you'd be interested in?). They're generally pretty family friendly, and just friendly friendly, so I'd recommend it for a cheap afternoon out.

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