Adventures in Biking

As of right now, I am not scheduled for any other races this year. At all. I have signed up for nothing else. I am sure that will change in the near future, but for now the slate is clean. That is awesome and crappy at the same time. Awesome because the wallet is fatter without having paid any more race fees and crappy because I don't have something to look forward to or get ready for.

Since this is my current situation though, I have a bit more freedom to do what I want rather than what I have to when it comes to working out. This weekend, that meant it was bike time. Hubby was able to get an old clunker of a bike we had in the garage up and running, so it was actually possible for both of us to ride together. Saturday morning we did a 10 mile ride out on the trail in Granville. It was great to be working out with my hubby. The old bike couldn't handle much speed and would only operate in one gear (the big one too - poor hubby and that uphill ride home), but we had a lovely time. That next day, I decided i wanted to push it a bit farther and ride into Johnstown on the trail - it seems like a long way from home, and it was a new challenge.

Therefore, Sunday morning I headed out for a new conquest. Once I made it to the trail, I really pushed it - well as much as I could. I had to dodge two deer, a squirrel, a cardinal, and a chipmunk - all were out on the trail and demanding they, too, have their own space. With that being said, it was a smooth ride. The trail is totally and absolutely flat, so it makes for constant and predictable pedaling. Perfect conditions for me learning to battle a fear and gain a needed skill: riding with no hands. I can't do it. It scares the crap out of me. It took me forever to learn to ride with one hand. And I STILL can only ride with my left hand free. The right one HAS to be on the handlebars. Maybe I should conquer being able to ride with my right hand off the handles before I try and conquer both hands off. i would love suggestions from anyone on how to do this. Little things I can do to practice? Just go "cold turkey?" I need help on this folks. I know there are times when this skill would be incredibly handy. It would also increase my blanace. For instance, I am also unable to snatch the water bottle out of its caddy on the bike while on a ride. I get all wobbly and have to stop to get water from the bottle. ridiculous.

These are my serious bike weaknesses. please help! Any tips? Tricks? Or i am worried about a useless skill I don't really need????

Oh, and I did complete the ride out to Johnstown. 25.2k altogether (just over 15 miles) - my longest ride yet!


Tim B. said...

Sounds like you are working on stability on the bike more than just riding with no hands. At a comfortable pace - not too fast or slow - focus on riding in a straight, steady line. Keep your upper body steady, focus on smooth pedal strokes. If your upper body is moving around, then your balance will be off. Plus this wastes energy that you could be using in your legs.

Once you master this, then try getting the water bottle while maintaining the straight, smooth line. Or ride with one hand loosely on the handlebar. Then move on to no hands. This is where the steady upper body really helps. Jerky motions here will affect the front wheel, and you really don't want that happening.

Patience, smooth and steady. No problem. Good luck.

M said...

I think you are totally right - since I'm new to the biking thing, I think I move around a lot. I'll concentrate on what you said and give it a shot! thank you, Tim!!

Paul said...

Two things. The physics of cycling mean that the faster you go (to a point that you'll never hit on the flats) the more stable the bike. Honestly. It's a helluva lot harder to go no hands or balance at all or get a drink when going really slowly. So, maintain speed. Second, when going for a drink, keep your eyes on the road -- that will keep you going in a straight line.

Paul said...
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M said...

Yet another awesomely helpful comment. i think i have been slowing down when trying to do this, as with many things we tend to slow down when we are trying to "get something right." I just need to stay at reasonable speed and balance it out. And look at the road when getting the bottle. Simple advice but something tells me it is going to help a ton. THANKS!