So you are new to Tri or more to the point new to group cycling and probably have a thousand questions you are too embarrassed to ask? The thought of wheeling up to a group of thirty or forty ultra-pro looking cyclists impeccably turned out in Wicklow Tri Club lycra for the first time puts the fear of God across you?
Well fear not as we all have one common denominator and that is that first day. We each and every one of us faced that first Saturday cycle or first group cycle but doubtless had the long list of questions we just couldn't answer on our own. This will hopefully be the first in a series of posts which will try to pre-empt your faux pas and answer all of those silly questions like what bike you will need, what you should wear, what kit you need to carry, what to eat or drink and the list goes on. It will also focus on how you maintain and ride your bike as there is quite a responsibility to consider once you start cycling in a group.
Why me? You may well ask and you would be correct to notice that I am not a coach, I am far from expert but I think I am new enough in this sport to remember much of the New to Tri stress! If nobody objects, I will try to put together a regular feed of succinct posts attempting to answer those frightening questions. I will rely on a couple of YouTube channels which will do a far better job than I to explain much of the science, techniques, etiquette or fashions that pervade the sport.
I am building a second post already which will deal with the types of bike you may own, which works where and which is more or less suitable. This will hopefully follow very shortly.
For today I will sign off with a video about what to wear. Put simply you wouldn't swim in cricket gear or play cricket in a pair of Speedos so if it is not cycling specific you probably shouldn't be wearing it out on the bike, importantly this does include underwear! It is mid February now but most routes involve some climbing so we need an outfit that is warm yet cool and which will remain comfortable for anything up to four hours.
Here is the GCN short video on what to wear:
Remember we were all beginners, some of us in reality still are. Fit in with the group, chat, ask the questions regardless of how stupid they seem. Finally, this is a discussion thread on a discussion forum so if you are not registered, get signed up and if you are, please contribute!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paul Evans, michaelp, audreyp
Hey Audrey, that's great news! Your reply prompts me to post some info about cleats or clipless pedals as they are called in the bike game. Do they work? You bet they do! I can only speak from personal experience as I have no specific data but when I was gifted pedals, cleats and shoes for my birthday in May 2012 I found myself putting an extra 20-30% onto my cycle routes as I wasn't tired like usual!
So it is safe to assume they work but they do come with an issue. You will topple over, at least once, it happens and can look really spectacular! It takes practice to know when to un-clip, when to roll slowly and stay clipped in and to get used to un-clipping in a hurry. Get some practice in but my advice is to think about your routes and avoid junctions which you will meet on an incline. It can take one or two attempts to kick your foot out and you lose speed faster than you think rolling uphill. Practice on level ground if you can would be my 2c.
An other thing to consider is your fit and comfort on the bike. I plan to post specifically regarding bike fit but you will lose considerable freedom to move around once your feet are clipped to the pedals. It may be masked by the strange feeling of being clipped into the pedals but if you are not fitted correctly you may cause yourself some sort of strain or injury, you simply won't be able to shift around on the bike for comfort.
Bike fitting is right up there with the most important things to do or know when cycling and now really is a perfect time for you to be fitted professionally if you haven't already. You will be “locking down” your fit on the bike when you fix the cleats to your shoes so doing it right is critical. If for some reason you can't get a professional fit (the very best €100 I ever spent since starting into triathlon) then have a look at this video for the fundamentals and get somebody to help you sanity check your fit on a turbo trainer.
Best of luck with the shoes and cleats. Just a parting thought...
I am glad you enjoyed your first Saturday spin, we had a good mix of new and not so new faces in the group yesterday.
For anyone else who has joined the club but as yet to make their Saturday spin debut, you have nothing to fear, come down to Ashford & give it a go, you will be amazed how quickly you will eat up the miles while riding in a bunch.
Good clip explaining why cyclists ride two a breast, it's just unfortunate that the guy on the Glenealy road yesterday hasn't seen it. You would have to wonder if we were a learner driver or tractor would he have behaved the same way !