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Advice for someone looking to get into cycling

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, now that ski season has been over for about a month (at least for those of us not fortunate enough to be at the 'bird recently), I am thinking about getting into cycling. More accurately, I am no longer thinking about getting into it, I have decided that I am going to begin road biking.

I play volleyball two to four nights a week, but I am getting antsy on the other days when, if it were winter, I would have been working off excess energy and enjoying myself by skiing. So, I need to take up a summer sport to fill the time, keep me in shape, and -- especially -- keep me in shape for skiing. Cycling it is. 

Within the next week or two, I am going to go to some local shops (I live in Pittsburgh) and begin talking to the people who work there in order to get started. Any advice some fellow bears could offer would be great. 
post #2 of 13
 Ask a lot of question about the bike shop's fit department.  How the bike fits and how they fit you to the bike is the most important aspect of both your comfort and performance on the bike.  
post #3 of 13
My first advice is if you doing this as ski training. Mountain Bike is far superior all around for ski training than road biking. The only thing road biking does slightly better is build up cardio better.

MTBing

Pros - better total body workout
         better core work out
         better balance and stabilzer muscles works out
         make you choose lines and terrain tactics translates directy to skiing
         less chance of serious injury or death
         argubly more fun, which means youll be more likely to do it more.
         part of nature, not on roads

Cons - more bike maintence(can be nullified though riding a Single Speed)
          more minor injuries
          sometimes have to drive to trailhead(in pittsburgh several areas including Frick Park have trail right in them)

Road biking

Pros - can leave right from your house
          better cardio work out
          less bike maintence
         
Cons - not really that fun, lots pain for alittle bit of reward
          much higher chances of serious injury or death due to collisions with cars.

The X factor. Pittsburgh is a hot bed for MTBing is has the best urban single track in the country and the suburbs have 100s of miles of trails. There are also to active clubs that show people around and have BBQ and Cook outs.

DORC is a group that I lead rides with
http://www.dorc-pgh.com/

PORC is the bigger club couple hundred active members.
http://www.porcmtbclub.org/

whether or not you decide to go MTB route or Road bike route these are the shops Id recommend.

www.thickbikes.com  little guys who have great deals on solid bikes
Dirty Harry's in verona
Pittsburgh Pro Bikes various location

My person offer is that if you choose to MTB route Ill show the local trails and help along with the learning curve.

         
         
         
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

 Ask a lot of question about the bike shop's fit department.  How the bike fits and how they fit you to the bike is the most important aspect of both your comfort and performance on the bike.  
What he said. True regardless whether you ride on or off road.

Demo, Demo, Demo!

And don't be afraid to spend $$$. With bikes the adage of "you get what you pay for" is so true.

Oh yea, get bike shoes, bike shorts and no cotton!
Edited by Mr5150 - 5/3/10 at 6:41pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Truthfully, I'll probably get into mountain biking eventually. Right now I think I'm interested in road biking by the ability to go a long distance in a ride, up my cardio health, and strengthen the muscles around my knees (hopefully helping my knees in the long run). Also - and this is an entirely ridiculous reason - my husband mountain bikes and we have found that I do not do well when he is trying to teach me something. So, I get frustrated and go home.  By road biking, I can begin biking on my own . . . and then maybe move into mountain biking.

As an aside, my husband used to be relatively involved in PORC, trying to get him to join up again this year. We'll see.
post #6 of 13
Since it sounds like you're headed to an on-pavement focus, my advice would be to not get caught up in either "bike elitism" or in the whole roadie/ mileage fixation.  As for bikes, you can find really good used ones, or affordable new ones, that can still work perfectly for what you want.  Also, since it sounds like you want to be able to "see the sights" as part of a ride, I'd suggest you consider a bike and, probably equally important, tires with a "freeroad/cyclocross" emphasis, i.e. something that will be fun on smooth pavement, rough pavement, broken glass here and there, and on reasonably smooth dirt such as maintained dirt trails and roads.  Mileage logged per week/month etc. on a bike is useless info without a host of other info, and if you're primarily interested in fun, healthy exercise, and some crosstraining, almost entirely irrelevant, so my advice would be to think about fun rides and not even track mileage.

Also, BWPA's advice that MTB-ing is generally closer to skiing is correct.  However, on uncrowded roads where you can do so safely, remember that it is possible to link C-shaped turns on a road bike.  You'll probably be able to some areas where you can successfully control speed on descents by doing this, without braking.  It can also make rides much more fun.  Developing good bike-handling skills, including be able to turn well, brake quickly, etc., is also an important part of riding safely.

Enjoy!
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSloan View Post

Truthfully, I'll probably get into mountain biking eventually. Right now I think I'm interested in road biking by the ability to go a long distance in a ride, up my cardio health, and strengthen the muscles around my knees (hopefully helping my knees in the long run). Also - and this is an entirely ridiculous reason - my husband mountain bikes and we have found that I do not do well when he is trying to teach me something. So, I get frustrated and go home.  By road biking, I can begin biking on my own . . . and then maybe move into mountain biking.

As an aside, my husband used to be relatively involved in PORC, trying to get him to join up again this year. We'll see.

whats your husbands first name? I may know him.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Since it sounds like you're headed to an on-pavement focus, my advice would be to not get caught up in either "bike elitism" or in the whole roadie/ mileage fixation...

 

No, get a sick road bike and kill it! Go fast for a long time. Repeat as necessary. Do intervals too. It's fun.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




whats your husbands first name? I may know him.
I was thinking you might. It's CJ. But he hasn't been part of PORC in a while . . . a least three years.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

My first advice is if you doing this as ski training. Mountain Bike is far superior all around for ski training than road biking.          

Road biking

Cons - not really that fun, lots pain for alittle bit of reward
          much higher chances of serious injury or death due to collisions with cars.


          
          
         
 

Good advice. One reason I don't road ride is cars. I haven't know anyone who died MTB'ing. Can't say the same for road riding.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post




No, get a sick road bike and kill it! Go fast for a long time. Repeat as necessary. Do intervals too. It's fun.

It CAN be fun, if you're into it.  The "sick" road bike is about as useful to most people as the infamous "race stock" bindings on skis, though.  BUT a good way to get talked into spending a lot of money...of course that can also be fun.  Even if you know you want a racing focus, dieting and training are much cheaper than a sick bike.

But that sick road bike will suck if you, say, want to ride to a local park, then ride the equivalent of an unpaved fire road around the park, maybe even ride some buff singletrack here and there, have fun with a few sliding figure 8s in a wet parking lot, and also enjoy some 1-to-as long as you want rides on paved roads. 
post #12 of 13
Find a group to ride with (we have several here in the Atlanta area I see on the road that are just women).  Once you learn how to draft and are comfortable in a group, riding on the road is much more fun and much safer.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

@BushwackerinPA - so, I DID get a road bike, but, by the end of the summer, I got a mountain bike as well. Didn't get out much and I'm hesitant to ride in the winter (at least this year), but should be back on the trails in the Spring.

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