Saturday, August 20, 2011

Riding Impressions of my New Two-Wheeled Conveyance

Picking up from last time, I've actually used my new bicycle.  One week after purchase, the new bike has about 50 miles on the odometer (it doesn't actually have an odometer, but that would be pretty cool).  I gone on 3 rides on the Metro Parkway bike path (boring, but convenient), and today I took it up to Stony Creek and did some riding there.  This is what I've done so far:

  • Sunday, August 14: 12.5 miles in a spotty rain to Metro Beach and back.
  • Monday, August 15: 8 miles to freedom hill and back.
  • Thursday, August 18: 12.5 miles to Metro Beach and back.
  • Today: 15.5 miles around Stony Creek.

I'm getting some use out of the bike, and, for the most part, I like it.  Here are my observations after 50 miles.
  • Road Bikes are Weird.  I expected this to be the case after riding a mountain bike for 15 years, but I'm a bit surprised as to how unnatural the riding position feels.  I'm leaning so far forward that I can't look behind myself without swerving wildly, and sometimes it feels like I'll knee myself in the stomach.  It's also a lot tougher on my hands because the pressure is concentrated between my thumb and index finger instead of over the whole hand.  I could move my hands to other places, but that puts the shifters and brakes out of reach.
  • This Bike is Light.  A very, very nice characteristic.  I like being able to put the bike in my car on my own, and gravity is less of a problem when going uphill.
  • I Feel Like the Bike is Fragile.  This may be a mental thing, but since the bike is so light and the tires so thin, I feel like the bike will shatter every time I hit a bump.  Should I really be worrying this much about the bike?
  • Shifters are Still Dumb.  This is the one thing I hate about the bike.  It's impossible to ride without either pausing to think of what flappy paddle to hit, or hitting the wrong one and muttering an unkind word under your breath.
  • My Feet Hurt.  On the first ride, I developed a terrible cramp in the bottom of my right foot.  Bad enough that I had to stop for a minute and make awkward facial expressions.  I blame it on the pedal cages since they kept my foot in one place and prevented me from moving my foot around to distribute the pressure at will.  I had the bike shop take the cages off on Thursday, and there were no foot problems today, so I'll consider this a problem solved.
  • But, the pedals have developed another problem.  After taking the cages off, I realized that the pedals are one-sided!  So even though I've got more freedom of movement, I have to make sure the pedal is flipped to the correct side.  This may be one of the first things I replace, and get some good, 2-sided pedals (maybe I could swap the pedals with Roy's?).
  • Other Cyclists Make Me Ashamed to Be Riding a Bicycle.  I really don't like cyclists.  I'm fine with your average cyclist, but the "serious" ones with the expensive bikes are jerks.  They never return a "hello" or a wave, and they'll fly right by you with very little clearance at high speeds and never, ever announce that they are passing.  It's almost like there's some unwritten code that they have to try and run every other person off the road.  Count me out of that club.
As I put more miles on the bike, I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on it, but I'll reiterate that I like the bike, but it's pretty awkward right now.


Katie said...

For the record, there are plenty of fast runners who are complete jerks, too. No, they don't have the whole "expensive equipment makes me better" mindset, but I've still encountered plenty of fast runners who ignore you and don't announce themselves. I think it's more general than just cyclists.

Matt said...

I'm not saying it's just cyclists. There are jerky runners, jerky skiiers, and jerky shuffleboard players. But at running speed, at worst you'd be startled. When a cyclist passes you just inches away with a 10mph speed differential, that's a recipe for a pretty big crash.

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I do find that the cyclists are not as friendly. I get way more waves from runners than cyclists. I thought it was just me. Do I really need to ride 20 mph and do 100 miles on my ride to be in the club? No thanks.

Katie said...

I also think that also has to do with the act of cycling, though, rather than the temperament of cyclists. Runners generally don't bike fast because they're doing it for cross-training, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Other cyclists, who are trying to get faster and are going hard (and there's nothing wrong with that, either!), may be trying to pay more attention to the road, watching out for hazards and such. Going 25+ mph can be much more dangerous than either going slower or even running hard. I'm not trying to excuse the behavior of anyone, just trying to point out that there may be more to it than just being unfriendly. (Personally, when I'm cycling on a rough surface, I'm not paying attention to cyclists on the other side of the road because 1. they're kinda far away - relatively - and 2. I'm way more interested in making sure I don't hit a giant pot hole and go flying at 18 mph)

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