October 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm #74280
I cycled three times today woohoo! Including my first road venture! Admittedly it was the cycle lane on Exhibition Road through Hyde Park but still, it’s a road and I was super impressed with myself (I’m so novice I nearly crashed [at c.0.1mph] into a bollard today)
I just can’t figure out why I go so slowly! Everyone else is zooming around at a regular speed and I’m puffing and panting up a teeny tiny incline going ridiculously slowly. Eve going downhill! One man pootled past me today on a not-insignificant downhill strait and I was still pedalling but picking up next to no speed! Agh!
I’m not super duper fit. I’m not Fatty Unfit-McFatty either but I must be lacking whatever fitness you need to go for a fair paced bike ride – I puffed my way up that path that runs parellel to the Serpentine today! Not steep!
So what’s the secret? I got from Marble Arch-Queensgate in 13 mins today and I’m sure it could be nearer 5 going at the apparent ‘normal’ speed!October 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm #80407
you may have been unlucky – quite a few of the bikes have problems with the brakes on the rear wheels such that they don’t spin freely.
Generally, if there are enough free bikes, I always spin the back wheel of each bike I take. If it stops almost immediately cycling it will be awful, since you are pedalling against the brakes. If set up properly the rear wheel should spin freely for longer than you care to wait for it to stop…though it is rarely as good as that!
The difference in riding effort between these two extremes is massive. Almost always I manage to find a bike somewhere in-between those two. Today I had one with a wonderfully free rear wheel, and my ride home was like being on a completely different bike…October 22, 2010 at 7:00 am #80408
Well done on the ride hat-trick! Nice one.
You mention that you’re a novice so yes, it will take a period of time for your body to become accustomed to riding a bike. You should start to find your aerobic fitness coming on and leg strength building also. Both of these will help you and you should start to notice a difference. Non-physical aspects can make a big difference also, saddle height being a big factor. You should aim to have the saddle set such that with a pedal at the six-oclock position (closest to the ground it can get) then your leg on that pedal is virtually fully extended but not quite. You know you’ve got it set too high as your hips will rock from side to side when pedalling – you don’t want that, hips should remain level. A properly set saddle height will make the maximum use of you, the engine
Good luck!October 22, 2010 at 8:39 am #80409
check the gears?October 22, 2010 at 9:28 am #80410
Like jams said, do you know how to use the gears? If you look at the grip on the right side of the handlebar you’ll see you can rotate the grip. If you find you are pedalling too hard, drop down a gear or two. If you find there is no resistance when you pedal, go up a gear or two.October 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm #80411
I can use the gears although never used 3rd except for when some lovely person docked in 3rd.
I use 1st for the bigger hills but maybe j should just suck it up and use it for little ones too. My balance isn’t great so I feel somewhat less sturdy in 1st than 2nd. Sigh. I’ll get the hang of it one day.October 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm #80412
You sound like you’ll get the hang of it with practice! Keep at it, be safe, look over your shoulder when you change direction and do try and use the 3rd gear – I believe most BBers only ever use that one and you’ll find that as you go faster, you’ll be steadier.October 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm #80413
djcParticipantQuote:grip on the right side of the handlebar you’ll see you can rotate the grip.
To be pedantic: you rotate the ring to the left of the grip. I am sure all the loose grips I find are due to people trying to rotate the whole grip.
That said, the gear-change ring could be improved, it is slippery when wet. I think it would be better if it were tear-drop shaped rather than circular in section, that would provide some affordance and lever between thumb and forefinger to turn it.October 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm #80414October 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm #80415
That’s because of the Raleigh GrifterOctober 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm #80416
How tall are you, and how high do you put your saddle?
I ask this because the *correct* height feels uncomfortably high the first time you do it. Ideally, you should be on tip toes on both feet when you try to reach the ground. Any lower and you won’t get enough leverage on the pedals to go fast enough, any higher and you’ll have to lean right over when you stop at traffic lights.
I’m 5ft7 and I used to ride on saddle rung 4. I recently moved it up to saddle rung 5, and i’m getting so much more speed because i’ve got a whole lot more leverage on the down movement of the pedals.
Try it, and let me know if you feel the difference.November 2, 2010 at 8:21 am #80417November 2, 2010 at 9:09 am #80418
mitParticipantJuly 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm #88078
I would agree with the above post regarding saddle height. Your leg should be almost straight when the crank arm is in line with the seat tube – look for about a 15-20 degree bend in the knee at it’s most extended point. Good luck!
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