General Discussion Triathlon Talk » First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback. Rss Feed  
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2013-04-27 4:38 PM

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Subject: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

First time the weather has been nice enough to take my new Cervelo out for a ride. I headed out to our island park for a few (5.5-mile) laps around. I was terrified of crashing, flatting and/or having to stop and being unable to unclip in time.

I spent a few minutes riding on the grass to practice clipping in and out ... and I fell over almost immediately! It was almost a relief, like "OK, got that out of the way." After a few minutes I decided to head to the bike lane.

I was so scared of being unable to unclip in time that I rode the entire first lap with my shoes resting on top of my pedals. I clipped one foot in on the second lap. I started the third (last) lap with both feet clipped but then had two situations right in a row where I should have stopped (traffic going the wrong way, someone trying to talk to me) and I just zipped around them instead. That made me so nervous, I unclipped one foot for the rest of the lap. I feel like I have to anticipate a stop in order to unclip in time -- I can't just wham, unclip. This makes me nervous that I will be unprepared in an emergency and crash and/or fall over.

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to balance properly on the skinny, skinny wheels but I was surprised to find that wasn't really a problem. I WAS surprised at how touchy my new bike is! I imagine upgrading from my steel Huffy was like going from a semi truck to a Ferrari. Just THINK about taking your hand off the regular bars and you start to swerve. I was nowhere near ready to try getting into aero. You really have to prepare -- shift your weight, slowly lift your hand up, etc. That took some getting used to.

I didn't do a lot of gear shifting, and I never tried to come out of the small ring. As a result of this and my general fear I was making painfully slow time, something like 11-12 mph.

Surprise body part that hurt -- my triceps! Maybe from holding myself up on the bars? I'm going to have to make minor seat and aerobar adjustments (my knees kept hitting them).

All in all, I think it was a good first ride, but I obviously am going to need more practice. Any tips? Any ideas for getting over my clipping fears? Maybe I can tighten them to be super sensitive -- at this point I'd rather clip out accidentally than fall over with my feet still attached to the pedals. Thanks, all!



2013-04-27 4:51 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
And that is why I have kept riding my trusty road bike. I am a slow rider anyway, so the process of learning to ride a new bike in aero is daunting!!Good luck with the clipping skill.....I fell over 5 mins into my first ride....
2013-04-27 4:55 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

You sound like me, last year (and still to some extent) -- I bought a P2 having not ridden a bike for years, having never ridden clipless, etc.

Clipping in and out will likely get easier pretty quickly. I think it took me maybe three rides to get comfortable with it. I live in the city and use a heavily trafficked multi-use trail to get to roads where it's safe to ride. While I'm on the trail, I often ride with just one foot clipped in because I know there will be lots of obstacles, then I clip the other foot in when I get to a safer area. I still do occasionally fall if I have to stop quickly, but usually because I unclip one foot and lean to the other side like an idiot.

You might actually have more success shifting into the big ring. I found that made a big difference for me in making the bike feel more stable. It's way easier for me to get in and out of aero, shift, grab my water bottle, etc. when I'm in the big ring.

2013-04-27 4:56 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
Are your pedals adjustable? If so, make sure you've got them set to a low tension that allows you to clip out easily. If not, get in the habit of unclipping "firmly". You aren't going to break the clip mechanism, so when it's time to unclip, don't finesse it-twist your foot hard like you're crushing a big bug.

When I'm riding slowly,or with lots of starts and stops--in traffic for example, I generally find I have more control and better balance when I'm in the big ring up front and a middle-to-large cog in the back, but maybe that's just me. I find that it gives me quicker bursts of acceleration when I need it, as opposed to trying to rapidly spin the small ring.
2013-04-27 5:03 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

My brother and I biked part of the Oregon coast last summer and it was only my second time using clip in pedals. When we were about 1/4 mile from our stopping point for the day i said to my brother "Look at that - a full day on the bike and I didn't fall over." Two seconds later I had to stop, didn't unclip in time, and fell over.

It gets much easier! You might not ever feel completely comfortable while clipped in but just spend a lot of time practicing clipping in and out on the trainer and you'll get better at it!

A Huffy to a Cervelo huh? Pretty drastic difference! Good luck

2013-04-27 5:46 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
Yeah going from what you had to the tri bike is going to be an adjustment.  Keep at it, it gets easier every time you go out.  


2013-04-27 6:57 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

Do you have a trainer? If not, and you know someone that does, I bet they would lend it to you since it is finally nice enough to ride outside.

On the trainer, you can practice clipping in and out with no worries of crashing. Also, you can practice the transition in/out of aero.

2013-04-27 8:06 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
My only advice would be to unclip 1 foot then slow down, then stop. Don't try to slow down, stop and unclip.
2013-04-27 8:12 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
This news is going to suck but more than likely you're going to fall. I think it's some sort of right of passage. I fell twice trying to clip in. Both times ironically enough at the end of the ride right infront of my house. After awhile it becomes a natural habit. I second the advice of using someone's trainer to practice clipping and getting into aero. Did you do any kind of fit on the bike before purchasing? I think it's a little odd that your knees are hitting the bars but maybe they're (the bars) just short and need the backs to be cut down? Good luck and don't be scared get out there and ride your new toy!

Edited by rjrankin83 2013-04-27 8:13 PM
2013-04-27 8:38 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

You'll soon get the hang of clipping in/out. And remember - in a race, you only have to clip in once and clip out once! :-)

A few other things are different about a tri bike. One is that the front wheel can feel pretty squirly when you're in aero position. For quite a while, I had to come out of aero every time I went round a corner.

Another thing is that a tri bike works different muscles - specifically, you use more quads and less hamstrings. This is deliberate - it saves your hamstrings for the run. But you'll find your quads burn like crazy to begin with!

Also, you'll find you get a stiff neck the first few times from being in the aero position. It's just not a natural position.

But the good news is that all these things get easier with time and practice. Get on your bike and get aero as often as you can. As the old saying goes, there is no substitute for T.I.T.S - time in the saddle.

Also, it is absolutely worth the money to get a good bike fit. Look for a F.I.S.T certified fitter in your area. Probably the best money you will ever spend.

Good luck!

2013-04-28 4:34 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

You shouldn't be afraid not to clip out before you stop, it comes quite naturally, hit the breaks, clip out. Anyway, even if you do fall over because you didn't clip out, it really doesn't hurt, after all it happens at 0mph. Generally, if/when you wall, you should not try to take the impact with your hand, that's when you can get seriously injured, roll of the fall and you'll just get bruises.

You can adjust the clips so they clip out easier. It gives some wiggle room when you're clipped in. First thing I did was to get them as loose as possible.

I was advised to get a road bike first, and one of the reasons is the one you mention, it's a completely different thing to ride in aero, the bike handles differently and for a beginner you've got enough to worry about - such as clipping out

Some more tips in this video.

BR



2013-04-28 4:48 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

When I test road my Cervelo, I took it back and said it was to hard to ride and left the store w/ my tail between my legs.  I almost crashed it several times.  The next day I called back and told them i wanted it.  I knew i had to grow up.  I got it and the first few times I road it, I was scared because I couldn't stop real quick, I mean my hands were away from the brakes, I was wobbly, couldn't steer it very good but guess what, I rode it a few time and the learning curve was quick.  I now LOVE that bike, it is faster than my road bike.  I still ride my road bike around town where there is a lot of stops and turns but you'll get the hang of it.  Just go out and ride it a little every chance you get and you will love the bike too.  It sounds like it needs to be fitted though.

Good luck

2013-04-28 7:59 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
I got a Giant Trinity tri bike last fall, after having learned to ride a borrowed mountain bike for a beginner tri (From scratch. I never rode a bike as a kid).

My rationale for getting the tri bike right off the bat was that I only wanted to learn to ride a bike once - so might as well get the tri-bike since and learn how to use it. I am all for steep learning curves.

After two rides outside (using my running shoes...no way I was using clips) in the fall, I took it inside, set it up on a trainer, and rode 500 miles over the winter. I also did spin classes. Both the trainer and classes used my bike shoes - giving me lots of practice clipping in/out.

In March, I went to Florida for a training camp. I used my bike shoes outside for the first time there. I fell at least once each day for the first three days - mostly trying to stop at stop lights (I would get one foot unclipped, but would fall over the other way). By Day 3, I figured it out (mostly). By the end of the week, I'd done 2 40 mile rides without falling at all.

So - that's the key I think: lots and lots of practice. Also, when you're on a straight road that's quiet, just clip-in and clip out a bunch of times on each side. It helped me get over the anxiety of clipping in quickly.

Good luck!

2013-04-28 9:05 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

Thanks for all the comments and advice. I feel a lot better knowing that other people go through the same learning curve. Especially that others still feel more comfortable with one shoe clipped out when riding through traffic and whatnot. =)

I did have a basic bike fit, but because I'd never ridden a tri bike before, I wasn't sure what was comfortable, what was too far a reach, etc. The bike shop guy and I discussed that I would go back for a complete fit after having taken it out a few times. We are anticipating adjustments.

The pedals are adjustable and I will play with the tension a bit. At this point I would rather have them unclip too easily. I will also try the big ring next time -- this time out was all about getting a feel for the bike without killing myself.

I already have a nice big bruise from falling over while practicing. -- somehow I had the intuition to fall hip first! My badge of honor, I guess.

Thanks again!

2013-04-28 9:10 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
Miles around Midtown - 2013-04-28 9:05 AM

I did have a basic bike fit, but because I'd never ridden a tri bike before, I wasn't sure what was comfortable, what was too far a reach, etc. The bike shop guy and I discussed that I would go back for a complete fit after having taken it out a few times. We are anticipating adjustments.

Is your bike shop guy a certified and reputable bike fitter?  Most guys that work at bike shops don't know jacksquat about proper bike fitting, especially when it comes to tri bikes.

2013-04-28 9:52 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
It gets easier, but as stated above you will take a spill. Just practice clipping and unclipping and a good way to do this is in the frame of a door. You can put your hands on the doorframe to balance yourself and clip in and out. It eventually becomes second nature but make sure you anticipate your stops and unclip before you stop. Also, as I told my wife to start with, unclip both feet when you are stopping so if you center of balance shifts the other way while stopping you can place either foot on the ground. Funny story about this as I only unclip my right foot when stopping, I was riding my Felt B12 the other day and came to a red light, unclipped my right foot and right as I stopped, big gust of wind hit me and here I go bunny hopping to my left trying not to fall over and get unclipped. I finally after three hops got unclipped and I am sure the person in the car behind me had a good chuckle!


2013-04-28 10:49 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
To get used to using clipless pedals, find a nice big parking lot and spend an hour riding around and clipping in an out - try if for each foot a few hundred times.  Once you get the muscle memory, it becomes second nature.  Don't stop, just practice the ankle pivot while slowing pedaling.
2013-04-29 8:17 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

I grew up on various bikes, everything from BMX and freestyle to road to mountain bikes, and think I've got decent bike-handling skills.  Even with that, I was spooked the first couple times I rode my Tri-Bike.  The handling and position are funky compared to what I was used to riding, especially how twitchy the bike can be at speed.

At least the pedals weren't an issue for me.  I learned to ride with clips/cleats and downtube shifters way back when.  Clipless pedals are way easier.

2013-04-29 8:41 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
Also, as you are slowing and anticipating a stop, unclip whichever foot and just before you roll to a stop, turn the wheel IN the direction of the unclipped foot. The only time I have fallen is when I failed to do this and balance shifted to unclipped foot and toppled over going 0 mph. Also, it's almost easier balance-wise to be in big ring and going faster than 11 mph. Good luck.
2013-04-29 9:04 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
meggfishy - 2013-04-27 5:55 PM

You sound like me, last year (and still to some extent) -- I bought a P2 having not ridden a bike for years, having never ridden clipless, etc.

Clipping in and out will likely get easier pretty quickly. I think it took me maybe three rides to get comfortable with it. I live in the city and use a heavily trafficked multi-use trail to get to roads where it's safe to ride. While I'm on the trail, I often ride with just one foot clipped in because I know there will be lots of obstacles, then I clip the other foot in when I get to a safer area. I still do occasionally fall if I have to stop quickly, but usually because I unclip one foot and lean to the other side like an idiot.

You might actually have more success shifting into the big ring. I found that made a big difference for me in making the bike feel more stable. It's way easier for me to get in and out of aero, shift, grab my water bottle, etc. when I'm in the big ring.

Anyone who rides and says they haven't done this is a liar. Zero-speed fail fall.

2013-04-29 9:07 AM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
BrianRunsPhilly - 2013-04-29 9:04 AM
meggfishy - 2013-04-27 5:55 PM

You sound like me, last year (and still to some extent) -- I bought a P2 having not ridden a bike for years, having never ridden clipless, etc.

Clipping in and out will likely get easier pretty quickly. I think it took me maybe three rides to get comfortable with it. I live in the city and use a heavily trafficked multi-use trail to get to roads where it's safe to ride. While I'm on the trail, I often ride with just one foot clipped in because I know there will be lots of obstacles, then I clip the other foot in when I get to a safer area. I still do occasionally fall if I have to stop quickly, but usually because I unclip one foot and lean to the other side like an idiot.

You might actually have more success shifting into the big ring. I found that made a big difference for me in making the bike feel more stable. It's way easier for me to get in and out of aero, shift, grab my water bottle, etc. when I'm in the big ring.

Anyone who rides and says they haven't done this is a liar. Zero-speed fail fall.

 

This only happens on the first ride with a new group.



2013-04-29 1:39 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.
I rode my Schwinn all last season with aero bars on it and regular pedals. This year my fiancé surprised me with a tri-bike and the shoes and clipless pedals. It's been quite a time adjusting! I have only fallen twice (and yes, once right in front of my house!) but I think about it WAY more than I should. I have even considered riding in races with my running shoes and regular pedals because I am afraid I am going to psyche myself out so bad on the clipping in/clipping out crap! It makes me a little angry, which only makes me want to master it worse because the bike was my strongest discipline before!

Glad to hear it's not just me!

Patti
2013-04-29 1:50 PM
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Subject: RE: First ride on my triathlon bike: That was ... educational. I'd love some feedback.

I've been riding since 1985.  First clipless pedals were in '87 (I believe).  I fell twice last year.  All I ended up with was a bruised hip and a broken pride.

Bruised hip came from falling down while turning around in the road.  I was going too slow, or turned too sharp, or it was windy?  I don't know.  It was something I've done hundreds of times.  Luckily no one was around to witness.

Broken pride came on a group ride.  My friend convinced me I was strong enough to do the training ride with the "A" racers.  I fell and took him with me before we even got out of the parking lot. 



Edited by ray6foot7 2013-04-29 1:56 PM
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