Confessions of a Newbie Cyclist.

So… up until this past weekend, I hadn’t gotten on a bike yet.
I know, it’s awful.
But I knew I had to start doing something, or else I was going to be in big trouble. And up until that sole time during the weekend, I just had no motivation to put myself on a bike. So what I did was write down the issues that I have with cycling, and what I had to do to get over it. It ended up being easier than I thought, so if one of the sports is daunting you, maybe try this strategy to get you back on track.
hand-signals
The seven issues I had to get over so that I could start training for real:

  1. Getting my hands on a road bike. I currently can’t afford a new bike, so I started by looking up different cycle shops near the UBC area, and West Point Cycles, Different Bikes and the Bike Kitchen at UBC offer rentals. The rentals at the Bike Kitchen are only hybrid commuter bikes, but students do get a 10% discount on parts and used bikes.
  2. What’s the proper bike size for a 5’2 girl?! I came across this crazy sizing formula thing to figure out what size bike you should have, but since I have no interest in doing any math, I will just have to go into the store and try out different things and do “what feels right”.
  3. How the hell do I train? Ask friends – I ran into a friend at the pool recently and she gave me some good tips: going to a spin class (it’s only an $8 drop-in at the Coop) or going on a stationary bike twice a week and then doing a longer ride on the weekends. I’m definitely going to have to pick her brain some more.
  4. Wind and Rain. My main thing would be not to wear baggy jackets. I also found this post with some great clothing tips for when cycling out in cold weather.
  5. Hills. I’m going to imagine that the cycle route includes going up the hill that leads to the Spanish Banks area – the fear will motivate me to train harder, thus making me more physically able to conquer the uphill portion (which is a lot more forgiving than that hill of death) of the route.
  6. Motorists. I think most drivers are rude and really pushy with cyclists, so this one is going to take a little bit more to get over. But, I’ve reviewed the bike lanes in my city and gone over the hand signals for the road. Then I realized for the race itself, they close off most of the roads anyways, so at least I don’t have to be afraid of inconsiderate drivers on race day.
  7. I like to plan. This is probably my biggest problem. I love to plan; I always wait for the perfect conditions, and want everything ready to go and perfect before I start, but sometimes you realize that something is better than nothing and you just have to go out there and do it. So if that means I have to go out on that mountain bike I hate with my baggy clothes in the rain, then so I must.

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