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My First Commute...

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Becca2008, 27 Apr 2008.

  1. Becca2008

    Becca2008 New Member

    ...was a disaster!

    i'm new to the forum. after doing a bit of reading last week, i decided to ride to work on Friday because my boyfriend's car was being scrapped (R.I.P little yellow Cinquecento) and my mum was working and I figured riding would be better than walking!

    how wrong was i??

    i live a little under 3 miles (i think) from work, so it's not like it's a major commute. i walk it in about 40 minutes, so thought it wouldn't take me long to ride instead.

    my boyfriend bought each other bikes in november and while he has been riding quite a bit since, mine sat all comfy, tucked away in my shed until last week.

    everything was going fine until about half way when i tried to change gear and the chain came off. but it didn't just come off - it got stuck between the frame of the bike and the gear thingies (not very technical, i know...) and i couldn't get it out. so i had to walk and push the bike for the rest of the way and ended up being a few minutes late for work, rather than early (which is what i expected as i left myself plenty of time - good thing too!)

    luckily, a couple of the guys at work managed to fix it for me after faffing about with it for half an hour, and i was able to ride home... until the same thing happened again!! luckily, it didn't get stuck this time and i was able to put the chain back and carry on, but i couldn't change gear for fear of the chain coming off and i had to push it up a hill, because i just didn't have the energy to carry on riding it.

    i did not realise that i was so unfit. i ache *all over*. i made a point of using a padded seat cover because having a sore bottom is what usually puts me off riding a bike... but it's sore anyway! how am i supposed to convince myself to get back on the bike to ride to work tomorrow when i'm still feeling the pain of my efforts on friday?

    also, does anyone know what could cause the chain to come off the way it did? one of the guys i work with thinks that the chain is too long, but i had it on the smaller gear thingies, so surely if the chain was shorter, it would be too short for the bigger gear thingies (i apologise for my lack of technical knowledge)?

    the bike came from halfords, and i would have thought the chain would be the right length anyway? it's fine when changing the gears that are at the back of the bike, by the rear wheel, but comes off when changing the gears by the pedals and it's incredibly slow to change gear - no smooth gear changes for me.

    i'm planning to just not change gear until it's sorted and take it to halfords one evening after work to get it looked at, but does anyone know what the problem could be?
     
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    The problem I think is Chain Suck ... and one of my bikes suffers with it - if you mean it gets stuck at the front chain rings. It usually happens when going uphill and changing down (for me). And whilst it is very annoying - I've got used to the noise and the sudden halt feeling so that it doesn't get stuck as bad - and I can back pedal to release it. The bike shop think its my pedaling style.

    Sore bottom .... it gets better as it gets used to it.. but some saddles / bottoms are incompatible:biggrin:, I just bought a female specific saddle and though it is hard (certainly harder than my previous comfort saddle), it isn't causing me the discomfit that the one that came with the new bike was. Give it another go, but not every day to start with as you get used to it.

    Halfords may not be the best place to take it either.... depends on who looks at it.
     
  3. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Padded seat covers - gel etc - aren't always a good idea. Ask at your local bike shop about this and they may be able to suggest a seat that is good to start with, will mould to you in even more time, and be very comfy.
     
  4. Becca2008

    Becca2008 New Member

    hi, thanks for the replies - i will check out other seats and keep my fingers crossed that i don't have to sacrifice a comfy bottom for ever in order to ride my bike!

    what happens with my chain, summerdays, is i'll be riding along, minding my own business and then i change gears and it'll make some unhealthy sounding noises and just come off the rings altogether. it's only when i change the front gears and, so far, only when changing down - it takes ages to change up a gear, but so far, the chain has managed to stay on.
     
  5. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Location:
    Logopolis
    Nightmare on the chain. I'm sure you'll be fine. Chain problems aside I'm sure you got on well and you'll improve. You don't have to commute everyday and many people don't (I don't). You could commute 3 times a week perhaps. Appropriate rest can be pretty important to get the full benefits out of it too remember.

    My commute is a mere 4 miles. Unfortunately on the way back I have 500ft of climbing and my legs absolutely cained the first few times I did it. Even these days it's not a speedy commute.
     
  6. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    It sounds like your front gear is set up incorrectly. Best to take it to someone who knows what they are doing to get it adjusted. Do you have any other bike shops near-by apart from halfords? They aren't always the best at correctly adjusting bikes (which is why you might have had the problem in the first place!).

    Padded seat covers aren't usually a good idea. The pad soon molds to your bottom and your hard bits soon make contact with hard bits! A good quality saddle and padded shorts is a better option. Also remember, you are new to this and it takes a while for your body to adjust. I got a sore bum for a while when I started, but I no longer get it. My body just adjusted to it.

    By the way, well done for starting! :biggrin: Don't give it, it is really worth it and a whole lot of fun (don't look at my videos, they misrepresent what it is normally like!).
     
  7. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Sounds like a misalignment of the front or rear deralleur - the things that move the chain onto the next 'cog' at the front or back of the bike. They have adjustable settings to prevent the chain doing what you describe. Halfords may, and a bike shop will, be able to sort it for you.
     
  8. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Location:
    Logopolis
    Yeah I'll second that. I've got a mate who got rid of his original seat and went for a padded one the LBS recommended and found it even worse. Test out seat s if possible, everyone seems to be different.
     
  9. Milo

    Milo Veteran

    Location:
    Melksham, Wilts
    Big saddles put me in a world of pain as im rather streamlined (skinny)
    I was lucky the saddle that came with my doors giro road bike seems to be fine though not if I dont wear padded shorts on longer runs
     
  10. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Location:
    Guildford / London
    +1

    A couple of my friends recently bought Halfrauds bikes as there is some kind of sale on at the moment, and they confirmed all my thoughts about the service at that hated orange place.

    Whilst their bikes are decent enough, whoever set them up clearly didn't care about what they were doing.

    Bike 1

    -The forks were mounted backwards!!
    -The brakes were set up continental style, not motorcycle standard.
    -They had used gear cables as brake cables :biggrin:
    -The front derailleur was not properly adjusted so that shifting down the chain would fall off the bottom chainring.

    Bike 2

    -Gear cables for the brakes!
    -The front derailleur was not properly adjusted so that shifting down the chain would fall off the bottom chainring.
     
  11. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Becca - start with Halfords and see if they can put things right (as you bought the bike there). But if you aren't happy, go along to your local bike shop. Most are brilliant places where the staff really want to help people get into cycling. They should not only sort out your problem, but you may find yourself going back to them for other needs as time passes and they and you will get to know and trust each other.
     
  12. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Well, Ive got give it to ya Beccs - for trying the bike to work option: its a major obstacle that !

    Commuting is not easy.

    Its the worst time on the roads - everyone NEEDS to get somewhere, whatever.

    aLL THE BEST. :biggrin:
     
  13. Wolf04

    Wolf04 New Member

    Location:
    Wallsend on Tyne
    Way to encourage the newbie Yenrod.
     
  14. gambatte

    gambatte Middle of the pack...

    Location:
    S Yorks
    bad luck!

    The first couple of rides should sort out any 'niggles', after that its just a case of making sure your tyres are pumped to max pressure and hitting the road.
     
  15. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Don't lose hope, you're doing great! All your problems are solvable, though they may require some persistance, and the fitness will come. 3 miles is a brilliant commute distance, short enough that you'll still get good fitness gains, but short enough that you can wear normal clothes and chill out.