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Yet another Newbie.....

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by DustBowlRefugee, 19 Aug 2007.

  1. DustBowlRefugee

    DustBowlRefugee Über Member

    Location:
    Sussex, England
    Hi all,

    I started cycling again three months ago on my 1998 Specialized HardRock rigid MTB on a local shingle type off road trail, nothing too difficult (six miles but fairly hilly) primarily to lose some weight and get try to get fit again (42 in September) When my best time came down from 55minutes to 27minutes I decided to move to the roads (the onset of the summer holidays meaning lots of families, walkers etc. on the trail).

    I subsequently found a route from Rye in Sussex around Romney Marsh. 26 1/2 miles - I'm not saying it's flat on the marshes but if you stand on a phone book you can see the curvature of the earth! My worry is this; my times have improved from 3hours 15minutes to a best time of 2hours 10minutes averaging just under 13mph. I thought I was doing pretty well until my wife reminded me that a runner (albeit a good one) could beat me......

    On Friday I took the plunge and bought a Specialized Allez triple. Unfortunately it hasn't stopped raining since then so I've only taken it a couple of miles down the road and back. My question is this. How the hell can I get any sort of fast cadence going with the bloody great big gears on it? The big chainwheel looks like a dustbin lid compared to the one on the mountain bike! On my little ride down the road I struggled on the middle one and was blowing like an old stream train. What sort of speeds should I be averaging over any distance? I was hoping to move up near 18-20mph with little or no increase in effort but this seems like a dream now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers
    Mark
     
  2. monnet

    monnet Über Member

    Just ride the gear that gives you the cadence you want (it should be 80-100rpm). With time your fitness and strength will improve and you'll start using those bigger gears. Don't focus on the speed too much - I'm under thirty, fit and have cycled for a good 12 years non competitively and average 18-20 on the flat. Also, it's a common mistake to try to ride those big gears all the time.

    I assume its a 30, 39, 50 triple (same as on my Allez). I would say 39x17 would be a good ratio to start with but just ride what feels comfortable.
     
  3. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    I have a triple on my Giant FCR. There's the middle one, for most of the time, the little tiddly one for hills, and the big one, for looking clean and spangly and unused.

    Don't stress about using the top ring, or pushing for high speeds. Work up gradually, and your fitness will just improve and improve, which is what you wanted. As Monnet says, ride at a cadence that suits you, and gradually that will move up a gear or two, and maybe eventually onto the big ring. But most people I know spend most time on the middle one, and the big ring is for downhill or tailwinds...

    As for the point about being beaten over 26 miles by a runner.. Yes, a damn good runner, who trains every day, and has done for years and is probably down for the next Olympics. You've been going for three months? Imagine pitting yourself against someone who's only been running for 3 months, from a starting point of slightly overweight and not as fit as they could be (which from your goals is where I guess you were back then?) and you're looking at a more realistic race, and you'd whup their ass!:blush:

    Oh, and welcome to the forum.:ohmy:
     
  4. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    BTW, I've never been to Romney Marsh, but I quite fancy it one day - the railway and the amazing expanse of landscape - quite unlike so much of the rest of Britain...
     
  5. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    there is no such thing as the "wrong" gear. if it is comfortable to spin at about 90rpm on the flat then that is ok. the fitter you get, the more use you'll get out of the bigger gears, but don't worry about them too much.
     
  6. Nice post Mark, and as the others have said - just do it! There is always that inner demon saying 'I've got the gears I need to use them' or 'I'm wearing the lycra - got to race' etc etc.
    It is about you, in your time, at your pace. Masses of advice within this forum to help you through, as I am discovering, and it is the helpful stuff like upgrades, "diet" (Well, less beer and pringles etc), techniques - as well as good nature and humour (you obviously have this...) that will soon see you saying "Hmmm, how easy is it to change from my clunky old triple to a sparkly carbon compact?!":smile:
    Have fun
     
  7. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Location:
    Penarth, Wales
    I would suggest putting it in any gear where you can turn a cadence of about 90 and feel comfortable. When this feeling becomes normal and easy then keep the same cadence but go one gear higher (smaller cog wheel) amnd repeat the process. You will soon find that 18 to 20 mph is not so far away.

    BTW welcome to the forum, have some fun here and on the bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. Big T

    Big T Über Member

    Location:
    Nottingham
    I ride at about 17 mph and find that I spin out on the 39 ring on the flat. I have to use the 53 with a 19 sprocket or smaller to be able to keep the speed up.

    Perhaps you shouild buy a computer that monitors cadence, and aim to keep yours around 90 rpm.
     
  9. monnet

    monnet Über Member

    I'd second that. Very useful, and gives you something to concentrate on other than speed (although you'll still inevitably be drawn to speed!).
     
  10. DustBowlRefugee

    DustBowlRefugee Über Member

    Location:
    Sussex, England
    Hello again,



    Many thanks for all of your speedy replies and good advice.

    I feel that perhaps I should give a few more details about myself…

    When I started cycling again three months ago I was 5ft 91/2ins and 15stone 12lbs. I am currently down to 14stone 1lb but disappointingly still only 5ft 91/2 so as you can see I am still a way away from the Lycra-wearing stage of my training (Where do they get the sizes of their cycling gear from anyway?? I tried on an XL top in Evans and looked like the pregnant Demi Moore cover on Vanity Fair…. Oh how the other customers smirked as I struggled to get it off as quickly and subtlety as I could, it might as well have been glued on!).

    Having finally come to terms with the fact that I am unlikely to meet a train of errant Ethiopian marathon runners on Romney Marsh I have been presented with a new and altogether more worrying nightmare which I read about last night in Chris Sidwell’s excellent book ‘Mr Tom’…

    “Six-day racing first started in 1878 when a professional cyclist, David Stanton, was bet £100 that he couldn’t ride 1,000 consecutive miles in six days. He won his bet, riding around a flat track in London’s Agricultural Hall on his penny-farthing bicycle at an average speed of 13.5 miles per hour.”

    Oh No! Blown away by Ghostly Dave and his Penny-Farthing!! And he did it for 1,000 miles not 26!! Whilst Romney Marsh is not exactly the great Grimpen Mire, it can get a bit spooky when the mist starts rolling in, but I suppose that at least I can take some relief from the fact that he won’t be sneaking up on me from behind (him being that much faster).

    I do however feel a bit humbled by this and when I’m sitting on the start line, adjusting my carbon fibre seat post, setting my Garmin GPS-enabled cadence/heart monitor, taking a sip of my Isotonic beverage and clicking my new Nike shoes into my flashy red pedals I’ll have a look beside me and upwards where I’ll imagine Dave; 10 feet in the air, perhaps setting his top hat to a more rakish angle and priming his handlebar-mounted metronome to andante to help with his cadence.

    Unfortunately it’s still raining down here so I still haven’t used the Allez triple but I have taken a day’s leave on Friday so come what may, I’ll be out on the marshes in an effort to at least equal the average speed of my new ephemeral friend.

    I’ll let you know how I get on.

    Cheers
    Mark
     
  11. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Mark, that's a wonderful post that made me laugh! I love the idea of the ghostly cyclist - a variation on the old Headless Horseman!

    "Ah, folk do say that round these parts, when the moon is full and the wind do blow from the east, you can hear the ghosty squeak, squeak, squeak of the old dead master from the Hall, a-riding his high bicycle along the lane. And they do say, that them as sees him, do be visited by unending strife and punctures.... And as he passes, he raises his top hat, and HE'S GOT NO HEAD!"

    Yeah, it's annoying, my weight stays rock steady at about a stone too much and I never get any taller!:blush:
     
  12. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    that's just your muscley legs weighing more than the "average" person who is your height.