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Discussion Starter #1
After seeing an article on triathlon last year, I thought "That looks cool, shame I can't swim that far, I can't ride a bike and couldn't run 10km on its own, let alone after the other two".

So far, I've got the swimming and the running sorted and have just bought a new bike. I've also entered a novice triathlon - 400m swim, 11km bike, 3km run - as my challenge for 2007.

My problem is that I'm having a lot of trouble getting going on the bike - two pedal strokes is about all I can do. :embarrassed:

Does anyone have any practical advise on learning to ride.
 

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Hi Grant.
Firstly and very importantly,make sure that the distance between yor saddle and the floor is at the correct height according to you leg length.This will maximise each revolution but also lessen the risk of injury.A good bike shop should be happy to measure this distance for you.
Use the lower gears to get going and don't try to push yourself in to hard a gear at first.
when approaching inclines "attack" and get as much pace as possible.As you feel it getting harder to climb make sure you are in a comfortable gear but also out of the saddle for the best results.(staying in the saddle whilst climbing a hill saps your energy rapidly).
If you haven't already,use cycling shoes with cleats that clip in to the pedals as opposed to using trainers,you'll get more return for your effort.
hope this helps.:)
 

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erm hot foot... I think Grant means that he can't ride at all, so while your tips are great, especially for the likes of me who is getting back into the saddle after many years of not riding, I think Grant needs more basic advice... apologies if I'm wrong Grant.

Grant... have you got anywhere with a very gentle downward slope near you? Because you just need to find your balance and you can do this (yes you can!) by just sitting up straight and central on the bike without putting your feet on the pedals at first... so your feet are just above the ground as you ride down the slope. Keep your hands over the brakes so you can slow down if you need to. Remember to relax as well, this will help.

It will just be trial and error initially until you find your balance. But once you have then you can put your feet on the pedals, maybe just for one revolution to start with...but you'll soon feel more and more confident.

Remember you must put both feet up on the pedals together otherwise your balance will be affected.

I admire you for challenging yourself this way, most of us stick to what we can do rather than learning new disciplines to take part in events.

Good luck :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Trinity, you're right, I'm one of the few folk that didn't learn how to ride a bike when they were a kid.

However, you've both made a lot of good points which I'll take on board - As I know nothing about cycling, any advice is welcome!

Quite a few people have suggested riding down slopes to get my balance, so I'll need to give that a go.

Thanks for your help!
 

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I remember when I was 5 years old, and was given my first bike for Christmas. I'd never ridden before then. It was Christmas Day, my mom was busy in the kitchen, and refused to come outside with me to help teach me to ride. Instead she told me not to be such a ninny and just get outside and go ride. We lived on a downhill slope. I didn't know about brakes ...

Needless to say, I've never forgiven my Mum, and went to the neighbours instead to have me patched up. The scar is still the most prominent one I have on my knee today (and I was a real tomboy when I was little).

But despite that, by the end of the afternoon, I knew how to ride. Downhill slopes (gentle ones) are good, and so are brakes.

Once you're able to stay on the bike - find a friend who can ride with you on their own bike, and shout over instructions on how to use the gears. That will probably be the easiest way.

Meanwhile, I take my hat off to you. Learning to ride as an adult is very very admirable.
 

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I did the same five years ago. It took quite a lot of patience especially as my children were all very competent cyclists and found my early attempts very amusing. There are ways of coping with this. Firstly you must never admit to falling off - when this happened to me I used to call it an undignified dismount. This did not prevent them laughing but made me feel a bit better. I found that going somewhere reasonably private and just messing about to get the feel of the machine worked wonders. Best tip of all is get a good helmet.

I too would like to do a Triathlon but my achilles heel is the swim part. So please feel free to pass on any very basic tips which might help to improve my recent brick-like attempts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
tenkplus said:
I too would like to do a Triathlon but my achilles heel is the swim part. So please feel free to pass on any very basic tips which might help to improve my recent brick-like attempts.
Even though I could swim a bit, I felt that I needed to improve my technique, so I booked in for adult swimming lessons at the sports centre I go to. The instructor pointed all the errors with my technique and before I knew it, my front and back crawl had improved a lot and I learned breast stroke for the first time.

You should ask at your local council-run pool, because there is likely to be some sort of swim development officer and a swim development programme of sorts. Also, this is probably going to be cheaper than going to privately run sports centres and less intimidating than joining a club full of strong swimmers.

Alternatively, you could try a duathlon - run, bike, run - in the meantime while you work on the swimming.

Also, I was out on my bike today and with a little help from my Dad and taking all your advice, I've eventually managed to get the hang of this cycling malarkey. I'm still a bit shakey, so alot of practice is in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm doing the Erskine Novice Triathlon (400m swim, 11km bike and 3km run) on 06-05-07.

I've just bought a hybrid bike, and I hope this will be ok for the first triathlon. Apparently, not everyone at triathlons have road bikes - according to the Erskine race director, who I had emailed for advice.
 

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I did a club duathlon a few years back and the thing I remember is the jelly, wobble legs when coming off the bike and doing the second run!
Good fun though.
 

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Hi (new member so before I ask for help - thought I would volunteer some)

Most "mature" triathletes come from a running background - myself included. Younger triathletes can come from any background most noticeably swimming.

The mistake most runners make when they try to ride a bike is to use too big a gear.

As a general rule of thumb, if your quads hurt, you are in too big a gear and you need to down gear. (Make is easier to pedal)

If your heart and lungs give way before your legs - you need a bigger gear - harder to pedal.

The secret with triathlon cycling is to try and conserve as much energy for the running.
(Hence you see tri bars to lower wind resistance amongst other things)

Newer cyclists should stick to the smallest chainring (on the front) or middle if it is a mountain bike and the sprocket on the back with the most teeth. (smallest gear)

Pedal as if you constantly need more resistance and it feels like it should be harder to pedal and you are probably in the right gear.

And because your saddle height is probably way off, you won't risk damaging your knees (but that's another post...)

You MUST ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET and try to use as hard sole shoes as possible and think about moving up to proper cycling shoes and pedals as soon as possible. Mountain bike shoes and pedals (generically called "spd's" although that is a brand name) are probably the first step

Modify your stretching routine (you do stretch don't you...) - especially in the first few months of cycling because your running muscles are now being asked to do something very different..

Hope this helps you - I learnt all this the hard way :p
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great post, thanks for all the advice.

But you lost me when you started using words like "chainring" and "sprocket".:eek: That's a wee bit too technical, which shows how little I know about cycling.

I do always wear a helmet, even though I'm only cycling on paths round my local park and not on the roads.
 
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