Sunday, October 6, 2013

Getting Started in Cycling for anyone

I started working with complete novice cyclists in 2009 with my wife. 

At first I did not realize that she was a complete novice as I made the mistake that a lot of coaches make by not asking enough questions. She told me that she had ridden bikes as a child and my next wrong assumption was that she had ridden like I had as a child.... at least on some level.

My intial assessment on our first ride, opened my eyes to a lot of things that have since helped me to help a lot of beginner and some not so beginner cyclists.  In this post, I am going to share a few of these lessons with you.

If you are more experienced and think some of this is ridiculous, please keep in mind that what is now obvious to you may not have been in the beginning, so please use my experience to help beginners over some hurdles that are really easy if only we give them a little help and encouragement.

The first thing that I am going to address is seat height and stand over.
Seat height should be adjusted for the length of your legs to the pedals and not to the ground. In other words when you stop your bike for stop signs, stop lights or any other reason, get off the seat and stand over it.
      Like This

Not Like This
This does a number of things for you
  1. allows you to have your seat at the proper height to get a good leg extention
  2. makes you more stable when you stop
  3. gives your butt a break from sitting on the seat
  4. you can take your hands safely off of the handle bars with out danger of falling
  5. you can use said hands to get a drink or eat a power bar
  6. you will look like you totally know how to ride a bicycle
So if you seat height seems to high for you because you can't sit on the seat of your bike when stopped, then it likely is closer than you think.
On the other hand if you can sit comfortably on your seat while placing your feet flat on the ground, you are definitely to low and will suffer the following consequences
  1. cycling will be a lot harder for you than it needs to be and will not be as fun
  2. you will be at risk of injury due to placing excess pressure on your knees
  3. you will be less stable while riding and more likely to have an untimely meeting with the ground - read - Will be in danger of falling
  4. you may be hungry and thirsty all of the time if this set up causes you to not feel comfortable letting go of the handle bars with one or more hands
  5. you will totally look like you do not know how to ride a bicycle and run the risk of becoming a laughing stock....
This is a good place to start even though I know that it will be a bit elementary for many of you.  But we definitely need to lay down a solid foundation for all of our future cycling brothers and sisters.
Please feel free to leave comments, with questions, topics or products that you would like for me to pontificate about in future blogs!

No comments:

Post a Comment