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      11-07-2011, 01:18 PM   #23
just4kickz
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It's a shame that it's been two weeks since I bought the bike, with with freak snow storm and power outages have not had a chance to ride it yet.

Got all my gear (thanks to all advises), but have not used it yet. Shame on me.
don't be. it takes time to get motivated/get a schedule going. i try to go biking with my friends every saturday, but usually a few people bail for dumb reasons (more likely they just aren't motivated to put time in)... my bike was about 1k total after swapping out parts and building (fixed gear), and the majority of my friends have carbon fiber road bikes worth at least 1.5-2k. you'd think the money you put in should be a motivating factor, but it's not really...

just take your time, ease in from 5 to 10 to 15miles and so on. i think if its not hard on your knees and you find enjoyable places to bike you'll love it.
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      11-07-2011, 02:42 PM   #24
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I've been frustrated as well by not being able to go out and ride. I spent the weekend sick as a dog. I also picked up a mountain bike for winter duties (2011 Trek XCaliber - Hard tail 29er).
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      11-08-2011, 10:43 PM   #25
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You can ride in the snow, you just have to have good clothes. Keeping your feet warm is the tricky part. I probably wouldn't suggest it for a newbie though, it's just something that has to be done if you're getting base miles and hate trainers, like me.

I'm signed up for a mixed gravel/pavement century in early March, so finding base miles will require riding in all conditions. Of course it's 74 here at the moment, so it's not like I ride in a lot of snow.
I recently got some warm running clothes, which I will use for biking. I also got Pearl Isumi cap for under helmet. I can probably use my ski socks to keep my fee warm.

We don't have snow right now, but probably in a month or so we should get some. As long I can find good bike trail, I should be good, right?

What is gravel / pavement century that you signed up for? Is that like marathon for runners?

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don't be. it takes time to get motivated/get a schedule going. i try to go biking with my friends every saturday, but usually a few people bail for dumb reasons (more likely they just aren't motivated to put time in)... my bike was about 1k total after swapping out parts and building (fixed gear), and the majority of my friends have carbon fiber road bikes worth at least 1.5-2k. you'd think the money you put in should be a motivating factor, but it's not really...

just take your time, ease in from 5 to 10 to 15miles and so on. i think if its not hard on your knees and you find enjoyable places to bike you'll love it.
I hear you about friends bailing out. Next weekend I will go on a ride by myself, because I cannot wait any longer. But the idea is also to ride with couple neighbors on weekends. Last weekend we had this crazy snow storm, so ride got cancelled. This weekend they could not make it. Next weekend they can't make it again. So, I'll ride by myself.

Thanks for the advise! I will take it slowly. After few painful "lessons" running I'll learned my lesson, and will not push too fast too soon.


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I've been frustrated as well by not being able to go out and ride. I spent the weekend sick as a dog. I also picked up a mountain bike for winter duties (2011 Trek XCaliber - Hard tail 29er).
I hope you're feeling better. That is some good looking bike you got.
Would 29 inch be harder to ride than 26 inch (until you pick up speed)?
BTW, where are you in CT?
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      11-09-2011, 08:35 AM   #26
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I hope you're feeling better. That is some good looking bike you got.
Would 29 inch be harder to ride than 26 inch (until you pick up speed)?
BTW, where are you in CT?
29ers are a little slower off the line but much faster once up to speed. They also go over roots and other obstacles with greater ease. I feel like I'm riding on a monster truck compared to my road bike that I'm now so used to (Trek Madone 4.7). I live in Norwalk and grew up in Ridgefield.
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      11-09-2011, 09:45 AM   #27
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Winter riding can be tough. I night right off-road until it gets down to the mid 20's or so. Helmet liner...multiple layers, sweats or tights, and maybe even a multi-layer ski glove.

Fingers and toes will get the coldest. You can get a 30-pack of toe warmers for $12 at Costco. A little ghetto trick I do is to leave the ends of a couple of plastic shopping bags in my pack. Put 'em over your sock and it'll help a lot- especially if your shoe is ventilated. You can get full-on shoe warmers, too, but I find them a little inconvenient and tough to fit.

Unless you're REALLY good at handling, you won't want to ride on pavement in the snow, or on any surface covered in ice.
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      11-13-2011, 09:35 PM   #28
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Finally! Rode my bike first time yesterday!
Did about 2.5 miles mountain biking and 2.5 miles road.
Today I went to another park and did 8.88 miles, all road, with many hills.

The bike is good: not too good, but not too bad. I went to mountain trails by mistake, and was riding on pretty rough terrains. The bike took it really well.

On the road though I was wishing it could go faster, like a lot faster. App on my iPhone times me at average of 11+ mph on road yesterday. Today I think average was around 7-8, but had to jump off the bike few times to go up hills. And I also stopped by few times to take pictures of myself.

Want to say thank you all for great advises! I would not be ready and might not like it as much without all great stuff I got that you guys recommended.

BTW, what's your average mileage and speed when going mountain and road biking?

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Winter riding can be tough. I night right off-road until it gets down to the mid 20's or so. Helmet liner...multiple layers, sweats or tights, and maybe even a multi-layer ski glove.

Fingers and toes will get the coldest. You can get a 30-pack of toe warmers for $12 at Costco. A little ghetto trick I do is to leave the ends of a couple of plastic shopping bags in my pack. Put 'em over your sock and it'll help a lot- especially if your shoe is ventilated. You can get full-on shoe warmers, too, but I find them a little inconvenient and tough to fit.

Unless you're REALLY good at handling, you won't want to ride on pavement in the snow, or on any surface covered in ice.
Right now I got helmet liner, and sport tights, which works very good. Saturday I was riding at 40-42 degrees, and did not even feel chilly. Got few layers under windproof jacket too.

Carve, thank you again for your input. Much appreciated!
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      11-13-2011, 10:46 PM   #29
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No problem.

Speeds and distances vary by who I'm riding with. In my mellow grip, we'll go like 8 or 9 miles, 7 or 8 mph. In my fast group, it's more like 15-40 miles...maybe low teens for the shorter rides, and 7 or so for the longer ones. You have to pace yourself when going all day carrying 20 pounds of water up steep hills.

Same for road bike. If I'm commuting to work (11 miles) or on a short ride I always aim to average about 20, not including stops at lights. I can even do a 20 moving average on a century, but it involves lots of drafting and breaks. Steady pace without taking many breaks would be more like 15 on my own, 20+ in a group.

It takes a while though. Once you're comfortable, the best way to get faster is to try to ride with people faster than you.

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      11-13-2011, 10:48 PM   #30
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i think i usually average like 12-13mph... really depends on if I/friend am/is pushing or not or if there's a headwind. Sometimes it's fun to push it for a good mile and go like 18-20mph, but of course this is on a road and on a road bike. can't see a off-road bike going that speed unless your going downhill
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      11-15-2011, 04:15 PM   #31
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No problem.

Speeds and distances vary by who I'm riding with. In my mellow grip, we'll go like 8 or 9 miles, 7 or 8 mph. In my fast group, it's more like 15-40 miles...maybe low teens for the shorter rides, and 7 or so for the longer ones. You have to pace yourself when going all day carrying 20 pounds of water up steep hills.

Same for road bike. If I'm commuting to work (11 miles) or on a short ride I always aim to average about 20, not including stops at lights. I can even do a 20 moving average on a century, but it involves lots of drafting and breaks. Steady pace without taking many breaks would be more like 15 on my own, 20+ in a group.

It takes a while though. Once you're comfortable, the best way to get faster is to try to ride with people faster than you.
Commuting to work on a road bike sounds like awesome idea! Man, you rock!

Do you commute all year around, or there is temperature limit you will tolerate?


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i think i usually average like 12-13mph... really depends on if I/friend am/is pushing or not or if there's a headwind. Sometimes it's fun to push it for a good mile and go like 18-20mph, but of course this is on a road and on a road bike. can't see a off-road bike going that speed unless your going downhill
Since my bike is "hybrid" it has wide tires. Not as wide as MB and not as rugged, but I'm guessing anything wider than road bike tires does not help speedwise.

I do get much faster downhill. Wish I could go that fast as normal riding.

May be if I ride often my wife will not object too too much if eventually I get road bike.
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      11-15-2011, 04:30 PM   #32
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I used to commute about 3 days per week whenever the temperature was between 25 and 95, which is most of the time. It was nice- woke me up...saved me time (no additional workout needed that day...basically an hour of working out that cost me 15 minutes of my schedule)...improved my mood.

Now though, I have to dress a bit nicer and often have to run to meetings across town in the middle of the day, so I don't bike commute much any more
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      11-15-2011, 07:29 PM   #33
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i highly recommend Craigslist to new bikers. Get yourself measured and purchased a bike on craiglist that seems to fit the bill.

Seeing as you are riding on both road and trail its great thought you bought the hybrid and not a pure road bike yet. It sounds like your well on the right track!

As far as speed and things like that go it really depends on genetics and also what kind of shape your in. I have a bodybuilder type body and am in fantastic shape but im happy to average around 13 to 14 mph on a good day. Mountain biking and road biking are both fun on theyre own and if you decide you like the sport i highly recommend getting both a decent mountain bike AND road bike. mountain biking for the rush and road biking for the freedom.
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      11-17-2011, 03:49 PM   #34
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I used to commute about 3 days per week whenever the temperature was between 25 and 95, which is most of the time. It was nice- woke me up...saved me time (no additional workout needed that day...basically an hour of working out that cost me 15 minutes of my schedule)...improved my mood.

Now though, I have to dress a bit nicer and often have to run to meetings across town in the middle of the day, so I don't bike commute much any more
I hear you, it's probably not easy to ride in 3-piece suit.

Which temperature is worse to ride, 25 degrees or 95 degrees? I would probably prefer to ride 25 degrees rather than in 95 degrees.

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i highly recommend Craigslist to new bikers. Get yourself measured and purchased a bike on craiglist that seems to fit the bill.

Seeing as you are riding on both road and trail its great thought you bought the hybrid and not a pure road bike yet. It sounds like your well on the right track!

As far as speed and things like that go it really depends on genetics and also what kind of shape your in. I have a bodybuilder type body and am in fantastic shape but im happy to average around 13 to 14 mph on a good day. Mountain biking and road biking are both fun on theyre own and if you decide you like the sport i highly recommend getting both a decent mountain bike AND road bike. mountain biking for the rush and road biking for the freedom.
That definitely makes a lot of sense: to have dedicated road bike and mountain bike.

Now I check local craigslist occasionally. May be if I see something inexpensive, I might jump on it.

Was at SA last week, and if I did not just got my hybrid bike, I probably could not resist this bike:

http://www.sportsauthority.com/produ...entPage=search



Black Friday price for this bike is $350, and it's new. Sounds like a good deal. Throw 3 year extended warranty on top of that, and that bike can be pushed to it's limits.
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      11-22-2011, 05:33 PM   #35
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A bit late but I'll chime in on speeds, etc. The loop I do every weekend is 15 miles and takes exactly 1 hour. Going clockwise, it's all right turns and uphill the majority of the way and I average 15mph (obviously). There is one steep downhill where I hit 40.6mph a few weekends back which is kind of scary but quite a rush. I'm absolutely LOVING road biking... to the point where I have yet to take out the mountain bike but I do plan to change gears to MTB when the sand hits the streets in the winter. I second what someone said earlier about having a good road bike and a good mountain bike. Now is also an AWESOME time to buy a bike. Most 2011 models are 25-40% off.
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      11-22-2011, 10:24 PM   #36
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What a week! Sunday morning went for a ride. At some point I hit wrong brakes; front brakes locked , wheel stopped and was airborne. I flew over handle bars like a bird. That's when I realized I needed biking gloves, and not riding around in running gloves. So, tore my gloves, scratched my hands, hit and scratched my knee (which is still hurting after running), got bruises in several places.

Other than the fall, I did 20.85 miles in 2 hours and 9 minutes or so, or about 10 mph. The ride was great, although around half 2/3 of the way, my ass was becoming numb.

So, tonight I took that bike (Diamondback) back to SA (today was last day to return/exchange it) and exchanged for something more sporty and faster: K2 Astral 2.0



Will try to ride it on Thursday or Friday.

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A bit late but I'll chime in on speeds, etc. The loop I do every weekend is 15 miles and takes exactly 1 hour. Going clockwise, it's all right turns and uphill the majority of the way and I average 15mph (obviously). There is one steep downhill where I hit 40.6mph a few weekends back which is kind of scary but quite a rush. I'm absolutely LOVING road biking... to the point where I have yet to take out the mountain bike but I do plan to change gears to MTB when the sand hits the streets in the winter. I second what someone said earlier about having a good road bike and a good mountain bike. Now is also an AWESOME time to buy a bike. Most 2011 models are 25-40% off.
Not late at all. 15 mph sounds like a good speed. 10 mph I was going seemed little slow, new bike should be faster.

Why do you switch to MTB in the winter? Does sand on roads impact handling too much?

You right, now is great time to buy it, everyone is having big sales. On Black Friday I will return to Sports Authority, and see what they will have for MTB. K2 bike I got was on sale, plus I had 25% coupon on top of that. So, when I exchanged it, I only had to pay $40 extra for much better bike.

BTW: any suggestions on biking gloves? I'm thinking Pearl Izumi gel gloves: regular for now, and later I can get something for colder days.
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      11-23-2011, 07:47 AM   #37
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I have Specialized gloves for the summer (open fingertips) and pearl izumi full finger gloves that I've been wearing recently and have kept me warm. I will switch to the MTB because they put quite a bit of sand on the roads and the amount of potholes increases tenfold in the winter months. Those tiny narrow tires have such a small contact patch that a few wet leaves or a patch of sand can put you down.

Also, if you're doing 20+ miles on roads and really enjoying it, you would be completely justified in spending a bit more for a higher performance bike from a legitimate bike shop. Just throwing it out there. For about a grand you can get a very nice aluminum frame Trek or alike which will transfer your effort to the road quite a bit better.
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      11-30-2011, 10:05 AM   #38
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I've been hard-core mountain biking for about 12 years now. My friends and I all swear by Santa Cruz. The "Blur" is just insane.

Anything else is just.......
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      11-30-2011, 11:47 AM   #39
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Agreed- Santa Cruz is awesome. I got a Blur when they first came out in '03 and have ridden the piss out of that thing. Still an awesome bike- far from obsolete. I wanted to try a 29er though so now I'm on a Tallboy.

For riding both on and off road, if you want any kind of decent performance, get a dedicated road and mountain bike. The next best solution is a mountain bike with a seperate set of wheels for road tires though. By the time you get wheels, tires, rotors, skewers, and a cassette though, it's usually cheaper just to get an inexpensive 8 year old entry level road bike, and that'll give you much better performance.

I wouldn't bother with incrimental upgrades at Sports Authority. If you want to get into riding, get the best bike you can justify. Ride the hell out of it until it's worn out, or until you want to do a SIGNIFICANT upgrade. All of my bikes have been 50-120% more expensive than the ones they replaced. If they weren't...just keep riding what you have until it's worn out.

For a winter glove, I like Castelli, but there are a lot of good choices out there, including whatever you have lying around in a pinch.

Regarding your crash- I think a lot of beginners treat a bike like a car...sit on it...jam on the controls...hit stuff. Really, a bike is a lot closer to a pair of skis, skates, or even a pair of shoes than a car or motorcycle. You really have to feel what it's doing through your feet and adjust how much weight you put on each wheel, adjust your cg fore and aft for maximum stability and traction depending on how hard you're braking or how steep you're climbing, etc. Really relax and let the bike float over the terrein. Don't panic in a skid. Relax, feel the balance, and ride it out. You may want to practice skidding in a gravel lot.

Imagine running towards a curb. You just don't run right at it, crash into it with your feet, and brace for impact. At the instant your feet would hit the curb you bend your knees to pull your feet up and set them gently down on top of it, then extend your knees to stand up. It's the same on a bike.

Same with braking. When you run and need to stop really fast, you don't just stop your feet- you lean back first. If you're on a slippery surface and your shoes start to skid you just have to feel what's happening and adjust your balance accordingly.

Also...cornering; during low speed cornering you just turn the bar the direction you want to go, but when you go fast cornering is mostly done by leaning. It's in the knees, feet, and hips. Put your outside pedal down, put your weight on your pedals, and point your knees and hips the direction you want to go.
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      12-02-2011, 09:09 AM   #40
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Be careful cycling can be addictive!

Im in my mid 40s and have been riding to work for 8 years now. I live 16km from my office and the route is mostly scenic bike paths along a river. It takes me 37 minutes, plus or minus 5 depending on wind and load.

I bike 3-seasons. Proper equipment is vital and I always check the weather before going out (forecast always exaggerates). I use plenty of layers because I hate the cold. It gets dark early this time of year so I wear retroreflective material on my clothing, helmet and bike. I have be seen lights, front and rear, plus a serious 300-lumen Cygolite headlight mounted on my helmet to detect the camouflaged dog walkers sharing the path.

My current ride see below is a flat-bar road bike with good components (some XTR) customized by a local bike shop. Note that this photo was taken before I put some 22,000km on the bike. Lots of worn parts replaced and I added a softer saddle and Cateye computer for cadence. No front derailleur/shifter now because of limited hills on my commute.

I count my days cycling and last year was a personal best of 137 days. NO EXCUSES except vacation, business travel and snow-covered roads. Yesterday was Day 117 for 2011, but sadly snow has arrived and that is depressing, which suggests that cycling can be an addiction. Better dust off those skis.
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      12-02-2011, 02:42 PM   #41
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After riding about 50 miles last weekend, it seems that K2 Astral 2.0 bike should be great for now. After first couple rides, I took to SA so they cound adjust it, and now it rides even better.

It also seems that I enjoy trails more than plain roads, so I'm going to give up an idea of road bike for now, and just stick with my hybrid and mtb.

Quote:
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I have Specialized gloves for the summer (open fingertips) and pearl izumi full finger gloves that I've been wearing recently and have kept me warm. I will switch to the MTB because they put quite a bit of sand on the roads and the amount of potholes increases tenfold in the winter months. Those tiny narrow tires have such a small contact patch that a few wet leaves or a patch of sand can put you down.

Also, if you're doing 20+ miles on roads and really enjoying it, you would be completely justified in spending a bit more for a higher performance bike from a legitimate bike shop. Just throwing it out there. For about a grand you can get a very nice aluminum frame Trek or alike which will transfer your effort to the road quite a bit better.
Pearl Izumi stuff is great. Just got pair of Pro Softshell Lite gloves last week for colder weather. Also got second scull cap and biking shorts. Last weekend the weather was so great (50-60) and I could not ride two days in a row because my shorts did not dry. So, I bought second (better) pair.

Even though idea of higher performance bike from bike shop sounds great, but I might have to stick with lower end bike. I gotta keep low profile, as my wife still does not know I bought second bike


Diamondback Topanga - has some great reviews. And the price was sweet on Black Friday at only $350.

I might reconsider exchanging it for Diamondback Overdrive 29".

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Originally Posted by xindigo View Post
Where do you store your bike? I'd love to start biking but I don't know if I could bare the thought of storing my bike amongst my newly purchased furniture! Really lacking in garage facilities!
I have a garage, so I just park it next to the wall.
There are several bike storage solutions out there. You can find hooks, wall holders, ceiling holders, so you can store it almost anywhere.

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Originally Posted by Kyoshi71 View Post
I've been hard-core mountain biking for about 12 years now. My friends and I all swear by Santa Cruz. The "Blur" is just insane.

Anything else is just.......
That looks just like the bike I returned to SA
Santa Cruz look like serious bikes, but out of my budget. May be one day...

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Originally Posted by carve View Post
Agreed- Santa Cruz is awesome. I got a Blur when they first came out in '03 and have ridden the piss out of that thing. Still an awesome bike- far from obsolete. I wanted to try a 29er though so now I'm on a Tallboy.

For riding both on and off road, if you want any kind of decent performance, get a dedicated road and mountain bike. The next best solution is a mountain bike with a seperate set of wheels for road tires though. By the time you get wheels, tires, rotors, skewers, and a cassette though, it's usually cheaper just to get an inexpensive 8 year old entry level road bike, and that'll give you much better performance.

I wouldn't bother with incrimental upgrades at Sports Authority. If you want to get into riding, get the best bike you can justify. Ride the hell out of it until it's worn out, or until you want to do a SIGNIFICANT upgrade. All of my bikes have been 50-120% more expensive than the ones they replaced. If they weren't...just keep riding what you have until it's worn out.

For a winter glove, I like Castelli, but there are a lot of good choices out there, including whatever you have lying around in a pinch.

Regarding your crash- I think a lot of beginners treat a bike like a car...sit on it...jam on the controls...hit stuff. Really, a bike is a lot closer to a pair of skis, skates, or even a pair of shoes than a car or motorcycle. You really have to feel what it's doing through your feet and adjust how much weight you put on each wheel, adjust your cg fore and aft for maximum stability and traction depending on how hard you're braking or how steep you're climbing, etc. Really relax and let the bike float over the terrein. Don't panic in a skid. Relax, feel the balance, and ride it out. You may want to practice skidding in a gravel lot.

Imagine running towards a curb. You just don't run right at it, crash into it with your feet, and brace for impact. At the instant your feet would hit the curb you bend your knees to pull your feet up and set them gently down on top of it, then extend your knees to stand up. It's the same on a bike.

Same with braking. When you run and need to stop really fast, you don't just stop your feet- you lean back first. If you're on a slippery surface and your shoes start to skid you just have to feel what's happening and adjust your balance accordingly.

Also...cornering; during low speed cornering you just turn the bar the direction you want to go, but when you go fast cornering is mostly done by leaning. It's in the knees, feet, and hips. Put your outside pedal down, put your weight on your pedals, and point your knees and hips the direction you want to go.
The connection with the bike is getting better every time I ride.
Thank you for the pointers, I'll try to remember and practice them next time I ride.

I do like my new k2 astral 2.0 bike. It might not be the greates one out there, but I think it is very decent for beginner like myself.

How does 29" compares to regular 26"? How different does it feel?

I got DB Topanga (also at SA on black friday), but thinking if I should exchange it for DB Overdrive.

For now, better bikes are off the table. May be when I worn these out.

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Originally Posted by Burrnerd View Post
Im in my mid 40s and have been riding to work for 8 years now. I live 16km from my office and the route is mostly scenic bike paths along a river. It takes me 37 minutes, plus or minus 5 depending on wind and load.

I bike 3-seasons. Proper equipment is vital and I always check the weather before going out (forecast always exaggerates). I use plenty of layers because I hate the cold. It gets dark early this time of year so I wear retroreflective material on my clothing, helmet and bike. I have be seen lights, front and rear, plus a serious 300-lumen Cygolite headlight mounted on my helmet to detect the camouflaged dog walkers sharing the path.

My current ride see below is a flat-bar road bike with good components (some XTR) customized by a local bike shop. Note that this photo was taken before I put some 22,000km on the bike. Lots of worn parts replaced and I added a softer saddle and Cateye computer for cadence. No front derailleur/shifter now because of limited hills on my commute.

I count my days cycling and last year was a personal best of 137 days. NO EXCUSES except vacation, business travel and snow-covered roads. Yesterday was Day 117 for 2011, but sadly snow has arrived and that is depressing, which suggests that cycling can be an addiction. Better dust off those skis.
Wow, that does sounds like you enjoy riding very much! That is great! Do you ride to work on regular roads, or you ride trails?

I wish there was a trail to my work, I would be riding to work on warm sunny days.
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      12-02-2011, 05:07 PM   #42
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      12-03-2011, 12:32 PM   #43
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I just started and I love it, and I'm surprised how much I love it. I thought that I would prefer mountain biking, but I definitely prefer biking in the city. I'd recommend borrowing one and seeing if it's something you'll really get into. I never suspected that I would, so I just bought a 80s Centurion. It's great but I've already put a few hundred into it getting lighter wheels, new cassette, etc.

If it doesn't seem like you'll get real into it, I'd recommend just getting a used bike from a reputable shop in the area. If you really enjoy it I'd just buy a new bike for $400-600 and be done with it.
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      12-03-2011, 11:15 PM   #44
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40 miles today! san jose to morgan hill... mainly flats
Nice! I'm doing about 20 miles each time (22 miles today).

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Originally Posted by Augenbrauezug View Post
I just started and I love it, and I'm surprised how much I love it. I thought that I would prefer mountain biking, but I definitely prefer biking in the city. I'd recommend borrowing one and seeing if it's something you'll really get into. I never suspected that I would, so I just bought a 80s Centurion. It's great but I've already put a few hundred into it getting lighter wheels, new cassette, etc.

If it doesn't seem like you'll get real into it, I'd recommend just getting a used bike from a reputable shop in the area. If you really enjoy it I'd just buy a new bike for $400-600 and be done with it.
Sounds like you are moving ahead with your biking.

I got my bike for about ~$240 + 3 years extended warranty (includes 3 annual tune ups). I figured, I can try it out for year or so, and if I like it I'll get nicer bike later.
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