Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground

I have been road cycling for 13 years now.  It has been an incredible journey.  My bike has literally changed my life.

Before I met my bike (my beloved Trek 2000), I was the most unathletic person ever!!!  I wouldn’t have believed for a second that I was one day going to be riding a fast bike on highways and up to the tops of mountains.  I was completely uncomfortable with my physical being, and afraid of adventure.

Right after I married my husband, James, he bought us road bikes.  It had been a passion of his in his younger years, and he was keen to re-immerse himself.  I really had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.

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The first time I took my road bike out, it was terrifying.  You have to believe me when I say that I had no athletic abilities.  My sense of my body was non-existent.  I didn’t know how to co-ordinate anything.  My new road bike had pedals with special shoes that clip into them.  This presented a big challenge for me.  I kept forgetting that my feet were attached!!  I would come to a halt and rapidly hit the pavement before I remembered.  I felt like a complete ass.  I felt really incapable.

This was really embarrassing and really frustrating for me.  I wanted to be able to do this!  So, I ended up coming up with a strategy.  I would repeat the words in my head anytime I wanted to stop:  (1) Slow down, (2) release one foot, (3) halt and lower foot to ground, (4) lean on foot.

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I really did this.  I repeated this over and over and kept practicing on one quiet street near home until I got it.

If you want to ride a fast bike but you are afraid, I really encourage you to try this.  Take the bike on a quiet street, and simply go up and down.  Either use the steps that I have mentioned, or create your own.  Don’t give up.

If there is something else you want to do that you are afraid of doing, apply a similar strategy.  Bite off a small piece, and figure out a way to do it.

I went from a quite street to the peak of a famous European mountain within months.  Don’t give up on yourself.  You can do this!!!

 

The expert in anything was once a beginner.

 

{All photos by Christopher Aune}

 

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9 thoughts on “Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground

  1. How true – we all start off beginners in everything we do – even those things we now think of as second nature. Nice post 🙂 P.S. Don’t feel bad – I still fall off my bike sometimes 😉

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  2. I really love this post! Before I met my husband, I didn’t even know what a road bike was (I’ve always owned an inexpensive mountain bike). We plan to buy a pair of road bikes and get going!

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  3. You have done an amazing job Julie & look at all the incredible things you have accomplished & the places you’ve ridden. You’re a real pocket rocket & I admire you so much. You have great determination & a loving, patient husband who encourages you all the way. You go girl!!

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  4. Great post — this was exactly how I felt about motorcycle/dirt bike riding when I first started. I was so scared that I’d literally sit on the bike, engine idling, doing nothing but panicking for twenty minutes at a time. Then I’d shift into first (after like an hour), go ten feet, and then I’d put it away and be done. It took forever for me to push myself — and like you, I repeated something in my head to help calm myself and work up courage. Learning something new can be really terrifying!

    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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