Before the Story
This is not a fabricated story, but is based on Mr. CF’s real experience, who is fancy riding bikes. Although he is not a professional cyclist, he insisted on recording his first experience of riding continuously at the speed of 25 kilometers per hour. He hopes to share his story with more cyclists, especially newbies.
This is a true story and with the aim to encourage and inspire others, no matter whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you can pursue and achieve your cycling goals.
The Cycling Route
Mr.CF chose Seagull Island Outer Ring Road, which is located in a city in southern China as his cycling route. The whole mileage is about 29 kilometers. There are few intersections, no traffic lights, all flat roads, and with nearly no slope, except for the bridge in and out of Seagull Island.
The primary challenge lies in the presence of potholes in certain areas and the roughness of the road when crossing the sluice. Since Seagull Island is at the mouth of the sea, half of the journey is riding against the wind. Fortunately, it is a north-south roundabout. One side is against the wind, and the other side is downside. Generally, the south wind blows in summer and the south-north wind blows in winter.
A hint from Mr. CF, don’t ride bikes at dusk, especially from 4 p.m. to sunset, because there will be swarms of flying insects on the road for several kilometers. A little mouth can automatically replenish a few proteins. Moreover, in the evening of holidays, the traffic jam on the eastern line of Seagull Island is so serious that bicycles can’t move.
Many people say that the most important thing in cycling is good leg strength, which is essentially true, but that does not mean that equipment is not important, and we can not let equipment drag us down. Mr. CF was wearing a comfortable cotton top, but it was not really suitable for sports. It is easy to sweat a lot and get wet when cycling, which will make people feel uncomfortable and may catch a cold. He suggests that it is best to prepare cycling clothes when riding out. The close-fitting cut resembles that of a bathing suit and serves to reduce drag. This type of fabric is conducive to perspiration and keeps the body dry. There is a cushion in the riding pants to make long rides more comfortable. Attention, don’t wear underwear under the cycling pants.
If you don’t have cycling clothes, quick-drying clothes, sportswear and other clothes that easily wick away sweat will also work. Mr. CF also added that it is best to wear shorts or leggings to prevent the trousers from being stained by the crankset and chain of bikes.
Like the gun hold in the soldier’s hand, the bicycle is the most important weapon for the cyclists. Mr. CF rides a light folding bike, and he made some modifications to the bike. In addition to replacing the handlebars, seat cushions and pedals, everything else is original, including this comfortable and thick 2.0-inch Big Apple tire, and a convenient and full seatpost pump.
He firmly believes that if he can achieve a riding speed of 25 kilometers per hour for one hour, then most people can also do it.
The reasons why Mr. CF set the goal is based on the physical and financial resources of the most people. He gave an example, a healthy man can walk up to five flights of stairs at a stretch. As long as you choose a brand of bicycle, the price does not need to be too high, varying from 500 to 1500 dollars, you can complete the 29-kilometer ride on Seagull Island in just over an hour like Mr. CF did. In fact, there’re some skills behind it.
Be Good At Changing Speed
According to Mr. CF’s past experience, the level of bicycle transmission kit can not directly make people ride faster, but if they can not use the transmission skillfully, it will definitely drag them down.
Is there a common gear for novices? No! So how to judge the timing of shifting? The answer is to listen to the feeling of the thigh. When we get indulged in cycling, our body will convey various signals to guide us and tell us what to do next.
If you feel like the pedals are empty or too laborious, you should shift gears in time and never step on them hard, otherwise you will easily hurt your knees and legs. When your legs feel a little resistance when pedaling you should shift gears. But how to grasp the strength? For those who are worried about the thickening of their legs, read carefully. The force you use on your legs when riding is similar to the feeling of walking up stairs without any weight.
Cruising at 25 kilometers per hour is easy to achieve on flat roads without wind, but it is impossible to have such an ideal road condition in reality. If you can’t hold on to such a high speed, you can ride slowly, and don’t have to force yourself.
A few of cycling newbies may have heard that the gear position should be the large chainring to the small flywheel, the small chainring to the large flywheel, and do not cross the chain lines. If you are a novice rider, Mr. CF thinks you can ignore these first. When shifting gears, first operate the right shifter. If the gear on the right shifter is not enough, or if you hear the sound of the chain scratching, then adjust the gear on the left. Generally speaking, the larger the value obtained by multiplying the left and right thumb dial numbers, the larger the gear ratio, which means the heavier the pedal.
For most road bikes, there’re no shift window view on the handle, and the rides only rely on pedal feelings. In particular, Mr. CF reminds us not to look down at which gear the chain is hanging on when riding, which is particularly dangerous. Furthermore, the road bike has a half-gear setting, obviously there are only two discs in the tooth disc, why is there four gears in the hand change? Mr. CF explained that when the large chainring to the small flywheel and small chainrng to the large flywheel, the chain was pulled very obliquely and would rub against the front dial. At this time, you can gently push the half gear to make the front shift move slightly to avoid rubbing the chain.
Mr. CF made a summary of his experience of riding on Seagull Island: make full use of the hip and belly strength. Stand over the ridge, over the corner, regulate your breathing and kept your body balanced. These are not advanced skills, the difficulty of getting started is very low, and those who can ride a bicycle can learn them quickly. Mr. CF does not want to propose a set of standards for implementation. He just hopes to share his own experience, give you some inspiration, and encourage more cycling enthusiasts to challenge themselves bravely.
Some netizens who don’t ride a bike will say that cycling only exercises the lower limbs. If you only use your feet to ride a bike, it will definitely be very tiring. It is best to use the muscles of the buttocks and thighs to exert force so that the thighs can drive the calves to trample. Some novices complain that their upper limbs and hands are easy to get tired. It may be that they ride with their hands on the handlebars for a long time and their palms are under too much pressure. It is recommended to tighten the abdomen a little harder, just like the trainer said to tighten the core strength when working out.
The upper part of the body is supported by the abdomen, while the hands are naturally on the handlebars. Buttocks and abdomen force together, like sitting on the toilet, thigh trampling, abdominal support, arms naturally stretched forward to hold the handlebars. Of course, this posture is only an ideal state. Mr. CF added that the prerequisite for its effectiveness lies in appropriate frame geometry and appropriate physical fitness. Therefore, we should constantly fine-tune the height and forward extension of the handlebar to make the bicycle more suitable for our body. You can also add a secondary handle to the handlebar, which can change the grip posture from time to time during riding, so that the upper limbs and hands are less prone to fatigue.
When crossing the ridge, the feet are one after the other, when crossing the bend, the feet are one up and one down, and which foot is on the top and which foot is on the bottom, there are skills to follow. Which way to turn? That foot is on it. For example, to turn left, the left foot is on the top and the right foot is on the bottom, and vice versa. Don’t bother to remember the rules. These rules can make riding around the corner smoother, and the more you ride, the more muscle memory you will naturally form. For safety reasons, please slow down properly before riding through the corner.
While Mr. CF came to the south of Seagull Island, the wind is particularly strong. When riding against the wind, he needs to lie low and his arms are roughly parallel to the ground to minimize the windward area. When riding in a low-lying position, you are highly dependent on the muscles of your waist and abdomen, otherwise you will not be able to maintain this position for long. Meanwhile, you can’t lose the control of the bike. Even if you ride in a prone position, you can still turn, brake normally, and accept the impact of potholes on the ground.
Mr. CF recalled that it was easier to get tired while riding a bicycle with flat handlebars in a low-lying position. He’d cycled for 15 minutes, which is almost his limit. While the curved handlebar holds more positions, where the belt is wrapped around, and Mr. CF can hold it for an hour by changing positions. Some people question the significance of changing the bend handle of folding bicycle. More holding posture is the significance. They are not only for racing, but also for leisure riding.
It is the truth that quiet a lot people have petite hands and cannot reach the gearbox when grabbing the lower handle of a bicycle. In fact, all manual transmission can adjust the stroke of the shift lever. If you lift the rubber cover of the shift lever above, you can see the fine-tuning screw. Turning it clockwise can shorten the distance from the shift lever to the handlebar.
After finishing our cycling trip, most people will feel uncomfortable with pain in their buttocks, numbness in their hands and so on. Some riders think we need to get used to this kind of thing, and we will get used to it if we ride a little more. Mr. CF, however, holds the different opinion. He thinks that if a novice feels uncomfortable in the process of riding a bicycle, he should not attribute the problems to himself. It’s not that the rider’s physical quality is not strong enough. We should carefully take all objective conditions into consideration. Take a critical look at sports equipment and gear. Weather, terrain, and environment can all have an impact on riding. Remember it’s the people who ride the bikes, and you are the one who decides the journey.
It is about 30 kilometers long around Seagull Island, and this is a pleasant fitness exercise for Mr. CF. It not only helped him improve his physical fitness, but also released his mental freedom. There should be no pain in the body other than fatigue. Only by improving the comfort can we challenge the next ride and set higher goals, such as riding 100 kilometers a day.