I had my first ride on the tri bike the other day. I had been told by an employee at a local bike shop that everyone who uses clips on their bike will fall…multiple times. I did not doubt he was right. When I was being fitted for my bike I instantly saw I had to wage a small war to get myself unclipped. And then I was on a trainer and didn’t have to worry about holding myself up.
So garbed in my brand new tri shorts and jersey, Garmin GPS watch strapped to my arm, and helmet securely on my head, I cautiously took my bike outside and onto the road. When I was about a block from my house, I saw a stop sign about another block away. Realizing I would have to stop, I successfully unclipped my right foot, and coasted toward the end of the block with a smug confidence that I had outwitted my first obstacle. Unfortunately as I applied the break I tilted left, instead of right, and wiped out after only going two blocks from my home.
I quickly picked my bike and dignity off the ground and took off down a public walking and biking trail. Kind of a bad idea. I never realized how many people are on that trail until I had to be very careful about not hitting anyone. There are also quite a few street crossings, which while not normally a big deal, are now since I have to unclip each time I have to wait for traffic.
So my first ride was spent going at a snails pace and doing a lot of clipping and unclipping. Not necessarily a bad thing since I need to get used to it. Although my nerves weren’t totally about me when the trail detoured onto a busy street due to construction. I am sure people driving by thought I looked super cool in my tight short shorts and clip shoes as I walked my bike down the sidewalk.
All in all not an awful time. I definitely couldn’t say it was fun, but I wouldn’t have called running “fun” when I started doing that. I probably still wouldn’t call running fun…enjoyable maybe. And at least I didn’t fall again.
So I’ll take the following lessons away from this first 12-mile ride:
1. Very public areas are not ideal places to ride a tri bike
2. Unclip both shoes, because gravity loves to play horrible, horrible tricks on people
3. Everything in baby steps. (I had though about using my aero bars for about two seconds, but didn’t want to take on learning too many new things at once. By the end of the ride I almost needed a crowbar to pry my white knuckles off of the crossbars near the brakes.)
Next up: Middle of nowhere open road ride