Wow! All of a sudden, it's cyclists out of the woodwork - I love it!
Like many of you, I got back into cycling after years away when I purchased a mountain bike (Kona Hoss - made for big guys!) last October. It's been so much fun and my fitness has improved so tremendously that I plunked down for a road bike a little over a month ago (2002 Bianchi Imola)! I can thank senrides, in part, for encouraging my move to the "dark side" and let me tell you - she knows her stuff! Possibly because - by her own admission - she's already made many of the mistakes the rest of us might.
Anyway, I'm now riding at least 20 miles every other day (soon to be every day) in preparation for several rides I've registered for this summer. My longest will be the 50 mile "Tour de Cure" (a benefit for the American Diabetes Assn. - my page: http://main.diabetes.org/site/TR?pg...1671&px=1754771
) a little less than a month from now! It's been very exciting to see my speed and endurance increase and my body has never felt better! I continue to ride my mountain bike occasionally as well and like the physical change-up and challenge it provides (it still fatigues me faster than road riding).
I'm also one of the cyclists who plans to join senrides, GypsyAngel and possibly some other LC cyclists from these forums on a Seattle to San Francisco ride in the fall of '05.
As far as things I've learned over my 6+ months of riding:
1) I'd first like to agree with the others who suggest buying a good quality bike! Find a good local bike shop (LBS) and spend some time test riding several options. Don't be in a huge hurry and avoid making a mistake you'll have to live with. Remember, a good quality bike doesn't have to cost a fortune and - if you need to start with a lower-cost bike - most components can
be upgraded later as your abilities increase.
2) Once you find the bike you want, MAKE SURE to have the bike professionally fit to you
- not the other way around! This includes things like stem height, handlebar reach and saddle position/height. They are so important
in order to prevent injuries which could prevent you from riding for months!
3) Start slowly! I made the mistake of being a bit overzealous when I began riding again last October. The result? Patellar tendonitis! Fortunately I caught it early enough so it doesn't cause me much pain at all, but my knee now makes a nice crunching sound when I climb steps!
This was completely my fault and I've since adjusted my training schedule to prevent overuse injury. So, while you may be excited to be back on a bike, build the speed and the distance you ride slowly
and don't push big gears!
4) Get yourself some proper cycling attire. If you have a fear of lycra - and most of us did when we got into cycling - at least look for a pair of loose-fitting cycling shorts with a chamois pad. They make a HUGE difference in comfort on the saddle. And please note, you wear these COMMANDO (no undies!). The whole idea is that the chamois keeps...ahem...things in place (especially for us guys) and prevents chafing! If you wear them with undies, you've got guaranteed chafing.
5) Have fun! And welcome to Low-Carb Cycling! I'll post some of what I've discovered regarding LC nutrition and other subjects later - for now, I've used up enough space...