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More stuff:

1. Read books (fiction and non-fiction) about cycling. Bobke II (american guy), The Yellow Jersey (english guy), The Rider (dutch guy), Love for the Ride (french guy, I think). That Lance guy has a couple of books also. Not to mention all the training bibles out there....

2. Watch some movies. Yeah American Flyers is cheesy, but it IS about our favorite sport (and Eddy's in it!). Breaking Away is a classic. Lots of good stuff about actual races.

3. Get an old-school bike, with downtube shifters. Better yet, go Fixed!

4. In short, immerse yourself in the sport! Obsess about it, read about it, talk about it.

Oh yeah, what MB1 and others have said too.....

Scott
 

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#1- Not original but it's worth repeating. Don't upgrade- ride up grades......

#2- Learn basic bicycle mechanics. You should know how to change a flat, adjust your brakes and adjust your derailleurs.

#3- If you think upgrading from Shimano 105 to Dura Ace will make you faster, you are sadly mistaken....

#4- listen to MB1
 

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Think less about gear & clothes, more about riding

I've been posting here about as long as anybody, I think, and I'm constantly surprised at the number of posts about what kind of shorts/jersey/helmet ("Can I use an MB helmet on my road bike?")/even socks you should wear, or whether it's OK to use a triple if you can't climb hills in your 39-19. At the level where the huge majority of us ride, improvement is going to come from conditioning, not from taking 100 grams off the bike or changing pedal systems. Just get on and ride, and when you reach a point that the bike is holding YOU back, instead of the other way around, you'll know it and know what to do about it.
 

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classiquesklassieker
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One for the new posters (titles of posts)

Despite your overwhelming drive to be cute, please post using descriptive titles.

Posting a question which title is "Do you think that .... " or "Why is it true that ... " is just annoying and non-informative. It will get a lot of hits, but not necessarily from the people who can actually answer.

Posting a question which title is something along the lines of "How to true a wheel" is much, much better.
 

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Most shifting problems can be cured by a half turn counter clock-wise on a barrel adjuster.

Check/inflate your tires before every ride and give 'em a squeeze after every ride.(Twice I've discovered a tire with low preasure and a leak by doing this, it saves you from a flat on the road sometimes.)
 

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Fat Man Pedaling
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MB1 said:
1) Ride lots.
2-10) See #1

O.K., O.K. I'll play nice. :D


10) See #1

A few bonuses;

b3) Brooks saddles work.
b6) You can replace an innertube and be back on the bike in less than 2 minutes. Practice, practice, practice.
b7) See #1
I was seriously considering getting rid of the bike and writing off cycling in January before I got my brooks b17 saddle. Check out wallbike.com for a 6 month return policy! Wish I had gotten the honey colored one but money is real tight.

Most of all, have lots of fun. I complain that my speed improvement is coming so slowly and people advise me to go on group rides and get dropped by faster riders.

Been there done that and the only advantage it has over being the last guy picked on your 6th grade gym class softball team is that at 40 years old, I am better equipped to deal with the humiliation. I suppose it would work, though.

Gregg
 

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as an avid mountain biker and a new road biker the only piece of advice i can offer is be on time for your rides or you may find yourself riding alone. no one likes showing up to your place for a 9 AM ride for you to still be sleeping and your bike is in various stages of disassembly.

"dont worry i just have to put on a new rear derailleur and stop by the shop to get my wheels trued, we will be rolling in no time"

maybe its just me but i get ready the night before a ride, not 20 minutes after you were supposed to meet.

also dont make fun of the new guys. we may not have the best and most expensive gear but we do share the love of cycling and are having fun just the same as you.
 

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Kvonnah said:
here is just a quick one:

After riding in the rain, the best and quickest way to dry out your shoes is to stuff them with newspaper.
Remove the insoles first. Do this after every ride. If you let your shoes dry out, they should last longer and they'll be more comfortable when you put them back on.
 

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Forget or break your tire levers?

I know you shouldn't forget your tire levers but I have seen guys on mountain bikes leave there underseat bags open and then everything proceeded to bounce out and down the mountain.

So if you find yourself without tire levers and a flat tire just use you quick release levers to get the job done. If you are worried about your nice shiny black rims getting scratched you can just walk out or wait for someone who was prepared!
 

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Signal Like You're Turning Right, Then Go Straight

One trick I like to do is when I'm approaching a 4 way stop with a car stopped at the intersection on my right waiting to see what I'll do, I'll occasionally (if the situation fits it) signal like I'm going to make a right hand turn, then as soon as the car goes I continue to go straight through the intersection. I do this to avoid the situation of both parties stopping to figure out who has the right of way. If people see you're signaling right, they don't hesitate to go, where as if you don't signal right, they may hesitate, then you both stop. So I pull this "white lie" to get the car to clear the intersection.
 

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Tips???

Lets see if I can help

1. Always bring one extra water bottle
2. Dont look at your speed
3. always look up
4. tuck your knees and elbows, and crouch in
5. Only use brakes at intersections
6. Petal 1/2 way down hill
7. Jelly beans actually are good to eat on a ride
8. bike at least 1 hr after eating
9. if your going to ride go at least 45 minutes
10. Dont own the road, share the road, thats how I hit a camaro at nearly 40 mph...
 

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I don't have 10, but...

1) In the beginning, you only need to work on doing two things well - pedaling and breathing. Before you set all kinds of crazy weightloss, time/distance goals, work on being able to pedal smoothly and breathe in unison. I can lose miles of road and weeks of work stress just focusing on the Zen that is pedaling and breathing.

2) Uphill is a state of mind. Your average NFL player would say that 90% of climbing is half mental. Seriously, embrace the hill - the climb is your friend. Glory is at the top of every climb. If you keep on riding the same hills, you'll notice they keep getting shorter with each ride.

3) Ride at your pace. You may race at some point in the future, but there is no need to start now. If someone is flying by you up the hill, concentrate on your cadence and make sure it doesn't speed up. Until you've truly gotten to know your body, you'll just burn yourself out un-necessarily while providing a bit of comic relief for those who pass you. When you start doing it to others on a consistent basis, you'll be relieved to know that you were never "that guy".

4) If you are in a ride group and have problems with your bike, look for someone with hair on their legs to help you. The individual will either be a Fred or a former MTB'er, but you'll have a much higher percentage chance of them helping you. Former MTB'ers are the best since they tend to still carry 10 lbs of tools around for the first 6 months of road riding.

5) If you are biking solely for the purpose of losing weight, you need a change of attitude. You may actually gain weight for the first few months of riding as muscle builds on your body. My best advice is to not focus on your weight at all, instead focusing on having a good time riding. Exercise is not fun, but riding is. If you truly get the bug, you'll never have to worry about weight again anyway.

6) Make friends with people who ride a lot. You might start riding with your regular friends, but you will find out over time that they are not nearly as consistent as the people you meet on the road/trail. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to a group in the parking lot or at the trailhead. You may find yourself with a whole new circle of friends that will never flake on a ride.

7) You are not Lance Armstrong. If you are just starting out on the bike, Cytomax, Gu, and powerbars are not going to help you. It will be awhile before you need to take on food for a ride.
 

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remember

1 Don't stand if you can sit and dont sit if you can lay down.
2 Always bring a patch kit,tire irons and air pump/gun.
3 Money is good, cell is better.
4 Bring more food than you think you need on 4+ hour rides.
5 Always where sunscreen, especially on road rash.
6 Have a meal ready after a long ride so you can eat as soon as you get home.
7 Pass as many people as possible! :D :D
8 Helmets are a must.
9 Spare batteries for your MP3 player
10 The air conditioning turned on so you can sleep!
 

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denversean said:
7) You are not Lance Armstrong. If you are just starting out on the bike, Cytomax, Gu, and powerbars are not going to help you. It will be awhile before you need to take on food for a ride.

A true statement. Keep in mind that "a while " is the key operator here. Riders progress at different levels. That really depends on what level you are starting. If you haven't ridden a bike since you were a child, forget energy supplements. But...if you are somewhat physically fit and have experience on a mountain bike or with running, your road biking speed and stamina will increase quickly over a short time. Once you start really pushing yourself, energy gels will help. Cytomax is good for all levels of strenuous exercise because it decreases the lactic acid buildup that causes soreness.
 
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