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I just got my first real road bike - a 2k7 Giant TCR A1 - and I'm still getting used to it. I've been riding a Trek 7.6 FX with no problems. My lbs gave me a good deal on the TCR that I couldn't pass up, and I've really been wanting a "real" road bike. So, anyway, I bought the bike.

First ride, I wanted to try climbing, so I went down a really steep hill (about a mile at -7%) and then rode back up it. Really enjoyed pulling up the hill, but going down was terrifying and painful. The road is pretty gnarly weathered asphalt, so it's pretty bumpy, and it's steep enough I don't just want to bomb down it. So, I'm pretty much riding the brakes from the hoods, and learning quickly that these brakes aren't any where near as strong as those on my hybrid. I've read about the difference, but I wasn't prepared for just how different they are. I figured out that there's a lot more leverage from the drops, but tucking when scared wasn't too fun either. Long story short: I made it fine, but my hands cramped up like you wouldn't believe. Lesson - learn to be comfortable tucked with hands on the drops.

I also think that I'm not totally comfortable with the hoods as far forward as they are, so I rotated the handlebars up a little. I probably look like a big dork, but I'm more comfortable, and I'm more confident for now. I'll probably drop them back down when I'm more confident. I really don't think it's a fit issue, but rather just a matter of confidence being stretched into a proper road position. This way I'm up just a bit, and it makes a huge difference in comfort and confidence.

Finally, I had a blowout today. I figured you all might get a kick out of it, so I'll tell you what happened. I am not accomplished at spinning properly yet, and I also haven't figured out exactly when to shift in every case. At any rate, sometimes (rarely) I'll find myself riding a gear or so smaller than I should, and my spin turns into this awful lunge-step thing that literally starts the bike bouncing a bit. I don't remain in this state for more than a few pedal strokes before I calm down, shift, and _try_ to spin properly. Well, today, I start my bouncing shenanigans, and my tire popped of the bead and bam - blown tube. I was a little shocked to learn that a combination of tire pressure (too little I believe), some small bumps, and really poor form can cause a flat.

I'll be working on my form. Until then, if you see a fat guy bouncing along on a red Giant with elevated drop bars, give me a wave, and try not to laugh. Or laugh, I don't mind, I'm having too much fun to care anyway.

Oh - one last thing. My bad elbow hurts like crazy after every ride over 10 miles on my hybrid. I did 15 miles on my road bike today, and my elbow didn't even notice. My perineum is another story though - need new seat ASAP.
 

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I ride in circles..
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4,990 Posts
Welcome to the board:)

Comfort if more important than looks for you. Don't worry about the racer types on racing bikes. They've been doing it a long time.. or are just pretending they've been doing it a long time.

Take your time getting comfortable and eventually you'll learn to flow down hills without freaking out. Don't grip the bar too hard or it'll translate into rough jerky steering. The more rigid and tense you are the worse the bike will handle.

As for the spinning.. If all is adjusted well you can practice one legged drills and force yourself to ride easier gears to help it out.

Look into the saddle adjustment.. that might be causing your pain.. also look into decent shorts. Those will help just as much if not more than a new saddle.

Good luck and enjoy!
 

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Adventure Seeker
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5,123 Posts
I just rotated my bars up a few degrees myself and it made a world of difference when it comes to comfort. My bars were angled down about 10 degrees, and I made the top part level. The position of the handlebars is a personal preference to what feels best.
A little advice I've read here about spinning is to move your feet forward/backward when the cranks are level. Try it and you'll see what they mean.
For shifting, you need to do what feels best to you, if you feel your cadence dropping, shift before you get bogged down.
Great to hear you're having a good time, that's why we do it!
 

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Embrace your inner Fred
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+1 on the welcome:cool: Im new here too and getting used to my new road bike as well. Dont worry about the embarrassing stuff that can happen to you as a noob. Trust me. Nothing you wrote there is as embarrassing as what I have been through learning how to use the clip-less pedals. You will be fine with more practice. Its been a short while since Ive been riding my bike and Im already getting used to the tuck position etc that comes with road bikes. Stay safe.
 
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