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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, hi it's great to be here :). I'm a runner branching out into triathlons. My mountain bike was stolen last year and it was the perfect excuse to look into road bikes. About 4 days ago I picked up a Trek 1.2 from a local bike shop, stock except for clipless pedals and a new, non rock-like seat. I can already tell I'm going to be hooked on this sport because I went out all three days this weekend, for 9 miles, 13 miles, and 19 miles respectively.

Oh, and yes, I've already done a timber while trying like crazy to unclip. In front of other riders too. So I've got that out of the way.

So for the questions.
1: Do you keep your pedaling constant? I find that I pedal hard for a few strokes, then coast for a couple seconds, then pedal again, then coast. I think it may be a throwback to my mountain bike where I pedal like that. I've been working on keeping my legs moving at a constant rhythm, but they start to burn like crazy. After about 3 seconds of not pedaling they get better. Is it just a matter of getting used to the constant motion? Any tips for training that?

2: Can you hang your bike up for storage? I have those big yellow ceiling hooks that you hook through the wheels of a bike to hang it for storage. With a mountain bike I never even thought about it, but I don't want to damage the Trek. Right now we've got 3 bikes in the house, each hanging from a single hook by the back tire. Is that going to put undo strain on anything?

3: Do you brake going downhill? This thing flies, at least compared to running and my old bike, and I find I brake when I roll down larger hills. Is that pretty standard or am I gonna burn something out and should I just let gravity do its thing? :)

4: What maintenance and checks do you do immediately before and after your rides? Are there certain things that every rider should maintenance/clean immediately after a ride, and are there certain quick checks you can do to make sure your wheel isn't going to fall off before you go?

Thanks in advance. Again, great to be here.
 

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Full disclosure: I'm a long way from a racer, just an old guy with lots of experience. If you want to go fast, somebody else will have better suggestions than I do. But in general:
Work on smoothing out your pedaling style, but don't obsess over it. It will come. You could be using too low a gear. Whatever your road speed, try shifting into gears that let you maintain a cadence of around 90rpm. I came from mountain bikes, too, and I think my pedaling cadence there was usually in the 60s or 70s.
Hanging for storage is fine. My old Trek has been hanging by the front wheel for 20 years.
Of course you brake going downhill. I'm not sure what your concern is here, but if you DON''T brake on the hills around here, pretty soon you're going 70mph and then you fly off the road and die. Don't worry about "burning something out," worry about crashing. Brake pads are replaceable for a reason.
As for maintenance, I've found road bikes are easier than mountain bikes because they don't get as wet or dirty. I check the tires before every ride, lube the chain every 100 miles or so, give the bike a quick once-over whenever I think of it, but I don't actually DO anything more than a few times a summer. When I rode mountain bikes more (I live near the Tahoe National Forest and used to go up there several times a week), it seems like I was always fixing or adjusting something. It's not necessary with road bikes.
Does your last question indicate an unfamiliarity with quick releases? If you're not SURE how to operate those, google it or get somebody to show you. Losing the front wheel is always bad.
 

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1. Best to try to keep pedaling. Your legs will actually stay fresher. If you need to rest, soft-pedal rather than coasting. Shift gears to get a comfortable cadence, which will vary with conditions.

2. Yes, it's okay. Won't hurt anything.

3. You go as fast as you're comfortable going under the conditions. Brakes are there to slow you. You won't burn them up by using them as they're intended to be used. But it's fun to go fast, ain't it?

4.. You'll get lots of different advice on this. Personally, before every ride I spin the wheels to make sure there're true and mounted straight, make sure the quick-releases are tight, and check brake function. If anything seems funky during the ride, I try to remember to check it after. I lube the chain as necessary, which may be a few hundred miles in dry conditions, or after every ride in wet.

Welcome. You're gonna have fun with this. Take it slow for a while. I think your burning legs are just a getting-in-shape thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. Helpful advice, definitely. Glad to hear I'm not hurting my bike by hanging it.

As for the downhill, I did feel kind of silly asking, but I also wanted to make sure I wasn't performing some kind of rookie mistake by not coasting straight down the hill. As I said, really really unused to that kind of speed.

For the quick release, I'm sure I've got it, I've just never been comfortable with the idea that the wheel even has a quick release :). It'd prefer it took a jack-hammer to get it off. Mostly, though, I just want to know what to look for before heading out on the road. I can walk around the bike and peek at key areas and look all professional, but I really have no idea what I'm looking at.
 

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1. Find a gear that allows you freely spin the cranks all the way around with equal force from both legs. Don't just pedal hard on each down stroke.

2. I use one hook per wheel for each bike.

3. Try to use both the front and back brakes evenly, keep it steady and look ahead for potholes, gravel, debris, etc.

4. I make sure the tires are inflated, wheels are true, quick release is tight and brakes are aligned and not rubbing and that the chain is lubed. After I wipe down the chain and bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I learned something today. Riding 3 days in a row your first weekend of biking will destroy your back, hehehe.

I'm dumb... and sore... but mostly excited to get back out there as soon as I feel better.
 

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Akjone02 said:
For the quick release, I'm sure I've got it, I've just never been comfortable with the idea that the wheel even has a quick release :). It'd prefer it took a jack-hammer to get it off.
If you're using the QR right, it takes quite a lot of force to move the lever once it's locked. Maybe not jackhammer level, but there's no way it will bounce off without someone actually pulling hard on the lever.

As for braking techinique, peruse this article by the late great Sheldon Brown:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
Advanced braking technique is a little more subtle than just using both front and back evenly. Not everyone follows Sheldon's advice to use the front brake alone most of the time (that takes very good technique), but using both evenly as fishtaco suggests will not get you the shortest safe stop in a hard stop situation. That's because a hard stop will shift weight forward, and if you're braking as hard in the back as in the front, the rear wheel will lock up and skid. So you start with both, but apply more pressure to the front brake as you decelerate.

I also find for braking on fast downhills that body position is important. Weight low and shifted to the rear, and hands in the drops for secure grip, is what works best for me.
 

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Akjone02 said:
So I learned something today. Riding 3 days in a row your first weekend of biking will destroy your back, hehehe.

I'm dumb... and sore... but mostly excited to get back out there as soon as I feel better.
As far as pedaling goes, for triathlons there are some techniques for preserving your legs during the ride for the final run. Triathlon training guides go into it in detail, but they involve things such as saddle position and when to apply power during each revolution.

Good luck with the back recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fishtaco said:
As far as pedaling goes, for triathlons there are some techniques for preserving your legs during the ride for the final run. Triathlon training guides go into it in detail, but they involve things such as saddle position and when to apply power during each revolution.
Nice, I'll definitely have to look into that. I know there's a whole science to it but at the moment I'm concentrating on just getting the basics.

I originally wanted a triathlon bike rather than a road bike because I'm specifically going for triathlons, but the prices kept me from doing it. I figure that unless I'm super-competitive about it, a roadbike with aero bars will serve me well.
 
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