the sport or activity of riding a bicycle
Cycling has become such a huge part of my adult life that I would love to help you discover this amazing world. On these pages is where you will find all sorts of bits and pieces of what I hope you will find to be useful information to make your journey into this sport easier.
Women who want to get into cycling.... you'll find stuff here. Women who've been riding for a while .... you'll find stuff here too!
Men who've just started riding and finding it all a bit overwhelming, there's going to be stuff for you as well. Men who have been riding for a while... you might find some stuff here (eventually!)
One of the biggest events hits Adelaide every January - Tour Down Under. Want to know what's on? Rides? Places to eat?
When I first started cycling I was overwhelmed by pretty much everything. The kit, the bikes, the speed at which I was going, the people who looked like they were professionals in their matching kit. I spent a lot of time sitting on the outskirts trying to work out how I'd fit into this world. Sometime's I don't think I do but I persevere.
When I bought my first bike I got lucky. It was the right size (still convinced this was a fluke), it wasn't expensive and I loved it on sight.
What I didn't get lucky about was my bike seat and my knicks.
There has to be no more awkward a conversation than with a guy in a bike about how you're going to feel in basically a giant nappy. My first pair of knicks were awful. They were cheap and didn't fit. My saddle wasn't much better! Over time I found the right knicks, the best saddle (for me!) in the world, shoes that didn't hurt my feet and the list goes on.
I'll make a bet with you...
I don't even need to bet on this. There are more women cycling now than ever before. These are my observations and mine alone so I'm sure that there's reason's that this might be perceived to be not true but its simply an observation of mine.
As a recently new cyclist even I can see that there are more women on the road now than three years ago. There are more options for women to ride. Women with kids are looking for ways to be supported when they want to ride and have kids looked after. Women without kids
There are more women wanting to break down the barriers of what has traditionally been a male dominated sport and they are finding ways to change the thinking of everyone around what has been done before.
Making peace with yourself
I think the hardest part of starting a new sport is realising that it doesn't matter if you're the fastest, strongest or fittest. What matters is that you have to do the work to get better at it.
More than half my battles are mental. The physical strength comes with discipline and commitment to getting out there and giving it a go.
There are times when I forget that the only way to get stronger is to get up, get dressed and go. Other times i'm out the door faster than I thought I could. The excuses and the self talk are such a big part of what makes us NOT do something that I think we all need to go and make peace with ourselves before we talk our way out of even trying.
We never say half the things to our friends that we say to ourselves.
Women are MUCH more likely to do this than men. Men generally don't start a ride with "I slept badly" or "I don't feel well". I'm making excuses as to why I might not perform well before I've even begun and that doesn't do me any good at all.
Local Cycling - Melbourne Cycling
Findes philosophy is simple. Riding is about finding. Finding your personal limit and finding out how far you can go. Finding an empty road, a hill, a mountain or a track. It’s finding yourself and finding friends. Our products reflect our belief that spending more time outside riding (or surfing, running, climbing...) is the best thing you can for your life. To stop, breathe and live in the moment. Our products are designed for a life outdoors and have been specifically created and crafted in Melbourne with a cyclists needs in mind.
Happy, healthy, safe skin is our thing. And if your skin doesn’t thank you now, it will in the years to come.
So you buy a bike.... then what?
I was riding on the Richmond Boulevard on the weekend and saw a guy struggling up a hill. He was in the big chain ring, he was wearing sneakers, the plastic guard that comes with your bike to protect the chain was still on. MANY people would say "hubbard".
One definition I found defines a hubbard as this "A rider with little to no technical ability, mismatched kit and more than likely unshaven legs. Hubbards tend to crash often, stand out from afar and have limited knowledge of the sport."
I REALLY dislike this word! Why is someone who is just learning, new to a sport, maybe not sure if they'll like it being termed with such a word? There's nothing like this in other sports is there? What if you can't afford the top, most expensive cycling gear? What if you don't care if you're wearing mismatched kit? Of course you have no technical ability! You're just starting out and learning!
How about when you buy a bike for the first time or maybe its just been a long time between bikes, instead of just selling it to you, taking your money and letting you walk out of the shop wheeling your new pride and joy, that there's some time spent with a person to explain all the bits and pieces so that someone who is maybe buying their first ever bike feels comfortable with it.
How about a conversation is had, one that goes a bit like this:
"So this is your bike! This is the big chain ring, it makes it harder to pedal up hills when you're in this gear. This is the small chain ring, this lets you spin your legs more and uses less energy but gets your heart rate up. There's gears at the back that you adjust while in either the big ring or the small ring to make it easier or harder. This is how you change gears (an actual demonstration) Your helmet should cover your forehead. Gloves protect your hands from the cold, the heat and the gravel if you fall (we all fall at least once btw!). You don't wear underwear under your knicks (men and women!). Give your bike a bit of a wipe down after you ride it especially if the roads are wet. Here's some cleaning stuff and this is how you use it." Granted you're not going to remember all of this and it is ALL going to sound hard and complicated. There are plenty of groups and places to learn though (Men and women!)
When we buy a car someone shows us all the bits and pieces right? It might not be our first car and yet we still allow someone to show us all the buttons, how to adjust the seat, where the fuel tank is etc.
SO WHY IS A BIKE DIFFERENT??
When I bought my bike I had NO IDEA. None. It was the first bike I ever bought. I didn't know how to change gears, how to clean it. Instead of instilling me with confidence and knowledge from the get go, I felt like I had this amazing object but didn't understand it or know how to take care of it and how to get the most out of it. I wore mismatched kit because I couldn't afford a matching one when I first started and just built up my (now very large and still often mismatche) kit collection over time. There is nothing wrong with this. You're riding your bike. You don't get dressed up in top level fashion when you're not in lycra so does it matter if you're wearing one brand on top and another on the bottom?
You're dressed, you're comfortable and you're riding a bike .... that is happiness!
Here's a bit on gears and how to change them...