It arrived … My new bike! A marvellous black bike with go faster red stripes and of course the obligatory pink that was the crucial part of my check list when choosing a bike (to the guys dismay!). It’s apparently called a Felt ZW4 with discs? But who cares – it’s pink right?
Well actually – it turns out I do have to care because now we are getting serious. I have to start learning and understanding gears, cadence, pedals and cleats, braking and cornering. So for this training session Vagner had arranged a route with a few killer hills for us all to practice our gears and gear changes. And by us all … I mean me and Tim as we’re the novices in the group!
We set off down a quiet road and onto our first ever main road, followed quickly by a junction, several more roundabouts, traffic lights and finishing with a dual carriage way. I screamed like a girl, closed my eyes and just pedalled for dear life! I’m hoping the sound of the traffic drowned me out so the guys remain oblivious. In fact, I’m pretty sure Vagner and Michael believe the hysterical laughter and tears were from the pure enjoyment of the day! So phew – got away with that then!
The hills were pretty tough and changing gears to stop the leg burn was imperative. I know we probably all looked like a bunch of geriatrics pedalling frantically with legs flailing, cheeks puffing and red faced whilst inching forward at snails pace but we were happy! Well … perhaps Tim wasn’t so happy? They say a photo speaks a thousand words! (See above!)
So lets talk gears …. Without getting too technical! I know some of you out there may laugh but hey – we all have to start somewhere and let’s not forget … I am a girl afterall.
So what is going up and down the gears. Well it transpires that to go up the gears is when it feels easier?!?
In my mind going up the gears should get harder but I guess the easiest way to think about this is to compare the gears in a car. As you move off and get faster you go up a gear. The same applies.
So to start, I chose a level road and basically played around with my right hand gears or shifters until I worked out what was happening. As we picked up speed I was able to move up each gear one at a time until I had reached my fastest and smoothest pace. This apparently happened because I was using the largest front chainring with the smallest rear cog or sprocket. I also found it less ‘crunchy’ (showing my technical knowledge here haha) if I paused pedalling for just a second whilst I changed. No idea if this is correct and I’d love some feedback on this. 🙂
As we approached the first hill and I felt my legs having to put more effort in, I dropped a gear and it became easier – although I did slow down. I continued to do this as the hill increased and at one point I felt like my legs were spinning but that I wasn’t getting anywhere quick. But the point is, the bike did feel light and I did make it to the top … Albeit slowly.
So, at this stage my advice is to just get out and have a go. Don’t worry about large and small or you’ll spend the whole time looking at your gears trying to figure it out. I’m sure as we get more confident we’ll figure it out and get more technical and proficient.
We finished with some grape or apple juice at the newly refurbished and award winning Horse and Groom, Wilmington – which is definitely on the list for dinner as it looks fab. The restaurant opens onto a large courtyard which is going to be great for parties and BBQ’s. Infact we may just organise a charity event there ourselves. We all used the space to keep an eye on my bike. <swells with pride>.
It’s been another great training day! Thanks team.
Highlights of the day: Managing to keep up with Vagner most of the way! Grape juice at the Horse and Groom.
Lowlights of the day: Having to look at Vagners backside most of the way! You can’t win em all! Lol
Next meeting is Monday 7th March – 10.00am at Sidcup and it’s a 50 miler! Perfect for burning off all the Mother’s Day lunch calories! Just contact us if you’d like to come along.
A big fat beaming ‘Thank you’!
A big fat beaming thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We are blown away by the extreme kindness, support and generosity!