Monday, March 1, 2010

Cycling 101

I was really excited to pick up cycling simply because it seems to be a sport where certain knowledge is crucial and I’d never seen a “Biking for Blondes” (read: Cycling 101 – Super Basics) offered anywhere. Though I’d enjoyed my 40+ miles rides to Mt Vernon and back, I had never taken a cycling class, or learned much more than the bare basics of riding. Heck, I just learned about gears when I moved to DC four years ago as I grew up riding a Beach cruiser in Florida where breaking occurred when you peddled backwards and of course there were no hills to climb.

Each class is 45 minutes and the first day we spent 15 minutes just learning a) how you should feel and be positioned on your bike b) how to adjust your stationary bike to find that position. This was awesome! It was simply explained, there was no assumption of previous knowledge… someone was holding my hand and walking me through the basics.

The three main adjustments were: the height of your seat (when your pedal was at 6 o’clock your knee should still be slightly flexed and not locked), the distance of your seat from your handle bars (when your pedal is at 3 o’clock your knee should be directly over your ankle), and the height of your handle bars (the weight of your upper body should not be resting on your bars, you should feel like you are basically sitting up on your own and only leaning slightly forward).

Once that was all settled we did a nice 30 minutes of basic riding, learning the 3 stances (I’m still figuring those out) and playing with resistance. The only part I didn’t love about the whole process was the resistance. It just seemed so ambiguous having this knob that you turned a bit here and there. I never knew if I was working hard enough or working way too hard and tiring myself out. I’m sure it’s something I’ll just get the hang of but in my “learn the basics” paradise that was this class, it was the only part that wasn’t crystal clear to me.

All in all, it was a great experience! Like the swimming, I can’t wait for the next class in order to learn more about this sport that until now was nothing but “get on and go”.

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