It’s Just Like Riding a Bike

Except for when you literally have not been on a bike in 20 years.

*crickets chirping*

Tonight was the first bike training session for the north side Tri It For Life group. I got my bike a couple of weekends ago, but aside from trying to remember how to mount and dismount the bike, I had not been for a ride.

All of that changed tonight!

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My bike, strapped in for the ride

The first thing we did was an ice breaker, where we gave our names and said what portion of the Tri was our favorite and our least favorite. Surprisingly, a lot of folks hate the running. I’m the opposite, because that’s my favorite portion. And as we all know, I hate the swimming right now. #remedial

There was a mix of athletes and mentors. I really love the fact that people who did the race previously are giving back with their time and support. At one point, they were first time triathletes and sitting in our shoes.

One of the other things I love about Tri It For Life is that they really break things down to the basics for us. As I like to say at work, they break it down Barney-style! They literally showed us how to mount the bike and how to properly dismount. Once they demonstrated, it started to click for me and I could almost remember being an 18 year old on my ten speed.

The lead mentor talked to us about bike safety, and what we needed to do to prep our bikes before each ride. I learned that I need to get an extra tire tube, a pump, a CO2 cartridge, and some other goodies. I’ll be hitting up WalMart. We also learned to check our tire for the tube size and what the PSI should be for our tires. We learned about the shouts that riders use to warn each other when a car is approaching, or when we are approaching walkers/joggers, and when we want to pass another bike on the left. We learned that we cannot have headphones during any part of the Tri, even during the run. I will have to start running more without them. Also, Tri It For Life will NOT let you participate in a group ride if you don’t have a proper helmet.

We completed a small obstacle course so that the mentors could see where we were skill wise. My seat had to be adjusted, and I was a little shaky, but not as bad as I thought it would be. after that, we went for a group ride. The lead mentor gave us the option of just riding around the parking lot, or riding the 1.8 mile loop around the business park. We all decided to go with the loop.

At first, it was a little intimidating. You hear the cars coming by and you hope they are paying attention and giving you a wide berth when possible. Someone had previously dropped a top to their water bottle, so I got to see the mentor signal for road debris. They had mentors riding with each group (fast, intermediate, and slow) and they will never leave anyone behind. If you stop, a mentor will stop with you.

I found myself huffing and puffing going up that hill, and I had to learn how to work with my gears. Going down hill was a bit scary…I just had to go with it and try to enjoy the ride. It was a bit intimidating to approach intersections as well, but I guess I’ll get used to that with time.

Eventually, we will take our rides outside of the loop onto busier roads that won’t necessarily have bike lanes. The next group ride is early Saturday morning, and we’re actually going to do a brick. That’s where you combine two of the three exercises into one gaining session. This time we will ride our bikes, and then jog one time around the loop. I was concerned about our bikes being left in the parking lot, but one of the mentors advised me that one mentor always stays behind to watch the bikes.

Every training day is an adventure, and I’m so glad I challenged myself to “Tri” this. Even the remedial swimming. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “It’s Just Like Riding a Bike

  1. I got my bike and went for a ride…and was terrified! Do cars really drive that fast? And how come when I was younger cars didn’t seem to get so close to me? I used to ride my back everywhere! I actually thought I may ride my bike to work and home…but after that ride, I realized I am way too scared! Now I just go to a place where there are no cars (about 15 min away)…so I am riding much less.

    I saw someone biking and they had a rearview mirror. I may try that because now when I hear a car approaching, I veer off so the cars have plenty of room!

    • I never thought of a rear view mirror. That’s definitely a thought! Cars really do drive that fast and are not fond of sharing the road with bikes. Charlotte is so NOT pedestrian or bike rider friendly.

  2. I love riding bikes when I’m on vacation. There’s usually a nice bike path. I can’t imagine riding in the street. I’m a driver that hates sharing the road with bicyclists.

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