So I've completed week 2 of training for the triathlon! The biggest challenge this week has definitely been getting used to riding a road bike. I'd never ridden one before at all, with the closest I had ever come to riding one being when a friend let me try theirs; I tried to give it a ride around a car park but I couldn't even get on it! It was farcical but hilarious. Becuase of this I knew it would take some getting used to, but I didn't quite realise just how different it would be!
For a start, the saddle on a road bike is a lot higher than the handlebars, which means my body position is totally different to when I was riding around on my old banger of a bike. My shoulders started to ache a little where I was leaning forwards over the handlebars, but after relaxing them it wasn't so bad.
I found that the gears and the brakes are the most different to a regular bike. The handlebars are a completely different shape and so the brakes are at the front as well as the gears. When I first took it for a spin I didn't even successfully change gears, but there are lots of useful guides online about how to change gear on a road bike, and the fact that this is such a well-covered subject made me feel better as it means I'm not the only one who struggled!
The other big difference is that the frame of the bike is a different shape, with the bar between the saddle and the handlebars being a lot higher than on my old bike. This was something I found out the hard way when I tried to dismount! I usually just pull my leg through the middle and hop off, but on the road bike with the higher bar this wasn't as easy! In fact, I pretty much just fell off the first time I tried to dismount!
These are all quite trivial things, but they're issues that you would never think about before you actually try riding a road bike for yourself. After I finally managed to get going, I was flying! This bike is so much faster than my old one, with my Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon watch telling me that I was doing 15mph (as opposed to 10mph on my old bike).
The only thing I have yet to conquer with this bike is the pedals. Your feet strap in exactly like on a spin bike, so if you have ever done a spin class you'll know how that works. However, a spin bike is set in place and you won't go toppling over if you lean down to strap your feet... something I am yet to master on the road bike! But I will get there, it seems to be a confidence thing more than anything, and I need to remember that I've literally only ridden it a couple of times and that after months of experience all these little things will come naturally (that's the hope anyway!)
My running has been ticking over nicely as I go running at lunchtime with my colleague, and I have yet to take some swimming lessons so that will be the next challenge! Stay tuned for more next week!
Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (4) - The Running Bug