I’ve been fortunate enough to have two very different types of rides this weekend. The first was at a pump track/dirt jump park. The second was a trail ride. First of all – I’m buggered. It is 7.30pm and I wish I was in bed already! So I’ve already learned straight away that this game takes fitness and conditioning that I am OBVIOUSLY not yet in possession of. I was fortunate enough to meet and ride with a lovely, supportive group of women who were happy to share their knowledge and tips with me. And boy did I need them!
When thinking this afternoon of what topic/lesson/technique I should cover this episode, I couldn’t leave it at just one. So I have decided on three. In no particular order – as they are all important – I give you…
LEARN YOUR HAND SIGNALS
This one pertains to riding on the road. Even though I didn’t go “road cycling” this weekend, I had to ride on the road to get to the pump track. I met up with an awesome Chick who was attending the same event and we rode in together. It was about a 30 minute ride through the city. I was a little bit nervous – I haven’t ridden very much in traffic.
Although my lovely friend was very aware of my inexperience and periodically looked back and yelled out to me, she often performed hand signals behind her back. These were obviously meant for my benefit. The problem was I had no idea what some of them meant!! There are turning signals (I knew those ones), slowing down, obstacle and glass on the road to name a few.
In a group situation it would have been vital for me to know what these meant AND have the ability to pass them on to those behind me. THAT MEANS RIDING WITH ONE HAND! I need to get better at that one.
REMEMBER WHICH LEVER CONTROLS WHICH BRAKE
I must say, I’m more than a little bit pleased with the way this one turned out. No video evidence, I’m sad to say. It went like this: while riding down the trail we came across a rocky and tree root-y obstacle that was on a downhill left hand corner. The lovely ride leaders had us dismount and walk it.
We then settled in to watch them demonstrate two lines we could pick from to attempt it. After choosing my line and waiting my turn I was off. In hindsight, I chose the more difficult of the two (by accident). I approached it with a bit of speed, figuring I didn’t want to go to slow and lose momentum. I successfully rolled over the first 4-5 roots and the turn became sharper and steeper.
Deciding I had too much speed I reached to apply the brake. In the adrenaline rush of minute I grabbed – YOU GUESSED IT – the front brake.
My tyre immediately locked up and skidded down the last of the tree roots and rocks. My weight transferred forwards and my back tyre flew off the ground. Fortunately I released the brake reasonably quickly and landed safely. I had survived my first accidental nose wheelie!!
YOU CAN STILL FALL OFF YOUR BIKE WHILE STOPPED
This one was kind of funny. Three of us did it on the ride today, and immediately nearly everyone else chimed in saying they had also done it and not to be embarrassed. I wasn’t very embarrassed, being new to the sport I expect to fall a reasonable amount.
We were at a point in the ride where we were waiting for others to catch up. I had just finished taking a selfie of me and those behind me. I turned to see if I could see the rest of the group and leant too far over. I started tipping to the right. It was so slow, but I couldn’t do anything about it! I hopped to the right and managed to hop off to the right just as it fell properly. Pretty funny, but I could have been hurt. So now I know, I must be careful when moving as well as stationary!
Stay classy San Diego.
The Secret Beginner