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Beginner - no confidence on roads

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 12:04pm
by kirstie07
Hi all,

I am a beginner, and want to start using my newly acquired bike a lot more often - rather than just looking at it every now and then!

THe problem is i live in Glasgow, in the city centre right next to the motorway, and i am really nervous about cycling on the roads.

I wondered if there are any lessons anyone knows about, or group cycles i could join to build my confidence up?

Kirstie

Re: Beginner - no confidence on roads

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 12:16pm
by 2Tubs
kirstie07 wrote:Hi all,

I am a beginner, and want to start using my newly acquired bike a lot more often - rather than just looking at it every now and then!

THe problem is i live in Glasgow, in the city centre right next to the motorway, and i am really nervous about cycling on the roads.

I wondered if there are any lessons anyone knows about, or group cycles i could join to build my confidence up?

Kirstie


Indeed there are lessons available.

Check with your local Primary Care Trust, they often provide subsidised lessons.

Or check the main CTC website.

You can ride with your local DA of the CTC. There is a forum on these boards which may have a thread for your local branch.

Or again, check the main CTC website.

And there is plenty advice available here if you want it. Just ask the questions!

Gazza

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 12:19pm
by byegad
Ben Cooper at Kinetics may be able to point you to a trainer.

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 1:13pm
by mankymitts
You could do worse that come along to this ride being organised by CTC Glasgow as part of Bike Week. Plenty of support and confidence building will be available.

http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/event_search ... &child=any

MM

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 2:04pm
by RichMoss
Sorry I'm not glasgow based but anything of use here?
http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/ ... d/Cycling/

http://www.gobike.org/

Do you know anyone locally who rides who you could trust ? Local bike shop you could ask? - normally bike shop staff have their 'ears to the ground' & know about local facilities/ groups etc.

Good luck though :D

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 5:41pm
by dmiller
Hey kirstie07,

I commute into Glasgow every day and can answer any Glasgow specific question you might have :)

My main advice is to be brave and dominant on the roads - take your space when you need it. If you dont take space people will try and squeeze by everywhere they can!

David.

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 6:46pm
by Kirst
Hi

I was new to cycling around this time last year. I googled for cycling groups in Edinburgh and went out with some of them a couple of times. I found it easier to gain confidence in traffic in a group. I also found reading Cyclecraft and City Cycling very useful.

I tried my commute route at weekends and in the evenings a few times (when the roads were quieter) to familiarise myself with it before I had to do it for real. The other thing I did - and still do sometimes - was get off and walk the particularly difficult junctions. I have no shame at doing that at all!

Posted: 6 Jun 2008, 9:27pm
by FrancisKing
I learnt to cycle, almost from scratch a few years ago. I didn't use a cycle tutition service (it might have been simpler if I had).

My advice is:

1) Get hold of a cycling map. This tells you where the quiet roads are. Quiet roads are much better. There's this - http://www.gobike.org/map.php

2) Get a (large) bicycle mirror for your right end of the handle bar. A lot of keen cyclists don't like them, but it enables you to see what the cars are doing behind you, and you can plan your right turns in plenty of time. Practice signalling in largely traffic free areas, where no-one can see you wobble, before you try it on a busy street.

3) Attach your feet to the pedals using toeclips and straps - you need to be properly in charge of the bicycle, without your feet and pedals parting company. A confession - I haven't ever got the hang of getting my left foot off the ground and into a toe strap, so I ended up with just one toe clip and strap on the right pedal. It just works, to the amazement of all who hear about it. :shock:

4) Be positive. You're worried about a car hitting you, but this is nothing compared to how scared the average car driver is. Keep at least two feet out from the kerb, so that car drivers have to overtake you properly. Overtake parked cars with plenty of space, and don't keep moving in and out as you pass blocks of parked cars, cycle in smooth changes of direction.

5) Share stories of bad journeys with your friends - don't keep them to yourself.

F.

Posted: 7 Jun 2008, 7:56am
by paulah
FrancisKing wrote: Get a (large) bicycle mirror for your right end of the handle bar.F.

Absolutely - I've had one for about a month now and don't know how I managed without.

Posted: 7 Jun 2008, 4:38pm
by thirdcrank
I'd recommend anybody learning to ride a bike or wanting to improve to read Cyclecraft. I see from the link that there is now a new, larger edition. I've not read it but earlier editions were excellent, and this one obviously builds on them.

(My only reservation would be the section on ankling - if it's still in. This is a particular style of pedalling which is considered contentious by some. At the very least, unless you are a good multi-tasker, ignore it while learning to ride.)

Posted: 7 Jun 2008, 10:56pm
by Lawrie9
I think riding in Glasgow or any large city would be enough to scare anyone witless if you are not used to it. Maybe just start on deserted rural roads and forest trails and ease your way in to more urban riding. Its as much about developing a road sense and confidence and interacting with other road users.

Posted: 8 Jun 2008, 6:22am
by Dee Jay
paulah wrote:
FrancisKing wrote: Get a (large) bicycle mirror for your right end of the handle bar.F.

Absolutely - I've had one for about a month now and don't know how I managed without.


I want one of these, too.

And in answer to Kirstie07, I found that joining a cycling club and going out with a bunch of people who really know what they're doing has helped to build my confidence on the roads. They've encouraged me to cycle in a more positive 'I am a road user with a right to be here, too' manner - instead of crouching in the nettles - as well as giving me hints 'n' tips for safer riding.

Posted: 9 Jun 2008, 1:43pm
by kirstie07
Thanks all for such a great response!!

I'll def be joining the Glasgow group cycle on the 19th and a mirror sounds like a great idea.

Thanks,

Kirstie

Posted: 9 Jun 2008, 10:11pm
by Khornight
FrancisKing wrote:A confession - I haven't ever got the hang of getting my left foot off the ground and into a toe strap, so I ended up with just one toe clip and strap on the right pedal. It just works, to the amazement of all who hear about it. :shock:


I really just wanted to reply to chime in that you're not alone in this! My (admittedly fixie, which makes getting into the clip harder) bike also only has one clip on the right pedal. This started because I broke on clip by not putting it on and it breaking by scraping the floor, I got a replacement set, but still after about 4 months) not bothered putting them on...

FrancisKing wrote:4) Be positive. You're worried about a car hitting you, but this is nothing compared to how scared the average car driver is. Keep at least two feet out from the kerb, so that car drivers have to overtake you properly. Overtake parked cars with plenty of space, and don't keep moving in and out as you pass blocks of parked cars, cycle in smooth changes of direction.


I think this is one of the most important things for beginner cyclists to learn. It's not safer to ride in the gutter and despite how under pressure you may feel being further out in the road, but it's up to the overtaker to make sure it's safe to over take and making them look for a gap is better than letting them try when there really isn't room.

Posted: 11 Jun 2008, 10:41pm
by cyclistjohn
FrancisKing wrote:......
3) Attach your feet to the pedals using toeclips .....
F.


Sound advice there.

We use these clips:

http://www.jdcycles.co.uk/components/pe ... --toe-cups

It's important to get the right size. They're very tough & easy to get in & out of.