Learning to Ride A Big Girl Bike


My bike is a Trek 7300 Hybrid bike with an aluminum frame, straight handle bars and grip shifters. When I bought it the tires were chunky trail/road type tires and it had BMX pedals on it. I also had a spiffy rack on the back for which I bought a bag. Can you spell N-E-R-D? However, I was okay with that because I had very little experience biking so it was easy for me to get started and I rather liked having all that cargo space. The fact that I had to haul all that weight over hill and dale didn’t really occurrto me until I’d done for a while.

When I rode my first metric century last March I was able to ride a high end, all carbon demo bike – a Specialized Ruby Pro.


Suweet! That thing weighs about as much a couple of breaths of hot air and it has great components on it. I still needed straight pedals on the thing because I didn’t have bike shoes and didn’t know how to use clipless pedals. I sort of felt like I defiled the bike but I really enjoyed riding it (as much as you can enjoy a ride in 30 mph headwinds and rain).

A couple of weeks ago I put skinny slicks on my bike and took the rack off the back. Nice! It weighed a little less and moved a little faster.

I am riding another metric century next weekend and my friend E lent me her Specialized Sequoia Elite

which is a much nicer bike than mine. She has clipless pedals and rather than take them off the bike and replace them with my stupid BMX pedals I am trying to learn to use these things. People – it is scary.

I bought some bike shoes and some Shimano pedals for my bike, intsalled them, put the bike in the trainer and practiced getting in and out of the not clips (which feel a lot like clips to me!). Not bad. I tried friend’s bike and it was even easier. Then I decided to road test my ability to actually ride a bike with these things but I wanted to use my bike in case I fell because I don’t want to trash my friend’s bike.

Did I mention how frightened I am of these things? I managed to get one foot in the pedal, push off and much to my surprise I got the other foot clipped pretty quick. Then I headed for a hill because I wanted to see if I could get out of the pedal in time to catch myself as I slowed to a crawl and started to fall over. Once I started up that hill there was no way I could do anything but pump harder – I was terrified. I got up the hill huffing and puffing and then decided to try to clip out. Twist, twist, pull AHHHHH!!! I’m STUCK! WTF???!!! Pop! I came out. Not good – not good at all. So I popped my left foot out with about the same degree of difficulty and tried getting back in. That didn’t go so well either. Crap. I practiced getting in and out as I rode home and managed not to fall off but I can’t say as my confidence is at an all time high.

This afternoon I will try road testing E’s bike. Hopefully I can get the hang of this real soon because tomorrow I’m going for a long ride and I really prefer not to do it on skinned knees from getting stuck in my pedals. Any helpful suggestions for how I can come up the clipless pedal ramp in a hurry? I need help, people!!

I figured it out!

I loosened up my clips and they are much easier to get out of. Then I got on my friend’s bike for a little road test dressed in rolled up jeans, a t-shirt and socks that have little bugs and kisses all over them and say ‘Love Bug’ over and over. Hot-a? Not-a! Look-a like-a Dork-a! But it was a successful test and I am going to ride my friend’s bike tomorrow. Please wish me luck because I’m still scared witless!

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7 Responses to Learning to Ride A Big Girl Bike

  1. WADDLER26.2 says:

    I have no answers for you. If I wreck (which has been quite a few times)-It’s usually when I stop. My right knee has scars to prove that. I use SPD clips and can pop in and out usually.

  2. Juls says:

    I have not much advice for you except just believe that you can do it and…well…just do it.

  3. Lisa says:

    I’ve never had much experience with bikes, but I have to say, they are really nice-looking! I’m sure you’ll get better with the pedals with practice. I’m in awe of triathletes, too!!!

  4. Running by.... says:

    Yeah, those pedals scare the crap outta me. Actually, I’m not all that comfortable on bikes either…I’m just not any help to you at all! Good luck to you…I’ll be reading!

  5. greyhound says:

    If you manage not to wreck, you will be the first human being on the planet to have done so. Don’t worry. It always happens at slow speed, and the only thing hurt will be your pride.

  6. Mojo says:

    I still do the “Timber!” fall. The only advice I can give you is- make sure you don’t have rocks, sand or mud in your clips. I have done it and I promise you will fall because you REALLY are stuck.Does your hip hurt? My hip freaking kills after the “timber” falls.Good for you for being brave and learning!

  7. susie says:

    Hope the ride went well! I’m going to have to take days to catch up on your posts; you’ve got so much good info!

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