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Catwoman posted 5/1/2013 18:36 PM

I am taking this up (hopefully). Thoughts, tricks, tips, recommendations?

I bought a used Cannondale T700. It fits me according to my resident expert. It is now in the shop for a tune up, new tires, brake pads and an inspections. Even with aloof this, I am in a very good bike for short $$.

Looking for recommendations on saddles, helmets, gloves, etc.


inconnu posted 5/1/2013 19:18 PM

Spend the money for a really good pair of shorts. The padding really helps. Your resident expert can most likely steer you in the right direction, but I like the Sugoi's I have.

I ride mostly paved trails on a mountain bike, so YMMV with a road bike, but I find a very good sports bra is a must, too.

I have a Terry woman-specific saddle, although I don't remember which one it is. It had great reviews online when I was shopping for a new saddle, but honestly, I don't love it. I don't hate it either. It's just not as comfortable as so many of the reviews claimed it would be. I do highly recommend getting a woman-specific saddle, though. That, and the shorts, makes a huge difference when riding.

Have fun!

Catwoman posted 5/1/2013 19:23 PM

Gel or chamois padding?

I have heard with saddles that they are always somewhat uncomfortable until things get more calloused up. My SO rides on an older leather saddle that must be like riding a 2x4.

I hear the Terry saddles are good--what about yours don't you like?


inconnu posted 5/1/2013 19:36 PM

Granted, I'm not a high-mileage rider like the road cyclists, but I was riding almost daily for months, 10-12 miles a ride, and the saddle still doesn't seem like it's been broken in. In some aspects, that's good. I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

It's not a bad saddle, at all. But it's probably not the best fit for me personally.

deathbybetrayal posted 5/1/2013 22:28 PM

Welcome to the Cannondale family Cat! (I just bought a Cannondale Synapse today myself. )

I wouldn't call myself a real bicyclist but I've been riding for about a year and I'm surrounded by pretty serious riders.

It seems like all of my friends have their favorite brands for shorts. I prefer chamois, but do have a couple of gels too. It just takes time to toughen "everything" up. Seriously, I almost couldn't get my leg over and off the bike the first couple of times.

The Giordana are good, and the Louie Garneau. But like Inconnu said - invest in good ones.

Get a computer so you can see how fast you're going, how far you've gone ... etc. it will help keep you motivated.

Try Competitive Cyclist for good prices on apparel.

Have fun Cat. I'll watch for photo updates.


roughroadahead posted 5/1/2013 22:40 PM

Another vote for chamois here too. Gel just felt weird to me, but try both. Also WH had a couple of gels, and they didn't seem to last as long. Note that Louis Garneau and the like have different "levels" of apparel (usually named things like Performance, Elite etc). I usually settle in the middle... but just go for the best the budget allows.

I have the Terry saddle on the mountain bike, but a different (I believe bontrager) but still woman specific saddle on the road bike. It is wider than a man's saddle, and doesn't have those gaps in the middle. Men's road saddles in particular are hell.

Finally10 posted 5/1/2013 22:45 PM

A couple of suggestions:

Check out the Team Estrogen site - Female oriented cycling info and a good forum

Bicycling Magazine Forum - Lots of good guys and girls there - Tons of info.

Saddle will be specific to you more than likely. many women like the Terry saddle but my wife didn't. Work with a local shop that will let you try various saddles until you find one that fits you well. Give each one a few weeks unless it is immediately painful. The Trek Stores, and the Specialized dealers all have saddle programs.

Get some good shorts, the best you can afford, and avoid the gel padding. It feels good and comfy at first, but ends up bunching up in places it shouldn't. Shorts should be tight, and be worn with nothing underneath - Invest in some chamois creme - it sounds a little gross, but friction is your enemy.

After you get comfortable on the bike, invest in some real cycling shoes with the clips and the pedals to match. They are a little intimidating at first, but once you use them you will appreciate the advantage you gain.

Give yourself some time to get fit and find some local groups to ride with, its much more fun and safer than riding alone. Take some spin classes to help your fitness. Much more fun and safer than riding alone.

If you have specific questions, post them, someone will have the answer.

FaithFool posted 5/1/2013 23:46 PM

I wouldn't trust myself with the clip pedals as I can be a klutz sometimes, and I've met people at work who wiped out with them and it was pretty ugly.

I have an old Kokanee that I call the Frankenbike. It has paperboy handlebars from an old beater (I don't like scrunching my neck) and a saddle from a previous 5-speed that really fits me. It has old school springs and I'll be sad when it goes...

And yeah, expect those bones to hurt the first few times!

[This message edited by FaithFool at 11:47 PM, May 1st (Wednesday)]

nothings special posted 5/2/2013 19:32 PM

Chamois butter!!! Spurge on a GOOD helmet- make sure it fits like a glove.

Clipless pedals are your friend- practice in the grass.

Gloves are handy so your hands don't slip and for wiping away snot.

GOOD shorts- pay 100-150 bucks for them.

Most of all have fun!!

Want2help posted 5/3/2013 11:16 AM

Do you have an REI near you? They don't have the BEST selection, but they do have a great return policy. When I started I bought gloves I needed up not liking, shorts, etc., and they let me return them until I found what I liked.

I'm so happy to see so many cyclists on here answering questions.

idiot85 posted 5/3/2013 11:28 AM

I'm really into a fixie bike at the moment and I love it but coming up to junctions I have to really think about it and believe me London is terrifying without brakes!!!

My advice is get a good helmet- you only have one head if you're lucky

sisoon posted 5/3/2013 18:01 PM

Besides the helmet, I recommend learning to maintain your own bike and change tubes - partly to save money, but mainly to save time. You can fix most stuff faster than you can get your bike to a shop.

Finally10 posted 5/3/2013 23:05 PM

YES to this^^^

Most bike shops run periodic fix a flat classes for the uninitiated... Most are geared to the new and female rider. Your Local Bike Shop (LBS) is a wealth of information. If you don't want to wait for a class, just stop in and ask them - 9 times out of 10 they will show you how to do it.

atsenaotie posted 5/3/2013 23:40 PM

Chamois for me, I like Giro helmet when I have to wear one.

speaking of Giro, Giro d' Italia starts tomorrow,well technically today.

sharim posted 5/4/2013 11:43 AM

I like Giro helmet when I have to wear one.

In my "mother" voice - Which is ALWAYS!!!!

In college I did not have a car so my bike was my main mode of transportation. There was a river bike path from my apartment to college (how awesome was that!) and I will never forget the story about the girl that was just straddling her bike - not even moving and she got unbalanced and hit her head on the ground and things were pretty darn bad - you don't have to be going fast or anything - just the distance from the top of your head to the ground can do some nasty damage.

whyohwhyohwhy posted 5/4/2013 13:35 PM

Just a couple words of advice....

Whatever you do, don't get a Lithia 143 saddle...this is what came with my new bike, and I've never experienced such pain in my life. (and I've been an avid cyclist since I was a kid.) I swapped it with the gel seat from my mountain bike, which really helps on long rides, but doesn't look anywhere near as cool...

Absolutely never buy cotton padded bike shorts....I learned this the hard way. Seemed like a good idea, but trust me, it's not. Buy some reasonably priced wicking shorts, and toss them after the season.

I don't bother with gloves...don't like the funny tan lines I get on long rides. Just use really good handlebar tape.

Always buy Continental tires...they're practically indestructible, and almost never get flats.

I'm not a big fan of clipless pedals...especially if you ride in a city.

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