Help and Advice Much Appreciated.
Thanks a lot everyone - really looking forward to getting started now. One more question. I've noticed on my bike, the pedals seem to have some form of strapping on them to hold your feet in. I don't know why my dad put them on there in the first place, are they a good idea? I can't see any positives to them. I might have to get down to a shop this weekend and sort out some pedals.
toe straps, you put your foot in a pull them tight.
most people use clips now adays, but once again dont worry, either use the toe straps or take them off and ride the bike
CC - they will be older style pedals with bindings that allow your feet to stay tight on the pedals when under pressure (they stop the foot lifting off) and are still preferred by a lot of "older" cyclists - the kind that wear caps, not helmets; prefer wool to lycra; have canvas saddlebags etc - you get my drift!
most modern roadies use what are called clipless pedals - these are basically pedals that a cleat on the shoe engages with which gives a better and more secure connection than straps. they also, whe combined with good bike shoes - the best have carbon soles - allow better power output so you ride quicker. they can take a little getting used to - early days you forget you're clipped in so will fall off when you come to a stop! don't worry - it's a right of passage and you quickly learn to unclip quickly.
you will need decent road shoes for these pedals and cleats aren't usually interchangeable but most shoes will take all styles of cleat (they have predrilled holes to match). the main brands are Shimano, Look, Time and Speedplay (there are some others). so Look cleats fit Look Pedals etc
well worth investing in - once you get used to them, you won't go back to standard pedals.
there are also mountain bike versions of these which differ in design and layout - they can also be used on road bikes. usually road bike ones aren't used on MTBs as the road cleats aren't as easy to walk on - and MTBers usually do more walking in their shoes due to terrain difficulties.
hope that helps
FB - thankyou thats great info, I might have to invest in some of those soon then. The problem I envisioned when I imagined using these toe strap things is that how can I stop and get my foot out in time to not fall off? I'm just curious in case I cant get any of the clipless pedals this weekend and need to try and use those strap ones. Thanks again for your help.
SA - I'm not sure that I can simply take the straps off and ride the bike. I had a very quick look this morning before work and they seemed to be a really weird pedal where the strap is actually part of the whole thing and not just connected (meaning I would need to get rid of the whole pedal if I wanted to get rid of them). Is this even possible or am I just making myself look stupid?
Don't worry about looking stupid matie everyone's been there and some of use try our best to stay looking stupid so life's more fun.
The clipless pedals make a big difference but I wouldn't lust out and buy them just yet simply because your getting into it and you won't need them for anything next week or anything will you? Just ease yourself into biking and stuff matie. When you do get them there is a simple rule that everyone always forget's to get there foot out in time the first set of traffic lights they get to and end up falling over. Can be embarrassing until you realise that everyone does it and it's a right of passage.
You're right I don't need them any time soon but like i said the pedals that are on the bike at the minute look like a pain to use, might just get some cheapo normal pedals for now and stick them on
it's all very well taking a foot out of straps or unclipping when you come towards a stop - just make sure it's the foot that you normally put down first....
So I went on my first run last night as planned - a small 1.3 mile route just to get me back into it. About halfway round I had quite a bad ache in my lower back and it didn't go away until I got home and stopped running. Is this normal? Is it something to do with the way I run?
Thanks for your help
the backache could have a number of reasons - surface run on, kanckered shoes, instability in your body mechanics somewhere, running gait, muscle underuse for some time etc.
you need to try to isolate what's causing it and then correct it
if you haven't run or exercised for some time, you'll find your core strength (which comes from the deep abdominal and spinal muscles) will have weakened quite a bit so you might need to look at some exercises for that - pilates is good but it takes some while to see the benefits
just make sure you don't overdo things and wreck yourself though
I think it must be something to do with either weak muscles or my running because the shoes are new and the surface is the same as I always used to run on with no problems (concrete / tarmac). Thanks though I'll look at strenghtening the core first and seeing if that helps.
Chris, are you trying to run to fast?
Your run speed should enable you to hold a conversation, just, when I started everything was done as fast as possible and got a lot of back ache
You should just be able to unscrew the plastic or metal bits from the front of the pedals, and the straps will pull out, after which you are left with a standard set of pedals. I still use the straps in my day to day bike - left loose so that I can always get my foot out easily. It means that your foot can't slip off the front of the pedal whatever shoes you are wearing and however slippery they are, and it keeps your foot in roughly the right position on the pedal (ball of foot, not arch) which helped me get into a good habit several years ago.
Thanks paperman ill take a look tonight when i get in from work. SA - I dont think I ran particularly fast (1.3 miles in 14 mins). It's difficult for me to go much slower because i have quite a long stride (being over 6ft) but aside from that I was too knackered to run much faster. Somehow if that speed is too fast I could force myself to take smaller steps but I think that would make it very awkward and uncomfortable.
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