I used to hate the bike. “Used to” is the key phrase here. I am well aware that in a triathlon the bike portion is the longest portion, and I would be willing to lobby the triathlon powers that be to make the bike first, the run second, and the swim last (I’m a swimmer at heart), but the truth of the matter is that too many people would drown after exerting themselves so much. That, and many triathletes consider swimming their weakest sport. Except for me. I’m a little more quirky that the average triathlete though.
So, I need to embrace the bike and love it, or at least plop my ass down on the saddle and ride. To learn to love the bike, which I have, I decided to name my bike, Bia, after the goddess of “force” and sister to the more famous, Nike. There, this Greek girl has a bike named for a Greek goddess–that’s a start. Next, I have learned how to better ride Bia and use her mechanics to my advantage.
Unlike the technique heavy swimming and sheer power of the run, the bike is both power and technique. I recommend a fitting at a bike shop, knowing how and when to shift, practicing bike handling skills such as the emergency stop, unclipping, etc., and getting out on the road with a cycling group that won’t ditch you if you’re too slow. All of this has helped me to better love Bia and take care of her.
When out on the roads, don’t be dumb: have a spare kit with a tube, tools, and an air pump or CO2 cartridge, turn on your lights, even in the daylight, follow all of the traffic rules, and wear a helmet that is properly fitted. I can go up to 50 mph down some of the hills near my house, and that is downright dangerous if you’re not careful. Learn how to do an emergency stop, unclip in a split second, know how to change a flat tire, and get used to being on the bike. Practice. I’ll do a post on how to change a flat soon. It’s also a good idea to carry money, your ID, and phone with you.
You’ll now find me looking forward to the long rides with my best bud, Bia, on the roads and trails of Pennsylvania. Because I really like the bike now. Maybe not as much as swimming or running, but I like it.