I've been chipping in 10-15 minutes worth of small practices here and there throughout my last week during my study. I manage to improve little by little everytime, and today is my first day attempting at riding to work, which is also in Annandale within walkable distance, so it's only a short ride, but provides a feasible practice.


I still stagger a lot and when I have to use more force on the pedals with up slopes, I still lose my balance easily. I do find it easier to balance and put my feet on the pedals when the wheels are already rolling, but I still steer accidentally. For that reason I didn't stay on the road for long before I ride on the pedestrian instead. It also turn out to take longer than walking (someone walking on the other side of the road eventually got ahead of me) with me half riding and half walking. I end up walking most of the up slopes and glide down the down slopes. 


Many thanks to other cyclists here who gave me tips on my previous practice post. Looking up helps heaps on my balance. I also feel that I'm making more progress by scooting on the bike first to get used to the position.


I'm still quite happy with my progress of learning cycling by myself. Donna from Marrickville gave me a call regarding the cycling lessons, but I cannot commit myself to other schedules until another month when my uni semester is over. 


Might have to consider a bicycle insurance soon too once I start parking my bike in UTS during class. Also many thanks to those who commented about bike security in my other post about bike locks!

Views: 130

Comment by PeterT on October 24, 2011 at 1:57pm

Nice to hear you are making progress - it gets easier for sure.


On bike locks: http://rideons.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/locks-test-2011/

Comment by dr bean on October 24, 2011 at 2:42pm

Tina - the fact that you're not just taking up commuting but have actually taught yourself to cycle first is commendable. Many people who learnt to cycle as children would have their various reasons/excuses for not getting on a bike to work or school, so well done indeed!


If you plan to come from Annandale to UTS, I'm sure there's someone on this forum who can ride some or all of the way with you, or give you some advice on backstreets to take (the City of Sydney cycle maps, which I think (?) would cover Annandale and certainly include UTS, would help you as they show which routes are heavily trafficked and which are less busy streets - I'm sure the link is buried somewhere on Sydney Cyclist).


Happy riding!


Comment by Rob Berry on October 24, 2011 at 4:38pm

The CoS maps definitely cover Annandale.They are downloadable here: http://www.sydneycycleways.net/maps.html


Combine that with the Open Cycle Map (http://www.opencyclemap.org/?zoom=15&lat=-33.88346&lon=151....) and you should be good to go for some bike friendly routes


Once you have got the basics of riding sorted, I'd really suggest the free course the CoS offers with BikeWise aimed at increasing confidence for cycling in the city, it is really useful. More info here (plus some links to some places that offer more beginners focused help as well): http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/aboutsydney/parkingandtransport/...


Good luck!

Comment by Tina Ng on October 24, 2011 at 6:26pm

Thanks guys! Just a quick follow up after I rode back home from work. Still staggering like earlier on the pedestrian and occasionally walking instead to calm myself. This time I tried to fiddle with the gears before an up slope and oh boy did it became so much easier to pedal up that slope (yes I said much easier, as a noob that still staggers on flat roads). 


I need to continue to practice getting my feet back on the pedal after stopping. It takes me a while of scooting to get the wheels rolling first before I feel comfortable to set my feet on the pedal, but I'm only getting better every ride. Perhaps I can finally say good bye to the nasty Sydney Buses (just nasty schedules - the bus drivers are great people).

Comment by Rob Berry on October 24, 2011 at 9:01pm

The trick with getting your feet on to the pedals after you have stopped is to "set" your pedals properly.


Have a look at the guy in this picture: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_wb8bAl1P-N0/TCyVVkuMfCI/AAAAAAAAPfo/iJ_Nl...


He has one foot on the ground, giving him balance while he is stopped, and his other foot is on the pedal ready to give a strong initial push to give the bicycle momentum. You want to give that leg enough rotation to give a decent push. Because it is the bicycles forward momentum that keeps you upright, a strong first push should be able to give you the opportunity to get the foot that is on the ground on to its pedal (and this also explains why you have been feeling more confident getting your feet on the pedals after the bike is moving - that movement means that it is much more balanced than when it is stationary)


You have probably noticed that if you pedal backwards the chain just runs through your gear system and you don't move backwards - you can use this fact when you are stationary to set your pedal up for your next push off. Simply turn the pedal backwards until the leg that is going to give you your first push off is at a right angle like the guy in the photo - when you are in this position you have all the muscles ready to straighten your leg, putting as much force as you can through the pedal to get you going.


Correct gearing really makes a big difference - it is probably best when you are first beginning to ride in the lower spectrum of your gears (that is ride in the "easy" gears - the ones which require the least amount of force for you to spin your pedals). You will accelerate faster from a stationary position in a low gear, which again will make it a lot easier for you to start off and get your balance.


Learning to bike is a very steep learning curve - initially it is going to be tough getting your balance, pedaling and steering all happening togther, as you are experiencing right now, but it will soon all "click" and from there it becomes a very natural thing to do.

Comment by Jen on October 24, 2011 at 9:13pm

Congratulations for giving it a go, well done.

When Uni is over, I can highly recommend cycling lessons with Donna, she'll teach you lots of little "tricks" what will make it all so much easier


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