Newbie: What would you recommend?


I'm new to cycling. I regularly ride 18+ mph for 1+ hours. I've not yet done any long-range cycling. I've no one to cycle with!!! What Cascade Club rides/events would be best as my introduction? I really only started cycling in earnest last summer. Age: 55 yrs.

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Your best bet for this season I think is to check out the free daily rides. Since you say you have no one to ride with, this will get you ready to be riding in groups, and meet fellow cyclists. Rides like Flying Wheels, STP, and RSVP have lots and lots of riders, and it's important to get used to negotiating when there's lots of bikes in the mix.

For these longer rides, like STP or RSVP, being able to ride 18 mph for 20 miles is not a bad place to start. Where you want to be by this time of the year - mid-June - to be ready for them, I think, is being able to ride 60 or more miles at 15 mph. If you can do that, I think STP and RSVP are well within your reach. Lots of problems don't show up until you've been riding 50 or more miles. You won't know that you get hot foot or handlebar palsy or what foods will keep you from bonking, unless you're putting longer hours in the saddle. It takes some rides at these longer distances to realize that you need to wear different socks; or to build your core strength to keep your pinkie from going numb (yes, these can be totally related); or to discover that fruit is a better choice than peanut butter sandwiches (or vice versa) for your snacks.

And at the same time, a lot of doing longer rides is just keeping your body fueled and the pedals turning. If you can do sixty miles now, doing a hundred this weekend is not impossible. You just have to drink, drink, drink, and eat, eat, eat, and psyche yourself up to complete the ride.

Do some free daily rides, and then do some regional non-Cascade events plus the Kitsap Color Classic, and build up your endurance. Take up bike commuting - it's the best way to get in lots of miles every week, and get used to riding in all kinds of weather. You then don't lose so much of what you built this summer during the dark time of the year. Register for STP and RSVP early in 2015, because they sell out quicker every year. Register for the CTS if you want the disclipline of really building your abilities - you'll meet a consistent group of people to ride with, too. 

Check back in, and tell us how it's going.

Submitted by John Bailo on

Many communities around here have local Bicycle Advisory Boards.

You might want to ask them (look it up on your towns .gov page) or even join them.