Project Status (new road bike)

Road bike trainer for stationary cyclingAs long as I’m not riding in the real world, I feel pretty comfortable on my road bike! I don’t even think about wearing elbow pads. BikeTrainer

A week ago I borrowed a trainer on which I can mount the rear wheel of my bicycle to get a workout in my garage. I don’t need the exercise so much as I need the muscle memory of bicycling basics. The way I see it, I am getting my body used to the bike fit and posture and I can practice moving my hands without fear of losing control of the steering. Some day I’ll have to pull out my water bottle for a drink or signal a turn. I also get to practice looking over my shoulder in preparation for turning when I’m near traffic.

Very importantly, the trainer is helping me learn how to instinctively shift the gears. Sometimes I get it wrong and start to panic. I have ten options for my right hand and two for my left. Riding on my straight, flat rail trail, I’m getting used to simple shifting up and down where the only variables are wind and stop signs at the intersections (and a major dip by the golf course!).

On the trainer I pedal away at a medium resistance, imagining myself biking in my local real world. As I gaze out the window at the peak of Mt. Diablo, I dream of the day I will be able to confidently circle the block in our own neighborhood. Just out my front door is a pretty steep one-block climb followed by a right turn down a gentle slope. Then I must make two right turns to return home. As I turn right again onto my own street and begin to repeat the steep climb, I need to shift correctly or I’ll stall out and have to get a foot out of the pedal clips to prevent a fall.

While practicing shifting on the trainer, I settled on special names for the left-hand gear shifters to use as memory aids. The little lever that makes pedaling easier on the steeps is now named “Wembly” after the steep street I live on. “Westridge” is the name of the gently descending street after I turn right at the top of the hill — and the larger gear I have to push to avoid scaryslipperyspeedy RPMs. Tomorrow I’ll find out if this works better than the many adjectives I’ve tried using to reflect either my shifting incentives or outcomes.

Stay tuned. I’m still evolving!

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