The beginning nothing friendly
When I started pedaling, I went straight to the practice of mountain biking. Mountain biking changed my life, my values, dreams, goals. Totally focused on the sport I’ve been wanting to improve my performance. Experienced and insistent friends guided me to train with road bike (synonyms: speed or road bicycle).
I always dodged the conversation when the subject was road cycling and that road bike. Several fears bubbling in my head: No way to pedal a bicycle like this! The tire smooth and thin, I will not have stability. The too low handlebars will cause me back pain. Pedaling on the road is very scary. Anyway, I simply unaware and consequently ignored all the high technology that is behind the practice of road cycling, not only in terms of performance and comfort, as well as security.
For a long time, I looked at the sport with a certain distance. I simply thought it was not for me, but to consider it monotonous, risky and very uncomfortable. But beaten and ceded to the pressure of friends, I ended up buying a road bike to train. After the first pedals with the bicycle, indifference I went to loathing road cycling, because my performance was lousy, caused by the strong discomfort. I was finishing all ground training in a lot of pain.
I didn’t know that discomfort, the pain and lack of yield were derived from the use of an inappropriate size bicycle for my stature, which had limitation of components, lack of adjusting the bicycle to my body and also unaware of the techniques of pedaling properly a road bike. Faced with the unfavorable scenario, I gave up practice.
The second attempt
Believing that road cycling wasn’t for me, I kept focusing on mountain biking. My project with the school of bicycle riding Ciclofemini prospered and I have been supported by Specialized. To my surprise and swallowing dry, in the partnership package I received a road bike, the Dolce, one of the manufacturer’s feminine models.
With a new bike and with a lot of tension, I made another attempt to pedal by the path of the marginal of the River Pines (São Paulo – SP). I remember until this day, it seems that I had crossed the portal to a new era! The bicycle was light and it worked beautifully: the brake levers were perfect for my hands, could brake easily, the gearshift was precise, the perfect saddle, the ZERTS damping system took off the vibrations of the frame and printed much softness on the pedal.
On this day I pedaled almost twice the biggest distance that had pedaled on a road bike until then. At the end of the pedal, without any pain, I realized that much of the prejudices I had regarding a road bike had already broken down. Then I set the bicycle to my body, the body geometry fit, and I went pedaling more frequently. After a year, my Dolce was swapped out for a carbon model, a Ruby. Enthusiastic about the new bike, I participated in my first long-distance challenge, a Audax of 90 km.
The experience has once transformed my sentiment and knowledge about the practice of road cycling.
My greatest fears about the road bike: discomfort related to the geometry and steering posture and lack of stability on account of fine tyres no longer existed. I’ve been focusing on training and tours in larger distances, over 100 km.
I have learned that, as well as any other model of bike, the road bicycle is comfortable, as long as it has the appropriate size to its stature, which has the correct geometry to the genre (male or female), and that is adjusted to your body. My greater distance pedaled on a road bike was 313 km without any discomfort, just the natural fatigue from the long distance.
I came to understand that the stability of the bicycle is related to a set of factors and not unique and exclusively to thin and flat tire. Stability may have much more to do with the piloting technique and the geometry of the frame, than with only the width of the tire.
Fine tire: Women’s Terror
The main reason for most women to feel fear or dread to pedal a road bike is the width of the tire. Tire is serious subject, but it is not the width of the same that should prevent it from pedaling a road bike.
It is important to know that for each type of cycling practice and pedal style there is a suitable tire. The tire industry has existed for over a century and use high technology from the initial design to the manufacture of it. Of course the safety of the cyclist depends on the tire, however, the attention should not be in the width of it, but in its quality. Try not to skimp on that item.
Talking about tires demand a unique article because it is very interesting, vast and complex. But I’m going to bounce some points that will help you reflect on the subject.
Briefly, the fine tire will give more scrolling and being smooth will have greater contact area with the ground and greater grip.
The calibration of the tire-pressure/quantity of air-must be made according to some variables, for example:
- The lighter the rider, the less pressure is required in the tires.
- The smoother and the perfect the floor, the higher the calibration can be.
- Less pressure on the tires means more friction with the floor, hence greater adhesion.
- Higher pressure means less contact with the ground, so less grip, and in contrast, higher speed.
- The thinner the tire, the more pressure he admits.
Leaving all this technical information aside and the width of the tire, just watch a road cycling competition to understand that the road bike is stable and secure.
The advantages and benefits I found in road cycling
Practicality in the metropolis: the practice of mountain biking, mainly for those who live in a city like São Paulo, demand a lot of time to offset, large distances and few options of places near the city. Literally, it is necessary to leave the city to reach a good track, consequently the pedal is relegated to a single day of the week (Saturday or Sunday), in addition, invariably you will end up depending on a group to pedal. With my road bike I can pedal alone, most of the time I can get out of the house pedaling straight to my favourite training locations.
No purple or grated stains: in mountain biking I always hurt a lot, nothing serious, but every track collected a dozen grated and purple spots. The day after the pedal felt pain and discomfort in many parts of the body due to blows. In road cycling, unless you suffer a fall, you finish the pedal intact, without a scratch.
Volume: This word has incorporated very strongly in my vocabulary. Road cycling allows you to pedal a high mileage in a few hours. In mountain biking the relationship distance x time is quite different because it all depends on the technical difficulty of the track. Power pedaling over 100 km in a few hours is something that attracts me too much.
Platoon: Definitely pedaling in platoon elevates your bike riding skill level. Demand a lot of focus, concentration, rhythm and attention. In the platoon you learn to move with the flow of the group, and after a certain experience will soon realize that in the group there is a dynamics. In addition to the technical advantages, cycling in platoon creates an incredible synergy among the members. You can perceive the intension of each one in the fastest movements, whether the cyclist in front of you or beside you. It’s just electrifying. Many of the great friendships that I have started literally in the vacuum of a wheel.
Ease of training: road cycling has incorporated into my life The important weekly workout habit. First because I have options of nearby places to train, and secondly because in my city there are hundreds of sporting advisory services facing the sport.
Fair dispute with similar
What has once sealed my marriage with road cycling has arguably been some categorization by age in evidence/competitions.
The vast majority of road cycling trials provide for women aged 10 in 10 or 5 years. The five in five years are the fairest!
In the trials of mountain biking, in its vast majority, this categorization does not happen. Generally in feminine mode the category is over 30, over 35, over 40. For me, I’m already part of “over 50”, the lack of categorization is totally demotivating.
Participating in a test and competing with cyclists 10, 15 and up to 30 years younger is very frustrating. You arrive at the evidence having to settle for getting the medal of participation, but podium not in a dream!
In these trials without categorization I always felt like a nobody. Paid equal to all, made the same effort, passed by the same perrengues, but did not have the same rights: from competing equal to equal, it was just a mere extra! And on account of this I stopped participating in the evidence without categorization by age.
Road cycling, for having an egalitarian division, is much more stimulating, because besides being able to compete with its peers, there is the concrete possibility of a podium achievement and also the comparison of times and performance that will be the object of your future workouts.
Every time I participated in a road cycling test, especially the evidence that divides the categories 5 in 5 years, I felt respected, valued and prestigious. It’s a profound sense of existence.
My great love: Pedal!
Don’t think I’ve stopped liking mountain biking and I don’t practice anymore. I just discovered a new passion. And if they ask me which of the two I like most, certainly my answer will be: whatever, what I really like is to pedal!
How to choose a road bicycle
Open any magazine on cycling and within the first pages you will see a half dozen new models and road bicycle brands, with 100 reasons to stop what you are doing and go immediately buy the new bicycle.
Buying a road bike is like buying a new car! It is important to take the test drive to understand and perceive the differences between the various models and technologies offered.
It is important to take into consideration the type of use that will make the bicycle, whether to use it for competition (endurance or triathlon, for example), or simply by the pleasure of flying or training on a road bicycle. The definition of the type of practice will take you in a correct direction.
Having this in mind, do research before choosing the bicycle to not spend all your savings, after all, we all want carbon bikes and latest generation components! But is this really necessary?
Selecting the Bicycle
Before thinking about the type of material used in the construction of the bicycle (aluminum, steel, carbon), it is a priority to choose the geometry that will meet you in the requirements of comfort and aerodynamics.
When you choose a bicycle, look at the angles first and then the materials.
1-The steeper the angle of the main, the more responsive tube will be the bicycle;
2-angle of the main tube straighter, more stable the bike will be, and will have fewer sprint.
Observe the angles of the note relative to the pedals, the length of the chainstay, distance between the axles. Each angulation and measurement will give you different cycling experiences for different practices.
A carbon frame can be lighter than an aluminum frame, but what kind of practice are you doing?
Are you an athlete who needs a bike with great stiffness, or are you a climbing feather weight that will climb the high mountain points?
Furthermore, consider your biotype as well. Are you all stocky (a) and heavy (a) or slim and lightweight?
Important to buy the frame in size suitable for your stature. Do not take a larger or smaller frame to your size thinking you will make the adjustments and everything will be fine. You must have a proper bicycle at your height. Why accept an adaptation to a wrong-sized bicycle?
You have the right to have the best experience with riding a road bike and for both a frame in the correct size will make a huge difference.
A quick glance at prices
The price of the bicycle depends on many factors. Carbon frames have different qualities and thicknesses, which determine the variation in prices.
Aluminum tubes have different series and there are different types of steel tubes that greatly affect the ratio of the strength X weight.
Keep in mind that the components are worn out, but the paintings lasts a lot longer.
When you are in doubt between a cheaper carbon frame with better quality components or a more expensive frame with simpler components, always choose the best picture. You can replace the components later.
Other parts of the bicycle
Stay tuned (a) to the saddle and also to the guiding areas of the handlebar.
Make a body geometry fit, fit the bicycle to your body, to get the best bike adjustment for your pedal style, to the dimensions of your body.
In this process the professional will help you choose the saddle that best suits your body, the seat Bones (Ísqueos), as well as also will help you choose the correct width of your fist support.
Choosing a bicycle goes far beyond looking at the advertisement and based on the top color or bicycle of the market. Devote a time to search for angles and components and think about the type of pedal (application) that will do with the bicycle. And always, always try it before you buy it.
Sharing the Passion
Road cycling is inexplicable. Just pedaling to feel the excitement of the line, the speed, the wind in the face. In Ciclofemini Bicycle School, I have the privilege of being able to contribute to other women discovering and falling in love with speed. Daniele and Cynthia are examples of students who have had contact with road cycling, and talk about what this represents, now, for them:
Physiotherapist, 41 years, resident in São Paulo-SP
I like road cycling because it’s a fascinating sport, because when I started practicing it didn’t want to stop anymore. It gives a tasty feeling of wellness, joy at the end of a workout or path. It’s addictive! I always want more, to feel that I have reached the top or at the end of a workout through my effort. It all started when Claudia Franco invited me to a pedal on the bicycle path. From that day on, I had a taste for the sport. At first, I was cycling once a week and currently pedaling three to four times a week. I’m in an advisory group. The road bike has this facility, to be able to train in Sao Paulo through the marginal bike path, USP, without having to leave the city.
The sport made me feel more confident (overcoming of fears), determined, with high self-esteem and feeling that “I can, I can.” I even participated in some challenges, flying lap and some training outside Sao Paulo, as in pilgrims, wedge. And next year I am wanting to participate in the L’étape Brasil.
The road bike has made me more attentive to the pedestrians and especially with cyclists in transit. In addition to participating in a group of friendship and companionship, always one helping the other with words, examples, tips and with some empurrõezinhos. It has provided me discipline, organisation, both in training and in personal life, and awareness that it all depends on me through my efforts, training and physical and mental work. At the time of the obstacles, as a climb, I learned that I can face them without fear and with determination and persistence, because only so will I get to the top of the hill.
University professor, electrical engineering with emphasis computing, 41 years, resident in São Paulo
Road cycling helps me find balance. When I’m on the bike, the focus is the cadence, respiration, that single moment, the ascent, suddenly, a laugh or a comment from a cyclist pointing an unusual fact or the incredible view. Companionship is also part, as lonelier as the sport may seem. When pedaling, I turn off everyday life, problems and anxieties. It is a sense of lightness, liberty, independence, but at the same time it takes a second, a movement, to remind us how small and fragile we are “.
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