A few days ago I took my brand new Giant Defy 2 out for its first long ride. I had been waiting a couple of weeks since buying it as I had the Bath Half Marathon to complete and then needed a little time to recover with a sore knee before attempting to ride my first ever proper road bike for the first time.
I was extremely excited, and also a little nervous! This was new to me in many ways having only ever ridden on mountain bikes or hybrid bikes. I had never used:
- Clip-in pedals and shoes
- Drop handle bars
- Tri-bars (which I had bought as part of the package for future Triathlons, and had fitted just so I could try them out once I’m used to the bike)
- Road bike saddle(!)
- Road bike combined brake & gear levers
- Super thin road bike tyres!
I had taken a 5 minute cycle on it when I first got it home, and everything felt good. The main thing I was worried about was getting used to clipping in and (more importantly) out of the pedals!
So to my ride… I’ve got all the kit on and the bike ready to go… less than 5 minutes into my ride and I hit my first major problem! In fact, this is the first time in all my years of cycling that a car has suddenly swerved unexpectedly towards me when cycling. It was a bad time for that to happen! On my new bike, with such a steep learning curve!
I swerved, successfully avoiding clipping the car. But I have a bad acute angle going at the kerb next to me… I wobble, I try to unclip, I fail, I go down in spectacular fashion! It was all over so fast. I hit the concrete and gravelled ground hard and still fully clipped in to my pedals! Luckily I scrubbed most of the speed off before the fall, but it still hurt. I landed straight onto my elbow, hip and knee, which are now heavily bruised and covered in itchy sore scabs!
At the time I was in shock for a few minutes. The guy in the car stopped to check I was ok, but made his way off quite quickly. I just stood, picked up the bike and took a moment to compose myself. My first thought was to carry on and have my ride, I was looking forward to it so much! But the pain in my side suggested I should make the short trip back home…
At first I was so angry with myself for not clipping out! What an idiot. But with zero experience using them, I simply tried to pull my foot straight off of the pedal, like I was on my other bike, and before I knew it I was down.
(Big) Lesson learnt! I am embarrassed, battered and bruised, and also still lacking that all important first long ride on my new bike!
Luckily my bike has only a few superficial scars as well, and doesn’t appear to have any mechanical damage. The rear derailleur did get banged, but seems ok! This must surely be a testament to the build quality of the Giant Defy 2!! 😎
A friend made a good suggestion (a bit late now!) that I swap the clip-in pedals over to my hybrid to help get used to them… I might be giving that a try. I still have confidence in myself, so once I’m up and fit, I’ll be back out on it again!!
(Hiding head in shame… 😳 )