Days 8 & 9
Thanks Doc Doo and Unireed for the tips. I just needed to look closer at the User CP (Control Panel?). Since I started this thread I am already registered on it - duh! :o
So, day 8 did not go so well either. Day 9 was today, Saturday Oct 2nd (I think it is past midnight, but close enough)
I practiced 3 times today; 20 minutes morning, 40 minutes early afternoon, 60 minutes late afternoon. My 16 year old daughter and I went to lunch and she recommended I try practicing on a pedestrian bridge that was just completed near our home over a busy street. I had not thought of it, but it sounded like a possibility. My challenge has been finding somewhere with plenty of space, free of traffic, and lots of ‘wall’ for supported practicing.
I had already practiced twice today, along a wall mentioned in an earlier post, and using my pickup parked out on the street. But I was not really making much progress. My concern about the pedestrian bridge was the sloped ramps, but I decided to give it a try. After a few minutes of experimentation I found the the ramps were long enough and the slope shallow enough that I could use them, and that this was actually a pretty ideal place to practice. I will try to get a couple photo’s to include in my next post.
I went up and down numerous times, and used the flat switch-backs as opportunities to let go of the railing and ‘sprint’ across some short open distances. At first these attempts were miserable failures but as the time wore on I began to get more and more confidence and ended up with many comfortable ‘sprints’. I also found that the slope, both directions, was quite helpful in forcing me to position myself well, keep most of my weight in the saddle, and use my legs a lot to control things. It is hard to describe, or even identify, all the things I learned. Short to say, this is an ideal training area and I feel that I will progress much more going forward using it.
- The quick release on the seat post has been bothering me all along so I removed it and replaced it with a bolt that I cinched down very tightly. Having the saddle move back and forth horizontally was probably a factor in my lack of progress. I did this in the third session, so the last hour it was nice to have it not move around!
- Squeezing my knees together seemed to help a lot. It did not necessarily help me go straight every time I attempted an unsupported ride, but it just kept me on the uni much better so even if I turned I did not immediately fall off.
- There is an interesting balance of weight on the saddle to pushing with legs. Whenever I got it out of whack bad things happened. As I grew tired at the end of the third, and hour-long, session my foot slipped off the pedal several times, which forced me to focus on this. Though I was getting tired I was able to get it back together finish the hour with good success.
All in all day 9 was a big success. Not based on having a great unsupported ride, but in discovering an excellent training area, and making steady progress during the hour that I was there. I will not have a lot of days when I can spend a full hour, much less two, but I feel that I will make good progress on the pedestrian bridge each day going forward. Thanks to my daughter, Chelsea, for thinking of it!!
Good luck to others that are learning. Doc Doo, my fellow 46-year-old-learner, keep me (us) posted on your progress.