Bicycle noob alert

Since there are so many cycling enthusiasts here on blogging.la, I’m sure you will be shocked (SHOCKED!) to learn that there is at least one cycling newbie here – me. The last time I rode a bike was when I was 7, so I’ve got a good 25 years of non-experience to build upon. After deciding that I needed to freakin’ get a bike already and doing some research, I went to Budget Pro Bikes in Eagle Rock on Spencer’s recommendation and picked up an Electra Townie. It’s built in such a way that your feet can rest flat on the ground when you’re stopped, so it’s a good re-entry bike for people like me who are balance-challenged.

So, now I need to learn how to ride it. Do any of you cyclists have any tips for beginners? Are there any nice, level spots in L.A. where a beginner can go to learn the basics without getting run over and/or face planting on asphalt? Is there any foolproof way to keep from looking like a complete dork when you’re a grown woman trying to ride a bike for the first time in your adult life? All tips will be greatly appreciated.

13 Replies to “Bicycle noob alert”

  1. The first place that comes to mind for me (maybe because I was just there) is the L.A. River bike path: flat, smooth, and no cars to worry about. Just watch out for the speeding road racers . . . and of course the IAAL-MAF on Wednesday nights.

  2. If you are in the Eagle Rock area, the Rose Bowl is a great place to log a few miles. The loop surrounding the arena and golf course is exactly three miles, and you can shoot off to the hills if you are feeling adventurous.

  3. Dude, you totally have to come ride with us at the LA River bike path on Wednesday nights. It’s long and flat and, best of all, has no cars. Delmy is going to drool all over your townie though.

    Also, until six or eight weeks ago, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was maybe 13, so I totally fell you on that. It’ll take you no time, I promise.

  4. yay. welcome to the fun…

    you just have to jump in and get right on into it…on the streets. {dont ride on the sidewalk!! its illegal and uncool to foot traffic.} remember, you have full rights on the road. dont be intimidated by the cars!!!

    find a posse. when starting, its nice to share the road with other bikers. you are more visable and can safely take an entire lane of traffic. i encourage noobs to remember to take rides where the ride IS the destination. first learn to love the ride, then once you get the hang of it you can start to use it as a means of alternative transportation.

    soon… who knows… one less car perhaps.
    :)

  5. I too have a bike problem. I was attacked and savaged by a wild bike on the LA River bike path when I was a wee Brownie Girl Scout.

    I managed to re-learn at Burning Man in 2003, but since then have only ridden twice. Traffic terrifies me, mostly because I’m still in that stage where I forget HOW TO STOP.

    Buh.

  6. Is there anyway to learn more about the wednesday night biking? Also anyone know of flat-ish path in Malibu…I spend most of my time here now and all I see are hills. I’m not strong enough to ride up hills.

  7. Thanks everyone! Green LA Girl – mine is pearl white, like the color in the photo I linked to. I was leaning towards the pink but in the end I decided on that one.

    I’m so glad other people have been in the same boat as me. Hopefully I’ll overcome my tendency towards being uncoordinated and ride away into the night!

  8. Don’s suggestion of the beach bike path as a training ground might not be an ideal place for a newbie to get started… or at least not during the peak hours. True it is flat and such, but personally I wouldn’t set tread on that stretch from above the Santa Monica pier to south of Manhattan Beach anytime after 8 a.m. It just gets way too mobbed with non-biking skaters and joggers and pedestrians and beachgoers who cross without looking.

    And I don’t think A35mmLife’s assertion that sidewalk riding is illegal is correct. It’s my understanding that cycling on sidewalks is shall we say conditionally legal, allowable if you are moving at slow speeds and not impacting any pedestrians you encounter.

  9. Will’s right. Sidewalk riding is legal if done in such a way as to not bother the foot traffic. But if you’re not using the street you have to get off and walk across crosswalks. That gets old real fast.

  10. In Malibu, try Zuma Beach. You can ride out to the end of the county beach along the bluffs via the street and county parking lot, then back through the parking lot that parallels PCH. It’s probably 3-5 miles total and flat.

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