Help me ride my new bike
June 16, 2014 9:05 PM Subscribe
Cyclists of MeFi: I recently acquired a lovely new ride
but wow, is it ever different from my daily commuter. Help me get used to drop bars and downtube shifters.
It's a 1985 Cannondale ST400
with all the stock components, and it came into my life a bit unexpectedly while I was lusting after a different bike I couldn't afford. I've been riding it comfortably on a trainer at home (while my other bike gets me to work and back) but want to get used to it on our local bike path before taking it out on the road.
Problem: I feel like I'm going to wipe out every time I switch positions on my bars, which is obviously a bad thing. I'm decent at riding one-handed for short bits of time on my much-more-upright hybrid, but the totally different geometry of New Bike and my resultant centre of gravity makes me feel like I'm gonna crash every time I go to ring my bell. Nevertheless, I haven't even attempted shifting on it yet. I'm trying not to put all my weight on my wrists and using my core to hold myself up so my stability isn't tied into my arms, but it'll definitely be another few rides before my body gets used to adapting that strategy to this frame. I just feel very very unstable and don't want to take my hands off the drops due to ridiculous fear that I won't be able to switch to braking without crashing.
Are there any helpful physical cues I should be keeping in mind while I re-learn to ride? I have a kinda substantial fear of wiping out and breaking myself and had no idea that there would be this steep of a learning curve! I live very very close to a perfect mixed-use path which keeps me away from traffic, and will definitely be taking advantage of it before getting out onto the road.
Thanks in advance for your help!