The next big step for me to take in cycling was to put clip in pedals on my bike. What are clip in pedals you may ask? I'm sure you know what a traditional bike pedal looks like. A clip in pedal is designed to "clip in" to a cleat on the bottom of cycling shoes. Below you can see my cute little shoes and a also a photo of the circle shaped clip in pedal.
I started out just riding my bike on my trainer in my basement to practice the motion of clipping in and out of the pedal with my shoes. It does take sometime to get used to the feeling. The benefits of having the clip in pedals is that they give you more strength while riding your bike. Since your shoe is now attached to the pedal you get more power while you are pedaling. Not only do you push on the pedal, you are also it pulling up. However, Cody didn't inform me how much it was going to hurt my legs the first ride. I felt pain in muscles I didn't know I had! It really becomes a full leg workout.
I did fall/crash twice. With clip in pedals you basically become part of the bike, so it's easy to make mistakes as a beginner. You are attached and need to know what you are doing to get off. The first time I fell was because I didn't push myself up high enough to get on my seat when starting. The padding on my shorts caught the seat just enough to turn it into a failed attempt. I tried to get off and save myself, but with my right foot still clipped in, down I went. My second fall didn't hurt so bad. I was coming to a stop and I had clipped out of my left pedal. This is the foot I always put on the ground when I get off the bike. Somehow I accidentally clipped it back in. Since I didn't know I was clipped in, I just went to get off the bike "thinking" my foot was free. I think my exact words were, "Shit, I'm still clipped in." Crash. hahaha
We have been riding on actual roads more. I feel fairly comfortable doing it because the people in the area are used to seeing cyclists. I do tend to stay as far over as possible or use the shoulder if there is one. I don't believe in hogging the road because I'm on a bike. I do hope that people don't get too close either. When I lived in Ohio you rarely saw cyclists. When I did see them I'd get so mad and cuss about it. I thought that roads were only for cars. Boy, how my views have changed. It's also very hard for a cyclist to stop and go. It's so nice when people wave you on or have patience. Especially for a beginner like me. :)
I love snapping photos while we are riding. The above photo is a common site here in town. Lots of people have there own junkyard or car lot going on. Cars and campers lined up rusting away. I joke with Cody that I think there are more campers in our city then people. It's a very interesting place to live and I'm sure someday when we move away we will miss it. You really get to see things differently when you are out on a bike. This ride was one of the most physically hard rides I've done, since I was working all kinds of new muscles in my legs. I can't wait to just keep getting stronger!