Cycling Newbie… And I thought I knew how to ride!
By Lisette Leveille, May 2016 – Toronto
In 2015, I went on a cycling vacation, spending 3 days riding in the Magdalen Island. This provided us with a different vacation experience and an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, other than the inline skating that we’ve been very fond of. The guided tour allowed us to enjoy the island, with the majority of the time with the winds in our back. Now, I’m looking forward to the next cycling trip.
In late 2015, I joined the Green Dot Riders at Deloitte, to cycle 200+ km fundraising for the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer. This is a personal challenge to both push my physical abilities and raise a minimum of $2500. Even though I’ve ridden a bike since I was a little girl, my biggest fear is to ride in a peloton of more than 2 people, keeping up the riding pace with so many cyclists of all ages and riding abilities. Certain days, I feel like thirty years old, but my body tells me otherwise.
Being part of the Green Dot Riders, we joined TD and RBC, in a private corporate membership club called VitessX. The first riding information session with VitessX President Julien Papon and Cycling Professional Deidre Casey was an eye opener… They guided us on how important it is to be fitted on a bike to maximize the enjoyment of a ride, and reduce aches and pains. Leg extensions, pedaling cadence, position of arms and wrists on the handlebar, all kind of general information that at first sight might appear to be basic, but in fact there is much science behind it all. My initial thought was to have strong legs and everything should flow. How wrong was I! And so I chose to maximize the usage of VitessX, and truly expand my knowledge and riding skills abilities.
I booked my first clinical session assessment to be fitted for cycling shoes on my existing bike and also to better understand how much I don’t know about riding a bike. I owned a hybrid bike, well maintained, only 6 years old. I should be fine…right!! This is when I learned that I need to focus a lot more on the placement of my feet on the pedals to maximize my cadence energy, re-position myself on the saddle and build my core strength, and correct the position of my hands/wrists on the handlebar to minimize finger numbness and remove pain from my wrists and elbows. This has impressed my husband, who, at time, is not easy to convince!