I took my new bike "Buttercup" out for her first ride today and DID WE EVER HAVE FUN!
I'm still getting used to clipless pedals, and I have 3 fairly dangerous street crossings in heavy traffic before I get out to continuous trails, so the start was a little tricky. I can see this set of shoe cleats is going to be ground down fast. But once I got out on the straight path (W&OD paved rail-trail), it seemed like we were flying! I got her up to 21.7 mph on the straight, nearly level path without a great deal of effort, which is at least 5 mph faster than my old road bike at the same level of effort. It felt great to crank up the pedals a little bit and actually get rewarded with a surge of speed, rather than just tiring myself out!
One thing I am immediately loving as I ride in this congested area is the brilliant yellow hue of Buttercup's paint job. I saw more than one motorist do a double-take (maybe it was the fat old lady on the hot bike, maybe it was the eye-catching color -- either way is fine with me), but I was pleased to see them take notice rather than just dangerously disappear into background visuals. I had a few misgivings about her BRIGHT VIVID HAZMAT YELLOW when I first saw her, but now I'm delighted with the color, since some day it may save me from some serious injuries.
I did have a little crisis toward the end when I was almost home - the last road before the turn-in to my place is one of the few exceedingly steep hills in the area, and I made the mistake of trying to ride up it three gears above granny gear. Despite my best efforts, the pedals ground to a humiliating standstill. In my panicky struggle, I started to feel myself going down, fought myself out of the pedals and managed to free my feet, and so avoided my first fall-while-standing-still. I won't make that particular mistake again - at least not until my legs are better conditioned for cycling!
So a short 6.6-mile ride is in the books, and my real cycling training for the Eagleman Half Ironman triathlon in June begins NOW! Or to be more accurate, after a little half marathon that is on my calendar for tomorrow morning!