Since I discovered cycling I have done a fair bit of it. I have probably gone about things the wrong way and simply learned by experience (or the lack of it). I use the wrong bike for the type of riding that I do and I do not train as a cyclist. I suspect that I show my ignorance every time I go into a bike shop but, a few stupid questions normally mean I can fix my own bike and not pay someone else to do it.
All this is fine but, as a result of riding a bit and cycling End to End last year, I get a lot of questions from people about the best way to do this or that. I can answer most of them but what are these answers based upon? I don’t have a PHD in touring or bike maintenance, I don’t belong to a cycling club or subscribe to any cycling magazines so you could argue that anything that comes out of my mouth should be taken with a pinch of salt. If I am asked a question, I usually have a good idea as to whether I can answer it or not. I can tell people what works for me but it might not work for them. I usually caveat what I say by encouraging them to try it but not to be disappointed if it doesn’t work.
Bike set up is a classic, this is such a personal thing that simple advice will not provide the best set up for a person. There are plenty of articles on the Internet about how to set your bike up; take all the elements and try them out, you’ll soon know if something isn’t working and you can then make a change. A process of elimination over a period of time should help you get the best compromise you can. The point is, just because someone tells you something, it doesn’t mean that the answer is definitive.
Cycling, like any pastime is about getting out there and ‘doing’; if you get stuck in, you learn. Asking people for information is a key part of learning but it’s not the be all and end all. I have been involved in some sports where the novice asking the accomplished is frowned upon, thankfully cycling doesn’t appear to be like this, most are keen to talk about their pride and joy, their training and their rides to the benefit of all. Long may that continue!
If you do have questions you think I can answer – e-mail me email@example.com only too happy to chat but don’t expect the definitive answer! ;o)