First Blood on the Bike

StuntsI finally have a road bike that works! The story of how that happened is a subject for a blog soon to follow.  But I went and picked up the bike today from The Unlikely Cyclist, an absolutely incredible bike shop. I tried it on the trainer then took a test ride in the parking lot.  I got started just fine, and then as I went to turn around I slowed down and then decided to stop.  I tried to put my foot down, but – as the shop owner had explained but I obviously hadn’t internalized – because of the way that I am fit on the bike I can’t touch the ground while sitting in the seat.  So I wildly pawed at the air with my left foot thinking “Can’t touch the ground, can’t touch the ground, can’t touch the ground” and then that situation rectified itself as not just my foot but most of the left half of my body was touching the ground. Very slow speed wipe out.  In a parking lot.  In front of people. My left leg was fine but my right leg had an unfortunate tangle with the pedal.

I fought the pedal and the pedal won.

I fought the pedal and the pedal won.

The bike shop owner seemed worried that I wouldn’t want to get back on the bike and very sweetly encouraged me to get right back on.  She needn’t have worried  – between riding horses and figure skating and jumping around on giant hay bales in my youth, falling is not a deterrent for me.  On the bright side, I think it actually may have helped to get it out of the way early. She reminded me that momentum is my friend and I got back on and spent the next several minutes riding around the reasonably large parking lot.  It turns out the phrase “It’s just like riding a bike” has a basis in reality, at least for me. Phew!

The idea of how fast I would go were I to pedal at 80-95 revolutions per minute (which is my “all day effort” spin rate) is frankly terrifying, but I’ll get there.  From these humble beginnings, in five months I will cycle 56 miles at a brisk pace after swimming 1.2 and before running 13.1. Bring it on.

More Cool Stuff:

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price!Click here for details

About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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14 Responses to First Blood on the Bike

  1. european says:

    Hahaha!! I did something similar the first time I rode on a men-style bicycle – except at a red traffic light (I didn’t get seriously hurt, only my pride). I also managed to badly break a nail when changing gears, despite said nail being kept really short. It’s comforting to hear that even athletes than you occasionally make mistakes.


  2. Yay you!! We had somewhat parallel experiences yesterday, it seems. I finally worked up the courage to confront my race bike and practice getting in and out of my clip pedals. I live on a one-way street, so I figured, if I were to fall, I probably wouldn’t get hit by a car (the things we say to reassure ourselves, isn’t it?). I need to get re-fitted to my race bike, because after I familiarized myself with the clip pedals and had a few near misses where I panicked and had to unclip my cleat before quickly stopping, I realized how much pressure I put on the outsides of my wrists while I ride (the handlebar situation is very different between my road bike and my tri bike). So excited for you – make sure you have a trisuit or cycling shorts with a GOOD CHAMOIS. Your lady bits will thank you. 🙂


  3. natalieh says:

    Yay new bike! It sure is a big change getting used to road bikes. I’ve been on mine for 2 months outside and I still feel super weird hoisting myself up onto the saddle.


  4. tab says:

    Time for TITS (time in the saddle)! Get out there as often and as much as you can. If you can get a trainer, even better, since they you can ride inside.


  5. This just makes me want to go for a bike ride! I look forward to seeing how your outside rides go. 🙂


  6. Lauren C. says:

    First off OUCH! Second, are you SURE you went to the The Unlikely Cyclist & not The Unlucky one? (Bad joke–sorry). Third, I’m glad your resilient!! Your going to kill it on the Ironman! Thanks to you & the blogs you are involved in-I’m contantlly inspired to get out move! Thanks Ragen! I wish I could be at your ironman-but I can’t. Just know me & I’m sure everyone who follows your blog will be holding up “Go Ragen! Go!” signs in spirit!


  7. Kiki says:

    Good to hear you showed the wild bronco bike who’s boss in the end! ^_^
    Now you can add “iron shins” to your list of training accomplishments.


  8. Karen Williams says:

    I managed to do a low speed fall over after climbing a hill in clip in pedals. I got to the top of the hill – at the beginning of a busy trailhead, couldn’t get my foot out of the pedal, and fell over – with several onlookers. It is your first fall but probably won’t be the last. The more important question is: How is the bike? Did it get hurt?


  9. It happens to everyone!! I once had to start after a red light on a steep incline, and was just too tired to go on. Because I was clipped in, I couldn’t move my foot back to the ground quickly and just kind of tipped over from a stand still. A man walking by rushed over frantically and I said, “Oh it was nothing, I’m totally fine.” He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “When you need help, you need to ask for it.” My friends got a huge kick out of that and still say it to me regularly.


  10. Erik says:

    Your FAQ page says you were doing a full marathon, 112 miles on the bike and 2.4 mile swim. The last sentence on this post seems to convey that isn’t the case. What happened?


    • Hey Erik,

      I’ve received a bunch of questions like this today, it seems that this is a rumor started by some sad Reddit or 4Chan trolls (so pathetic that they’re spending their time trolling me, these people need to get a life, right?!) I’m so sorry if they confused you. While I am doing a full IM in 2016 as originally planned, part of my prep is to do a Half IM this year. Just to clarify, I’m doing an IM in 2016 and I have a a series of races on my schedule leading up to my full next year, including the 70.3 this October.

      If you see any of those trolls and want to help clarify for them, I talk about it here, here, here, and here and on other posts as well. Of course, I think their goal isn’t so much reading comprehension as it is being, you know, sad little trolls, so I don’t know how far you’ll get with it. Thanks for your question and for supporting my IRONMAN journey 🙂



  11. Amanda Wooldridge says:

    I LOVE riding my bike so much and, yes, I sometimes get scrapes and bruises. I’m glad you’re okay and weren’t injured too badly.

    I have a secret desire to do a triathlon, but I think I would want to do it on my on – not an official race. I am very slow. I would walk the run part. You are very brave!


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