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Wrenegade Sports, LLC
50 Robinson Parkway
Burlington, VT 05401

50 Robinson Parkway
Burlington, VT, 05401
United States

518.662.0211

Gourmet farm to table cycling event series featuring aid stations on local farms. Inspired by the Italian gran fondo bicycle ride.

Starting Out Cycling with Julie & Kristen

Laugh and learn with Julie and Kristen as they journey from "I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid" to reaching the goal of participating in a Farm to Fork Fondo event. 

Julie & Kristen's First Ride Together!

Tyler Wren

Julie: YES, finally!!!  I was able to take my debut bike ride!  For the last five weeks, my beautiful new bicycle and I have been looking forlornly out the window at a bleak winter landscape.  Mother Nature got everyone’s hopes up for an early spring with an unseasonably warm February.  Then brought winter back, just for spite.  We finally had a decent day! Sunny, cool but not cold; nothing a jacket wouldn’t cure.  Kristen and I thought we’d take advantage of the weekly Philadelphia tradition of closing West River Drive to car traffic on weekends from April to October.  We’d have a wide road to ride on and we wouldn’t have to share it with cars.  Perfect for a novice rider!  It was pretty crowded, being a lovely Sunday in a large metropolis AND a special event at the same time, but we managed with no mishaps.  

Ride stats:
Average speed 6.6 mph
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation gain: 0 feet

If it had been less crowded, I may have felt comfortable going a bit faster than we did.  But, with joggers, walkers, and cyclists all around and the potential for small children, dogs, wayward pedestrians, and an occasional Canadian goose to wander into my path at any time, going slower felt safer to me.  Kristen, whose typical speed is in the 15 to 20 mph range, probably felt like she was standing still!  But, I, for one, feel accomplished!  Now, if spring will only stick around for good this time, I’ll be able to get some more practice!

Kristen: I’m super proud of Julie. When we got together to ride her bike for the first time, she seemed daunted by trying to get to 28 miles by July. We had worked out a training plan to get from 0 to 28 miles by July, and have missed the beginning because of Mother Nature. I wasn’t sure how this ride would go, but Julie was seeming ok after we crossed the distance we rode last time so on we rode. While we were riding, I checked in with her about our pace to see if she wanted to try going faster and we got up to 8 mph a few times. She said that she just isn’t comfortable going faster yet. Luckily for her, the only fix for that is more time on the bike!
 

Julie Gets Outfitted to Ride

Tyler Wren

Julie: Some notes about getting outfitted when you haven’t ridden a bike in 20+ years.

If you’re like me and live in an area where you see a lot of people out riding, you’ve probably seen plenty of people who dress like professional cyclists, but clearly aren’t professional caliber.  There must be a reason why so many people dress that way, right?  Maybe you’ve wondered if you’ll have to, too.  Much to my relief, I have found there’s nothing wrong with dressing like a recreational rider if that’s what you are.  Here are some tips I picked up from Kristen:

  • For short rides, it’s ok to wear anything you want.  Jeans or shorts and a t-shirt work just as well as anything else.
  • For rides greater than about 7 miles (the distance will differ a bit for each person), chafing can become an issue if you wear street clothes.  This holds true for men and women.  However, it’s still not necessary to jump directly into bibs and jerseys.  If you don’t know what those are, it’s ok…if you’re not into racing, you probably don’t need to know!  Form fitting leggings, yoga pants, or running shorts/pants will do the trick while being more commonplace, and maybe more comfortable, than pro gear.
  • Different things work for different people depending on your body and your bike’s saddle (that’s the proper term for the seat!).  Experimenting with different gear during regular rides will help you find what’s most comfortable for you before you get to that 28 mile ride at the Farm to Fork Fondo!

If your bike has platform pedals, like mine, you don’t need special shoes.  Platform pedals are flat and don’t require your shoes to clip into the pedal like a ski binding.  Any type of flat shoe will work, though sneakers are recommended – I wouldn’t advise riding in flip flops. 

The last time I rode a bike was before helmets became a thing.  If you’re like me, you’ll need one now.  I have discovered that there is more to bike helmets than meets the eye – literally!  A bike helmet is like an insurance policy.  You hope that you won’t ever have to put it to the test, but you want to have a good one just in case.  After all, you only have one noggin!  Price is not an indicator of how well, or not well, a bike helmet will perform.  Not sure what to look for?  Farm to Fork Fondo sponsor Rudy Project has a range of helmets for all abilities: https://www.rudyprojectusa.com/ 

Julie Learns How to Fix a Flat

Tyler Wren

Julie: Kristen, being the most awesome friend ever, provided me with some essential riding gear – a spare tube, a tube patch kit, a pair of tire levers, an adapter for my car air pump at home, and a saddle bag to carry it all in!  No, seriously, it’s a “saddle” bag – a small zippered bag that attaches to the underside of the bike’s saddle. (I did not get Julie the granola bar to provide energy and/or a boot but did suggest she put one in! I also recommended make up remover wipes, because they’re the best at greasy stuff for post-fixing cleanup.) Kristen also gave me a compact air pump which attaches to the bike’s frame.  Thus armed, I am prepared – theoretically, anyway – to patch a flat tire.  Kristen then gave me a crash course in fixing a flat. (Luckily, no crashing or actual flats were involved as part of this lesson! Even the dog wanted to learn!)

First things first…if you find the concept of a flat tire scary enough to prevent you from taking up bike riding, let me put your mind at ease.  It’s important to understand that the usual flat tire while riding a bike is like having a flat in your car. You’ll hear funny sounds, pedaling becomes more difficult and turning will be less smooth than you’re used to.

Next, let me tell you that fixing a flat is not the easiest task in the world if you’ve never done it before.  If you have the opportunity, like I did, to learn face-to-face from an experienced rider, TAKE IT!  I can’t imagine trying to learn this, or being remotely successful at it, from a YouTube video.  Even removing the tires from the bike isn’t as simple a task as it sounds, especially with the rear tire because you have to dance around the chain and gears.  Kristen demonstrated how to loosen the tire from the rim, feel for the object that caused the puncture, remove the deflated tube, use the patch kit, and put the whole thing back together.  Then, it was my turn to try.  I quickly discovered that it wasn’t as easy as Kristen had made it look.  Her experience enabled her to go through the process relatively quickly and with a modicum of effort.  I struggled, even with Kristen’s voice-of-experience tips, but I got it done.  Now, if I get a flat tire when I’m riding by myself, I will know what to do, I have the proper equipment to do it, and I can at least give it the old college try.  If that fails, though, I have a backup plan.  The Better World Club, the company I use for roadside assistance for my car, also offers bicycle roadside assistance.  If I can’t fix my flat tire, they’ll send an agent with an appropriate vehicle to give me and my bike a lift home!

Julie, there’s a car service that will rescue you on your bike?! That’s amazing! I had no idea! I’m glad to know you have this as a backup option. I’m also glad you now know how to fix a flat because it will probably be a lot faster than waiting for a rescue ride!

Shopping for a new bike

Tyler Wren

With the help of some bike-shop-experts, Julie determines just what sort of bike will suit her new cycling lifestyle while Kristen convinces her to dare the streets of Philadelphia for some test rides.

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