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  1. #1
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    Newbie with rheumatoid arthritis

    Hi All,
    I have made a couple of posts in the family and recreation section but this is my first post in this section. I just want to say 'Hi' and introduce myself. I know that I am going to need support and encouragement.
    I live in Australia, are female, 33yo, 5' 5", are very overweight (113.5kg or 250lbs) and have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I got the RA at 20yo when I was 60kg (or 132lbs). The RA has been severe in my knees and ankles and is also in many other joints, however, only in my hands for the past year. However, recently I have been able to qualify for a medication that now enables far less pain and swelling. I now feel that I could actually ride a bike again. However, now I am almost twice the weight I was prior to getting RA and my muscles have gone and joints are weak. I was never really fit but could ride a single speed bike 4km to town, have a break, then ride the 4km home. My aim is to lose weight and to be able to do much the same again. I want to be able to ride for leisure again, but realize that to get there it's going to be hard work.

    I have started riding the exercise bike at home. It has the pedals out in front, like a semi-recumbrant bike. I have started doing 15 minutes on the easy setting and that is enough for my legs with no muscles. Over the next couple of months, I want to increase this until I am riding for 30 minutes. Then I will step up some of the ride to the second setting (more resistance).

    I have my mind set on an Electra Townie, ladies bike. I am not certain exactly which one, but I am leaning towards the 8 speed balloon model, if not, maybe the 8 speed or 3 speed.
    I thought that the 3 speed might be good with using feet for brakes since my single speed (years ago) had foot breaks and I liked them. I have a mountain bike in the garage that I got just prior to getting RA. I think that it is wrong for me. I want to be able to have my feet on the ground when I stop since I have RA and weak knees. Getting back to the 3 speed Townie though, I wonder if that will be enough gears since I might need easy pedalling. The area is not overly hilly, but small slopes can seem like mountains to my weak legs. So, I feel that the 8 speed might be better, but then it has hand breaks and I have had arthritis in my hands for the past year which can make it hard to squeeze.
    The 8 speed balloon has Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks while the 8 speed (not balloon model) has "V" Type Breaks. It sounds like the Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks would be better? Would they be easier on my hands?

    Anyway, it will be a couple of months before I get a bike, in the mean-time I must get back to my stationary one. lol

    Jodi

  2. #2
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Hi Jodi and welcome aboard. I'm usually on the 50+ forum, but I stop here on occasionally to see what's up. Anyway my wife has RA and I have it as well. We started riding in July of 2006 and thought we were really doing something when we went 6 miles. I guess we were, because it works. I've rode me bike up to 70 miles already and my wife likes 15, but can do 20 miles. I'm almost 68 and my wife if 64, but her RA is much worse than mine. She's on all kinds of medication and has to get infusions every 6 weeks.

    Anyhow we both started out with Trek Navigators and she moved up to a Giant 8 speed and I got a road bike and I use my Jamis for light touring now. The land where we live is pretty flat, but we get a lot of wind so the other extra gears help out a lot.

    Just stay with it and it will come. It wont come real fast, but it will come. You really don't have to push yourself, just get out and enjoy yourself. I know it will come, because it came for us and it has for many other people just like us. Anyhow good luck and keep riding whatever you get, you'll probably end up upgrading next year anyhow.
    George

  3. #3
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    George is right, just ride when you can and enjoy it. If the Mountain bike is comfortable enough for you. it's a better bike. The brakes on the mountain bike are much better at stopping than the foot brake. The gear range is better for hills, and your knees. A lot better. The "V" brakes will be the easiest to squeeze. The foot brake is OK on flat surfaces, or if you really need it because of your hands.

    I have had RA for 30 years or more. And been riding all that time. For me I find having low gears is a big plus for my knees. The 3 speed and 8 speed will not be as good for the knees. But you will probably upgade in a year, correct. BTW I can ride a single speed 130 miles in one ride. From more than 15 years of steady riding.

    Any bike is fine to start with. As your ride more you will learn more about your knees, your hands, comfort etc. You may find that riding outside is so much more interesting than the inside bike, you may get addicted to riding outside.

    It's a great thing that you are starting up riding. It may be an incredible help with the RA.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    The thing about RA is that even if it's painful, it's good to stay mobile. A good anti inflammatory will help as well, like Ibuprofen, as long as you aren't sensitive to it.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  5. #5
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    The thing about RA is that even if it's painful, it's good to stay mobile. A good anti inflammatory will help as well, like Ibuprofen, as long as you aren't sensitive to it.
    Good point. Keep those joints moving.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    Hi All,
    I have made a couple of posts in the family and recreation section but this is my first post in this section. I just want to say 'Hi' and introduce myself. I know that I am going to need support and encouragement.
    I live in Australia, are female, 33yo, 5' 5", are very overweight (113.5kg or 250lbs) and have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I got the RA at 20yo when I was 60kg (or 132lbs). The RA has been severe in my knees and ankles and is also in many other joints, however, only in my hands for the past year. However, recently I have been able to qualify for a medication that now enables far less pain and swelling. I now feel that I could actually ride a bike again. However, now I am almost twice the weight I was prior to getting RA and my muscles have gone and joints are weak. I was never really fit but could ride a single speed bike 4km to town, have a break, then ride the 4km home. My aim is to lose weight and to be able to do much the same again. I want to be able to ride for leisure again, but realize that to get there it's going to be hard work.

    I have started riding the exercise bike at home. It has the pedals out in front, like a semi-recumbrant bike. I have started doing 15 minutes on the easy setting and that is enough for my legs with no muscles. Over the next couple of months, I want to increase this until I am riding for 30 minutes. Then I will step up some of the ride to the second setting (more resistance).

    I have my mind set on an Electra Townie, ladies bike. I am not certain exactly which one, but I am leaning towards the 8 speed balloon model, if not, maybe the 8 speed or 3 speed.
    I thought that the 3 speed might be good with using feet for brakes since my single speed (years ago) had foot breaks and I liked them. I have a mountain bike in the garage that I got just prior to getting RA. I think that it is wrong for me. I want to be able to have my feet on the ground when I stop since I have RA and weak knees. Getting back to the 3 speed Townie though, I wonder if that will be enough gears since I might need easy pedalling. The area is not overly hilly, but small slopes can seem like mountains to my weak legs. So, I feel that the 8 speed might be better, but then it has hand breaks and I have had arthritis in my hands for the past year which can make it hard to squeeze.
    The 8 speed balloon has Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks while the 8 speed (not balloon model) has "V" Type Breaks. It sounds like the Shimano Nexave Roller Breaks would be better? Would they be easier on my hands?

    Anyway, it will be a couple of months before I get a bike, in the mean-time I must get back to my stationary one. lol

    Jodi
    As someone with a weaker then normal hand (left, the nerves are screwed up after elbow surgery), I can relate to some degree, problem I have is that if I work the elbow hard the hand hurts, but working the hand itself doesn't seem to affect it much.

    Unless you live somewhere, where it's very flat, you may find you need a wider gear range then 8 speeds will give you, so you may need to deal with hand brakes after all. Plus foot brakes are limited to to rear wheel, but the front wheel has more stopping power, and some foot brakes need a fair amount of force to work.

    If you look at a V-brake (note the spelling, break is what happens when your brakes do not work and you crash), the pad is fairly large, and the leverage is quite high, so they do not require a lot of pressure to stop the bicycle, but it does require some squeezing movement, best is to try it and see. It's a trade off, internal hubs with coaster (foot operated) brakes will not have a wide gear range, and bicycles with a wide gear range ( easier on the legs ) have hand operated brakes. Many V-brakes are a 2 finger design, only the first 2 fingers are needed to actually operate the brake, so as long as they work, your fine. Disc brakes should have similar action, and be even more efficient.

    You may find, if you want your feet on the ground when stopped, that a recumbent tricycle is best, there are two designs, the delta (2 wheels in back, one at the front) and the tadpole (2 wheels in front, one in the back).

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    My wife rides a Delta Trike, by the way. A Sun EZ3 SX.







    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    As someone with a weaker then normal hand (left, the nerves are screwed up after elbow surgery), I can relate to some degree, problem I have is that if I work the elbow hard the hand hurts, but working the hand itself doesn't seem to affect it much.

    Unless you live somewhere, where it's very flat, you may find you need a wider gear range then 8 speeds will give you, so you may need to deal with hand brakes after all. Plus foot brakes are limited to to rear wheel, but the front wheel has more stopping power, and some foot brakes need a fair amount of force to work.

    If you look at a V-brake (note the spelling, break is what happens when your brakes do not work and you crash), the pad is fairly large, and the leverage is quite high, so they do not require a lot of pressure to stop the bicycle, but it does require some squeezing movement, best is to try it and see. It's a trade off, internal hubs with coaster (foot operated) brakes will not have a wide gear range, and bicycles with a wide gear range ( easier on the legs ) have hand operated brakes. Many V-brakes are a 2 finger design, only the first 2 fingers are needed to actually operate the brake, so as long as they work, your fine. Disc brakes should have similar action, and be even more efficient.

    You may find, if you want your feet on the ground when stopped, that a recumbent tricycle is best, there are two designs, the delta (2 wheels in back, one at the front) and the tadpole (2 wheels in front, one in the back).
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  8. #8
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    +1 on the trike. I was going to mention that as well. You don't have to worry about putting your feet down or getting them up again. It takes a little practice to get into and out of a trike, though.

    I have arthritis in both knees, back, and shoulders. I switched to a 2-wheel recumbent a couple of months ago for my daily commuter. After a little getting-used-to-it period, I'm feeling much better than I did on my DF. Especially in the back and shoulders.

  9. #9
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    I'll third or fourth or whatever the trike Idea. A good trike is going to be rather more expensive than those electras that you are looking at though. But if memory serves they make greenspeed trikes there in Australia, and they are supposedly they are the best trikes they make. If I recall Sheldon Brown was rather fond of his... <sniffle>

    As far as the electras models go I would stay away from the one with the roller-brake, they don't have the stopping power for a normal rider much less an Athena. Also with the V-Brakes by adjusting (possibly changing the levers) you can adjust them so that they have enormous stopping power with very little travel and force on the levers. Overall as bikes go they are really nice bikes, I'm looking at one of the single speed coaster brake models for my mom who has very sever Rheumatoid + osteo arthritis and Fibromyalgia.

    Out of curiosity what medication were they able to put you on?

  10. #10
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    Wow, thank you everyone for all of the advice on RA, brakes (hey, I spelt it correctly, lol) and tricycles.

    I am pleased to see that others with RA have had great success with riding. George, hey, I would think that I was really doing something if I went 6 miles as well.....but 70 miles....wow. 15 or 20 miles is also great, I would be very happy with that. I am inspired, thank you.

    2manybikes, thanks for the info regarding brakes. So, it sounds like the hand brakes work more effectively than foot brakes. Actually, I was kind of hoping to buy a bike and then not have to upgrade it in a year. The Townie bikes are not cheap, especially since they are imported to Australia from the USA, and so I was hoping to buy one and then keep it for many years. hmmmmm. I wonder if I should just fix up the mountain bike (new tyres) and get going on that and give it a year or so before I decide what to get. Although, I kind of had my heart set on a Townie.

    Hey Tom, yes, good to stay mobile....although, until now it really wasn't easy. I wasn't able to stand for more than 5 minutes without being terribly stiff until I started my new medicine about 9 months ago. Now I can be on my feet for a few hours. It has made a huge difference. Now I really do feel like I could ride again, but need to gradually build my muscles up. I tried Ibuprofen once and had some heart flutters....not 100% certain it was the Ibuprofen but haven't been game to try it again.

    Wogster, It is quite flat around here, except for one place that it might be nice to ride to when I can manage the distance. That has a hill at the end of the ride and nice views, kangaroos and scenery. The bike with the foot brake also has a hand break for the front wheel, but it is only a 3 speed bike. The 8 speed bikes have hand brakes. There is a 21 speed Townie, but I was looking at the internal hubs for lower maintenance. Also thinking that I would not use 21 gears? I am likely to choose a few favorite gears and just switch between them. I had not considered a tricycle before. I will keep it in mind, but want to see if I can manage a 2 wheel bike. So, if 2 wheels fails I will look into it.

    Tom, thanks for the pics of your wife's Delta Trike, I must say that it looks mighty comfortable. I am hoping to be able to ride a 2 wheel bike, but will consider the tricycle if I don't feel right on 2 wheels.

    unixpro, glad to hear that a recumbent has helped you. I am yet to try a Townie, but just from reviews, it sounds like it will be ideal for me. It is designed so as to be able to put your feet down flat on the ground when stopped. I think that either way I go, tricycle or 2 wheel bike, I will have to practice getting on and off. At least, I can choose a ladies bike and put one leg over the middle. Mens road bikes do look high and scary to me.

    Well, I will keep going on my exercise bike and build my leg muscles up some more. I can't wait to get outside and ride though. Would I be better off dusting the cobwebs off the mountain bike and replacing the tyres on that and giving it a go before deciding on another bike. Maybe that sounds like what I should do. It has V-brakes which would allow me to give them a go and then I could decide if they would be O.K or if I really would prefer the foot break but with less (3) gears.

    Thank you everyone,
    Jodi

  11. #11
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    Hello Halthane,
    Sorry, I should have refreshed the page before posting. A lot of recommendations for a trike....I will have to consider it. Thanks for the brand name, I will look them up.
    Thanks for the info regarding the roller-brake, I might want to be able to stop. So, are the roller-brakes only useful if you ride slowly or are small framed? I am only planning on slow riding.
    It seems that most have recommended the V-brakes if I can manage them. My fingers are quite swollen and not very strong but they are only occasionally painful, so I could probably manage.
    Ouch, your poor Mum, having all 3....I also have fibromyalgia. If someone knocks into me it can feel like I have been corked and it sometimes gives me muscle spasms in my ribs that make me feel like I am having a heart attack...it's not fun. I am interested to know how she goes if she gets the 1 speed Townie. Are you buying for her? When is she looking at getting it?

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    Wow, thank you everyone for all of the advice on RA, brakes (hey, I spelt it correctly, lol) and tricycles.

    I am pleased to see that others with RA have had great success with riding. George, hey, I would think that I was really doing something if I went 6 miles as well.....but 70 miles....wow. 15 or 20 miles is also great, I would be very happy with that. I am inspired, thank you.

    2manybikes, thanks for the info regarding brakes. So, it sounds like the hand brakes work more effectively than foot brakes. Actually, I was kind of hoping to buy a bike and then not have to upgrade it in a year. The Townie bikes are not cheap, especially since they are imported to Australia from the USA, and so I was hoping to buy one and then keep it for many years. hmmmmm. I wonder if I should just fix up the mountain bike (new tyres) and get going on that and give it a year or so before I decide what to get. Although, I kind of had my heart set on a Townie.

    Hey Tom, yes, good to stay mobile....although, until now it really wasn't easy. I wasn't able to stand for more than 5 minutes without being terribly stiff until I started my new medicine about 9 months ago. Now I can be on my feet for a few hours. It has made a huge difference. Now I really do feel like I could ride again, but need to gradually build my muscles up. I tried Ibuprofen once and had some heart flutters....not 100% certain it was the Ibuprofen but haven't been game to try it again.

    Wogster, It is quite flat around here, except for one place that it might be nice to ride to when I can manage the distance. That has a hill at the end of the ride and nice views, kangaroos and scenery. The bike with the foot brake also has a hand break for the front wheel, but it is only a 3 speed bike. The 8 speed bikes have hand brakes. There is a 21 speed Townie, but I was looking at the internal hubs for lower maintenance. Also thinking that I would not use 21 gears? I am likely to choose a few favorite gears and just switch between them. I had not considered a tricycle before. I will keep it in mind, but want to see if I can manage a 2 wheel bike. So, if 2 wheels fails I will look into it.

    Tom, thanks for the pics of your wife's Delta Trike, I must say that it looks mighty comfortable. I am hoping to be able to ride a 2 wheel bike, but will consider the tricycle if I don't feel right on 2 wheels.

    unixpro, glad to hear that a recumbent has helped you. I am yet to try a Townie, but just from reviews, it sounds like it will be ideal for me. It is designed so as to be able to put your feet down flat on the ground when stopped. I think that either way I go, tricycle or 2 wheel bike, I will have to practice getting on and off. At least, I can choose a ladies bike and put one leg over the middle. Mens road bikes do look high and scary to me.

    Well, I will keep going on my exercise bike and build my leg muscles up some more. I can't wait to get outside and ride though. Would I be better off dusting the cobwebs off the mountain bike and replacing the tyres on that and giving it a go before deciding on another bike. Maybe that sounds like what I should do. It has V-brakes which would allow me to give them a go and then I could decide if they would be O.K or if I really would prefer the foot break but with less (3) gears.

    Thank you everyone,
    Jodi
    Someone you might want to talk to are the folks at Greenspeed , they are in Australia, and might be able to rig something up for you. The Nsxus Inter-8 (8 speed) is available with a coaster brake the model number is SG-BC22 (in North America at least), from the Shimano catalogue I have, combine that with a hand operated disc brake on the front, put the lever on the side that has the better/less painful hand, and you should be good to go. I have no problem riding a 2 wheel, but looking at the link above, for long distance rides, some of those 3 wheelers look really nice and comfy, not cheap though.

  13. #13
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    Shimano's roller brake is just a mediocre design, it looks quite pretty but it just doesn't have the mechanical advantage to pull a rider down from speed. This is the advantage of v or disc brakes as they can be set to be extremely strong with very little travel in the brake levers. A set of decent mechanical disk brakes with 203mm rotors will stop just about anything at any speed very fast.

    Probably looking at Christmas for my mom, though I'm going to try to build one for temporary use when she is here in May. She was really having problems with the arthritis until about 5 years ago, when they started giving her infusions of stuff called "Rheumicaid" which has basically given her her life back. She is also one of the few people still taking celebrex which was pulled from the general market due to concerns with stroke and heart attack, the doctor decided to keep her on it as her risk factors for those were low to begin and it so tremendously improved her quality of life and mobility that the ability to exercise would probably reduce her risk more than the celebrex increased it.
    Last edited by Halthane; 03-25-08 at 10:52 AM.

  14. #14
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    I must say that I looked at the Greenspeed trikes. They are very low to the ground. I would not be able to get up from such a position with my weak knees and heavy frame. As much as they do look comfortable, I would prefer to be up higher as well. I am going to stick with my original idea of a Townie.....but thank you all for the trike suggestions.
    V-brakes sound like they will be the way to go, so maybe the 8 speed or 21 speed.
    I am joining Weight Watchers on Monday, so looking forward to that to help myself loose weight.

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    Should've thought of the height thing with the greenspeeds. Darn... was hoping to live vicariously

    Never used weight watchers (though I do eat some of their food) but my mom and several friends have, and I am a big fan of their approach of weight loss through lifestyle concept and their insistence that their program is not a diet.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    I must say that I looked at the Greenspeed trikes. They are very low to the ground. I would not be able to get up from such a position with my weak knees and heavy frame. As much as they do look comfortable, I would prefer to be up higher as well. I am going to stick with my original idea of a Townie.....but thank you all for the trike suggestions.
    V-brakes sound like they will be the way to go, so maybe the 8 speed or 21 speed.
    I am joining Weight Watchers on Monday, so looking forward to that to help myself loose weight.
    I hadn't thought of the height as an issue, but yeah, thinking about it, it might be. Now one thing to consider in picking between the 8 speed and 21 speed (should be your only options really), is the shifter, the 8 speed uses the Revo shifter, which is a twist grip, the 21 speed uses rapid-fire shifters which are trigger shifters, you push a thumb/finger operated lever to shift up, another to shift down. This may be easier for your hands to work.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    I hadn't thought of the height as an issue, but yeah, thinking about it, it might be. Now one thing to consider in picking between the 8 speed and 21 speed (should be your only options really), is the shifter, the 8 speed uses the Revo shifter, which is a twist grip, the 21 speed uses rapid-fire shifters which are trigger shifters, you push a thumb/finger operated lever to shift up, another to shift down. This may be easier for your hands to work.
    I believe that it is possible to switch out the revo for trigger shifters in the 8spd internal hub, if not a good shop could switch you to the alfine internal hubs for little or no money. I'll ask my mechanic in a bit and get back to you on that.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JohnKScott's Avatar
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    Hi there. Nothing to add except a welcome...

    WELCOME!

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    Would I be better off dusting the cobwebs off the mountain bike and replacing the tyres on that and giving it a go before deciding on another bike. Maybe that sounds like what I should do. It has V-brakes which would allow me to give them a go and then I could decide if they would be O.K or if I really would prefer the foot break but with less (3) gears.

    Yes !!!!!!!

    The mountain bike will have lower gears than the 3 speed will have. If you needed to lower it there is a limit on how low you can gear an internally geared hub by changing the front sprocket (chainring), before the torque from the low gearing destroys the hub. You can raise and lower mtb gearing, but you won't have to, it will have the ranges you need anyway. At least you can learn what you like for gearing before making another bike purchase. Then you could test ride a 3 speed later and compare the gearing to what gears you like on the mountain bike. You might not need the lowest gears on the mountain bike, no loss by trying it.

    And more lower gears to choose from. With any knee problems this is the way to go. I think it's very important, the more low gears the merrier with knee problems. Having extra gears that you don't use has no down side to it. If it turns out later on that you don't need lower gears, just don't use them.

    The mountain bike is paid for !! Tires are cheap !!

    Is the mountain bike in really bad shape? Are the existing tires on it no good?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  20. #20
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    I am looking forward to Weight Watchers. My first meeting is tomorrow night. Weight Watchers and the exercise bike will allow myself to shift some weight and then I will feel more comfortable getting out on the road and bike paths. I am excited and really motivated at the moment. I hope that this feeling can last since I know that it will get tough at times.

    I don't think that twisting the gear shifter would be a problem, as long as it is not too stiff. I have not tried this type of gear shifting before though. Pressing a button seems mighty easy though. How do I tell the difference by the specifications? They both list Shimano Revo for the shifter.
    Another question is about the tires. The Townie bikes come with either semi-slick 26"x2.0", semi-slick 700Cx38C and puncture resistant versions of these on the commuter versions. Are the 700C tires taller as well as thinner? I have been leaning towards the 26"x2.0" ones. Any opinions?

    Thanks for the welcome John.

    In regards to the mountain bike. It is not as bad as I thought. The tires are showing thin splits in the sides after having been sitting unused for a long time, however, they pumped up ok, so the tubes look like they have held up....so it looks like it will be ok. My main concern with the bike now is really just comfort and my fear of stopping with my bad knees. When I need to stop, I will have to jump forward off the seat I think and this is my worry and why I am looking at the Electra Townie bikes.

    Thank you so much for your help everyone.
    Jodi

  21. #21
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    I am looking forward to Weight Watchers. My first meeting is tomorrow night. Weight Watchers and the exercise bike will allow myself to shift some weight and then I will feel more comfortable getting out on the road and bike paths. I am excited and really motivated at the moment. I hope that this feeling can last since I know that it will get tough at times.

    I don't think that twisting the gear shifter would be a problem, as long as it is not too stiff. I have not tried this type of gear shifting before though. Pressing a button seems mighty easy though. How do I tell the difference by the specifications? They both list Shimano Revo for the shifter.
    Another question is about the tires. The Townie bikes come with either semi-slick 26"x2.0", semi-slick 700Cx38C and puncture resistant versions of these on the commuter versions. Are the 700C tires taller as well as thinner? I have been leaning towards the 26"x2.0" ones. Any opinions?

    Thanks for the welcome John.

    In regards to the mountain bike. It is not as bad as I thought. The tires are showing thin splits in the sides after having been sitting unused for a long time, however, they pumped up ok, so the tubes look like they have held up....so it looks like it will be ok. My main concern with the bike now is really just comfort and my fear of stopping with my bad knees. When I need to stop, I will have to jump forward off the seat I think and this is my worry and why I am looking at the Electra Townie bikes.

    Thank you so much for your help everyone.
    Jodi
    Shimano has about 4 shifter mechanisms, there is Revo which you often find on comfort style bikes, it's a twist grip shifter. There is Rapid-Fire which you find on some comfort and some mountain bikes, it's essentially two levers on that you push with your pointer finger then other with your thumb, one works against the dérailleur spring, the other doesn't so one is a little harder then the other. The third mechanism comes in 2 styles, one for flat bars one for road bars, it uses a single lever for brakes and shifting, often called a brifter. Last but not least there is the down-tube/bar-end style shifter (while not exactly the same, they are close enough mechanically). For someone with limited hand movement down-tube/bar-end would probably work the best, followed by rapid-fire, then brifters then twist grip.

    Question is what kind of shifter is on your old bike, probably an early Rapid-fire or Twist grip, if that shifter works okay for you, then go with that. Maybe try lowering the seat a little, if you stick to relatively low gears, then it shouldn't be too big of an issue. The issue though, is as you roll to a stop, you typically go to one side or the other. Well over 99% of riders always go to the same side, except for when they buy clipless pedals, because then you will plan to go right as you always do, unclip the right side, and fall to the left always in front of a group of people you want to impress

    As for your old tires, I would replace them, if your not planning on trail riding, go with something smoother, maybe a little narrower. There is a reason I often refer to knobbies as snow tires, they make that same woe-woe-woe noise, and suck up most of the energy produced making it.

    The real question with the Townie, can they do a proper fitting on it, because a proper fitting is critical.

  22. #22
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    Jodi, don't have RA but am overweight and like to ride my bike

    Glad to see you post here Keep the posts coming, these folks are full of info and encouragement!
    The direct link to support me in the 27th Annual Prouty Bike Ride, July 12, 2008:
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    Please support others by supporting me.

    Thank You! -eric

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post



    In regards to the mountain bike. It is not as bad as I thought. The tires are showing thin splits in the sides after having been sitting unused for a long time, however, they pumped up ok, so the tubes look like they have held up....so it looks like it will be ok. My main concern with the bike now is really just comfort and my fear of stopping with my bad knees. When I need to stop, I will have to jump forward off the seat I think and this is my worry and why I am looking at the Electra Townie bikes.

    Thank you so much for your help everyone.
    Jodi
    If you are coming to a stop on the mountain bike if your knees permit it there's no reason to jump off the seat. Sorry if you already do this, it's hard in this format to always know exactly what the other person means.
    Put one foot (I do the left) at the bottom of the stroke. Put your weight on that leg and stand on the pedal. That gets you off the seat. move forward off the seat. Then as you stop lower yourself in front of the seat so you can reach the ground with the other foot. Lean slighty to the free hanging foot side and touch the ground. If your knees don't let you do this, I applaud your choice of the "pedal forward" stlye of the Townie. Many bike manufacturers make a bike of this style.
    I agree that if you keep riding the mouintain bike, get new tires.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodi-townie View Post
    Another question is about the tires. The Townie bikes come with either semi-slick 26"x2.0", semi-slick 700Cx38C and puncture resistant versions of these on the commuter versions. Are the 700C tires taller as well as thinner? I have been leaning towards the 26"x2.0" ones. Any opinions?
    Those tires will be approximately the same in width as 38mm is about 1.80 inches. The 700c will be slightly larger in diamter (the wheel as a whole will be slightly taller) but not dramatically. I personally prefer 700c wheels as they tend to be slightly faster. As for puncture resistance, it is largely a personal thing, standard tires tend to run a little faster, a little smoother, and a slightly lighter than their puncture resistant cousins. However if you have diminished hand strength I could see the puncture resistant versions being worth having as changing a tire on the road can take a good bit of grip strength.

  25. #25
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    Thank you for all of the posts and for taking the time to answer my questions in such detail. I am learning a lot and you lot are fantastic. I was afraid that such a newbie, that is overweight with other health issues, would not receive such a warm reception. I was totally wrong and you guys and girls are legends. This is a great forum.
    I am not certain which shifter my mountain bike has. It was only a very cheap bike. It has a dial with a lever on each side of the handle bars. One side has 3 settings and the other has 5 settings. I must be riding to change gears. I think that I read somewhere that with the newer bikes (it was an Electra Amsterdam that I was reading about) that you can be stationary when changing gears. That sounded like a good feature to me. While I do not have trouble moving the levers on the mountain bike, I do have trouble knowing which gear I should be in.

    I will see about getting my tires replaced....but need to be able to get my bike to a LBS first, unless I get my husband or father to do the replacement for me. My father used to do all of my bike repairs when I was a kid.

    2manybikes, your description of dismounting off the bike makes it nice and clear. Last time I rode, I was unable to stand up while riding though. However, the method you describe is well worth a shot to see if I can manage that. I now remember doing it that way as a kid, I'm not confident that I could do it now though. My knees and ankles are so weak and I am too heavy for them.

    Halthane, thanks for the tyre info. I might search around and see if I can find out more about puncture resistant tires. I wouldn't be able to change a tyre out on the road, I dare say that I can't even do it by myself at home.

    Well, I joined Weight Watchers tonight....so starting counting Points tomorrow. It's not going to be easy to change some of my bad habits. lol

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