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  1. #1
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    Riding a bike is nothing like it was when we were kids!

    I'm shocked at how bicycling today bears no resemblance to how we biked as kids. "In the old days" I just jumped on my bike, mashed the pedals and soon I was across town. I never oiled my chain and never worried about how much air was in the tires. Riding a bike required no more thought than walking. Usually when I got to my destination, I just jumped off the bike, it continued forward about 10 feet and fell over in a cloud of dust.

    But today, things are very different. Riding a bike is like a space shuttle launch. You must eat the right foods, put on your heart rate strap, put some cream on the bony parts of your butt, reset your GPS, lock onto 5 satellites, put on your special bike riding clothes, carefully inspect your bike and inflate the tires to the exact pressure you need, clean your chain, bring your cell phone, check the weather, carry enough water and energy food, plan your trip using sophisticated satellite mapping programs, put on your special shoes and make sure they're not too tight, put on your helmet and sunglasses, put on your gloves, carefully remove your carbon fiber bike from it's stand and roll it outside, clip your left foot into a pedal that costs more than your whole bike did as a kid, mount your bike and snap in your right foot, pedal a few feet, if no one's looking reach into your shorts and arrange your junk for maximum comfort, start pedaling and remember to keep your RPMs up, etc, etc...

    I wont even go into what happens when you return from your ride, the data downloading and analysis...

    Sometimes I wonder why biking was so easy when we were kids and now that we're grown up it has become such an expensive, complicated ordeal.

    I guess I'm just feeling nostalgic, I miss the old days when riding a bike was no big deal...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    Sometimes I wonder why biking was so easy when we were kids and now that we're grown up it has become such an expensive, complicated ordeal.
    As adults, if we do not make it complicated it can not be enjoyable.

    Unfortunately some of this sophistication has passed onto the next generation. There excuse not to do it, because they do not have all the tools.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    "In the old days" I just jumped on my bike, mashed the pedals and soon I was across town. I never oiled my chain and never worried about how much air was in the tires. Riding a bike required no more thought than walking. Usually when I got to my destination, I just jumped off the bike, it continued forward about 10 feet and fell over in a cloud of dust.
    It's the difference between kids and adults in life. We ride much more complex machines than we did when we were kids - it's what our parents would let us have. I know most kids bikes when I was a kid was standard Walmart, K-Mart, or Sears junkers, didn't cost much. No gears (the gear shifting is brand new to me now on my new bike), little concept of fit of the bike, brakes were a lot less complex (no handles again, just jam the pedals in reverse). Since it was a kids bike that didn't cost much, parents didn't care how you treated the bike and we could do things like that, and jumping the bikes and so on (the list is a mile long I'm sure). And as far as taking care of it went, there was (almost usually) Dad around to oil the chain, or fix or replace the flat tires, if you ever had one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    Sometimes I wonder why biking was so easy when we were kids and now that we're grown up it has become such an expensive, complicated ordeal.
    Because we make it more complex than it needs to be, perhaps. We don't need to do half of what you listed. And most are gadgetophiles these days, so they are there. Of course, parents wouldn't let you have those things anyway, and for the rest most parents (I know mine wouldn't) allow you to go on these long distance rides that we talk about on here and contemplate. And most kids don't care to go on them, either. It's just biking to a friend's house or to school or where ever you had to go.

    Of course, for today, we're older and the weight issues and things of older age matter too. As a kid, you could knock off 1/4 of a pizza and go out not worrying about 5 or 10 lbs..but today, especially speaking of this forum, you got a lot more weight you're carrying on the bike as you get older...different things become a consideration that aren't as a kid....as I know all too well after the 10 mile ride I just completed.

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    Funny- I was thinking pretty much the same thing a few nights ago. I don't get to ride after work because usually I have to help the kids with their homework, wash dishes, bathe the kids, etc.. I had some extra time and I felt like going for a quick ride. But then I though about having to change, pump the tires, do a quick check of the bike, mix my drinks, and whatever else I had to- I just said forget it and jumped on the stationary bike.

    But after all that's said and done, I still love my toys, so I don't think I'm going to change! But maybe I'll just get a singlespeed and add to my toys and simplify my life at the same time!
    Last edited by Fat Louie; 06-06-08 at 11:15 AM. Reason: add a line
    Are we having fun yet?

  5. #5
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    I remember oiling things fairly often. Probably too often...things got kinda greasy and grimy. The tires were big, fat, and low pressure (no 25mm wide, 100 psi tires on the bikes we rode back then), so they didn't lose pressure as fast.

  6. #6
    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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    Data DL and Analysis: Guilty as charged......

    I'm trying to achieve a specific goal though. That doesn't mean I dont just go out and ride my bike, though, from time to time, just for fun

    As to the letting it roll on 10 feet after dismount, if I still had my old Sting Ray, that might be an option, but with one of my wheels costing more than some of the cars I've driven, or my carbon fork, well, that should be self explanatory.
    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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    A lot of layers of complexity have been added over the last 50-60 yrs.

    At age 13 I was lucky enough to have one of my uncles give me his then unused road racing bike from the late 1930's, I would guess. It was unlike anything my friends had (this was 1956). It was a Griffon road bike purchased from Hans Ohrt of Beverly Hills (my uncle liked high-end name brands - he drove a new Cadillac and wore a Rolex and shot pictures with a Speed Graphic or Leica - he was a graphic artist by trade).

    The bike, steel frame & Burgundy in color had aluminum drop bars, pedals with clips, shifter on the top tube, leather saddle and a 3-speed internal hub. Yes, 3-spd hubs were plentiful, but drops, clips and leather saddles seemed to be a big rarity from what I saw in So CA.

    I did no more than ride it around the neighborhood, but it was the fastest bike around (being 6' tall at that point didn't hurt my ability to make it go, either).

    But.....Yes, things were simpler, even with a road bike.

    ADD: I don't remember pumping up my tires or lubing my chain, either. Don't remember any "flats"
    .
    Last edited by Foldable Two; 06-06-08 at 01:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Well, it's not so complicated if you don't make it complicated.

    However, I consider that when I was in high school, I rode my bike to school and to work. It was about a mile either way, and seemed long. But that means when I go for my evening cruise and do 12 miles around the neighborhood, I just did three times as much riding as I ever did in a day as a kid. Ride a mile or two each day and it doesn't take much maintenance.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  9. #9
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    me think you are over complicating it....
    with my carbon bike... helmet cyceling shorts gloves shoes, tires.

    with my new Steel bike.. Helmet , gloves tires.

    if i am interested in my speed i'll use my stopwatch on my watch.
    Weather why ?if it rains it rains.
    GPS? If i am going to a new place wehre i might get lost i might use it then again. its nice to be lost some times
    as long as heart rate is > 0 i am ok
    butt cream not for me.. if it hrt its temporay bend to the machine

    post ride swaty a bit burt maybe wet body stronger. good ride feel like could have done better bad ride.
    Cars make you weak.

  10. #10
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    Ah the old days...

    In my days I rode a Chopper...Oh it was awesome... I remember if you went too fast the handlebars wobbled (I had 6 stitches in my chin...) But it was my prize posession...Mine was bright orange and black...

    Raleigh Chopper.jpg

    Forom a web site on the bike...
    The Chopper was launched in the USA in 1968 but was not successful. It went on sale in the UK in 1970 and did better. The bike featured a 3-speed Sturmey Archer gear hub, selected using a frame-mounted car-like gear lever — one of its "cool" features. Other differences were the unusual frame, long padded seat with backrest, sprung suspension at the back, high-rise handlebars, and differently sized front (16") and rear (20") wheels. Tyres were wider than usual for the time, with a chunky tread on the rear wheel, featuring red highlights on the sidewall. The price was from approximately £32 for a standard Chopper to £55 for the deluxe.
    A smaller version, the Tomahawk, was also popular.

  11. #11
    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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    stOut, what can I say? Different goals require different approaches. I'm trying to get my 48 year old body in shape for a 300 mile single day ride. That requires good equipment AND good training. Hey, I also have a 22 year old Schwinn I ride as a commuting bike and a touring bike. It's my beater. I maintain it well and don't abuse it, so it will serve me reliably.

    Nothing wrong with just going out and riding, if that's your thing. I'll never knock you for it or judge you to be less of a cyclist. It's all riding, whether you go a block, or 300 miles. You have your butt in a saddle. What I do requires some specialized tools and techniques is all.

    As to the helmet and gloves, comfort and safety. I trashed my helmet when I crashed. Much better a $150.00 helmet than a priceless skull and brain that my consciousness happens to reside in. The gloves do double purpose, hand comfort, as well as protection if I hit the pavement. Same with the Lycra, it's function rather than style....comfort, wicking and abrasion resistance if I hit the pavement.
    Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 06-06-08 at 11:52 AM.
    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

  12. #12
    just me freeagent1970's Avatar
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    I still find it pretty simple...shoot i stil have a 24 inch bmx bike i take out for fun some time. I have a trek hardtail MTB and i dont do any of that stuff you mentoned...what ever happens happens. I put on my helment..no special clothes...my adidas sambas or campus st....for whatever mood im in. I throw my cell in my seat bag and go...no tools,..no food just a bottle of water and my bike. You just have to get away from some of the nonsense sometimes. Get a hardtail and forget about the other stuff some time......it will come back to you.

  13. #13
    Grizzled Curmudgeon keithm0's Avatar
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    I thought about this a couple of weeks ago, as I was pulling on my biking shorts, jersey, gloves, shoes, etc. I thought "when I was a kid, I just jumped on the bike and rode, wearing sneakers and blue jeans".

    But then again, when I was a kid biking 20 miles in a single day was considered "epic".

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_Rides View Post
    But today, things are very different. Riding a bike is like a space shuttle launch. You must eat the right foods, put on your heart rate strap, put some cream on the bony parts of your butt, reset your GPS, lock onto 5 satellites, put on your special bike riding clothes, carefully inspect your bike and inflate the tires to the exact pressure you need, clean your chain, bring your cell phone, check the weather, carry enough water and energy food, plan your trip using sophisticated satellite mapping programs, put on your special shoes and make sure they're not too tight, put on your helmet and sunglasses, put on your gloves, carefully remove your carbon fiber bike from it's stand and roll it outside, clip your left foot into a pedal that costs more than your whole bike did as a kid, mount your bike and snap in your right foot, pedal a few feet, if no one's looking reach into your shorts and arrange your junk for maximum comfort, start pedaling and remember to keep your RPMs up, etc, etc...
    Who says you have to do any of those things? You certainly may if you wish to, but I usually ride in my street clothing. I don't even have a computer. I do wear the cleated shoes, usually ('campus' pedals). I do keep the tires inflated and the machine properly lubricated, but that is simply proper stewardship of my investment.

  15. #15
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    not saying you cant or shouldnt do that stuff..
    if thre was EVER a gadget sprot it is cyceling..
    thats what i love about my club rides.. bents tandems, Paranello princes and electra townies all in the same place.

    And there is somthing to be said for a cockpit that rivals a Cessena. thats would be a braggging right in its own. and i thonk that would be cool.

    Horizon indicater that instatly reflects both climb and decent grade and well as max lean for high speed turns
    a new cyceling suit that (like dune) refilles your water bottle from your sweat.
    always romm for new gadgets.

    but it doent have to be if you dont want it to be. cycling can still be a simple pleasure.
    and some people do rightfully dirive pleasure from seeing the hard evidnce that the GPS's heart rate monitors can give you.
    Cars make you weak.

  16. #16
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    When I was a kid I didn't have a cyclocomputer or any sense of distance at all apparantly. I just mapped some of my rides with google and boy are the distances much shorter then I remember. My long ride to cherry lawn park was only 3.5 miles and my ride to the high school was just 2 miles. Heck my good friend was only .7 miles away whose mother thought I was starving between how thin I was and how much I ate when I was there. Between that and me being "forced" to ride my bike because both my parents worked I am suprised she didn't call child protective services.

    I probably never put the miles on that old schwinn that I have ridden just this year but I did wash it, oil the chain and pump up the tires once a month. I think I even had it serviced every year because that was my only way to get anywhere for years. Never did have a flat tire or bust a spoke even after trying to see how big a branch I could snap in my wheel/fork.

  17. #17
    Senior Member pwyll99's Avatar
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    I usually added a mechanical speedometer to my bikes when I was a kid, and I do remember oiling the chain occasionally. But I didn't take care of those bikes the way I do the ones I have now.
    But like others who have posted responses, I put on the full kit when I ride my road bike but I also have a cruiser w/3-spd internal hub that I ride in street clothes. The MTB's fall somewhere in between.
    John

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  18. #18
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    Yes, things were simpler then. I also remember having a "chopper", home made from a small single-speed with coaster brakes, banana seat and high rise handlebars. And then, the most important add on of all - a pair of playing cards clothespinned to the chainstay - makes that cool flap-flap-flap-flap sound like an unmuffled motorcycle....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bab2000 View Post
    As adults, if we do not make it complicated it can not be enjoyable.
    Yea, well, I never got pinch flats when I was a kid.

  20. #20
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    When I was a kid, I live in a rural area and I saved my money so I could buy a gas motor for my bicycle. The day I got it was a grand event. It sat in front of the handlebars and was a small 2 stroke motor that drove a small wheel that sat on top of the tire and moved me down the street at about 10 mpg..

    I'll never forget the ear splitting roar of the 2 stroke motor or all the blue exhaust smoke from the pre-mix fuel I happily inhaled. After about 20 minute of riding my face would be covered with oil and my hands numb from the violent vibrations and I'd be stone deaf for the rest of the day.

    Today a guy would be sent to prison just for thinking up such a contraption, but back in 1968 it was my prize possession...

  21. #21
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    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cooleric1234; 06-06-08 at 11:31 PM. Reason: Added image

  22. #22
    One Tough Cookie. Black Bud's Avatar
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    The detailed "space-launch" type of riding is really the expansion of race training methods designed for competitive riders who do that for a living (or are a really devoted amateur race/competition rider) to people who are misusing "exercise" as a means to "fitness", which in itself is rapidly being defined as "health measures and parameters consistent among 20-something competitive athletes" and not "basic fitness for real life for a person of a particular age group and overall chronic health issues (if any) status". That's not what's best, IMHO: Most of us need to ignore the "fitness" magazines and sales pitches and equip our bikes and ride according to what we as "normal" people should and let "athleticism" and all its nonsense "go hang" unless one IS aiming to become, let's say, the next Lance Armstrong and earn one's living (eventually) through sport riding.
    A bad day on the bike is better than a good day at work!!

    My discussion board, another resource for the "utility" and commuter cyclist: "Two Wheeled Commuter: The Everyday Cyclist"

  23. #23
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    I was thinking about this today when I rode the first "real" bike in my life.

    My Huffy monoshock was just as cool when I was kid. Even cooler than the kid next door who had Ashtabula forks on a Kawasaki BMX bike. Later I got a 10 speed Schwinn and beat him in a race. I ground away my jeans down one leg and got horrible road rash from knee to ankle. I ground off a dust cap on one pedal on that one.

    We rode our bikes everywhere, year round and all of us had at least one pair of jeans with chainring holes in one leg. No one wore a helmet, sometimes we didn't even wear shoes. We built our own BMX track in a vacant lot.

    I don't see many kids out on bikes today. They're missing out.

  24. #24
    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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    What if you just want to find out where your personal limits are?

    I could care less about making my living off of the sport, I just enjoy finding new capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bud View Post
    The detailed "space-launch" type of riding is really the expansion of race training methods designed for competitive riders who do that for a living (or are a really devoted amateur race/competition rider) to people who are misusing "exercise" as a means to "fitness", which in itself is rapidly being defined as "health measures and parameters consistent among 20-something competitive athletes" and not "basic fitness for real life for a person of a particular age group and overall chronic health issues (if any) status". That's not what's best, IMHO: Most of us need to ignore the "fitness" magazines and sales pitches and equip our bikes and ride according to what we as "normal" people should and let "athleticism" and all its nonsense "go hang" unless one IS aiming to become, let's say, the next Lance Armstrong and earn one's living (eventually) through sport riding.
    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

  25. #25
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithm0 View Post
    I thought about this a couple of weeks ago, as I was pulling on my biking shorts, jersey, gloves, shoes, etc. I thought "when I was a kid, I just jumped on the bike and rode, wearing sneakers and blue jeans".

    But then again, when I was a kid biking 20 miles in a single day was considered "epic".
    I still wear a pair of cutoffs and sneakers to hop on my bike and head to the grocery store or out around town on errands for a few miles.

    I'm not going to try tackling a 200km in Wranglers and Reeboks, though.

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