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  1. #1
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    8 Miles to Century in Six Months - What next on the equipment front?

    The last six months have been amazing for me on my bike. On a freezing day in January, I humped barely 8 miles down the local flat MUP. My legs and ass were shot for a week. Yesterday I completed the two-day Seattle-to-Portland ride (STP), 202 miles over the weekend. And as of today, I'm down 100 lbs from my max weight to a current 296. Lots of progress made, lots to go.

    I'm starting to think about other bikes and the type of biking I like to do. Long road rides with good climbs. My current set-up is an '07 Specialized Hard Rock Sport, stock except for the Schwalbe Big Apple tires, bar ends, power grips, and the rear rack set-up. For shoes I'm in a pair of cross-trainers that are getting chewed up from the pedals. It's a great commuter but I'm definitely seeing its limitations on longer rides, even as my average speed goes up.

    There is so much information out there that it is incredibly hard to figure out where to start, especially knowing that I have much weight still to lose and not wanting to invest big $$ in something that won't grow (shrink?) with my biking ability and body changes. So maybe y'all have some suggestions for next steps. I do know that one of my concerns about switching to a road bike is losing the low mountain bike gearing. Even though I like the climbs, I still need granny gear on the big ones (say 8-11%). I'm doing the Crater Lake Century in a month (7000 feet over 70ish miles) and have designs on RAMROD next year (10K over 154 miles). Plus I'm being talked into triathlons; I'm not getting a tri-specific bike, but whatever I get should be at least more suitable for tris than the hardrock. So pretend you're me, you've got a few dollars and room for one more bike, but can't do anything crazy like drop $3K on a road bike. What do you do now? What do you do in six months? 10-12 months?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Voyageur_guy's Avatar
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    Tour

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Hi Kimala,

    Congrats on the great progress.

    I agree that a touring bike is what you should consider. See: Update 8/8/09: 2009 List of Touring Bikes (excel sheet)

    Touring bikes are road bikes that are designed for long distances, comfort, reliability and heavy loads.

    This is a great bike: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...roraelite.html

    So is this: http://www.salsacycles.com/casserollComp08.html

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SmokedDeathDog's Avatar
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    Congratulations on doing the STP. I did it for the first time this year as well. It was a fun ride. As far as a bike is concerned, you can defiantly get something that is built for touring or a relaxed road bike (geometry wise) that has the triple on it.
    Ron

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  5. #5
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    Yesterday I completed the two-day Seattle-to-Portland ride (STP), 202 miles over the weekend.
    You tried to sneak this one by us in your post. Congrats on your awesome acheivement!

    I would look at Randonneur / "comfort road" bikes. These will be race-looking but with a relaxed geometry. Pick on with a good wheelset (or put on some good wheels). Read the long distance forum here and see what bikes those guys are riding... most use cyclocross or relaxed road frames. It sounds like you are getting into long distances _without_ hauling a lot of gear around (ala touring). A stock touring bike would definitely work and would come with good wheels right out of the gate. However, they tend to be heavier and have wider stock tires. Getting a narrower tire (28mm) would help you on the longer distances w/o risking a lot of pinch flat problems.

    I have a Surly LHT and my longest ride has been 200k. Changing from the stock 37mm tires to 28mm tires made a significant difference for me. However, I also load down my LHT while commuting and also plan on some touring (on the 37mm tires). If you aren't doing that then a cyclocross or relaxed road bike may be your best bet. Cyclocross bikes are very durable but aren't as 'long' as touring (no need to carry panniers). If you can't get a triple in the front then look for a "compact crank" which has smaller (easier) gears in the front. That may be enough to get you over the steeper hills - and they tend to be common on most cyclocross bikes.

    Someone can correct me here but I think swapping out the front crank to a triple is not a huge deal? Any mechanics out there with more info?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Zoxe's Avatar
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    Maybe I should ask over there, but on the big excel sheet, a smaller number means the bike rated higher? I re-read it 6 times and didn't see a scale. Maybe I'm blind.

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Kamala, good on ya for finishing STP! I did it last year.
    Sounds like you're gearing up for maybe getting involved with the Seattle Randonneurs next spring?

    If you're not going to be doing loaded touring, I'd steer clear of a full-on touring bike and a triple. For long distance riding with minimal loads and not spending a truckload of cash there's a bunch of good options.
    I went with a Surly Cross Check Complete and modified it from there. Wider MTB cassette and smaller 34t inner chainring, then built up a custom wheelset as I wore out the stock rims. With a 34 front 32 rear climbing gear, I haven't encountered anything that I can't tackle. (Even the insane hill the Randos threw at us after 186mi into the Whidbey Island 300k back in the spring.)

    Any frame like the Cross Check, Salsa Casseroll, Surly Pacer, etc. would make for a good distance bike which is equally suited for recreational tri-racing by pulling off the fenders and maybe slapping on a pair of aeros.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  8. #8
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoxe View Post
    Maybe I should ask over there, but on the big excel sheet, a smaller number means the bike rated higher? I re-read it 6 times and didn't see a scale. Maybe I'm blind.
    yes, 1 = A+, 9= fail
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
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    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike
    1971ish Peugeot PX10: "Fancy Lugs"

  9. #9
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    Great accomplishment, Kamala!

    I'm also gonna recommend a CX bike. Find one with 135mm rear dropout spacing and get a "29'er" wheelset for it. It'll be fast and comfortable for long-distance cycling. When you do a triathalon, borrow a roadie friend's wheelset and tires...

  10. #10
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    Do the folks recommending touring bikes think the ones they are recommending will hold me and 10-15 lbs of gear stock? I don't see any serious unsupported touring happening before summer 2010. But if the bike can take me now, then there is no reason why I can't replace 60-80 lbs less of me with 40-50 lbs of gear for a multi-day unsupported ride, right? Then for tris I take the same bike and strip off the fenders and racks (and if I'm feeling really ambitious throw on skinnier tires mounted on lighter rims).

  11. #11
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    Do the folks recommending touring bikes think the ones they are recommending will hold me and 10-15 lbs of gear stock? I don't see any serious unsupported touring happening before summer 2010. But if the bike can take me now, then there is no reason why I can't replace 60-80 lbs less of me with 40-50 lbs of gear for a multi-day unsupported ride, right? Then for tris I take the same bike and strip off the fenders and racks (and if I'm feeling really ambitious throw on skinnier tires mounted on lighter rims).
    40-50 lbs of gear is a more gear than you will need, even for a x-country ride.

    Most touring bikes carry 30 lbs distributed between the front and rear racks.

    The bikes on the spread sheet should handle that, but check with your local bike shop or the manufacturer.

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
    2012 Pedal Force CX2: "Carbone CX" the carbon fiber CX bike
    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike
    1971ish Peugeot PX10: "Fancy Lugs"

  12. #12
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    Do the folks recommending touring bikes think the ones they are recommending will hold me and 10-15 lbs of gear stock? I don't see any serious unsupported touring happening before summer 2010. But if the bike can take me now, then there is no reason why I can't replace 60-80 lbs less of me with 40-50 lbs of gear for a multi-day unsupported ride, right? Then for tris I take the same bike and strip off the fenders and racks (and if I'm feeling really ambitious throw on skinnier tires mounted on lighter rims).
    At least one of those touring bikes, the Surley Long Haul Trucker, carries poster Bdinger. Ben outweighs you by at least 50 pounds.

    BTW, congratulations on your achievement. Our stories have something in common, since I too went from next to nothing to a century two years ago. The big difference was I didn't know how to ride when I started. You had a lead on me there.

    You mentioned shoes in your post. My suggestion for now is to give what's left of your cross trainers a break and switch to either 'walkable' mountain bike shoes or hiking boots/shoes. They'll give you a stiffer sole, which will means you put more power into the pedals and spend less of it flexing your feet. The mountain bike shoes will be the stiffest, and if you make a transition to clipless you'll already have shoes.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    I'm surprised at all of the recommendations for touring bikes given that the OP didn't mention touring once...

    I think the first priority should be buying some good cycling shoes. Think about giving clipless pedals a try. And definitely buy some good cycling shorts if you don't have some already.

    As far as bikes go, the desire to do longer rides and triathlons would have me looking at "endurance" road bikes; they look like race bikes but have a more comfortable geometry, though they aren't as slow-handling and heavy as touring bikes tend to be. I'd look at the following bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy, Felt Z-series (Z45, Z35, etc), Cervelo RS, Look 566, and similar bikes. The only downside to these bikes is that the wheels may or may not be Clyde-friendly. Budget accordingly...

  14. #14
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I'm surprised at all of the recommendations for touring bikes given that the OP didn't mention touring once...

    I think the first priority should be buying some good cycling shoes. Think about giving clipless pedals a try. And definitely buy some good cycling shorts if you don't have some already.
    All the recommendations got me reading and I am definitely interested in some radonneuring. I actually told my Livestrong donors that whoever donates the most next year gets to pick my pain in 2011: full ironman, 1000KM brevet, or 3rd insanity to be named later. Can you tell I'm feeling my oats?

    I know I'm getting into dangerous territory since a given bike can't be great at every single task. But if I can take a great touring bike, strip off racks/fenders, swap wheels/tires, pop on aero bars, and end up with something lighter and more agile than my current beast for tris, then good enough. And if I really like tri and really want a divorce, then I can get a third bike

    As for shorts, I'm well stocked up on bibs, but need to size down again. Expensive but good problem to have.

  15. #15
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    MONEY, It's gotta be the shoes!!! I picked up a pair of shimano MTB shoes (MT41 I think) last night and took 'em out on the commute this morning. I'm still a little sore from STP, but I was just blazing to work. Took 5 minutes plus off the best time for my just under 8-mile commute. So you're thinking he finally made all the lights. Wrong! My best previous time, I had. But today I got nailed at four large intersections (45-90 second cycles) and every light on Third Avenue. What maniac would ride a 200 mile weekend in mushy-soled cross-trainers when stiff-soled shoes exist?

  16. #16
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    All the recommendations got me reading and I am definitely interested in some radonneuring. I actually told my Livestrong donors that whoever donates the most next year gets to pick my pain in 2011: full ironman, 1000KM brevet, or 3rd insanity to be named later. Can you tell I'm feeling my oats?
    I know I'm getting into dangerous territory since a given bike can't be great at every single task.
    Check out what the local rando riders are using for bikes. Around here everyone is rolling pretty much all out racing machines with a little bit sturdier wheels but still with thin 23 to maybe 28 tires. Of course they are putting out large 1.5" aggregate chip seal on most all the roads they ride on so that may soon change.
    Great move on the shoes for some people that really helps alot and it appears you are one of them. As far as tri's for me personally I'd just ride whatever I had until you got closer to the full ironman.
    Last edited by evblazer; 07-17-09 at 12:51 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    First - WOW. You sure have progressed fast.

    I second the motion to get clipless pedals and shoes. Your foot size should stay about the same, maybe a little narrower, as you lose weight. I suggest MTB shoes and pedals. You can transfer them to a new bike when the time comes.

    $3K actually isn't that much money compared to how expensive other hobbies (or medical expenses) can be. Of course, that is an automatic authorization for your Significant Other to make at least $3K purchase of their own choosing.

    There will be a "sweet spot" where you'll decide that the increase in quality isn't worth the extra money; and some of it will sacrifice durability for weight. Lighter bikes can be more fun to ride as long as they stay on the road and out of the shop.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    MONEY, It's gotta be the shoes!!! I picked up a pair of shimano MTB shoes (MT41 I think) last night and took 'em out on the commute this morning. I'm still a little sore from STP, but I was just blazing to work. Took 5 minutes plus off the best time for my just under 8-mile commute. So you're thinking he finally made all the lights. Wrong! My best previous time, I had. But today I got nailed at four large intersections (45-90 second cycles) and every light on Third Avenue. What maniac would ride a 200 mile weekend in mushy-soled cross-trainers when stiff-soled shoes exist?
    Did you switch to clipless, or are you using the shoes with platform pedals? I ride the latter.

  19. #19
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Wow! 8 miles in one week to 202 in a weekend? Impressive improvement for 6 months.

    Only comment i have, is if you like the Big Apples, you might want to look at Schwalbe marathon supremes on the tourer/cross when you get it. Make sure there is room for a wider tire. I squeezed a pair of 700x40 Supremes onto my old Myata, great tire, darned expensive. Got to ride them in the pouring rain finally the other day, as far as the tires were concerned, might as well have been dry pavement.

  20. #20
    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    well if you not willing to spend 3k like i did, you can spend less than 1k like i wish i did in the first place before buying the the first bike. i set out to have a budget build steel bike that i would ride long distance but still not be a full tourer bike. i built the bike almost completely from ebay.

    surly pacer 500 shipped (surprisingly mint condition, bought from a liquidator on ebay)
    new triple crank 24-36-48 (rear already had a 12-27) about 100 from lbs
    rack, bag w/ panniers 100 (ebay)
    lighting 30 (killer deal from ebay)
    seat 100 (lbs)
    SKS p35 fenders $35 (lbs)

    so about $865 i bought and made the bike the way i wanted it. its more comfortable than my fuji. clearly not as fast or light, but its coming with me on my vacation tour in august. if half of my 600 miles is dry i will be happy. last year the whole summer was dry. this year i think we have had more than 60% of days with rain. i thought seattle was on the other side of the country
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  21. #21
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evblazer View Post
    Check out what the local rando riders are using for bikes. Around here everyone is rolling pretty much all out racing machines with a little bit sturdier wheels but still with thin 23 to maybe 28 tires. Of course they are putting out large 1.5" aggregate chip seal on most all the roads they ride on so that may soon change.
    Sounds like Kamala will get a chance to check out the rando's bikes this coming weekend at the Whidbey Island 200k.
    Lots of the riders around here will be bringing their "fast bikes" for something as short as a 200k, so that means we'll see a lot of carbon frames and paired spoke wheels, small saddlepacks, and full jersey pockets.
    Especially on Whidbey, where the traffic is low, the roads are in good repair. Although we see our share of tore up pavement and even some dirt/pack-gravel paths, we rarely get anything like the chip seal you mention. Light chip seal, concrete block, asphalt, the occasional bit of brick stretch, and the worst I heard of was on this year's spring 400k where the pre-ride was fine but a town tore up a few miles of road right down to the dirt afterwards, so the route riders were screwed for it.
    Most people are riding anything from 23 to 32mm tires, with 25 and 28mm seeming to be the most popular.
    Bikes range from custom Pereira and spec'd out Rivendell to almost stock Surly and Trek, to older model fixed conversions (ridden by guys who can whoop much of the field!)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

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