[QUOTE=Pamestique;11727153]John - spend the money for a fitting... you should be comfortable on your saddle and still be able to reach the brake hoods with a bend in your elbow. If that's a long stretch for you 1) the bike is too big 2) &/or the stem is too long 3) &/or the stem angle is not high enough....
Could this be why my elbows hurt after riding?????
A little tough love for you John,
Several respondents have suggested a trip to a bike fitter and I have yet to hear you acknowledge that as something you will try. In my estimation that should be the very first thing that you do. Until the fit is right for you as performed by a qualified physical therapist specializing in that art, then everything else is just a guess and you’re likely to end up chasing your tail (no pun intended). It is entirely possible that the LBS where you bought your new bike didn’t sell you the right size in the first place and nothing you do will compensate for that. If it’s the case that the bike is not the right size, demand that the shop trade for the proper frame size. If you’ve only ridden it a few times as you’ve stated and not crashed it, they shouldn’t have an issue with that. I’m sure they’d rather have a satisfied customer than one complaining about how terrible their torture machine is.
I hear the frustration and dissatisfaction in your comments. I’d be disenchanted too if I spent “a ba-jillion dollars” on something only to find out I detested it. So, if you really want to solve your issues instead of just complaining about them, start attacking them one at a time with absolute first step being seeking out the advice of a fitment professional. If you don’t know where to look for one, ask for references from bike shops, other riders, your family doctor, etc. It might cost you a couple hundred bucks (but your health insurance may pay for at least part of it). But it will be the best money you spend to allow you to get comfortable and enjoy this healthy sport. If you’ve already decided you’re not going to enjoy it, sell the road bike for whatever you can get for it and return to your commuter bike.
In any event, keep on pedaling.
1. As everyone has said, you should get different pedals. I couldn't imagine riding without clipless pedals, but they're definitely not for a beginner. Especially not clipless road pedals. Clipless mountain bike pedals are often a bit easier to deal with. I generally recommend Shimano's M520 SPD mountain bike pedal to riders who are new to clipless pedals. They have adjustable release tension and will accept the SH56 "multi-release" cleat; between the two, it is very easy to make the pedals release. There are also pedals that offer both platforms and clips. Look for Shimano's A520 and A530 or try a cheap pedal like the Nashbar Rodeo. You can clip-in when you feel comfortable, or flip the pedal over and ride unclipped if necessary.
2. Buy a different saddle. Find a shop or online dealer with a good demo program or a liberal return policy and try/buy as many saddles as it takes to find one that works for you. When I test saddles I wear padded cycling shorts, ride my normal 30-mile loop, and return the saddle if I feel any discomfort on the ride. I don't buy the idea that you have break-in either your saddle or your butt. If there's any discomfort during a test-ride, the saddle is only going to get worse as you increase distance.
3. Riding in traffic gets easier with time. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do that might help... The first thing is to ask your local bike shop (or cycling club) to recommend some riding routes for you. They'll probably know which roads are likely to be bicycle-friendly and which ones aren't. Second, consider riding further to the left. On roads that don't see many bicycles, I find that riding as far to the right as possible often encourages drivers to try to squeeze past you with only a few inches to spare. If you move to the left and "take the lane", a car coming up from behind may be encouraged to move into a different lane to pass. This is best done or multi-lane roads or in places where you can travel at approximately the same speed as vehicular traffic; holding cars up can be a recipe for getting honked at, or worse.
4. This sounds like problems 2 and 3 again.
5. Work with the store that sold you the bike to achieve a fit that is more comfortable to you. This might mean a different stem, additional spacers under the stem, etc. You might just need a stem that's a bit shorter and angled upward more. I'm a big fan of Specialized's $45 shim-adjustable "Comp Set" stem. You can start with an upright riding position, then change the angle to lower the bars as you get more fit and want a more aerodynamic riding position.
I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!
I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.
Craig in Indy
man oh man......two things. Find some people to ride with. With others, you can have fun, do some sprints, just have a good time. Other thing, get into mountain biking and cyclocross! If weightloss is your goal, then calories are multiplied with the nature of cyclocross and mountain biking. Sure, you arent going to go out and do 30+miles on a mountain, but the intensity is much greater. If it were me, pick up a cyclocross bike, either through trade, sell, whichever...and go have fun!
I just think I need to sashay back down to the place I just spent all this dough at and ask for more help with the fit. Here's one thing I did notice today while riding to work on my commuter bike - I sit forward in the saddle on it. I'm not back against the very back of the seat for whatever reason. I have to learn to stay back on the seat. That's gotta be a big part of my problem with the saddle.
The saddle even has the "taint hole," as someone put it. Here's the bike, it's over my head, much more bike than I needed as a beginner, but I figured I'd grow into it.
Really, everybody, I was just venting after a disastrous ride that started with a near-fall after I screwed up clipping in and didn't go well because it was a new route with a lot more traffic than I expected there to be. Tomorrow, I will have learned my lesson about what I did wrong today and everything will be fine. Plus as you can see from the ticker, the diet isn't working so well and I'm dealing with a nasty case of depression anyway. I was kinda hoping the bike would give me something new to focus on, lift me out of a funk. Maybe it will, eventually.
It really is quite the learning curve when you're first starting out, especially considering the huge differences between the stock-upright position of a commuter bike and the constant bend of the road bike.
Oh, and I always wear my bike shorts commando. I do wear a pair of warm-ups over them, but I've got some leg warmers on order from Bike Nashbar.
Last edited by john423; 11-03-10 at 10:51 PM. Reason: added info
1. I hate those damn cleats. I know it's supposed to get easier the more I do it, but I just hate 'em.
So don't use them, just switch back to platform pedals.
2. My taint is about to explode. Nothing like constant pain to spoil one's exercise goals.
So you need to adjust your seat or use a diferent seat. Cyclists don't all just ride around grimacing from the pain, they either don't have that problem, or figure out some way to solve it.
3. I can't get over the fear of riding on some of the roads I've been riding on. I know I'm gonna get squished like a bug at any moment, and if I were on a heartier bike like my commuter, I could bail into someone's yard if I got squeezed too badly. And I wouldn't have to pray I could clip out of the pedals in time to bail out.
So ride on different roads.
4. I can't get enough time in on the bike to feel like I'm getting a gym-replacing workout. I think it's because my taint is about to explode and my saddle is a 2x4 covered in some vague white plastic.
Solve the saddle problems first, then you can get the workout in.
5. Being bent over the handlebars makes my lower back hurt like heck.
The height of handlebars is adjustable to some extent. The guy that put my bike together knew I was used to a cruiser, so he flipped the stem over, and set the handlebars up about as far as possible. When I first started riding, I got some minor soreness in my lower back, but it went away pretty quickly as I just got used to it. I'm still getting gradually more comfortable riding in the drops, and can do that better than I could a year ago. You can also adjust your back posture somewhat to help.
Something that may be harder to fix is a negative attitude. If you look for reasons to complain, or reasons to quit, you'll always find them. It won't matter what saddle you have, what road you ride on. Because the wind is going to blow, it's going to rain on you, it'll be too hot or too cold, things are going to break or wear out on your bike, you're going to get lost, people are going to honk at you, you'll get sore one place or then another. Enjoying cycling means you have stuff like that come up and you solve the problem or deal with it, not that you never have any problems.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
john423 when you are riding try tucking/curling your butt under you more. I've tried this and it seems to get me off the front of the saddle and over the sit bones.
Just keep tweaking it 'till it's comfy man. Don't give up.
As for the cleats, you just haven't been on the bike long enough to get used to them. Go to a car park and ride across it a mind-numbing number of times, clipping and unclipping at each side. Always unclip the same foot first, and get used to having your weight in that side as you stop. In two admittedly boring hours it'll be second nature.
"Taint pain" is not something to HTFU about. It means your saddle doesn't suit you or (more likely) is wrongly positioned. It should hurt, yes, for a while - but that pain should be an ache over your sit-bones not in your perineal area. You're probably sliding forward and putting your weight on the narrow part of the saddle. Try tilting its nose up slightly.
I can't help you with your fear of traffic, I'm afraid, except to say that you are no more likely to have an accident on a road bike than on a commuter. If you want to feel more secure about baling out in an emergency, you could learn to bunny-hop a curb. There are tutorials on youtube, it would only take you a morning to learn.
I just made a silly mistake with the clips. Getting out has hardly ever been a problem, really.
Riddle me this, though, everybody: How do you get in the clips and get moving? Here's what I do: I get in the left clip and get going. I then get in the right clip with the bike moving. Hopefully this doesn't take too long. I'm usually successful, but I can't get moving going uphill, it seems. So I have to go downhill, get clipped in, then turn around and start going uphill again.
Here's where I screwed up yesterday: I had the bike in a really high gear, so it was hard to get the bike moving and keep it moving. So I couldn't get clipped in for trying to keep the bike going. And that was a pain considering I wasn't cllipped in on my right foot. So I learned to watch what gear I'm in before i get moving. I got off the bike, picked up the back wheel, and geared down to a much easier gear. I then got clipped in without a problem. So I learned something.
So my method is how you get into a set of clips? I'm sure it'll get smoother as I keep doing it. I did about an hour of practice in a parking lot last week, but I could always use more, I guess. What always gets me is the pedal is on the opposite side and I have to try to flip it with my foot before clipping in while the bike's moving. Road bikes aren't for the naturally clumsy.
Getting clipped in and started while going uphill is a problem for everyone and has been for as long as there have been bikes with means of attaching your feet to the pedals. There's little that can be done besides trying to make sure you're in a low gear before you stop, and even then it can be difficult, depending on the grade and your gear. Otherwise, the time-honored method (pending traffic) is to go across the fall line of the hill to get started, then turn back into the hill to continue climbing.
You've discovered why cyclists try to avoid stopping mid-hill if there's any way to avoid it. The one year I rode Hilly Hundred, the first day I got boxed in at the side of the road, mid-hill, when the riders ahead and beside me decided to stop. So I had to stop. And there was no way in the world I could get going again on that hill, and had to walk the rest of it.
Last edited by CraigB; 11-04-10 at 05:22 AM.
Craig in Indy
One more piece of advice, don't move the saddle fore or aft to adjust your reach. The saddle adjustment should put your knees in the right position, which for most is the front knob just under your knee cap over the peddle spindle at 3 o'clock (or 9 on the left side). Once that is set, then you can adjust the stem for reach. I was taught, oh so many years ago, to get saddle fore/aft and height first, then reach (includes stem length, height, bar design and hood placement).
Good luck man, I love riding and couldn't imaging no clipless, but my wife uses platform on her mtn bike and clipless on her road bikes. Go figure, right?
Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway.
One more thought about clipping in. At a stop, one foot should still be clipped in. You can pedal with just the one foot as the clip allows you to control the pedal all the way around. I practiced pedaling with just my right foot clipped in and my left just barley touching the left pedal/clip. This allowed me to focus on riding the bike safely to get going or get across that intersection. This approach removed the stress of rushing to clip in. If you decide to try this, I recommend practicing in a parking lot or somewhere safe.
Enjoy your ride!
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
One more thought on top of the good advice given so far: a "road bike" doesn't have to mean a race bike. Touring bikes are also "road" bikes and they're usually designed more for comfort over long distances.
+1 on getting a proper bike fit. Many people with saddle issues have their saddles a little too high, is what I've observed. The pelvis rocks around the saddle with each pedal stroke instead of staying put, and there's nowhere to go when they hit a pothole or frost crack in the road.
Craig in Indy
As for the seat, I had similar problems with the seat that came with my bike. I replaced it with a seat that had a split through the middle, and problem solved.
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.*~Robert Collier
I think I see the problem. Your bike (Allez Elite Double) is a race geometry bike. Not an extreme example of race geometry but still a significant difference from your commuter bike. One won't fit and feel like the other no matter how hard you try and pound the square peg into the round hole. Oh, and you should be thankful that you got the saddle that was just a board with a white cover. You could have got the saddle that was a bag of broken glass.
For clipping in on a hill, you are aware that you can still pedal without being clipped in right? Unclip your dominate leg at stops leaving your other foot secured to the pedal. When you start to go, place your dominate foot on the pedal and continue about your way. I don't have this problem as I use mountain bike dual sided SPD pedals on my cyclocross (road) bike. It just takes practice, you'll get it. Or, if you've only road it a few times and absolutely hate it, see if your LBS will return it and let you purchase a Secutar or a Roubaix. Those two bikes have a much more relaxed "comfort" geometry.
You can use mtb pedals that are two sided I use Crank Brothers Smarty/candy whatever on both my bikes they are so easy to clip into I often get clipped in when I really dont want to be like rolling up to a stop with my foot resting unclipped then I go to put my foot down and I am clipped back in. I still say that you should go with a cheapo set of platforms while learning the ropes on the roadie.