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  1. #51
    Senior Member Doogle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_DK View Post
    I don't really have much of a stomach - I'm just really, really inflexible. Hoods are comfortable generally, it's just braking on them that I hate because it feels like I can't get enough leverage on the brake levers.


    Would y'all suggest I start messing with the stem and handlebars before I reach my flexibility goals then?


    The geometry may be a bit aggressive for me, but my options in 63+cm were limited.
    I am new to biking and was uncomfortable with the brake location too.I put some inline brake levers on the handlebars.I use them almost exclusively.I rarely go to the drops or hood for braking.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogle View Post
    I am new to biking and was uncomfortable with the brake location too.I put some inline brake levers on the handlebars.I use them almost exclusively.I rarely go to the drops or hood for braking.
    Kind of funny, because, when i bought my bike a couple eyars back, they tried to make it noob friendly, and put some in line brakes on it. I absolutely hated it. Trying to brake in the narrow part of the bar where you have less control of the wheel, and not having a smooth place to rest my hands drove me nuts. So i had them remove them. (seeing as how i didnt ask for them, they removed them free of charge, and re-cabled my bike)

    That said, i have had both Shimano, and SRAM levers on my bike. I prefer the braking action of the SRAM levers, but either way, i have my brakes set up so that it takes no more then a 1/4" of pull on the lever before i am touching pad. And I can easily stop quickly with a single finger (usually the middle finger reaching around the hood). About the only time i use the brakes from the drops is when i am descending. I prefer to have a good handful of handlebar to keep good control on the front wheel over rough road, debris, or anything else that might yank the wheel funny, and so i can modulate the brakes a little better, and grab a panic handful if i need to.

  3. #53
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    Is your bike properly fit to you? A bike shop could help here. Try putting a 46 or 48 T large ring up front. It will help to get a more usable range of gears. I have a 48 T on my cross check commuter and don't find a need for more. I'm not racing or trying to hammer, but it's fine for 30+ on the down hills.

  4. #54
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    It is hard on your knees if you mash all the time. But tons of spinning with no load on the pedals doesn't necessarily make your legs stronger. I am no expert, but in using a bunch of training videos this "winter" on the trainer, a not uncommon exercise is a "muscle tensioning" interval, which is meant to increase leg strength. The premise is to peddle steadily at 50 rpm for 5 minutes, at a resistance that is difficult but can be maintained for the full 5 minutes, essentially trying to replicate a long slow incline. Don't set the resistance so hard, or if on the road, the speed so high, that you peg your heart rate anaerobic. The purpose is to ride under load and not build lactic acid to the point where you burn out. After the 5 slow minutes, kick to an easier gear and spin for 5 minutes with low load, and then repeat the process.

    You said earlier that a lot of us ride with more power than others, and that is absolutely true. I am by no means trying to make it sound easy, so the gear I might say is a hard effort for me may be out of reach for you. But the training principles remain the same, and I can say I have definitely seen improvement in leg strength and climbing speeds from intentionally pushing harder gears at intelligent times.

    And definitely don't make your knees hurt! I have hurt my knees hiking and the problems are very difficult to get rid of. Usually, I wouldn't expect a little hard effort to do damage, and I would expect you to acclimate to it as well. But I have no medical background to confirm that.
    I tried this today and it did bug my knees. But I also did squats (careful not to get my knees forward of my feet) and ran yesterday, which are both borderline problematic for my knees. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe the best way for me to get faster is what everyone suggests--intervals. Poo. Maybe I just won't go fast.

  5. #55
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I tried this today and it did bug my knees. But I also did squats (careful not to get my knees forward of my feet) and ran yesterday, which are both borderline problematic for my knees. Not sure where to go from here. Maybe the best way for me to get faster is what everyone suggests--intervals. Poo. Maybe I just won't go fast.
    If you try it again, may just want to back off a sniff on gearing and load. And remember nothing improves over night. Don't know for sure, as I have been doing it on a trainer, so it is easier to play with load vs. being on the road. It was part of the Carmichael hill climbing series, and seems like a good exercise if you can get it to work for you. By doing squats, you may be getting ample strength work regardless.

  6. #56
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    If you try it again, may just want to back off a sniff on gearing and load. And remember nothing improves over night. Don't know for sure, as I have been doing it on a trainer, so it is easier to play with load vs. being on the road. It was part of the Carmichael hill climbing series, and seems like a good exercise if you can get it to work for you. By doing squats, you may be getting ample strength work regardless.
    I'll back off a bit and not do it the day after weight bearing exercises. I just worry about knees. So many people seem to end up with knee problems due to one thing or another.

  7. #57
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    On the hoods is much more comfortable to me. I can't ride in the drops because my legs bounce off my gut, and its harder to breathe.

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