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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-15-12, 06:26 PM   #1
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What I learned this month

So, I have returned to cycling to lose weight after a long absence, and here are some of the things I learned this month.
1. Bikeforum.net has a wealth of information and knowledgeable riders.
2. I didn't even know there was a name for Clydesdales and Athenas.
3. I am a masher, content to ride a sub 50 rpm grunt for a long time; my wife is a spinner, racking along at 75-80 rpm happily.
4. When it comes to a masher Clyde vs. Aluminum and graphite, do not bet against the Clyde.
5. I bought myself 2 bikes (used on Craigslist) intending to sell one, but having 2 comes in handy when I break something.
6. That replacement SRAM derailer is almost too pretty to install, I might want to hang it on the wall for a while first.
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Old 11-15-12, 06:56 PM   #2
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While I'm no expert, mashing on the pedals at low RPM's in a more difficult gear is not good for your knees.

YMMV but I try to keep my RPM's at about 80.
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Old 11-15-12, 07:33 PM   #3
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This. Cadence of 50 is "naturally" preferred by everybody getting into cycling, because it's like the walking cadence your body is used to. And many manly men feel tougher if they are pushing harder, rather than "giving up" and spinning in an easier gear. But the way the biological geometry works, 80-100 cadence is more efficient and better for knees.
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Old 11-15-12, 10:43 PM   #4
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Not to pile on but #4 is a misconception.
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Old 11-15-12, 10:58 PM   #5
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If #4 doesn't pan out, you can change it to this:

When it comes to downhill, do not bet against the Clyde!
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Old 11-16-12, 01:01 AM   #6
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If #4 doesn't pan out, you can change it to this:

When it comes to downhill, do not bet against the Clyde!
Don't bet on that either! I'm a decent descender. On a Strava segment "GMR downhill shack to gate" I have a friend that smokes me on the descent. I'm 260 lbs and he's 120 lbs.

I'm #328 with a time of 15:37 and he's #35 with a time of 14:02 on the 8 mile 2300 ft descent.


Back in 2004, before there was strava, he handed my arse to me several times on the descent. I learned way back when, it ain't always about the clyde on the descent.



http://app.strava.com/activities/11259865#196379986
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Old 11-16-12, 06:51 AM   #7
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I'm working on the cadence. Our stationary bike has cadence read out on it, and right now 65 rpm feels like my legs are going to fly off. I'll get it there slowly. Before reading here, I didn't know there was a term for it, nor that there was a difference in wear and tear.

And #4 was referring to throwing the chain, breaking the rear derailer, and bending the derailer mount all at the same time, 2 miles from home. Riding 2 miles on a 34 tooth cog leaves a lot to be desired.
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Old 11-16-12, 07:49 AM   #8
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I'm working on the cadence. Our stationary bike has cadence read out on it, and right now 65 rpm feels like my legs are going to fly off. I'll get it there slowly. Before reading here, I didn't know there was a term for it, nor that there was a difference in wear and tear.

And #4 was referring to throwing the chain, breaking the rear derailer, and bending the derailer mount all at the same time, 2 miles from home. Riding 2 miles on a 34 tooth cog leaves a lot to be desired.
Are you clipping into your pedals? I found that this made a huge difference as far as my cadence went (I now average just under 90 rpm).

Not everybody likes clipless pedals (read: if you don't want to, you don't have to), but I found they made a huge difference for me.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 11-16-12, 09:22 AM   #9
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Also, you need the right amount of resistance for a cadence to work. If you're riding the bike, you set your cadence and depending on the terrain, adjust your gear so you are not "bouncing" in the saddle. Exercise bike has its own controls of course.

Another good rule of thumb I've come across is, the right cadence is the balance between legs and lungs. If you are feeling the burn in your leg muscles but not breathing very hard, you need to spin faster in an easier gear. If you are out of breath and your legs are just whipping around not really working, then you need a harder gear (you would also be bouncing in the saddle in this situation).

But yes, you will feel for a while like your legs are flying off. It takes time to get used to a faster cadence.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:26 AM   #10
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Don't bet on that either! I'm a decent descender. On a Strava segment "GMR downhill shack to gate" I have a friend that smokes me on the descent. I'm 260 lbs and he's 120 lbs.
Well he must be doing something right to overcome your natural advantage -- keeping more aero, braking less, taking the corners faster.

Either that, or you need to regrease your hubs
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Old 11-16-12, 09:59 AM   #11
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Don't bet on that either! I'm a decent descender. On a Strava segment "GMR downhill shack to gate" I have a friend that smokes me on the descent. I'm 260 lbs and he's 120 lbs.

I'm #328 with a time of 15:37 and he's #35 with a time of 14:02 on the 8 mile 2300 ft descent.


Back in 2004, before there was strava, he handed my arse to me several times on the descent. I learned way back when, it ain't always about the clyde on the descent.



http://app.strava.com/activities/11259865#196379986
I've never been passed on a downhill when I'm going for it. Loaded bike (camelbak, lock, trunk bag, etc) + me is close to 270 lbs. And I'm quite aerodynamic being on a recumbent.

That being said, I'm not really geared to go that fast (I usually spin out around 35 mph) and, well, while it's fun to go fast on the downhills, it's more fun staying alive and unscraped up.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 11-16-12, 10:28 AM   #12
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And #4 was referring to throwing the chain, breaking the rear derailer, and bending the derailer mount all at the same time, 2 miles from home. Riding 2 miles on a 34 tooth cog leaves a lot to be desired.
I figured since you listed materials in #4, you meant breaking frames etc. I was close.
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Old 11-16-12, 10:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
Don't bet on that either! I'm a decent descender. On a Strava segment "GMR downhill shack to gate" I have a friend that smokes me on the descent. I'm 260 lbs and he's 120 lbs.

I'm #328 with a time of 15:37 and he's #35 with a time of 14:02 on the 8 mile 2300 ft descent.


Back in 2004, before there was strava, he handed my arse to me several times on the descent. I learned way back when, it ain't always about the clyde on the descent.



http://app.strava.com/activities/11259865#196379986
The weight influences acceleration, not top end speed. He gets up to speed faster than you do, and the gap increases with the greater number of corners.

His aerodynamics also are probably much better because of his smaller size.
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Old 11-16-12, 10:39 AM   #14
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Hi,

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The weight influences acceleration, not top end speed.
This is not true. You stop accelerating when all of the forces net to zero. If you have a bigger mass/weight and the same aerodynamic profile (and same power/kg, etc) , you will have a higher top speed.

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His aerodynamics also are probably much better because of his smaller size.
Technique/bike plays a big part here too. But yes, if he's going faster and weighs less, he's probably more aerodynamic.

Cheers,
Charles

Last edited by cplager; 11-16-12 at 10:42 AM. Reason: Added second part
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Old 11-16-12, 10:44 AM   #15
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I've never been passed on a downhill when I'm going for it. Loaded bike (camelbak, lock, trunk bag, etc) + me is close to 270 lbs. And I'm quite aerodynamic being on a recumbent.

That being said, I'm not really geared to go that fast (I usually spin out around 35 mph) and, well, while it's fun to go fast on the downhills, it's more fun staying alive and unscraped up.

Cheers,
Charles

35? I do that with one hand recording videos....GMR is a road where top speed for many is only 43 (?). But the twisty road keeps us from hitting much higher speeds. I've hit 46 on my single on descents with straight stretches and 56 on the tandem. That is the beauty of the Garmin and Strava, posted data. When you think others can't pass you on that downhill, you see that they can and have, you just don't know it.

I do believe though that there is no way I'd keep up witha recumbent ona straigth decent. But they would be going a lot faster than 35. Couple of my buddies (and forum members) can hold 30 on the flats of the trail we frequent.

If your max is 35, I'd pass you riding with one hand while recording a video ha ha!

I'd rather go for the hub theory. But I must say, there are plenty other Clydes on that moutnain that need their hubs greased.
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Old 11-16-12, 10:52 AM   #16
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The weight influences acceleration, not top end speed. He gets up to speed faster than you do, and the gap increases with the greater number of corners.

His aerodynamics also are probably much better because of his smaller size.
That would be the reason! Like I said, I beat a lot of riders down the mountain and gain lots of ground in the turns ridign with other riders. This guy is just something else when it comes to descending on technicals. Which is part of the reason why I say " don't always bet on a Clyde on the downhill" meaning if it's technical or if you run into a better descender, he just might beat you if he has the skill.
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Old 11-16-12, 10:53 AM   #17
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Downhill speed on GMR has a LOT more to do with skill & brass than it does weight. I usually have a looping internal video of me pinwheeling off the side of the mountain that keeps me in check. That and a healthy fear of something on the front wheel breaking while descending.
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Old 11-16-12, 11:01 AM   #18
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Downhill speed on GMR has a LOT more to do with skill & brass than it does weight. I usually have a looping internal video of me pinwheeling off the side of the mountain that keeps me in check. That and a healthy fear of something on the front wheel breaking while descending.
Zactly! That's why I say don't "always" bet on the Clyde.

Now if the original statement was "don't bet against a Clyde on a downhill consisting of a 10% grade on a one mile straight stretch with no stop lights or stop signs, then my thoughts would be different.
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Old 11-16-12, 11:35 AM   #19
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I'm working on the cadence. Our stationary bike has cadence read out on it, and right now 65 rpm feels like my legs are going to fly off. I'll get it there slowly. Before reading here, I didn't know there was a term for it, nor that there was a difference in wear and tear.

And #4 was referring to throwing the chain, breaking the rear derailer, and bending the derailer mount all at the same time, 2 miles from home. Riding 2 miles on a 34 tooth cog leaves a lot to be desired.
My spouse has pedaled along with a cadence of less than 60. But now he has been riding more and I am noticing that he is spinning faster. He doesn't want to work on cadence or work on anything. He just wants to ride. So I think the faster spin is just coming from riding more.
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Old 11-16-12, 11:45 AM   #20
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If your max is 35, I'd pass you riding with one hand while recording a video ha ha!
My max so far is 42 mph. I just stopped spinning at 35.

It's hard to find good roads where I feel it's safe to faster (and as I said, I'm not geared for it).
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Old 11-16-12, 11:46 AM   #21
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My spouse has pedaled along with a cadence of less than 60. But now he has been riding more and I am noticing that he is spinning faster. He doesn't want to work on cadence or work on anything. He just wants to ride. So I think the faster spin is just coming from riding more.
+1 - I haven't really worried about this, as I was running 70-80 when I started, but I've noticed over the past month that I'm tending more and more to spin up to around 100... more miles + less weight = easier to spin faster.
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Old 11-16-12, 11:51 AM   #22
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My spouse has pedaled along with a cadence of less than 60. But now he has been riding more and I am noticing that he is spinning faster. He doesn't want to work on cadence or work on anything. He just wants to ride. So I think the faster spin is just coming from riding more.
A single speed with a lower gear set up?
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Old 11-16-12, 12:01 PM   #23
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A single speed with a lower gear set up?
That is a great way to learn how to spin!
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Old 11-16-12, 05:32 PM   #24
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Are you clipping into your pedals? I found that this made a huge difference as far as my cadence went (I now average just under 90 rpm).

Not everybody likes clipless pedals (read: if you don't want to, you don't have to), but I found they made a huge difference for me.

Cheers,
Charles
I am clipless for now, when I was a teen, I wanted clips bad!, but now, I'm not so sure about tying my feet to the pedals. Maybe try ratchet straps first to see if I like it-ha.
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Old 11-16-12, 05:37 PM   #25
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I forgot the most important thing I learned this month. Discussing with the wife whether your bike shorts or her bras get to air dry in the prime locations is not sexy.
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