I've been getting a lot of advice from reading Forum posts and thought I'd join and pose a question. I posted this on Fifty-plus forum and then saw the Commuter forum, which is probably more relevant.
I belong to both the over 50s (now 58 years old) and Clydesdales (6'3", 235#). I've been commuting to downtown DC from the suburbs since the 80s on a 1983 Raleigh Grand Prix 10-speed - a dear old friend. I used to use the gravel Canal tow path and switched to an asphalt trail (the beautiful Crescent Trail) about 15 years ago. Between my weight, the rough surfaces, and the weight of daughters in the baby seat, I've snapped the front forks and bent the rear stays. Given my history with the bike, I dutifully repair and maintain it.
Last week the top tube snapped just below the head tube. The pictures are too sad to send.
I immediately bought a used Miyata 12-speed steel frame for about $300 so I could continue to ride while I consider my next move. Don't love it, but it gets me to work. I found a welder who will repair the break and I may give the Raleigh a thorough rehab. I could bite my lip and throw it away and ride the Miyata, to which I have no attachment. Or I can think about an upgrade (without going nuts on costs).
As I age my bike commuting has dropped from 4-5 days a week to 2-3, mostly from sore quads and knees. I commute for the exercise and relaxation, which raises the following question. If I get a lighter, more efficient bike will it lower the exercise benefits? Or will it allow me to ride more often, thereby increasing the total benefits?
And for you old-schoolers out there who started on steel frames, how do you feel about upgrading to different frame materials, skinny tires, toe-clips or clipless systems, etc? Have you old dogs learned new tricks?